Virus second wave surging across US

I keep sayin’ it. The curve is not flat, it is steepening. Via Imperial College:

Our estimates of the probability that Rt is less than one (epidemic control) for each state. Rt, or the reproduction number, is the average number of secondary infections caused by a single infected person. Green states are those with probability that Rt is below 1 is high, and pink states are those with low probability. The closer a value is to 100%, the more certain we are that the rate of transmission is below 1 and that new infections are not increasing at present. Estimation as of the 9th of May 2020.

The regions are blasting off into a second wave as the reopening happens far too early:

Estimates for the effective number of infectious individuals on a day and for newly infected people per day. Plotted over time and aggregated at the regions used in the model. The light purple region shows the 95% credible intervals for the effective number of infectious individuals and the dark purple region shows the 50% credible intervals. The light blue region shows the 95% credible intervals for the newly infected individuals per day and the dark blue region shows the 50% credible intervals.

Infected and Infectious per Region
Infected and Infectious per Region
Infected and Infectious per Region
Infected and Infectious per Region
Infected and Infectious per Region
Infected and Infectious per Region
Infected and Infectious per Region
Infected and Infectious per Region

It does not bode well:

The relationship between mobility and transmission is the principle mechanism affecting values of Rt in our model.

Therefore, we illustrate the impact of likely near-term scenarios for Rt over the next 8 weeks, under assumptions of a relaxation of interventions leading to increased mobility. We note that mobility is acting here as a proxy for the number of potentially infectious contacts. Our mobility scenarios do not account for additional interventions that may be implemented, such as testing and contact tracing, or additional behavioural modifiers, such as increased use of masks. Given these limitations, our scenarios should be considered pessimistic.

We define scenarios based on percent return to baseline mobility, which is by definition 0. As an example, say that currently mobility is 50% lower than baseline, or -50%, perhaps due to the introduction of social-distancing NPIs. Then, a 20% increase of mobility from its current level is -50% * (1 – 20%) = -40%. Similarly, if mobility in residences increased by 10% following a stay-at-home order, our 20% scenario reduces this to a 8% increase over baseline. This assumes that people have begun to resume pre-lockdown behavior, but have not yet returned to baseline mobility. We hold this 20% return to baseline constant for the duration of the 8-week scenario.

We present three scenarios (a) constant mobility (mobility remains at current levels for 8 weeks), (b) 20% return to pre-stay-at-home mobility and (c) 40% return to pre-stay-at-home mobility.

The light blue ribbon shows the 95% credible intervals for scenario (a) where mobility is kept constant at pre-lock down levels, the light yellow ribbon shows the same credible intervals for scenario (b) there is a 20% return to pre-epidemic mobility and the light red ribbon shows scenario (c) where there is a 40% return to pre-epidemic. The posterior means are shown in dark blue, dark yellow and dark red respectively.

The recovery is stuffed.

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


  1. A dollar A day

    I think people will plough on through regardless of what the R-naught is. They are by and large ‘over’ it and will push on and tolerate a higher case rate.

    • Torchwood1979

      Even if the mortality rate is only 1% and it goes through 70% of the US population, so what? How many people will that kill anyway?

      Answer = ~2.2 million

      Oh well, as some protester in a Trump 2020 hat said “People die every day”. Red blooded Americans see dying for freedom as a badge of honour. They don’t seem to get this new concept of dying from freedom.

  2. NoodlesRomanovMEMBER

    I’ll lay a bet that there will be no patience for a shutdown this time around, and it will be survival of the fittest.

    • The irony of course being that it is more than likely going to be the unfittest in the largest numbers pushing for it.

      • Wow. Showing your prejudice there. All the people pushing for reopening are fat and lazy middle Americans while all the people pushing to keep the lockdown are fit and worldly liberals in New York and LA. Kind of like Elon Musk????

        • Narapoia451MEMBER

          Pretty much, have you not seen the photos of the protestors?
          Darwin awards are going to have to introduce a group category after this all plays out.

        • NoodlesRomanovMEMBER

          OK Col, you get your white knight badge for bravely fighting the unfair oppression imposed on the US. I’ll grant you that they are an easy whipping boy for the world media, but jeez…

          I just googled COVID19 protestors, and this is the top result:
          Again, I think there is a massive liberal bias in the US MS media, but you have to admit there is a decent tendency to a higher BMI and perhaps the odd extra chromosome that the guys with the semi-automatic guns have.

          • I like the last line in the Axios article

            Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to reflect that more than 61,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus (not 217,000).

          • I will admit thats certainly the view the media like to portray.
            Listen to joe rogan and you might get the opposite view

        • No prejudice. I’ve seen the pictures.
          Unless there’s a load of skinny people hiding behind the fatties, I stand by my *post*-judice.

          • You saw pictures. Stop it it’s to funny. I think they call that projection. Your original post was ignorant. You are assuming that the majority of unfit people are pushing for no lockdown. I would say the majority of unfit people are sitting at home on their computer or smoking weed or drinking or taking pills or…. whatever unfit people do.
            Maybe you think the majority of people trying to end the lockdown are the unfittest. Well, I want to end the lockdown and I bet I’m fitter than you, and better looking.

    • The irony of course being the virus escalating and the economy continuing BAU are mutually exclusive. When (not if) the second wave goes exponential, it does not matter if there are shutdowns or not, economic activity will stop.

      • Again, yes – people keep going on like there is an option that involves not shutting down amidst a genuine pandemic…

        But there is the rub, isn’t it? Because the govts did the shutdown, many people it’s not genuine, want to rebel against it, etc.

        Pandemics cause depressions. Period.

    • The protests are classic propaganda. To the point that it is fake. The reason Trump would not reopen is because community support was lacking.
      Trump called on his unwashed faithfull to respond, tiny little protests in a handful of locations relative to the actual size and population of USA.
      These propagana events where then allowed to florish on radio and TV to the point the mind imagined tough hard core redneck protestors everywhere with guns, people the average person do not want to face off with.
      Trump won the reopen argument just enough thanks to this tried and tested propaganda trick. Show strength, show support, show how futile it would be to go against the tide. eg machine guns.
      Governments around the world spend all their time on social engineering and devising how to make the public think a certain way. Hence why news breaks are generally training the mind to think a certain way. No conspiracy theory here, governments spend so little time on actual policy as a result.

    • We are still hammering away!
      “There is one new case of Covid-19 today – the first reported this week….. the case has been linked to a cluster in Auckland, and was a household contact of an earlier case. The person was already in isolation because of their connection to the earlier case.”

      • Janet, you seem to be one of the few on here with common sense so Ill reply to you. first of all HnH really needs to get his head out of CNN and all the other democrat news channels over here. Our numbers are way over flated. Even Dr. Brix says she doesnt trust the CDC or their numbers. The problem in the US is someone dies anything its counting as Covid. they get money from the Fed Govt if its a Covid Death. Heart Attacks, Cancer and other deaths are down over 80% because they are couting everything Covid. Matter of fact in my state TN we are seeing things decline. Most of the deaths or 60% of them are from nursing homes. Thats because the NY, Michigan, Illinois and some other governors put Covid people in nursing homes. You Aussies are so misguided because you only listen to one side of the media from over here. Your media is crap as I just moved back from there and the stories they produce about the US are laughable. The US is fine and the states that have opened are seeing declines in cases, hospitalisations and deaths.

  3. SoCalSurfCreeperMEMBER

    There is no turning back in the USA. People will roll the dice and take their chances regardless of governments. It’ll go full Sweden, and more. The country is certainly more prepared for the medical consequences than 2 months ago. The true fatality rate is about 1 in 300. That estimate seems pretty accurate at this point based on antibody testing from a variety of locations. Americans seem willing to take those odds, I think because those over 70 suffer disproportionately and most people would be more worried about being unemployed or just sick of putting their lives on hold.

    • No way to sell a lockdown to the electorate without functioning welfare system including public health care that works.

        • SoCalSurfCreeperMEMBER

          Well there are around 3 million deaths in a normal year. Spread the 1M Covid deaths out over 2 years and it’s a 500/3000 = 17% Increase in deaths during that period. And that assumes that treatments don’t advance, which they already are pretty rapidly. Pretty severe, but is it worse than long term impacts of staying locked down? Maybe not.

        • ridiculous, as our mate says below its a fraction of normal deaths and many (if not most) of them would have died of something else in the next 12-24 months anyway as deaths are mainly amongst the very elderly and unwell

          Additionally, 100% of the population would not be infected

        • desmodromicMEMBER

          I stand corrected on the infection rate and how that moderates the numbers. Nonetheless, the numbers are large if the strategy is to gain herd immunity by infection, as suggested. Moreover, your justification assumes that those that survive actually recover health and that the stated fatality rate is real. Our understanding of this virus is as new as the virus. I hope you base the medical treatment of your patients on more than a glib rationalisation of mortality rates.

          • i hope you base your imprisonment of the entire planet on more than panicky website posts

            I have looked at all the actual published medical data

            Millions and millions of antibody tests , across multiple studies and multiple different countries, confirm an infection fatality rate of 0.2-0.4%

        • Based upon the assumption that 100% of the population gets infected. Hard to see that happening. It requires all the US to be stupid all the time. They have their moments but they are not that bad.

      • Yeah, an early study based on the Diamond Princess led to the same conclusion. The death rate for the Diamond Princess was 1%, but if you correct for the age profile of the general population it becomes 0.4%. Places like Vietnam, Iran, Ethiopia, etc. have predominantly young population (because they were ravaged in the 1980’s by either war, disease or famine) so their death rate should be commensurately lower.

      • And that’s 0.39% with lockdowns; the flu rate is without lockdowns.

        So, how bad would Covid be without lockdowns?

        And, how bad would the flu not be with lockdowns?

        Then we’re comparing apples with apples.

        Context, or no valid argument.

  4. Yes. If it (really is) a choice of death or inactivity (i.e. only e-connectivity), open up and get it done. Might be happier.

  5. AdrianHuntMEMBER

    US must to maintain their “world leader” status.
    To achieve this they have the right leader and the right action plan.

    If only the rest of the world could inoculate themselves from the countries with a poor understanding of pandemics.

  6. SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

    Chynas gunna make some moves while the US is covidly challenged, hopefully not on us

    • Arthur Schopenhauer

      They have a cohesive, conservative and trusting population, in addition to an effective universal health care system.
      Like comparing Apples & Oranges.

      When citizens with assault rifles occupy State Assembly buildings, a society has problems.

      • Fascist China

        You’re comparing a country of 10 million to a vast country of 330 million with 50 somewhat independent states.

        Sweden let it totally rip and life goes on.

        Let’s not forget that the US is the victim here.

      • SoCalSurfCreeperMEMBER

        Really? Why do people from all over the world still clamour to get in by any and all means possible? Even accepting that they will never become ‘documented’ and be eligible for any kind of benefit they still think it’s worth it. At the same time the most highly educated, qualified and entrepreneurial come in their hundreds of thousands. There is still endless opportunity in the for those who can figure the place out. It’s different from other places but has it’s own way of functioning. It’s also vastly different from region to region. There is no single USA. Along with the crappy areas there are vast and innumerable areas that are pretty great. And maybe it’s white privilege but in 20 years in California I have been pulled over by a cop exactly 3 times. 2 of them were for driving more than 35mpg over the speed limit. There are no speed cameras. There is no RBT. Police can’t search my car without my consent. Every town can decide what gets built so if people don’t want high rise there won’t be high rise, by and large. I can afford much nicer cars. It’s not all bad! Just don’t expect much from government, because there is less of it. I’ll probably come home one day just because it’s home, but not just yet.

        • drsmithyMEMBER

          Why do people from all over the world still clamour to get in by any and all means possible?

          Great marketing.

          And maybe it’s white privilege but in 20 years in California I have been pulled over by a cop exactly 3 times. 2 of them were for driving more than 35mpg over the speed limit. There are no speed cameras. There is no RBT. Police can’t search my car without my consent. Every town can decide what gets built so if people don’t want high rise there won’t be high rise, by and large. I can afford much nicer cars. It’s not all bad! Just don’t expect much from government, because there is less of it. I’ll probably come home one day just because it’s home, but not just yet.

          If you’re an Aussie expat (I’ve been one, I know exactly what you’re saying) you’re likely in the top 5-10% and almost certainly in the top 25%.

          Certainly for the top 10%, things have continued to steadily improve for the last few decades. Not as quickly as the past and certainly not even close to as much as the top 1%, but a slow and steady increase in real incomes and living standards.

          Even down to the top 25% things generally haven’t gotten worse.

          It’s the bottom 75% getting screwed – that’s where the “collapse” is.

          • SoCalSurfCreeperMEMBER

            Yeah of course I can only speak of my own experience. And yeah I’m an Aussie educated engineer with a US masters and a consulting career in life sciences. My customers are mostly VC funded biopharmaceutical startups making cutting edge therapies to improve human health. I could not have this career many other places. Europe, maybe, on a much smaller scale. The US seems to still be the place for science and innovation in most domains. I can’t stand trump for many reasons, but his economic nationalism Is not one of them. It could very well help the bottom 75% recover some of that lost ground.

        • “2 of them were for driving more than 35mpg over the speed limit. ”

          There is a legistlated limit to the number of miles per gasoline allowed in California? That can’t be good for air pollution.

          • SoCalSurfCreeperMEMBER

            Oops. 35mph. Typo. The generally acceptable margin on highways is 20mph. So on a 65mph freeway the cops won’t look at you unless you’re over 85mph.

      • Understand why you might think this, and perhaps its the brevity of your comments, but it shows your ignorance.

    • Wouldn’t be relevant yet. First wave would have been a strong function of international travelling, not penchant to reject social isolation.

      Second wave may well be different, but also reflecting socio-economics (eg. working poor that have to keep working, despite the danger, etc).

      My 2c

      • PalimpsestMEMBER

        Working poor have a number of factors against them. No control over work conditions, or work from home options. Also less education so less understanding of healthy behaviours, less access to the health system, and a higher proportion of comorbidities, arguably related to cheaper food and low preparation time and leisure leading to higher consumption of processed “food”. Therefore a poorer nutrition status, and higher initial inflammation levels.

        We are also seeing politicisation of figures, that’s making it increasingly difficult to make accurate projections. Some under counting of related deaths may have been initially unintentional. Some now appears to be deliberate. I’ve seen some very strange calculations of the mortality rate but can only look at the cruise ships as controlled experiments. Even there we don’t know outcomes for passengers that left our jurisdiction (so that makes it seem better), and we don’t count the crew (because they don’t count).

        The good news is that it looks plausible there may be an effective vaccine (remembering the SARS failures as cautionary tales). Also noting that 28% of Americans have said they won’t take it (recent survey). With the great American experiment occurring in front of our eyes we’ll know more in a few months… but that’s how long it takes.

  7. Hmmm, no good for people 🙁

    WRT investment: seems both USD bullish (risk off), and USD bearish (US economy suffering). Crikey, hard to know which way to go there. Possibly more gold, but even that seems a little soft a the moment…?

  8. A big second wave in a whole bunch of red states is not going to help Trumpy’s election prospects.
    I strongly suspect he will try to find a way to make the election not happen.

    • On the other hand, it may strengthen the anti chyna response from trump and in red states it could keep them on board.

    • Shades of MessinaMEMBER

      It will encourage them to “band together in our country’s hour of need !”.

      Anyone not banding is not a Patriot. Death is not ideal, but being a non-bander is un-American and therefore worse !.

  9. TightwadMEMBER

    Imperial did a great job forecasting last time around. Why would anyone give them air time or listen to anything they have to say!

    • I want to know more about that professor and his open marriage side chick thingy. Breaking lockdown for some urgent post batvirus sexytime. We need more leaders like that.

  10. recovery will be “fine” because none has a credibility to reintroduce lockdowns
    unlikely, because of the season but after all of this it may only turn into uncontrollable epidemic

    this is exactly the result of ridiculous measures being introduced by most of the states in March based on fear and ideology not on science (in most of states lockdowns were introduced before they recorded even 100 cases). the chance for governments to act reasonably has been wasted so trust is gone and no second chance is there.

    If majority of states went with reasonable measure in the first place (instead of totally inappropriate “shelter-in-place”) they would have retain some credibility. This way they just burned the trust of their own citizens by declaring such extreme measures when they were not only unnecessary but also hurting people far more than the epidemic.

  11. I think that much of the re-opening of the US has to do with the vast majority of Americans absolutely needing to work. THey cannot afford to be locked up.

    Wages are so low for so many and there is a very limited welfare safety net.

    In Straya we are sleepwalking in a fog of a welfare induced delusion – more Australian exceptionalism.

    • “In Straya we are sleepwalking in a fog of a welfare induced delusion ”

      Seems at odds with the first half of your comment – without functioning welfare a nation of millions of people can’t quarantine no matter how much it needs to e.g. even if general population mortality for covid was 10% or 20%, the US couldn’t maintain a lockdown for much longer than they did. People at risk of starving or dying of exposure after being made homeless would roll the dice.

      • Hi Robert, I’m really just contrasting. I don’t wish for Australia to be like the US but I think we’ve probably over-baked the welfare response.

        I also appreciate that government didn’t have time to finesse the JobKeeper package but I’d expect they’ll start to pair it back pretty quickly.

        Short of going full MMT and helicopter money forever we’ll eventually have to wean ourselves off the welfare morphine, accept some uncomfortable economic dislocation and do our best to get back to some sort of normality.

  12. So when’s the next US civil war gonna start? I reckon the US will be in absolute chaos by year’s end.