Blog Archive

Monday, May 17, 2021

I prefer my earlier essay of August, 2019, A Litany of Economic Woes. I have neglected this blog for about a year. I added to the Covid article during 6 months when it was new and unknown, and now it's mostly unreadable, and then I added a pretty good synopsis article, Poverty and Covid. Today's entry was first a Letter to the Editor of the local newspaper, published in May, 2021. 


Below, the changing share of income over 43 years, from the RAND report of September 2020. The lower-earning 90% of households lost 17% of the national income, about $3.0 trillion in 2018, which is also about $28,600 more income in 2020 for 90% of U.S. households, on average. My "Letter to the Editor" below speaks of the shift and the growing impoverishment of most American families. There are other studies, and recently, June 1, 2021, Pitchfork Economics interviewed two scholars from the Economic Policy Institute detailing the shift, with slightly different conclusions. They conclude that two-earner families with median wage incomes, husband and wife working full-time year-round, would gain $40,000 more income each year, had the stagnation of wages not occurred. It was a policy failure, states Lawrence Mishel and Josh Bivens, in this interview. Many other news sites are publishing the RAND study's conclusions, here's one. The graph from RAND: 

Figure 2: Distribution of Shares of Taxable Income, 1975–2018

Top 1%9%22%
Bottom 90%67%50%

Source: Authors' calculations from U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey; and World Inequality Database.

Note: Due to rounding, the 1975


Biden’s Recent American Rescue and Jobs and Families Plans  

(This letter (a shorter version) appeared as a guest article in the local Mariposa newspaper.)

There is controversy over the Biden program of reform, the various American Plans (Rescue, Jobs, and Families) totaling about $6 trillion in added expenses over an 8 year period. I’d like to add to the conversation some background, even though it’s a bit detailed.  

President Biden in his speech of April 28th, 2021, said that during last year, 2020, 650 billionaires increased their wealth by $1 trillion in the past 12 months. He repeated this statement twice. A trillion divided between 650 is $1.5 billion per billionaire, added to each one’s net worth. This is not income, it is unrealized stock gain, taxable only when sold (realized). 

From Biden’s speech: “At the same time, the roughly 650 Billionaires in America saw their net worth increase by more than $1 Trillion. Let me say that again. Just 650 people increased their wealth by more than $1 Trillion during this pandemic. They are now worth more than $4 Trillion. My fellow Americans, trickle-down economics has never worked.”  

Total household net worth surpassed $130 trillion in Q4 of 2020, states the Flow of Funds report of the Federal Reserve, page 2. Therefore the "average" U.S. household owns $1 million because there are 130 million households. But just 8% of U.S. adults own a million or more, states the Credit Suisse Global Wealth report (Databook, page 169). And 40% of households own 0.2% of everything; therefore the $1 million average is just a sign of the enormous wealth at the top.  

In contrast the U.S. Census’ weekly Pulse Survey reported in March, 2021, that 13% of adults could not afford food for the next week, and 31% could not afford basic expenses, as reported by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

We have a growing problem of inequality, hardship and poverty, amidst great prosperity and wealth. 

The US Census has conducted this weekly Pulse Survey report since April 2020. In March of 2021, a total of 31% of U.S. adults, 73 million, report in Table 4 they "had difficulty paying for usual expenses such as food, rent or mortgage, car payments, medical expenses, or student loans in the last seven days." The ALICE report from United Way charity, “On Uneven Ground”, published in December, 2020, states that 42% of households in 2019 could not afford seven basics. They project that data for 2020 will raise the rate to over 50%; these households could not afford food, housing, utilities, medical, transportation, phone, childcare — 7 expenses in all — half of U.S. households. 

The contrast between the millions who are unable to buy food and normal expenses and the billionaires watching their fortunes soar to unimaginable levels is mind-boggling. What has gone wrong with the economy? It should surprise no one that millions are angry and even willing to attack the seat of government as they did on January 6, 2021. 

I support Bernie Sanders’ radical progressive agenda, but I understand the anger. I’m a bit more leftward than Sanders with my agenda, but Biden is moving in a pragmatic way, doing the almost possible. 

Biden’s basic plan is to use government power to shift the income imbalance that is the result of 50 years of bad economic management. In 1966 the average weekly wages were higher than in 2020, 54 years later. Some 82% of workers are employees, or “nonsupervisory workers”; their “average weekly [and yearly] earnings” were higher 54 years years ago. This is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since 1966 the “real” (inflation adjusted) per capita income expanded by 161%, and the real per capita GDP by 156%, but average weekly and yearly incomes for 82% of workers are lower by about $2,000, $45,006 vs. $43,042. The median sales price for a house was about 4 times workers’ annual wage earnings in 1972, and now in 2021 it’s about 8 times. 

Women joining the work force contributed about 91% of the rise in household income over these past decades, reports the Brookings Institute. From the report: 

“We now come to the interesting part of the story about women and middle-class incomes. Without women’s contributions, these gains would have been small to nonexistent. By our estimates, based on a method initially proposed by Heather Boushey at the Center for Equitable Growth and using pre-tax money income in the Current Population Survey, average middle-class household income grew from $57,420 in 1979 to $69,559 in 2018. If the average contribution of women to household income had not changed, most of these gains would not have been seen. Average income would have increased to just $58,502 in 2018. Women therefore accounted for 91 percent of the total income gain for their families.1”

The RAND Corporation in July, 2020, issued the report “Trends in Income between 1975 and 2018”, that’s 43 years, and one finding states that the average income of all full-year, full-time, prime-age  workers increased from $42,000 in 1972 to $50,000 in 2018 (for supervisory and nonsupervisory workers). But the average could have risen to $92,000 had wage growth matched productivity growth, as it had between 1946 and 1972. This is not too complicated. The typical, or “median”, household could be earning about $120,000, not $65,000. 

From the RAND report: The top 1% increased it’s share by 13% from 9% in1975 to 22% in 2018.

The lower 90% of earners lost 17% of the total income share, from 67% to 50%. 

Figure 2: Distribution of Shares of Taxable Income, 1975–2018

1975 2018

Top 1%     9%   22%

90-99%   25%   28%

Bottom 90%   67%   50%

Source: Authors' calculations from U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey; and World Inequality Database.

Trump’s major accomplishment in 4 years was to pass a Tax Cut and Jobs Act which was a huge tax give-away to the wealthiest Americans, after they had amassed over 90% of all economic growth over the past 4 decades. Not a sensible or constructive accomplishment, in my opinion. This next act in America’s economic history, Biden’s objective, would reverse the trends I’ve reported. Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle, light some hope. And please don’t shoot the piano player who would be me. I recommend and as good starting places for accurate reporting on the economy. 


Ben Leet       


An article about a study that claims that distributing wealth to lower-earning families increases the growth rate of wealth, and of course improves the quality of life for them dramatically -- read it at Inequality (dot) org


Comment about Covid Poverty  -- May 28, 2021

I left this comment at the web page of National Jobs for All Coalition,

It draws heavily from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities article of May 28, 2021, about the U.S. Census' Household Pulse Survey of April, 2021. 

I just looked today, May 28, 2021, at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities update (dated 5.28.21) on the U.S. Census' Household Pulse Survey, (sometimes referred to as "weekly") ending May 10, 2021. Grim, as I expected. 

A quote stands out: "Some 25 million people either met the official definition of “unemployed” (meaning they actively looked for work in the last four weeks or were on temporary layoff) or lived with an unemployed family member in March. This figure includes over 6 million children." I assume only one person per household is responding to the survey, and taking out the retired 65-and-over households, 25 million (households) is about 22% of households (or 19% if senior households are included). 

And "When family members are considered, some 35 million people in March, including close to 9 million children, lived in a family where at least one adult did not have paid work in the last week because of unemployment or the pandemic, we estimate." Excluding retired population, that would be 12.5% of population. But 35 million households (minus 9 million children = 26 million adults) represents 20% of all U.S. households. 

And, the last, "Some 62 million adults — 27 percent of all adults in the country — reported it was somewhat or very difficult for their household to cover usual expenses in the past seven days, according to data collected April 28–May 10.” 

As there are around 130 million households, that 62 million adult figure could represent 47% of all households. The ALICE report from United Way charity reports (On Uneven Ground, Dec. 2020) they expect around 50% of U.S. households to be classified as experiencing material hardship, unable to pay for seven basic expenses. This “27% percent of adults” is an improvement from the January report from CBPP, reporting on an October 2020 Pulse Survey, when it was 31%. 

The portion who worry excessively is still over 50% of those who responded (the survey on Food, Table 4). 

The report also states that 56% of the job loss occurred to workers in low-income jobs, about a third of all “jobs” (but I didn't find the criteria for low-income). 22 million jobs were lost in March-April 2020, and 12.6 million restored yet 9.4 million are still lost in April 2021 (BLS data). Most of job recovery, ⅔ of restored employment happened May thru August, only about ⅓ from September to April. 

The actual-most-last: "15,379,000" number receiving jobless claims in U.S., that would be about 9% of work force. Strangely the BLS reports just 9.8 million unemployed in April, 2021. Some non-working workers are classified as "employed" and still receive UI benefits.

All from Center for Budget and Policy Priorities,

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Poverty and Covid-19

(See my better and related article, August 2019, "A Litany of Economic Woes")
I have not touched this blog in six months except for updates on the Covid-19 posting, and I haven't touched that one in about 2 months - today is 12.16.20. 

Here's a comment that sums up my position on the economy: 

The average U.S. household owns a net worth of $965,000 in September 2020. Of course "average" is not "typical" or even "normal". Total household net worth: $123.520 Trillion (Flow of Funds, Fed. Reserve, p.2), and there are a total of 128 million households. Divide 128 into 123.520 = $965,000 per household. And also $494,000 per adult. That is a wealthy nation. But -- About 40% of households own very little. The Databook for the Global Wealth report at Credit Suisse bank, page 168, shows the 40% least wealthy adults own 0.1% of all savings, and that's about $1,230 per adult. In fact 54% of adults (or 135 million adults) report owning less than $5,000 in “liquid assets” states the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report “Financial Well-Being in America”, p.80, 2017. And about 70% or more are living paycheck to paycheck. The United Way charity says that 40% live with hardship or in poverty, unable to afford seven basics of life: food, housing, utilities, healthcare, childcare, phone, transportation. And by January 2021 that 40% may have reached 50%, their report "On Uneven Ground" states. ---  The system is broken, and the U.S. economy is in a very sad state, it can’t be emphasized too much. Since January 2009 total wealth has doubled in the U.S., from $48 trillion to $123 trillion. But the GDP did not double, workers' "average weekly wage earnings were actually higher in March 1965 than in March 2020, prepandemic, see the BLS page. How could total wealth double in 11 years of anemic, slow-motion economic recovery after the Great Recession? How? -- it's a question no economist seems willing to tackle.                                                The reforms needed are many, such as: A $15 minimum wage is just a starter. Workers have to sit on corporate boards, they need the PRO Act to increase their bargaining power. The largest 500 corporations in the last ten years have allocated over 90% of their profits to dividends or stock buybacks, about $910 billion per year, or $9.1 trillion over ten years, ignoring raising workers' wage income, a tragedy and disgrace (see this article by William Lazonick). And a report from the RAND Corporations concludes that $2.5 trillion in annual income that once went to the lower-earning 90% now goes to the upper 10% of earners; the average yearly income for a "full-time full-year prime age" worker (including supervisory workers) has risen from $42,000 in 1975 to $50,000 in 2018, but it could have risen to $92,000 had wage growth match productivity growth, as it had between 1946 and 1973. Imagine, $92,000 per year average! Check the report, page 11.                                                                                Healthcare, childcare, housing and education costs must go down. Mostly we need public awareness, which will spark deep radical changes. I write a blog, Economics Without Greed, part two, but other places carry the same message, Washington Center for Equitable Growth (read "A Tale of Two Countries"), (see their Facts page and subscribe to the weekly newsletter), the Poor People’s Campaign. Bernie Sanders (see his Programs page, he advocates 
  • End the housing crisis by investing $2.5 trillion to build nearly 10 million permanently affordable housing units.
. Even Senators Gillibrand, Warren, Markley, Sherrod Brown and others. We have to pull the wax out of Biden’s ears and all other deniers.                                                                             I was commenting on this article.           

                How Covid-19 Will Magnify the Poverty Problem            

American families must now brace for the steepest collapse of GDP since 1958, says Barron’s magazine quoting Goldman Sachs and J P Morgan banks. A quarter of GDP will soon be missing, a drop from $21.4 trillion to $16 trillion is projected. Personal and household incomes will collapse also. This is will be a year to remember. 

Americans are not financially prepared for this. In September 2017 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published a Financial Well-Being report  and asked adults "How much money do you have in savings today (in cash,checking, and savings account balances)?” This is called "Liquid savings." (see page 80)
less than $250  — 24%
less than $1,000 — 35%
less than $5,000 — 54%
less than $20,000 —  74%  American adults answered. 
Meaning the majority are not prepared for an extended loss of income. 

The Prosperity Now web page, Scorecard, found that -- Nationwide 25.4% of credit card holders have reached the 75% of credit limit on their cards; 
Those who have saved for emergencies — 57.8% have saved —  42.2% have not saved 
Consumers with Debt in Collections — 21.2%

Another poll asked about missing a paycheck, every two weeks, would it be a difficulty? The American Payroll Association reports 74% said yes; 40% said a major difficulty, and 34% said a slight difficulty. A Harris poll found that respondents say they always (23%) or usually (17%) or sometimes (38%) live paycheck to paycheck, for a total of 78%. 

Looking at the annual wage report from the Social Security Administration, the latest year 2018, I divided workers into 4 roughly equal groups. All 167 million workers who submitted W-2 forms, so that would be about 42 million per group, or 25%, roughly. 

                                   Average Yearly             Percentage          Percentage
                                    Wage Income               of Workers          of Nat'l Income
        Group One                 $6,239                    27.1%                     1.9%
        Group Two               $24,819                   25.5%                      7.0%
        Group Three             $47,441                   25.0%                     13.5% 
        Group Four             $133,488                   22.4%                     33.5%
                                                                                          Total ---  55.9% of National Income 

Take a look at the distribution graph from Washington Center for Equitable Growth. The income share  for each quintile is                                           and the wealth share is 
                1st ---     3%                                         1st ---     1%
                2nd ---    6%                                         2nd ---    1%
                3rd ---   10%                                         3rd ---    2%   
                4th ---   17%                                         4th ---    8%
                5th ---   63%                                         5th ---   88%       (top 1%  --- 38%)

For a clearer view of this income distribution, see State of Working America, Income, Table 2.4.  The  data in the Table 2.4 is from a CBO study of 2007, and it shows that the lower earning 40% earned 13.0% of all wage income when wage income amounted to only 54.3% of all income. That equates to 5.2% of the national income -- multiply 54.3 times 13% = 5.2 --  being earned as wages by the lower-earning 40%. Yes, it looks complicated, and it is, but actually fairly simple once you grasp the complex chart. 

Sources of pretax comprehensive income, by income group, 2007 (2011 dollars)

The most important fact here is that total wage income amounts to just $8.38 trillion, which in 2018 was only 47% of the total income ($17.8 trillion) reported by the Table 2.1, or just 56% of total income ($15.0 trillion) reported by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation (see page 34).  
Take the total wage income for the lower-earning half -- $1.2 trillion -- and it turns out to be just 8% of all income (Joint C. T.) or just 6.7% of all income (BEA). What is total income divided by all workers? $91,000, or $106,000. But the average for the lower half is $14,300. Pitiful. 

The market forces are destroying the market, you might say. A race to the bottom results in few being able to purchase necessities, a gradual enervation, debilitation, and sapping of economic vitality. !!!!  The crisis that is totally ignored, one would conclude. 

The Brookings Institute report “Meet the Low-Wage Workforce” examines the incomes of roughly half of U.S. workers, the low-earning half. It shows that $19,000 a year is the average income for 67% of workers who earn below the median wage income for all workers, $32,838. The other 33% are very low earning workers earning below $7,500 a year. If we take the total income in the economy, about $18.8 trillion, and divide that among the 168 million workers, we arrive at an average of $112,000 per worker. 

My essays of August and of December are easy reads, and the imbalanced state of the economy is simply explained. You might wish to read those two essays. 

The BLS shows that 69.5% worked full-time year-round in 2017. So around 50 million of the 165 million workers were less than f-t y-r. 
Many household budgets cannot fall back on savings to get through a "shelter in place" order. Without savings and without an income, many Americans are between a rock and a stone wall. A site says that 9% of Americans pay more than 50% of income on housing. A Harvard University study shows that 30% of Americans pay over 30% of their income on housing. Another Harvard University study found that 1 in 4 renters pay more than 50% of their income in rent. Workers in “non-essential” jobs no longer have incomes, they are directly affected by the work stoppage, and many rent their living quarters. 
June 12, 2020, Insert -- A Survey from the U.S. Census, May 2020-                     how the nation is holding up.

The U.S. Census has conducted five flash surveys since the beginning of May, the Household Pulse Surveys. I’m looking at May 21 to 26, Food Table 2a, (and other tables) it says that 60% of all employed adults nationwide experienced a loss of “employment income”, either personally or a household member (that’s 119 million out of 198 million after subtracting 38 million “retired” and 14% in other categories). Questioned about “Reason for recent food insufficiency”, 61% reported “Couldn’t afford to buy more food”. (Food Table 4). And 49% report being “not at all confident” or “somewhat confident” when asked “Confidence in being able to afford food next four weeks.” And around 50% are “feeling nervous, anxious, on edge” and “not being able to stop or control worrying” and “feeling down, depressed or hopeless” and “having little interest or pleasure in doing things”. And another report from EPI (dot org) says 32.5 million, about a quarter of all, workers have filed for some form of  Unemployment Insurance. There’s some hope that these conditions will instigate a voter rejection of normality.
We have staggering inequality. The U.S. is peculiarly bi-polar in the department of income and wealth. It may surprise many to know, and it surprised this writer, that the average wealth per household is $924,000. On March 12, 2020, the Federal Reserve reported in its Flow of Funds report, page 2, that total household net worth peaked at $118.3 trillion. Divided among the nation’s 128 million households that comes to $924K per household. Unfortunately 40% of households own just 0.1% of all wealth, states the Credit Suisse report on Global Wealth. Average wealth per adult in that group is about $2,000. 

The average yearly household income, not wealth, before taxes is over $140,000, states the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Table 2.1. But half of households have incomes below $64,000, and many of them much below $64,000. The per person annual “disposable personal income” after taxes is now $50,504 says the same BEA table. Does it surprise anyone to learn that $24,405 is the median income per person for all four person households? The average is $50,504, but half have less than $24,405 per person, and often much less than $24,405. Those in official poverty live with below $6,500 per person. See the U.S. Census hinc-01 table. The numbers are difficult to digest, but the incongruity is not. 

It’s a sad truth, that many Americans are unaware of the great disparities among U.S. households. The household medians, for both wealth and income, are far below the averages which are raised by the very high amounts at the tippy-tippy-top, the 1 percent.

The United Way charity reports in its ALICE report that 40% of Americans live with hardship or experience poverty. In a land where $50,000 of after-tax income per person is a fact, and over $400,000 of savings per adult is a fact, we have 40% who struggle to pay for necessities. It is a strain on the imagination. An income of $61,589 for a four person household, in 2020, is the ALICE Survival Budget income. This is 2.4 times the poverty official level. Meaning that the poverty level is much lower than the stressed out level. 

Will low income workers be able to pay for necessities over the next few months is an extremely critical and unanswered question. The nation is watching. We have the resources, the nation is very wealthy, but can and will we protect and support those who have no “spare tire”. 
An Update on June 6, 2020 
That was the end of the essay. On June 6, 2020, I'm adding a bit more. A 2016 article at The Atlantic magazine, “The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans — Nearly half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency. I’m one of them” contains this revelation of the fragility of about 60% of U.S. household: 
“He [professor Edward N. Wolff] found that in 2013, prime-working-age families in the bottom two income quintiles [from the first to the 40th percentile] had no net worth at all and thus nothing to spend. A family in the middle quintile, with an average income of roughly $50,000, could continue its spending for … six days. Even in the second-highest quintile [60 to 80], a family could maintain its normal consumption for only 5.3 months. Granted, those numbers do not include home equity. But, as Wolff says, “it’s much harder now to get a second mortgage or a home-equity loan or to refinance.” So remove that home equity, which in any case plummeted during the Great Recession, and a lot of people are basically wiped out. “Families have been using their savings to finance their consumption,” Wolff notes. In his assessment, the typical American family is in ‘desperate straits.’”
This article is rich with insights about financial insecurity, such as this finding: 
“. . . and the study by Lusardi, Tufano, and Schneider found that nearly one-quarter of households making $100,000 to $150,000 a year claim not to be able to raise $2,000 in a month.” And, “About 38 percent of households carried some debt, according to the analysis, and among those, the average was more than $15,000.” And, “The American Psychological Association conducts a yearly survey on stress in the United States. The 2014 survey—in which 54 percent of Americans said they had just enough or not enough money each month to meet their expenses—found money to be the country’s No. 1 stressor.” The author, Neal Gabler, finishes with, “What so many of us have been suffering for so many years may just seem like a rough patch. But it is far more likely to be our lives.”

And the Federal Reserve sponsors many reports on financial status of Americans, one being this short one, 

"Money in the Bank? Assessing Families' Liquid Savings using the Survey of Consumer Finances"

It found that only 40% of households have accumulated a 'rainy day' account large enough to weather a 3 month income hiatus, and the three month expenditure amount sums to $9,315. That leaves 60% with insufficient funds in their savings safety net. Only 28% have savings capable of surviving a 6 month income drought. But, a positive sign, many households have access to "quasi-liquid assets". In addition to liquid savings, some families have savings in "quasi-liquid" accounts, like account-type retirement plans (401k or IRA), certificates of deposit or savings bonds, or cash-value life insurance accounts. This type of savings can be accessed if needed, but there may be limitations, penalties, or taxes that have to be paid.  
These accounts double the number of households able to sustain a long-term collapse of income. See graph number three. If only 40% have enough for 3 months, another 30% have enough "quasi-liquid" savings to cover the 3 month shortfall. But the simple fact remains, after three months of no income, about 70% of Americans will be up the creek without a paddle, and their retirement or insurance savings will be gone. 


About Recovery Proposals 

There are appearing many plans, and I'll comment on them as I get a chance. Today is June 6, 2020. The first I am interested in is by professor Pavlina Tcherneva who advocates for public direct job creation at the Levy Economics Institute. 
"Guaranteeing Employment During the Pandemic and Beyond", May 2020, 
"When the CARES Act loan guarantees (with already extremely weak job protections) expire and firms face continued reduction in demand, the layoffs that did not take place during the pandemic will happen when the economy “reopens.” Whatever cash assistance we provide to families to keep them afloat now, millions of them will be scrambling for the pitifully scarce jobs of the postpandemic world. And we know what many of those jobs will be: poorly paid, with no benefits or basic employment protections, much like the ones “essential” workers currently have (the delivery drivers, grocery store clerks, and sanitation staff). While lending and cash assistance help firms and families pay the bills, they are not job creation policies. They are not even reliable job protection policies."

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Covid-19, A Long, Long Article, with a long list of "daily new cases" and "daily new deaths"

The Never-Ending Article on the Pandemic
Most important idea:  It would have been far worse without social distancing policies. 
Just how bad might it have been? As I have quoted from two Nature magazine articles, here and here, disaster was averted. Instead of 300,000 cases in the U.S. by April 6 there might have been 5 million --  16 times more cases; 
and instead 130,000 deaths in Europe by May 4, there might have been 3.2 million deaths -- there could have been 25 times more deaths. 
The U.S. has had a second wave because it reopened too soon. (see NYTimes graph)
Social distancing and mask wearing seems to be the answer.
Both the European Union, with 444 million population, and the U.S., with 330 million, on April 25 had the same number of cases, 890,000. Now, August 29, EU has 1.85 million cases, U.S. has 6 million. The E.U added 894,000 and the U.S. added 5,110,000 --  for every ONE in EU the U.S. added 5.7 new cases.  1  to  5.7   --   ONE to  5.7.  What did they do that worked? --  Serious social distancing.  
See the graph at Our World in Data
On August 31 an article appeared, at Common Dreams news site, saying
"Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist and professor at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, tweeted Monday that to achieve "herd immunity" without a vaccine, "about 250 million Americans would contract the virus and 1.5-2 million would die."

A Washington Post analysis found that 2.13 million deaths may be required to "reach a 65 percent threshold of herd immunity, assuming the virus has a one percent fatality rate."

The Annual Death Count in 2018 = 2,839,000   
                                                                        170,000 Covid-19 deaths by August 19, 2020.   
                                                          Approximately 10% of all deaths by end of week 31 of 2020     

This article is almost unreadable now. I've added to it since my original post, as I stretch it out. The long list towards the bottom shows the weekly changes in total infections, my weekly update. The CDC page, the New York Times page, Worldometer, Index Mundi, and Our World in Data and the John Hopkins Daily Situation report are my key sources. 

                             Added content for September 27                    
The CDC has a page on "Excess Deaths Associated with Covid-19".  Find it, go down to "OPTIONS, Select a Dashboard" and select "percent excess deaths". Scroll down to find New York City --  the place on the planet most deadly hit by the Covid-19. For six weeks the excess averaged at 380% or a multiple of 3.8, and on week ending April 11 the rate was 660% or 6.6 times higher the expected number of deaths. The same week in April the entire U.S. had 41% above normal or a multiple of 1.41 times normal. ----- What does that mean?  There were 56,000 expected, but the actual number was almost 79,000.  If that had continued all over the U.S.for a year? The normal expected 3,000,000 would jup to 4,200,00. Then 1,200,000 deaths from Covid-19. If the entire U.S. had maintained 6.6 times more deaths for a year, then about 20 million excess deaths.   Very unlikely, but it shows the deadly nature of Covid-19. 

                                  Added content for September 20                   
Death Rates from Covid-19    -- from an article in Nature magazine, August 2020
For both men and women over 75, 1 out of 9 is the death rate. For age 65 to 75, 1 out 30 is the incidence. For ages 34 to 65 it is 1 in 200, and for those under 34 it is almost zero. Age and sex are the dominant factors in death rates — men over 75 have highest incidence of death.

Quotes from the article: 
"For every 1,000 people infected with the coronavirus who are under the age of 50, almost none will die. For people in their fifties and early sixties, about five will die — more men than women. The risk then climbs steeply as the years accrue. For every 1,000 people in their mid-seventies or older who are infected, around 116 will die. These are the stark statistics obtained by some of the first detailed studies into the mortality risk for COVID-19.

Although fatality estimates are important for understanding the risk of viral spread to people in different age groups, they don’t tell the full story of the toll COVID-19 takes, says Kilpatrick. “There is a fascination with death, but COVID-19 appears to cause a substantial amount of long-term illness,” he adds."

                                 Added content for September 6                           
Better than a vaccine?
A novel test solution -- a daily home test available to millions is being developed by a doctor at Harvard. "Michael Mina is an epidemiologist, immunologist and physician. He is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. . . . Dr. Mina is currently advocating for a shift towards cheap daily coronavirus tests for everyone." states The Ralph Nader Radio Hour
You should listen, it is a big break-through. 
Also the John Hopkins report from September 4 notes that the Case Fatality Rate, CFR, globally has dropped from 7.3% to around 3%. Better treatment is the cause. 
Also Yemen is suffering more than any nation from Covid-19 deaths, 29% CFR. The people of Yemen also suffer now from the largest outbreak of cholera in world history. About 57% of the population lack access to safe water, sanitation and adequate health care.  
                       Added content for August 30                     
About Excess Deaths — 
“Not all deaths have been reported,”   says the New York Times. 

Through Aug. 8, estimated excess deaths were about 38 percent higher than the official coronavirus fatality count. On August 29, 2020, the NYTimes reports 182,735 deaths in the U.S., but the actual toll is closer to 252,174, if the 38% higher report is accurate. In 2018 there were 2.839 million U.S. deaths, so the actual Covid-19 deaths is going to be over 9% of total U.S. deaths in 2020, and we are still in August. 

From the article:
"Through Aug. 8, estimated excess deaths were about 38 percent higher than the official coronavirus fatality count. If this pattern holds, it would put the current death toll at more than 238,000 people."
“Many epidemiologists believe measuring excess deaths is the best way to assess the impact of the virus in real time. It shows how the virus is altering normal patterns of mortality. The high numbers from the coronavirus pandemic period undermine arguments that the virus is merely killing vulnerable people who would have died anyway.”

“207,000 missing Deaths: Tracking the True Toll of the Coronavirus Outbreak”
The NYTimes reports around 800,000 world deaths from Covid-19. Apparently 20% of deaths are not reported as caused by Covid=19.  
“The data is limited and, if anything, excess deaths are underestimated because not all deaths have been reported.”
“Even taking into account differences in mortality by age, experts say the death toll to date could have been much worse.” “Today’s rise in all-cause mortality takes place under conditions of extraordinary measures, such as social distancing, lockdowns, closed borders and increased medical care, at least some which have positive impacts,” said Vladimir Shkolnikov, a demographer at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research. “It is likely that without these measures, the current death toll would be even higher.”

15% of cases and 17% of deaths — the U.S. still far ahead of other nations. 
In the last week of August, with 4% of the world’s population, the U.S still produces 15% of world’s new cases — 41,000 out of 272,000, reports the New York Times on August 28, 2020. And the U.S. produces 17% of world’s Covid-19 deaths on August 28 — 920 out of 5,426 worldwide deaths, rolling 7 day average. 
Skepticism is well advised with these figures, as other nations may not report accurately. Probably the excess death figures that will be revealed in 12 months will show more accurately. Why would the U.S. have such a disproportionate case and death count? Is it just better reporting?  

The NYTimes also shows the international situation is fluid, new cases in some countries are rising in a second wave. Spain, France and Japan are such examples. 

“How the Pandemic Might Play out in 2021 and Beyond”, 
Nature magazine article, August 5, 2020

This well-researched article gathers speculation from many career epidemiologists. 
It’s not good to focus on a prediction, but one prediction they publish estimates deaths for July 2020, and July 2021:  700,000 for the first year on July 2020, 2,000,000 for the next July, 2021. 
After reading it just once, the article leaves me with that too complex to understand feeling. “There is so much we still don’t know about this virus,” says Pulliam. “Until we have better data, we’re just going to have a lot of uncertainty.” --- the last sentence.
But Covid-19 is not going away, poof! It will change behavior dramatically in terms of restaurants, visits to friends, social mixing at mass events, even casual mixing at churches or shops or gyms. But the vaccine is progressing, and testing is becoming easier and quicker (see the Ralph Nader Radio Hour for an interview with Michael Mina , an epidemiologist, immunologist and physician. He is “an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. . . . Dr. Mina is currently advocating for a shift towards cheap daily coronavirus tests for everyone.”) 

            Added content for August 23       
This week new cases and new deaths, the 7-day rolling average, is down -- 42,909 per day for cases, down from 51,210 last week, and deaths 981 per day, down from 1,072 last week. 

I wrote a snippet about Vietnam, and I'll share it here: 
I’ve been fascinated while reading about the success of Vietnam in controlling Covid-19. If the U.S. had the same death per million ratio as Vietnam there would have been 96 deaths, not 176,000 on August 23, 2020. Vietnam has a population of 95 million, about a third the population of the U.S. Makes me wonder, how did they do it. One sentence in the report from “Our World in Data” leads me to wonder:  

“ . . .  hundreds of thousands of people, including international travelers and those who had close contact with people who tested positive, were placed in quarantine centers run by the government, . . .”
Even with this treatment “a survey conducted in late March by a public opinion research firm found that 62 percent of people in Vietnam believed the level of government response was the “right amount,” ranking higher than any of the other 45 countries surveyed.8”  Locking up citizens who test positive! That’s a strong incentive to take caution. 

The following are a few short quotes from article at Our World in Data and from the some articles from the Center for Disease Control (CDC): 
Although Vietnam reported its first case of COVID-19 on January 23, 2020, it reported only a little more than 300 cases and zero deaths over the following four months.1,2 This early success has been attributed to several key factors, including a well-developed public health system, a strong central government, and a proactive containment strategy based on comprehensive testing, tracing, and quarantining. Lessons from Vietnam’s successful early detection and containment strategy are worth examining in detail so other countries may apply them to their own responses.

Vietnam established its national emergency operations center in 2013 and four regional centers in 2016.9 The centers are staffed by skilled personnel, including alumni of the Field Epidemiology Training Program, a program run by MOH’s [Ministry of Health]  Department of Preventive Medicine and supported by US CDC and WHO. The program comprises of three curricula that “trains disease detectives in the field.”10 In May 2019, there are 23 alumni in Vietnam.11 This network of emergency operations centers runs exercises and trainings to prepare key stakeholders in government for outbreaks, and it has managed preparedness and response efforts related to measles, Ebola, MERS, and Zika.

from the CDC: 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began working with the government of Vietnam and local organizations in 1998 to build effective and sustainable public health systems. 

As CDC Vietnam moves forward into the next 100 days, collaborative and transparent working relationships with GVN and the U.S. government will remain essential.

You can look at “Worldometer Corona Virus” to compare nations’ deaths to 1 million population ratios. The U.S. ratio is today 546. Only 7 other nations rank higher. New Zealand has 4, Australia 20, Japan 9, Indonesia 25, Germany 111, Norway 49, and so on. 

        Added content for August 16       
"Our World in Data" web pages shows, total cases, and confirmed deaths. I wanted to compare the growth between the U.S. and the European Union. Mr. Trump says "They don't test." And the EU results would be much worse if they tested. Let's forget about tests. On April 25 both had nearly the same number of cases, 890 K (US) and 895 K (EU). Since April 25 
EU total cases have increased by 81%, deaths have increased by 42%
US total cases have increased by 500%, deaths have increased by 220%
     Is Mr. Trump ignorant, or is he mendacious? lying outright? 
     He is wildly wrong, and that is sufficient for replacing him. 
     He should be asking "How do they do it?" But no, he snaps a blame deflecting answer. 
     There are lots of reasons to be fed up with him. 
See a video presented by the AMA showing 3 women doctors advising on the importance of wearing a mask. 

A poster from the CDC.
Another CDC graph showing how race and ethnicity play out: 
     Added content for August 8   
A moderate slow-down in U.S. numbers: 1,053 deaths per day during the past week is high, and 53,507 new cases per day is double from 5 weeks ago. The U.S. produces 163 new cases per 1,000,000 each day, while the European Union produces 22. And the U.S. is still #7 in per capita daily incidence. Trump is wrong when he says that "They don't test." Reality is "They don't get sick." 
Trump signs an executive order reinstating federal UI weekly relief at $300 per week.
And a Republican senator says of Trump's executive order: “No president — whether named Obama or Trump or Biden or AOC — has unilateral power to rewrite immigration law or to cut taxes or to raise taxes. This is because America doesn’t have kings,” Sasse wrote, adding a brief explanation of the Constitution.  He called Trumps actions "unconstitutional slop."
The John Hopkins Daily Situation Report, 8/10 reports that 
Bill Gates and Anthony Fauci have separate interviews at Wired Magazine.  
"On Sunday, New Zealand marked 100 days since its last domestic SARS-CoV-2 transmission. New Zealand implemented a robust screening, testing, and contact tracing response, complemented by national social distancing policies, that ultimately led to eliminating the virus in early June. "    

    Added content for August 2    
If total cases on July 1 had been 100, then on August 1 it would be 174. The U.S. increased total case count by 74% in 31 days. See the long long list below, far below. 
The CDC reports that less than 1% of deaths have occurred to people younger than 35, and 80% of deaths have occurred to those age 65 and older. 
The percentage is 40% who are asymptomatic and test positive, says the CDC. Read the footnotes for a view of the complexity of the scientific studies. The "current best estimate" also states the R transmissibility is 2.5 ("The average number of people that one person with COVID-19 is likely to infect in a population without any immunity (from previous infection) or any interventions."). An R0 of 2.5 seems medium high. “Measles and pertussis (whooping cough) have an R0 of around 15 meaning one person can transmit the disease to an average of 15 other persons in a population that has not developed any immunity or has not been vaccinated. It is worth noting that both diseases are spread via airborne transmission. R0 is also a useful measure for explaining how a new, emerging disease spreads in a vulnerable population. If R0 is less than 1 the disease will die out, if it is equal to one the disease will remain stable in a population, and if it is greater than 1 it can cause an outbreak or epidemic.” This from a report at a NIH site, paragraph on "Communicability".  And the IFR or Infection Fatality Ratio is 0.0065, or 0.65%, which would create 2,145,000 deaths in the U.S. if all were infected (and 49 million worldwide). The U.S. death count for 2018, above, was 2,839,000. 
The John Hopkins' Daily Situation Report adds perspective. "The US represents 22.5% of the global COVID-19 deaths —and 26% of the global cases —despite accounting for only 4.3% of the  globalpopulat ion . The US is #9 globally in terms of per capita cumulative deaths —but will likely surpass France as #8 in the coming days.   
Some countries have flattened or leveled the curve of deaths, France, Spain, Belgium and Italy. While Chile, Brazil and Peru are doing the worst. (use this hyperlink from the above quote)
The WHO reported that 80% of cases are mild or asymptomatic. If that is true for the U.S. then almost
20,000,000, or 6% of the U.S. have been infected.  
Clicking the hyperlinks in the Hopkins' report, July 31, reveals interesting highlights. About closing schools in March, "They estimate that school closures could have prevented 1.37 million cases over a period of 26 days and 40,600 deaths over a period of 16 days. --  
This report  found that by closing schools 40,600 deaths were avoided (in 16 days) by May 7, when total deaths had reached 73,430 (says the chart at Index Mundi). Other news about Brazil, vaccines and sports are found in the report. 
Probably the biggest news coming will deal with apartment evictions in the U.S. 

  Added content for July 26  
A bad week again, average weekly deaths rising and cases too. 
Added cases -- March    213,114  
                     -- April      849,006
                     --   May     725,234
                     --  June      850,160
                     --  July    2,000,000   --  looking for a downtrend, but making an uptrend
                     --  July        1,963,686 new cases added in July 

To see the track of the death count visit the New York Times Corona Virus page. 

From the John Hopkins Daily Situation Report, July 24
From the first case reported in the US on January 22, it took 81 days to reach 500,000 cases and 98 total days to reach 1 million cases. (from 500,000 to 1 million took just 17 days, April 12 to 29) From there:
1 million to 2 million cases: 44 days
2 million to 3 million cases: 27 days 
3 million to 4 million cases: 14 days
How fast can it accelerate? 
There is a pattern: about half as many days to reach the next million. During the month of March cases doubled every 2.3 days, about 40% more every day, extremely rapid. It took 41 days (27 plus 14) to double from 2 million to 4 million, maybe increasing by 2% a day. See list below: on June 14 there were 2,063,812 cases, and now more than 4,000,000.  

". . . national COVID-19 hospitalizations are now equal to the country’s first peak in mid-April."

Southern states are doing much worse than all others. Florida is currently reporting more than 11 times the combined daily incidence of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Trump announced that "They don't test" in Europe, to answer why Europe had fewer cases. I wrote a reply to the Ralph Nader Hour, "That’s such an ignorant statement. On July 19 EU reported 3,090 new cases, the US reported over 63,000. In the EU people are not getting sick [blockhead! I should have included], so they are not getting tested. No amount of additional testing would bring up their numbers to a level close to the US. (“Our World in Data” had that data)." On April 26, almost 3 months ago,  both the U.S. and the European Union had about the same number of cases, about 900,000. Between April 26 and August 2, the EU has added 530,000 and the U.S. 3,730,000 million -- 7 times more cases in the US than the EU in the past 3 month period. The U.S. loses control, Europe recovers.
(See Our World in Data, United States, Cumulative Confnirmed Cases.)

In mid April for two weeks the US had 142% more deaths than expected, or compared to the previous 3 years, shows this report from the CDC
On week ending April 11, 142% in excess above expected —
Extrapolate that for yearly — 1.19 million more deaths, 42% more deaths 
from norm of 2.839 million - add 1.19 m — gives 4.03 million. 
Could that last for one full year? Could it be worse? Yes, of course.  
Fortunately, social distancing and so on reduced the rate of transmission and daily death count. 
8.9% of all deaths this year are Covid-19 deaths, same CDC report. 

Week ending 4/18 — 16,935 Covid-19 deaths, the peak  (CDC report)
Week ending 7/5 —     3,297 deaths 
Week ending 7/26 ---   6,200 deaths (shows the NY Times).

The John Hopkins daily situation report shows continued global surge of Covid-19. 
 Added content for July 19 
Projected new cases for July -- 1.8 million. 
           April added 849 K,      May added 725 K,      June added 850 K.
Death rate is lowering, now at 3.8% of confirmed cases, was 6.0%. 
African Americans, comprising 12.5% of U.S. population, account for 22.9% of deaths
Whites (non-Hispanic) comprising 60.4% of population, account for 52.8% of deaths. 
Age 65 and older make up 80% of deaths.  
Nursing Homes deaths make up 24% of total deaths. 
Excess deaths above expected normal was 36% to 41% on week ending April 11. 
On week ending June 13 it had lowered to 3% to 6%. 
"Percent of expected deaths" rises from 103% on week ending on March 21 to 142% on April 11, 3 weeks later. The recording of deaths is a slow process, lags behind actual deaths. If 140% of normal had maintained for a year, then 1,135,000 excess deaths would happen in 2020 or a year.  
The U.S. has 23% of deaths and 26% of cases in the world, with below 5% of world population.

Added content for July 12 

Two links -- Read the article about the possible spread of Covid-19 from University of California Berkeley. Early mitigations prevented millions of infections. For instance, total cases tripled in 9 days, from 107,321 to 330,891 between March 28 and April 6. What is the smartest move to make when a communicable disease is spreading at that rate? Other countries saw it coming and were prepared, read about Germany. More about this U.C. Berkeley study below.

See the content at Our World in Data, U.S., and scroll down to the graph "Cumulative Number of Covid-19 Cases" and add European Union. Then compare performance since April 26 when both had almost the same number of cases, 890,000 cases. By July 14 EU added 445,000 cases, U.S. added 2,470,000 cases. The U.S. added 5.5 times more cases than Europe since April 26. Both populations are roughly the same number of people, and have the same technology and healthcare expertise. Europeans have better health statistics than citizens of U.S., but only marginally better. Social distancing, facial masks, and avoiding confined spaces prevent transmission -- that is my conclusion, and others agree. Europe on July 14 has 1.29 million cases, U.S. has 3.36 million.    
This week I did nothing but add new weekly case data to my long list below.  Last week the U.S. nearly tripled its daily new cases average from six weeks ago; almost 60,000 were added each day last week, almost 20,000 daily six weeks ago. A disappointing reversal. 

  Added content for June 27  

The lockdown --- Most important fact to consider.
The Washington Post, June 8, 2020, reported: “Shutdown orders prevented about 60 million novel coronavirus infections in the United States and 285 million in China, according to a research study published Monday that examined how stay-at-home orders and other restrictions limited the spread of the contagion.
----My comment: On June 7 the CDC reported 1,920,924 total Covid-19 cases in the U.S. -- therefore without lockdown there would have been 60 million plus. Believable? ---- 60 million is about 1 in 5 Americans.   

A separate study from epidemiologists at Imperial College London estimated the shutdowns saved about 3.1 million lives in 11 European countries, including 500,000 in the United Kingdom, and dropped infection rates by an average of 82 percent, sufficient to drive the contagion well below epidemic levels.
---My comment: On June 28, UK reports 43,550 deaths at Worldometer.   

The two reports, published simultaneously Monday in the journal Nature, used completely different methods to reach similar conclusions. They suggest that the aggressive and unprecedented shutdowns, which caused massive economic disruptions and job losses, were effective at halting the exponential spread of the novel coronavirus.”

““The disease was spreading at a really extraordinary rate that is rare even among very infectious diseases,” he said in an interview. The global response to covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, resulted in “saving more lives in a shorter period of time than ever before,” he said in a separate conference call with reporters.” The speaker is Solomon Hsiang, director of the Global Policy Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley.

Comment: The U.S. experience in a short paragraph:            
Governor of California orders shelter-in-place on March 19. 
From the list I've maintained, well below, these conclusions 
From March 29 to April 5, in 1 week, total cases tripled, from 100,000 to 300,000.
From April 5 to April 26, in 3 weeks, it triples again to 960,000. Tripling equals 200% increase. 
From April 26 to May 17, in 3 weeks, total cases increase by 52%
From May 17 to June 7, in 3 weeks, total cases increase by 31%.  
From June 7 to June 28, in 3 weeks, cases increase by about 29%, from 1.92 mn to 2.48 mn. 
The rate of spread is decreasing, but in the last three weeks not significantly. 

World report from the WHO, from John Hopkins Center, June 24, Daily Situation Report

EPI UPDATE The WHO COVID-19 Situation Report for June 23 reports 8.99 million cases (133,326 new) and 469,587 deaths (3,847 new). The global daily incidence continues to exhibit an overall increasing trend. The global cumulative incidence surpassed 8 million cases on June 17, so it has only taken 6 days to reach 9 million cases. The following timeline illustrates the COVID-19 pandemic’s trajectory to date:
-Zero cases to 1 million cases : ~100 days
-1 million to 2 million cases : 12 days
-2 million to 3 million cases : 13 days
-3 million to 4 million cases : 12 days
-4 million to 5 million cases : 11 days
-5 million to 6 million cases : 10 days
-6 million to 7 million cases : 8 days
-7 million to 8 million cases : 8 days
-8 million to 9 million cases : 6 days

With a world population of 7.3 billion, 9 million is 0.12% of world population. 
99.88% not infected with Covid-19 

On June 14 I add another paragraph:
This last week, June 7 to June 14, the nation added only 142,908 new cases of Covid-19. This is the lowest weekly ‘new cases’ count in two months, since March 29 to April 5 when 225,987 ‘new cases’ were added to the total. A look below on this long blog post you'll see a subsection Weekly New Cases.
You'll see that for 4 weeks about 200,000 new cases were added each week. And then for 5 weeks about 165,000 new cases were added. Last week only 143,000 cases were added -- Progress. 
Two months ago the nation added more ‘new cases’ than last week. 
The list I have made, far below, shows new infections, and it shows that in one week at the end of March, total cases tripled -- in one week, increased by 214% (tripling) -- from 54,000 to 186,000. Try to imagine cases tripling every week for 2 months, 8 weeks. 1 - 3 - 9 - 27 - 81 - 243 - 729 - 2,187 - 6,561 --- that's 8 times. Now add five zeros onto each number -- end result, 656 million, or double the U.S. population. This past week, 7 days ending on June 14, we added fewer new cases than two months ago, the infection count increased by 7%. This is progress.  

The name of the game is low increase of total infections, low rate of spread of contagion. Once we arrive at zero rate increase of infection, and keep it there for a month the pandemic in the U.S. is over. 

In the week of March 29 to April 6 the count went from 105,000 to 331,000 — up by 226,000, an increase of 214%. 
In the week June 7 to June 14 the count went went from 1.92 million to 2.06 million —  up by 143,000, an increase of 7%. The increase of 143,000 was the lowest weekly increase since April 6. 

The rate of infection is slowing, a very good sign. 
I track the rate of infection increase. 
See the blog: April 11 post,
This last week, June 7 to 14, total infections increased by 7% — by 143,000. 
In the week March 29 to April 6 total infections increased by 214% — by 226,000. 

The picture: about 2 months ago (March 29) USA had 5% of total cases it had on June 7. There were about 105,000 on March 29 and 330,000 on April 5. On June 7 there were about 1,920,000 and on June 14 there were 2,063,000, an increase of 143,000. In the week after March 29 some 226,000 new cases were added.

Also -- A Washington Post article of June 8 cites two studies claiming that 60 million cases were prevented in the U.S. due to social distancing policies. One study from the University of California, Berkeley says that from March 2 to April 6, 37 days, the increase in cases in the U.S. was from 30 to 365,000, but without social distancing total cases would have been 5.1 million. By mid June at least 60 million cases would have resulted. The sacrifice of social distancing prevented an overwhelming health crisis. "A separate study from epidemiologists at Imperial College London estimated the shutdowns saved about 3.1 million lives in 11 European countries, including 500,000 in the United Kingdom, and dropped infection rates by an average of 82 percent, sufficient to drive the contagion well below epidemic levels."

Now, June 2, I add some more. Here are two summarizing statements to date: 

1)  During April the daily "average new cases" increase was about 29,000 each day, and in May it was about 21,000, and it is dropping steadily. In March total cases expanded by 7,000%, in April by 400%, in May by 77%. Get the picture? -- In March it went from 30 cases to 213,000 cases (a 7,000 times increase), in April it jumped to over 1 million (a 5 times increase), in May it added about 776,000 new cases (a 77% increase). The rate of expansion is about equal to the rate of danger. The goal is to get expansion to zero. If it stays at zero for about 2 or 3 weeks, the virus is extinct, inactive, no one to pass it on. It is tiresome to do the math, but you could match it all doing your own calculations.

2)  Corona Virus update -- 20% more deaths nationally than normal - that is the conclusion of a NY Times article. In all of the U.S. from March 15 to May 2, a seven week period, there were 76,400 above-the-average extra deaths attributed to Covid-19  -- that's the conclusion of the NYTimes article. I did the math, it's a 20% increase in deaths over a 7 week period. Published today, June 1, this article reports  excess deaths this year, between March 15 and April 2. -- -- It links to another article that reports a total of 76,400 extra deaths exceeding the average during the same 7 week period for years 2017, 2018, and 2019. You can do the math and check my results, the normal death count in US in 2018 was 2.782 million (US Center for Vital Statistics). The biggest question is why did the spread of Covid-19 slow down? Was it social distancing mandates, or was it because all viruses poop out after a short rash of infection?  On March 15 there were 2,234 cases nationwide, and seven weeks later, May 2, there were 1,092,815 cases. Wildfire, it was spreading like a forest fire in Montana racing up a ravine on a hot September afternoon. Let's imagine another study: let us imagine there were no social-distancing regulations, and Covid-19 spread AT The SAME RATE for another 7 weeks, and by June 14 all citizens would be infected. What then would be the number of extra deaths?  That would be a scorcher. I wonder about all the conjectures related to "was social distancing necessary?" There is a strong case that it wasn't needed. But then you look at New York City, where they experienced 7 times the normal deaths during that 7 week period -- 26,000 excess deaths this linked-to article states. Normally they expected 3,700 deaths, they had 26,000 (that's a 2 month period, the article states). And then there is the story of a church choir holding practice for 2.5 hours, and of the 61 attending, 52 had symptomatic cases of Covid-19, far higher than is reported in other mass surveys. It is a mysterious disease, and playing safe with it may have saved 100,000s of additional deaths. All the numbers befuddle us, for sure. Each one is a dead human in this case.        


The highlight is that the Covid-19 is unpredictable, and very infectious, transmission is rapid if all restraints are removed. Note how rapid  it increased in March, even though the "shelter-in-place" order happened on March 19.

On March 1 there were 30 cases, on April 1 there were 213,144 in the U.S.
January 22                1 case.                    in a week cases increase by 8 times
Feb. 1  —                8 cases                      in February cases increase by 4 times to 30. 
March 1 —            30 cases                       in March cases increase by  7,105 times more than March 1
April 1 —     213,144 cases                       in April cases increase by 5 times
May 1 —   1,050,000 cases                        in May 
               it looks like cases will increase from 1 million to 1.8 million, 80%. 
June 1 -- prediction: 1.8 million U.S. cases  --  Actual count = 1,776,293
July 1 -- actual count 2,637,834   -- see the long lists below   

I have a long list below recording the daily new infection count, total cases count, the fatality count, and the Case Fatality Rate (CFR), a percentage. I keep adding almost daily (now weekly). At worst infection transmission would have infected all 329 million Americans by June 1, causing 3.3 million deaths or 1% of U.S. population, my worst prediction. The Imperial College worst projection posited 2.2 million, that without any mitigations. It won't happen, but how do you explain total cases expanding by a factor of  7,105 (for 30 to over 213,000) in just one month, March, from 30 to 213,144 cases? How do you explain that Japan has 5 deaths per 1 million, the U.S. 232/mn, and Belgium 726/mn? (See Worldometer, Corona Virus, May 7) The CDC recently published a graph showing Covid-19 deaths were 24.8% of all deaths in the week April 4 to 11.
At that rate for a year there would be over 700,000 U.S. deaths from Covid-19. You can see the following 2 weeks, ending April 25 Covid deaths as a percentage of all deaths had dropped to 14.6%, probably a consequence of social distancing.

U.S. Mortality: Death Certificates Listing Pneumonia, Influenza, and COVID-19 (Static Image)
Two interviews with experts are very informative:
The Ralph Nader Radio Hour talked with Dr. Michael Osterholm, "a professor and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of the 2017 book, “Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs”."

Perhaps the world winner in containing Covid-19 is the Indian state of Kerala. An article at The Guardian explains how in May they kept deaths to 4 and total cases to 524 in a population of 38 million; an equal population to California with 3,000 deaths and about 75,000 cases, or the U.K. with 34,000 deaths and 236,000 cases on May 15. A radio interview with Vijay Prashad explains in more detail the cultural response in Kerala that crushed the epidemic (see April 23 interview). 

Another good interview, it goes at the top: Pitchfork Economics has an interview with the man who in 2014 served the Obama administration as the Ebola Response Coordinator, Ronald Klain. The central idea is "this pain was not inevitable, the damage could have been much lower". Klain saw the Covid-19 pandemic coming, and in 2016 he wrote an article "Confronting the Pandemic Threat" in Democracy Journal. A 37 minute discussion. From the 2016 article: “The next President must act from Day One to prepare for that threat: If she or he waits until grim-faced aides file into the Oval Office to explain that a pandemic is unfolding, it will be far too late to save countless people around the world, protect our interests abroad, and preserve lives here at home.”

From April 1 to April 24 the number of "new cases" seems to be a steady 29,000 added cases per day. Check the long list below at this blog. We are waiting for that "new cases" number to decrease before easing the shelter-in-place order.

How bad will it get? Predicting -----      
The New York Times has a web page devoted to the Covid-19 disease. Many relevant comparisons are there, especially "confirmed cases per 100,000". Also it carries multiple stories elsewhere. 

It's very difficult to predict how bad. In Japan they have had 3 deaths per 1,000,000 says the Worldometer records. The U.S. has had 218/million, and in Belgium they have had 692/million, and in the Influenza Epidemic of 1918 in the U.S. there were 6500 deaths/million (675,000 out of a population of 104 million  --   6,500 times 104 equals 676,000). Luck, social response, government actions, old age, crowded conditions, weather all factor in.

In April it looks like Covid-19 cases will comprise 20% of all deaths, says USA Facts. If that death rate continues, then 567,000 deaths will occur (but not all in one year). 567,000 divided by 2,839,000 normal deaths equals 20% more deaths.

The CDC shows the daily new cases, and since January the total cases and the death count. I show the same below in a long list. The prison testing report could easily reflect the national trend. In the prisons surprisingly they found only 4% are symptomatic cases, and 96% asymptomatic. If that proves to be the national ratio, then of the 330 million U.S. population only 4% (13.2 million) will have "confirmed" cases. Of that 13.2 million only 20% (2.64 million) will have serious cases, and of the 2.64 million only 5.8% will die, then out of 330 million 153,120 will die. This is 5% more deaths than normally expected.

Or let's look at this possibility: perhaps 96% will always be asymptomatic and 4% will have symptoms. On May 6 we have 1.2 million confirmed cases (the 4%), and 70,000 deaths (the 5.8%). That implies we have another 28.8 million asymptomatic infections (96% are asymptomatic) and 4% are symptomatic, or 1.2 million "confirmed cases". Together there are 30 million infected, which is only 9% of total U.S. population. With just 9% infected and 70,000 deaths already, then when all 330 million citizens are infected there will be 11 times 70,000 deaths, 770,000 total deaths. This is 27% more deaths than normally expected. --- 153,120 or 770,000?  (15 times 5 = 75)

Will we have 5% or 27% more deaths than expected? What is it? This is why we need the antibody tests to assess the percentage infected. Will 96% be infected and asymptomatic nationwide? For me prediction is a shot in the dark.

In 2018 2,839,205 deaths from all causes occurred, and an added 770,000 is about a 27% increase. We have 55,258 deaths as of April 29, so we are doing better than expected. It looks like the prediction of 153,000 deaths is closed to the present trend. 

An explanation that U.S. annual deaths will increase by 25% in 2020 Prison officials in 4 states administered 4,693 tests, and 70% turned out positive (3,277 cases), but surprisingly 96% of the positive responses were asymptomatic, and only 4% (or 188) were  symptomatic cases. Logically all 100% inmates will eventually be infected over time. Nationally, if only 4% of the U.S. population is infected with symptoms, 13.2 million, and the Case Fatality Rate continues to be 5.6%, then approximately 739,000 deaths will result from Covid-19, but it may take 18 months or more. This would increase the yearly death count by 25%, from 2.8 million to 3.5 million. If only 70% of the population is infected the ultimate death count will be 535,000. The prisons involved were in Ohio, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Virginia says this article at Axios. Knowledge of this asymptomatic result lowers the ultimate death count considerably, but it is still very high. I suspected the death count could approach 3.3 million, 1% of the nation. One very professional prediction from the Imperial College projected 2.2 million. This would equal the mortality rate of the 1918 influenza epidemic. If it happened once, it could happen twice. The 2.2 million figure was a projection of no-mitigation, let the wildfire burn everything. Also, Axios reports that Covid-19 will produce around 46,000 deaths in April, which will be the third leading cause in April for all deaths behind heart disease and cancer, each of which produce around 50,000 deaths monthly. On April 24 and 25 each day created 2,010 deaths, while the average for heart disease is 1,774 and for cancer is 1,641 says this Newsweek article.  Reuters News carries a matching and longer article about the prison results. Today is April 26. 
A testing inventory of all locations, a national survey, is an important tool still needed to understand how deadly this virus is. 

On April 29 the WHO reports a global CFR of 6.8%, that is about 200,000 deaths following about 3 million confirmed cases. The U.S. has a 5.6% CFR, but it may rise. 
Worldometer reports for Sweden 224 deaths/million, and for U.S. 183/million, for Spain 519/million, for April 29. If the US had Sweden's death rate, instead of 60,000 dead there would be 80,000. German, Canada, Austria, Denmark, Poland, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, China and Russia have done much better than Sweden. In the U.S. in 1919 the deaths/million was 6,750, much higher, 30 times higher, than the Covid-19, so far. We have had it for 3 months, in 1919 it ran for 18 months. Face masks were mandatory in 1919.  
John Hopkins University has an excellent data center.
Business Insider carried on April 14 an article on death rates and mortality rates.
This New York Times article explains the intricacies, April 14. I am amazed the author put it all together. It is a complicated issue, and this author uncovers how intricate it is.
The Virology Blog has the best article about the Infection Fatality Rate, and a promising antibody test, April 5.
Nicholas Kristof at NYTimes shows his talents in this March 20 article, portraying the best and worst outcomes.
The NPR (National Public Radio) posted this article on models predicting mortality rates. The most severe model predicts 1,811,000 deaths. In 2018 the total number of deaths from all causes was 2.8 million. Transmission and mortality rates are not clearly known, and that determines everything, the portion of the population infected is unknown, and the deadliness of the disease is unknown. As I have said below, perhaps 1% of the population will die, 3,270,000 deaths. No one knows.

USA Facts publishes a map showing the case numbers in each USA county. Rockland County New York, has a count of 3,097 per 100,000, which is also 3.1% of the county, 1 in 33 residents, as of April 24. If all counties had that portion infected, then the death toll for the U.S. at 5.6% would be about 550,000 deaths. Another USA Facts article shows Covid-19 deaths as third leading cause of death in April, with about 46,000 projected deaths, below the about 50,000 for both heart disease and cancer.
The USA Fact maps and charts seem to be the best current scorekeeper.
The CFR is the death rate of confirmed cases.
The IFR is the death rate of all cases including asymptomatic cases, a very big unknown.
The "mortality rate" is the death count divided by the national population, usually expressed as deaths per 100,000.

I'm mostly concerned about how bad it will get in the U.S. How bad will be determined by the rate of infection spread and the rate of death in the entire population, the mortality rate. In the past 33 days  the infection count has increased by a factor of 100. This is explosive growth. In 33 days infections have increased from 7,023 cases to over 700,000 cases; that is a 100 times more in 33 days. The CDC reports daily on new cases. Why is infection growth slowing? It should be obvious.

The explosive growth would continue without the social distancing rules. The case fatality rate (CFR) shows how many with confirmed diagnosis died. The CFR will be higher than the infection fatality rate (IFR) because the IFR includes mild, moderate or asymptomatic cases not recorded or confirmed -- the big or small unknown. And the mortality rate will be lower than the IFR -- some people will not be infected, probably but not for certain. The European nations are doing much worse,  2, 3 and 4 times worse with the mortality rate per 100,000 of population in Belgium, Netherlands, France, the U.K., Italy and Spain. You can look at the WHO daily Situation Reports or the John Hopkins tables and graphs. John Hopkins publishes its own daily Situation Report, very informative with news from world over. I guess that more people go to the doctor without waiting in these European countries, but widespread accurate diagnosis and early treatment only raises the mortality rate. Some U.S. deaths  may be wrongly attributed to pneumonia due to lack of testing. These European countries have the best health care systems in the world. Not until testing and antibody testing is available -- reliable, quick and widely distributed -- will the IFR be meaningful.

On March 19 California governor Gavin Newsom declared a shelter-in-place order. There were nationally 15,219 cases reported. But two days previous there were 7,023 cases, reports the CDC daily updated report. Since March 17, one month and 2 days later, April 19, John Hopkins reports 722,761 cases, an increase of 103 times. But a month prior, between February 22 and March 22 the case count expanded by a factor of 2,227, dazzlingly explosive, from 15 cases to 33,404. The 15 on February 15 was in reality more like 150 or more. Even with social distancing and sheltering measures (called mitigations), the case load exploded after March 19. On April 1 the rate of new cases stabilized to an average of about 29,000 per day.

Looking to May 19, a month into the future, 36.5 million cases could be waiting for treatment, hard to believe. Between March 19 to April 19 the case load exploded from 15,219 to 746,625, an explosion of 49 times in one month.    I will do the simple math: 15K times 49 equals 745K, and 746,625 accurately. Then multiply 746,625 by 49, which equals 36 million, one in 9 Americans. By June 19 the entire nation is easily infected. Let's say 20% are serious, severe or critical, and 5% die, then we have 1% of the nation deceased, 3.3 million just three months from now, July 19. The accuracy of the March 19 figure is pretty good, and that is when California governor Gavin Newsom declared a shelter-in-place rule. So mitigation measures, social distancing, were in place during the 49 times month. The expansion rate February to March was 2,227 times, but the data is not believable. Since the virus did actually expand 50 times in one month, why not the next month? Such a future would overwhelm the health system. Social distancing is necessary to avoid catastrophic death counts.

And presently our CFR is 5.0%. That does not mean 5% of the nation will die, 16 million. It may mean 45 million (13.8%) will develop a serious case, and of that number 5% will die, 2.2 million.  The WHO data base states that France's CFR death rate is 17.0%, the worse statistical rate I have seen. The John Hopkins rate for France, same date, is 12.5%. The U.S. CFR rate was 3.8% on April 13, and now it is 5.2%, April 20. Data is not uniform, and rates change. The outcome is uncertain. 
Here is a listing from the CDC on case increases since April 17

The course of infection increase as reported by the CDC, Center of Disease Control and Prevention: 

Date     Daily Newly       Total               Case
             Infected              Infected          Fatalities        Fatality Rate

3/18       2,797                7,023
3/19       3,419               10,442 
3/20       4,777               15,219          Governor Newsom declares Shelter in Place
3/21       3,528               18,747
             daily average of    3,192   new confirmed cases in past week 

3/22       5,836               24,583
3/23       8,821               33,404
3/24     10,934               44,338
3/25     10,270               54,453
3/26     13,987               68,440
3/27     16,916               85,386
3/28     17,965              107,321 
           daily average of   15,357   new confirmed cases in past week 

3/29     19,332              122,653
3/30     18,251              140,904
3/31     22,635              163,539
4/1       22,562              186,101
4/2       27,043              213,144         Daily-New-Cases begins to level off or plateau
4/3       26,061              239,279         Cases count doubles in 5 days 
4/4       37,926              277,205
4/5       27,061              304,826
            daily average of   27,141   new confirmed cases in past week

4/6       26,065              330,891          Easter Sunday  - President had predicted re-opening economy
4/7       43,438              374,329
4/8       20,682              395,926
4/9       32,449              427,460
4/10     31,705              459,165
4/11     33,251              492,416             Case                CFR              Cases Doubles from 4/2
4/12     33,288              525,704              Fatalities
           daily average of  31,994   new confirmed cases in past week       
           daily average is 10 times the average of 3 weeks previous, week ending 3/21
  Perhaps testing increased, or perhaps more were sick, or both.
Let's imagine 10 times increase every 3 weeks. 
By what date are 330 million infected?
Answer -- June 14, 2020. 
This is why the study by the University of California, Berkeley, is so profoundly important.
They said that by April 6, instead of 356,000 infected cases it could have been 5,100,000 cases.   
4/13     29,145              554,849
4/14     24,156              579,005              22,252             3.8%
4/15     26,385              605,390              24,582             4.1%   
4/16     27,158              632,548              31,071             4.9%
4/17     29,164              661,712              33,049             5.0%

4/18     29,002              690,714              35,443             5.1%
4/19     29,916              720,630              37,220             5.2%
            daily average of   27,396   new confirmed cases in past week 

4/20     25,995              746,625              39,083             5.2%
4/21     29,468              776,093              41,758             5.4%
4/22     26,490              802,583             44,574             5.6%      -- death count doubles in 8 days
4/23     25,858              828,441              46,379             5.6%      3 months after case 1 on 1/22/20
4/24     37,144              865,585                                                   
4/24     30,181              895,766              50,439             5.6%
4/25     29,256              928,619              52,459             5.6%
4/26     33,872              957,875
            daily average of   30,616   new confirmed cases in past week   
4/27     18,755              962,491              55,258             5.6%            Cases Double from 4/11
4/28     23,459              981,246
4/29     23,901           1,005,147
4/30     26,512           1,031,659              60,057             5.8%

                     See this CDC page for an accurate new cases number.
5/1         guess -------1,030,000       1 month since leveling off
              2 months  -- from March 1st to May 1st, from 30 to 1 million cases ! 
              1 month  -- from April 1st to May 1st, from 186,101 to 1,062,446 cases !  
Cases increase by 5.7 times in one month with "social distancing" in force.  This virus 
spreads rapidly even with national distancing in force.     The death count is difficult
to ascertain because of 2 week lag in reporting from jurisdictions, and I cannot find 
the April 1 total Covid-19 death count . But it no doubt tripled in 3 weeks since April 10.
Following the increase in percentage of deaths from total cases is indicative. 

5/1       30,787           1,062,446               62,446            5.9%
5/2       30,369           1,092,815               64,283            5.9%     9 weeks after 3/1 with 30 cases
5/3       29,671           1,122,486               65,735            5.9%      Sunday     
              daily average of 27,712  new confirmed cases 4/26 to 5/3

          5/4       29,763           1,152,249                       
5/5       19,138           1,171,510               68,279            5.8%
5/6       22,303           1,193,813               70,802            5.9%     
5/7       25,253           1,219,066               73,297            6.0%                                      
5/8       28,974           1,248,040               75,477            6.0%                                                               
5/9       25,996           1,274,036               77,034            6.0%                   
5/10     26,660            1,300,696               78,771            6.1%    10 weeks after 3/1  Sunday 
              daily average of 25,489 new confirmed cases between 5/3 and 5/10

5/11     23,792            1,324,792             
5/12     18,106            1,342,594               80,820            6.0%
5/13     21,467            1,364,061               82,246            6.0%      
5/14     20,869            1,384,930               83,947            6.1%
5/15     27,191            1,412,121               85,990            6.1%
5/16     22,977            1,435,098               87,315            6.1%
5/17     31,967            1,467,065               88,709            6.0%     11 weeks after 3/1 Sunday
               daily average of 23,761 new confirmed cases between 5/10 and 5/17

5/24                            1,622,114               97,049            6.0%     12 weeks after 3/1 Sunday
                daily average of 22,150 new confirmed cases between 5/17 to 5/24   

5/31                            1,761,503              103,700            5.9%
                daily average of 19,913 new confirmed cases between 5/24 to 5/31
June 1 -- about a 78% of new cases over a 30 day period, since May 1.
Quite a slow down from March 1 to April 1, an increase from 30 to 303,000.

At this rate it will take to September 13, 2020 to reach ZERO no new cases.

6/7                            1,920,924                109,901           5.7% 
                daily average of 22,774 new confirmed cases between 5/31 and 6/7 
                          cases per day creep upwards, a reversal -- bad news

6/14                          2,063,812                115,271           5.6%        
                daily average of 20,412  new confirmed cases between 6/7 and 6/14 
                                       weekly increase - 142,888

6/21                          2,248,049                119,615           5.3% 
                daily average of 26,320  new confirmed cases between 6/14 and 6/21    
                                        weekly increase - 184,237        -- 728 deaths/day ave. 

6/28  ----------------  2,504,193 ---------                      
                daily average of 36,592 new confirmed cases between 6/21 and 6/28   
                                                  weekly increase -   256,144 

7/5   ---------------- 2,886,267  cases --- 129,811 deaths ---  4.5% CFR, case fatality rate           
                daily average of  48,671  new confirmed cases between 6/28 and 7/5    
                                                    weekly increase    382,074  
7/12         daily average of  58,618    new confirmed cases between 7/5 and 7/12 
                                                     weekly increase     410,326 
           ----------------------  3,296,599 total cases  --- 134,884 deaths  -- 4.1% CFR,   742 deaths/day                                                            
          almost triple the week ending May 31, which is 6 weeks ago, --- 19,913 average daily that week   
                      Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, May 20, announces opening of economy -- 
                 If rate triples in six more weeks, then weekly 1.2 million / week will be the case. 
               Our World in Data is the gold standard in reporting, see here.                 
7/19 Sunday  daily average of   66,400    new confirmed cases between 7/12 and 7/19 
                                           weekly increase  464,800   triple from 5 weeks ago
          --------------------- 3,698,161 total cases  ---  139,659 deaths  -- 3.8% CFR  -- 682 deaths/day        
7/26           daily average of   66,332   new confirmed cases between 7/19 and 7/26
                                            weekly increase   464,324  -- same as last week    
         ----------------------  4,225,687  total cases  -- 146,546 deaths  --  3.5% CFR - 983 deaths/day
8/2              daily average of   60,488   new confirmed cases between 7/26 and 8/2
                                            weekly increase    423,416     -- triple that of 7 weeks ago
         ---------------------- 4,649,102 total cases,  -- 154,471 deaths -- 3.3% CFR  -- 1,132 deaths / day

8/9              daily average of   52,507   new confirmed cases between 8/2 and 8/9
                                       5,023,649  total cases  --  161,842 deaths    7,371 in 7 days, 1,053 per day  
                                             weekly increase     374,549  --   3.2% CFR

8/16            daily average of   51,211   new confirmed cases between 8/9 and 8/16
                                        5,382,125 total cases  --  169,350 deaths    7,508 in 7 days  -- 1,072 per day  
                                              weekly increase        358,476     --  CFR  3.1%

8/23             daily average of   42,909   new confirmed cases between 8º16 and 8º23   
                                        5,683,012 total cases  --  176,217 deaths     6,867 in 7 days  --   981 per day          
                                              weekly increase         300,363        --  CFR  3.1%

8/30             daily average of    42,082      new confirmed cases between 8/23 and 8/30
                                        5,977,586 total cases ---  182,510 deaths    6,293 in 7 days --   899 per day  
                                             weekly increase     294,574       --  CFR  3.1%
Ten weeks ago weekly increase was 256,000. 

9/6/20          daily average of    40,867    new confirmed cases between 8/30 and 9/6
                                 6,263,655  total cases  ---  188,306 deaths      5,796 in last 7 days  --  828 per day                                             weekly increase   286,069   --   CFR  3.0%

9/13             daily average of   35,065    new confirmed cases between 9/6 and 9/13 
                            6,509,110    total cases  ---   193,444 deaths     5,138 in last 7 days   --  734 per day                                          weekly increase    245,455    --   CFR  3.0% 

9/20            daily average of   41,101   new confirmed cases between 9/13 and 9/20  
                             6,825,700  total cases  ---   199,300 deaths      4,300 in last 7 days   --  773 per day                                                                            UP AGAIN    -- see the graph at NY Times 
                                         weekly increase  287,707     --   CFR  2.9%    A NEW LOW   

9/27           daily average of   43,111   new confirmed cases between 9/20 and 9/27
         7,195,900 total cases (reports the NYTimes)  204,888 deaths 5,236 in last 7 days -- 748 per day  
                                         weekly increase   301,777       -- CFR 2.8%   A NEW LOW  
After an insomniac night doing numbers while trying to conciliate sleep I discovered the big deal. 
The big deal is the rate of increase from day to day, week to week, and month to month. 
Using the data from the CDC
To over-simplify:
Date                    Number of Cases        Rate of Increase
January 22              1 case.                  times 1
Feb. 1                 8 cases                          8 times more than January 22
March 1 —           30 cases                          4 times more than February 1
April 1 —    213,144 cases                   7,105 times more than March 1 --  or 710,400%
                                                                                                                    -- 213,114 added
May 1 —   1,062,446 cases                            5 times more than April 1   -- 849,000 added
                                                                   400% increase is also 5 times                                     
June 1 —   1,787,680 cases                         77% more than May 1          -- 725,234 added
July 1 ---    2,637,840 cases                         48% more than June 1          -- 850,160 added
August 1 -- 4,601,526 cases                         74% more than  July 1       -- 1,963,686 added                        Sept 1 -                                                                  
From week to week cases increase as a multiple of the previous Sunday's total.
Beginning on  March 1, the base week with only 30 confirmed cases ———

0- March   1  Sunday             30  —          base                                            
1- March   8                         422 —        14.07    times the previous week
2- March 15                     3,471 ---          8.23    times the previous week  --   3,049 more
3- March 22                  33,404 ---          9.62    times the previous week  -- 29,933 more
4- March 29               104,904 ---          3.14    times the previous week  -- 71,500 more 
5- April   5                 330,891 —          3.15    times the previous week  --225,987 more
6- April 12, Easter       554,849 —          1.68    times the previous week  --223,958 more
7- April 19                  746,625 —          1.35    times the previous week --191,776 more
8- April 26                    962,491---           1.29     times the previous week --215,866 more
9   May   3   Sunday  1,122,486 --            1.17     times the previous week --159,995 more
10 May 10                 1,300,696 ---          1.16     times the previous week  --178,210 more   
11 May 17                 1,467,065 ---          1.13     times the previous week  --166,369 more
12 May 24                 1,622,114 ---          1.11     times the previous week  --155,152 more
13 May 31                1,761,503                1.09     times the previous week     --139,389 more 
                   New cases are declining by about 15,300 per week since April 26.   
                   Perhaps by August 2 or 9 the new cases will be zero.

14 June 7                  1,920,904 ---           1.09    times the previous week  -- 159,401 more   
15 June 14                2,063,812 ---           1.07     times the week before     -- 142,908 more   -- Progress!  
16 June  21               2,248,029 ---           1.09    Bad News, reversal          -- 184,217 -- back to April 26  
                                     We have lost two months of progress !   
17 June 28                2,504,175 ---           1.11   times the week before       --  256,146 more than 6/21 
                                      Biggest weekly gain ever !         
18 July 5  ----------   2,886,273 ---            1.15   times the week before     ---  382,000 more than 6/28                                                                                                            
19 July 12                3,296,599 ---             1.14   times the week before      ---  410,326 more than 7/5  
     Almost TRIPLE  (2.9 times) the increase of May 31, 6 weeks ago.         May 31 week added 139,389 new cases. 
Week 20 --- July 19  3,698,161 ---           1.12    times the week before     ---   464,800 more than 7/12
20  July 26  ---------4,225,687 --               1.14  times week before            ---   464,324 more than 7/19  

21  August 2 --------4,649,102 --               1.10 times week before            ---   423,416 more than 7/26

22 August 9 --------- 5,000,000 - 1.5% of U.S. population, implying 20 million or 6.0% total infected  including mild and asymptomatic Covid-19 cases

The New York Times has an excellent graph page showing new cases and total case history for all 50 states and some U.S. property such as Guam and Puerto Rico.  And Links Medicus also shows a list of articles to chose from. 

          Each week the percentage of new cases is lower.

By about May 15 we will stall, no more new cases.
March 31 to April 6, cases double, from 186,101 to 374,329. 
If cases double every week, in 11 weeks, by July 17, all 330 million Americans are infected,
assuming cases double every week. Is that "no big deal"? Out of every 100, 20 cases are serious, and 5% of the 20 die, that would be 1 death per 100 Americans die by June 17, total Covid-19 death count 3.3 million . This doubles the annual death count from all causes. Not possible?
Normal death count in 2018 was 2.8 million. This is not an emergency? 
The annual death count could double this year. My first paragraph above is less shocking. 

The rate of increase is slowing after social distancing is imposed. 
Between March 17 and April 1 —14 days — cases increase by a factor of 30 
(from 7,023 to 213,144).
Between April 1 and April 15 — 14 days — cases increase by a factor of 3. 

(from 231,144 to 632,548)
Between April 15 and April 29 -- 14 days -- cases increase by 55%, a factor of 1.55. 

From April 1 to April 19 daily increase of cases averages around 29,000 per day, plateauing.

There is a great back-lash against shutting down the economy, naturally. But let’s say every week the case load increases by a factor of 8 or 9, how many beds are there in the hospitals, how many respirators, and how many will die? My guess is between 1mn and 6.6 million unnecessary deaths would occur. Remember 2.8 million was the death count for normal 2018. It looks like 20% of cases, at a minimum, are serious, severe, or critical. It is really unknown how many will die. In Europe they have the best medical care systems in the world and their death rate, CFR, is the highest, over 10% in several countries, twice the US current rate. The US CFR is probably lower because people avoid seeing a doctor because fees and rates are outrageous and wages are horribly low for at least 40% if not 90% of workers. 
So instead of protesting low wages citizens protest the lockdown order. I have shown elsewhere on this blog that the combined total wages of the lower half of all workers is less than 8% of the national income. Why not protest that? Why not work for a universal single payer healthcare system or one that resembles the Netherlands, or Germany with strict price controls and insurance regulation? 


California declares “shelter in place” on March 19.
From March 17 to April 19, during 33 days, cases increase by a factor of 103, from 7,023 cases to 722,761 cases (the 722,761 figure comes from John Hopkins on April 19). 
Between March 17 and April 1 cases increase 30 fold.

From April 1 to May 1 case increases average around 29,000 per day, plateauing. 

Case increases began at 10,270 a day on 3/24 and doubled within 6 days. 
Case increases leveled out after April 1.
The daily increase rose to around 32,000 for eight days, 4/3 to 4/11. This is the spike in deaths week shown in the CDC graph above; 24.8% of all US deaths from Covid-19. 
Then it dropped down around 27,000 to 29,000.  

In Three Months, from One to 809,000
First case --      Jan. 22
15 cases   --      Feb. 22 increases 15 times from month earlier
33,404 cases -- March 22 increases 2,227 times from month earlier
809,000 (guessing) cases April 22 increases 24 times from month earlier

If new cases continue to increase at 30,000 a day, then by May 22 another 900,000 cases, total of 1.7 million which is 0.5% of U.S. population. With a Case Fatality Rate of 5.0% then 85,000 death count. 

If we wrongly lift social distancing tomorrow, then probably by end of June all 330 million Americans would be infected, and the CFR is still unknown. In 2018 2.8 million Americans died from all causes.

In the normal year of 2018 some 2.8 million Americans died from all causes, states the record of the National Vital Statistics System. A very influential report from the Imperial College, March 16, 2020, states, " In total, in an unmitigated epidemic, we would predict approximately 510,000 deaths in G.B. and 2.2 million in the U.S., not accounting for the potential negative effects of health systems being overwhelmed on mortality."   A death count of 2.2 million would be equal to the 1918 death count from the influenza outbreak, converting the U.S. population of 104 million with 675,000 deaths to a mortality rate of 0.675%, which is equal to 2.2 million in 2020. That would increase the annual deaths by 75%. On April 8 a revised number, 60,000 deaths, appeared from Dr. Fauci, chief spokesperson for the NIAID, National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, a division of the NIH, National Institute of Health. This would be 35 times less damaging than the 2.2 million "unmitigated" prediction. 

The alarm we face is its unpredictability both in the spread of infection and in the fatality rate. The Case Fatality Rate (CFR) was 4.1% on April 14, 2020, and that means that 605,390 cases have been reported, and 24,582 have resulted in death, a rate of 4.06%. (See the CDC report) But not all infections are reported, and some number are asymptomatic cases, so the 605,930 number of cases is low, but how low no one knows. And the total death number also may be somewhat low.   

The main point is “no one knows how bad it could be”. If health care resources are exhausted, if testing is not implemented, if hot spots are not suppressed, and so on. 

The CFR was 4.1% a week ago, now it is 5.1%. It may rise considerably if the medical system is overburdened. In France the CFR, death rate, has been reported over 14%, in Italy 12.7%, in Spain over 10%, but in Germany 1.8%. In Japan 0.8%, in New Zealand next to zero. (See the WHO Daily Situation reports.)

Another article deals with the question of sustained long-term social distancing. Though it was published in mid-March it is relevant. A quote: That’s why the Imperial College model suggests that after an initial period of strict social distancing, people could start to move about again — until the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital ICUs rises to a certain level, at which point the restrictions would kick back in. It might look like this: We spend April, May, June and July living a no-school, socially distanced existence, until critical cases fall dramatically. Then we get a few weeks’ reprieve before cases climb up to the trigger point and school is canceled again. The article posits a possible 2.2 million deaths in the U.S.

References, for those who want to read more: 

A report from Lancet Journal said that 13.8% “developed severe disease”. 

“According to the report from the WHO–China Joint Mission on COVID-19, 80% of the 55 924 patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in China to Feb 20, 2020, had mild-to-moderate disease, including both non-pneumonia and pneumonia cases, while 13·8% developed severe disease and 6·1% developed to a critical stage requiring intensive care.8” —- from The Lancet Journal, March 30, 2020. “Estimates of case fatality ratio from international cases stratified by age were consistent with those from China (parametric estimate 1·4% [0·4–3·5] in those aged <60 years [n=360] and 4·5% [1·8–11·1] in those aged ≥60 years [n=151]).”  

How many people were asymptomatic, or so mild they did not report being sick? Unknown. Is 96% asymptomatic reasonable, as prison studies show? 
The take-away fact: about 20% of confirmed cases developed "severe" or "critical" stages. A fatality rate of 1.4% for those below 60 years-old, and 4.5% for those 60 and above. Therefore, in the U.S. 3.7 million aged below 60 years, and about 2.7 million people over 60 would die, a total of 6.4 million Covid-19 deaths, added to the annual expected death count of 2.8 million, for a total of 9.6 million deaths in one year, about 3% of the U.S. population, one in thirty-three. I am assuming universal infection rate. Very dire. Other studies, other suppression mediations, makes forecasting akin to  betting on the horses. 

Cross-Country Comparison of Case Fatality Rates

'Terrifying' New Research Warns 2.2 Million Could Die From Coronavirus in US Without Drastic Action

A Cross-Country Comparison of National Health Systems from the Commonwealth Fund:

April 7, 2020

Comparing Countries during the Covid-19 Outbreak

Comparing total deaths among 13 selected countries on April 9, 2020, and lastly with the influenza epidemic of 1918 in the U.S. 

To understand how deadly the Covid-19 is one has to know how easily it is transmitted, and how many of the infected die. Once infected the treatment may bring down the death rate, but maybe not. 

Some countries prevented the transmission, and some countries had a low death rate among those who contracted the Covid-19. I took the low transmission winners, then took a look at their death rates, and arrived at a total mortality rate. The winner is New Zealand and next is Japan. But I only selected 13 countries to compare. 

With Covid-19 the name of the game is keeping total deaths as low as possible. Total deaths is a combination of the transmission rate of the disease (the portion of a nation that is infected) with the death rate of those infected. For instance, say out of 100 population 5% are infected, and 2 die. Then infection rate is 5%, the death rate is 40% and the mortality rate is 2%. I call the deaths among the infected the “death rate”. I call the death among the total population the “mortality rate”. The two rates are not the same. For reasons not clear in some countries death rate from the illness is higher, such as in France where it is 14.3%. But in Spain the final mortality rate is higher because a greater portion were infected. I used the data from the “Situation Report” from the WHO, April 9, 2020. (see here —
And to put it into another perspective I tried to compare my numbers with the 1918 Influenza outbreak in  the U.S.

So, to begin: Japan restrained the transmission of the disease in its population, 4 out of 100,000 were infected (data from the WHO situation report). But New Zealand has a lower death rate, therefore its mortality rate was lower, it is the winner, so far. 

Country — Infection Rate —- Death Rate —- Mortality Rate 

New Zealand 0.02% 0.1% 0.000002

Japan 0.004% 0.8% 0.000032%
Australia                 0.02% 0.8% 0.00016

Canada 0.05% 2.3% 0.00115%

Norway 0.11% 1.4% 0.0015%

Austria 0.14% 2.0% 0.0028%

Germany                0.14% 2.1% 0.0029%

Iran                       0.07% 6.2% 0.00434%

U.S.A. 0.13% 3.4% 0.0044%

United Kingdom   0.09% 12.2% 0.011%

France 0.13% 14.3% 0.0186%

Italy 0.24% 12.7% 0.0305%

Spain 0.32% 10.0% 0.0320%

Spain with a population of 47 million has had 15,238 deaths from Covid-19, that is a mortality rate of 0.032% or 3 out of every 10,000. In the U.S.A. in 1918 during the influenza outbreak the mortality rate was 65 for every 10,000. 

The 1918 episode in the U.S. was 20 times worse than what has happened recently in Spain. If we replicate, and we won't, the 1918 episode, the U.S. will have 2.2 million deaths. The CDC states, "In 2018, a total of 2,839,205 resident deaths were registered in the United States". A repeat of the 1918 flu would change the 2.8 million to 5.0 million deaths, an increase of 79% -- not quite doubling. Recent prognosis was between 100,000 to 200,000 Covid-19 deaths, but now the expert expectation is for 60,000 Covid-19 deaths. That's a 2.1% increase in projected number of U.S. deaths for 2020. If so, then 1918 would be 40 times worse than 2020. The economic price though may be greater.    
U.S.A in 1918 —- 
unknown unknown 0.65%

The influenza outbreak in 1918 to 1920 was brutal, there were 675,000 deaths in a total population of 104 million, and that equals a 0.65% mortality rate in entire population (65 in every 10,000). Spain with the worst track record so far has 3 deaths per 10,000. The CDC article, referenced below, states that a third of the world's population were infected. The same "mortality rate" of 0.65% today would result in 2,100,000 U.S. deaths, 35 times worse than the recent prediction of 60,000.   

For information about the U.S. 1918 influenza I took the data here:

The interviewee made these observations: 
“You know, it's not clear how many people died from ARDS [acute respiratory distress syndrome] in 1918 or bacterial pneumonia. Some say the vast, overwhelming majority of deaths in 1918 were due to bacterial pneumonia, but I don't share that view. There were very rapid deaths in a few days from symptom onset. That clearly wasn’t bacterial. . . .   

Influenza in 1918 to 1920 would burn through a community in 6 to 10 weeks, and then you forget about it. That's not going to be the case with this. Whether COVID-19 results in a flatter, more continuous line or undulates is not clear. . . . 

Metropolitan Life concluded that more than 3% of all industrial workers died because of the flu, and remember how compressed the time frame was—6 to 10 weeks to pass through any community. So when 3.25% of entire population in a working age-group die in a matter of a few weeks, that's a pretty good reason not to go to work.”

I have to credit Joe Bender for putting me onto this investigation. He made a sour comment about how countries with universal health care were doing worse than the U.S. Well, that is clearly nonsense, take a look at Canada, but it is a start for comparing what happened, and asking why. In the U.S. there was an 18 day period when the infected number jumped by 30 times, from 10,000 to 300,000. I wonder if it would keep jumping at that rate without social distancing, and if not, why not. By the end of May about 80% of the U.S. population would be infected, and the death rate could, plausibly, be at 2 million. Hmmm? I’m  still not convinced that herd immunity would lower than number. The big question now is what would happen if we reversed the “shelter-in-place” order, went back to business as normal, let herd immunity take its natural course. For people over 64 years-old that would not be a great adventure. The rest of society might do OK, but I think in the U.S. those over 64 make up 78% of deaths. We’ve got 49 million over 64. We might lose a million out of 49 million. Is it worth the sacrifice? Not to me, I might be one of them. Send me to a concentration camp, a detention camp in Hawaii maybe. 

Hope this made some sense. I want your response.  Thanks.  Ben.