Links 14 September 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing:





Unconventional Economist


  1. Is Victoria a real epidemic, or just a casedemic.

    40 minutes but worth a look.
    Argues that 20% of population are susceptible to COVID, and 80% have a degree of immunity from previous CV with enough cross-reactivity.
    Also that the epidemiology curves are pretty much baked in regardless of measures like lockdowns or masks.
    and that you need to look at death data. Case data is confusing because how many cases (or how many positive PCR tests you get) depends on how much testing you do.
    The world has probably over-reacted to this. And this over-reaction may have been the entire point.

    • 100% – but it’s messy. (A) the original outbreak seems either natural or partially artificial, (B) if partially artificial the release was probably accidental, (C) the CCP clearly knew what was happening, but choose to let it get out so that the Chinese economy wouldn’t be the only one suffering it’s effects, and (D) everyone else and thier dog has been using it for political ends.

      The word sh!tshow does not begin to cover it. Thankfully it appears that the virus is not as bad as first feared. Small mercies I guess.

      • It’s highly asymmetrical. Most pathogens are most dangerous at the epicentre and become less so as they spread out. This has been the opposite.

        It seems to particularly hit patients older than 80-85. Again highly asymmetrical – most infectious diseases hit the elderly harder, but this is so binary it almost selects out the elderly. Note 1% China older than 80 compared to 5% in USA and Australia.

        There was likely some human input into the genesis of this virus. It does not appear “genetically engineered”, but there are other ways of selecting out the characteristics you want. Dogs are not genetically engineered, but they are selectively bred.

        So it is a very unusual virus that hit the world at a very odd time.

        Almost certainly Chinese PSYOPS after it got out (lots pointing to this). But it could have been accidental release of a virus that was already well understood. Wuhan would seem odd choice for deliberate release.

        • Pulmonary diseases always afflict the very young worse. There is none of that here, kids are getting it all over the US and not really getting sick – all the stories skip can cherry pick about this or that adverse “long term” (read short term is all we’ve been able to measure) complications is outscaled by orders of magnitude by survivors that barely even noticed symptoms. Ie its infectious and viral load matters so don’t cram together in trains or nursing homes and it’ll be fine.

          Wouldn’t have mattered for Andrews, he hates younger than boomer people so much he would have found to #@^~ us over anyway….

          • Cherry pick???? … chortle …

            You don’t see me using vague watery terms and cookie cutter optics backed up with some number wang that would make an orthodox economist envious.

          • That rubbish in Scientific American about everyone who knows a third hand contact that has heard they know someone who got covid now has life long debilitating complications….

          • That rubbish???

            Considering your past opinions that’s cute, especially considering the early crystal ball prophecies based on very small data samples over an equally short time line by some shouty people. If anything mortality rates are down to improved treatment after gaining knowledge through experience, yet that does not begin to deal with morbidity issues.

            So I guess you and yours are quite happy to subject others to diminished life just so you can have fun in the hear and now. Even chilling out for a bit till information becomes available is deemed totalitarian – it seems, so much for logic and rational thinking …. axiomatic-deductivist modeling rim shot.

          • “axiomatic-deductivist modeling” is what’s driving the lockdown! All so you vermin scum boomers can suck the joy out of generations. Filth

          • Naw mate that is the tool of the libertarian group think posse, not that religion is any different. Just that you would attempt to pigeonhole me into something I’ve clearly been anti since the beginning around here is pathetic. I’ve been against not only the wonky models, but the axioms behind them or have you forgotten the conversations in the past about ex nihilo axioms and synthetic a priori.

    • There have been no advances in treatment that have reduced mortality.

      Case fatality rate = number of cases who die / number of cases.
      You can drop CFR by reducing number who die. Or by finding milder cases who don’t die.
      Guess which one applies here.

      • > There have been no advances in treatment that have reduced mortality.
        what garbage. ^

        Just the other day there was a study showing vitamin D reduce the number of people needing intensive care by 98% or something crazy. There were also adjustments to the intubation protocols that reduced fatalities.

        • Vitamin D is promising. Multiple plausible mechanisms. And there is a latitude effect with COVID. My family has been taking Virt D since March – on basis zero downside, dirt cheap, and may possibly help (being a front line clinician I am high risk).
          D3 is not mainstream however, and so has not changed overall mortality.
          That small Spanish study was ridiculously small (50 patients got D3), the control group had more diabetes and hypertension (so would do worse), and is an example of a study “too good to be true.” Again, I am inclined to think D3 is beneficial – but this study is too underpowered to prove this.

          The majority of people who die from COVID are not intubated. So raised intubation thresholds and increased use of NIV (which I gather is what you are alluding to) isn’t the explanation.

          Recovery trial has established dexamethasone is helpful in the very small proportion of patients who are critically ill. But again, most people who die do not reach ICU and so this treatment is not the explanation.

          The explanation all round the world = increased testing and finding well people with a positive PCR (who flew under the radar months back), and including these well people in the denominator.

      • If a marketing term nicely describes a generation who are better off than their parents but are leaving their children and grandchildren worse off then, yes, a marketing term will do.

        • The marketing term is an attempt to convince people that the children and grandchildren being worse off is an intergenerational issue rather than a class issue. Most baby boomers are ordinary people who have had no say in anything important and own little more than a very modest house, bought when they were going cheap. Some don’t even have that much and are living in dire poverty. The famous baby boomer rorts only benefit people who already have significant wealth. Negative gearing won’t help you if you don’t own an investment property, and most don’t. Our aged pension is among the least generous in the OECD

          The real decisions in our society are made by a small minority of very rich and powerful people. They own the mass media and can shape public opinion, manufacture consent, withhold or downplay damaging information, and identify scapegoats. The politicians do their bidding because they rely on them for electron funding, favourable coverage in the media, and lucrative careers and investment opportunities after they leave politics. Young people are actually being hurt by bipartisan neoliberal government policies, on immigration, taxation, urban planning, foreign investment, landlord and tenant relations, etc., etc. Their real problem is that most people in every voting age generation are voting for the major parties, and until that changes, nothing will improve for them. See Figure 4.4

        • Haywood JablomyMEMBER

          Baby Boomer and the other similar labels are great for lazy people who don’t like to think.

    Interesting take on the key role being played by Taiwan semiconductor manufacturer TSMC in the whole Huawei debacle.
    There’s a lot of truth in the article but it’s not the whole truth because TSMC is primarily a semiconductor foundry so their immediate customers are not large equipment makers. Typically there’s a fabless design company sitting between TSMC and the customer (in this case Huawei). TSMC would have a reasonable idea where the chips were heading especially for a large volume product like a cell phone. But a small volume product like a core router is a totally different matter

      • Lmmao that is only relevant to one factor and does nothing to refute the examination I submitted. You still seem to operate on some notion that its just a common virus, its not, and knowledge of it and its unique traits has only begun, so its a bit ridiculous to make any long term conclusions based normative conjecture.

        None of the medical professionals I know here, U.S. or abroad share your perspective Coming, quite the opposite and infinitely more rigorous in personal behavior to lessen risk.

        Yet you and your bedfellows would crack a fat if government allowed let’er rip and then down the track have large numbers of people suffering morbidity issues, playing your ideological card coming and going, its a pattern.

        • Jesus Christ that’s long winded

          The flu can infect the CNS
          COVID can infect the CNS

          your article and my article prove nothing more


          Who are your high level doctor friends ? Did you meet them when you were a navy seal ? Or when you were working for Goldman Sachs ?

        • Half my family is medical with GG being head of medicine at Chicago U, wife has worked in pathology half her career and paramedical science the other half with deep networks. Yet your link does not refute what questions are still unanswered and how that effects the agenda you have been pushing – especially the herd immunity rubbish.

          Per usual your wrong on all accounts with your missive at the end.

      • It only proves Coming shouldn’t be commenting. Skippy showed that sars-cov-2 can commonly infect the CNS, versus the old 1998 study showing that influenza can rarely do the same thing (and with very bad outcomes!).

        Skippy wins.

        • So they’re both the same in this regard ?

          It’s just the flu ?

          What do you think skippy has won ?

          • Firstly I’m not trying to win anything, but, your insistence that precautions should be ignored on mortality rates and the perception of peoples productive years vs old people wrapped in a freedom and liberty Bernays wrapper is anti science. This is the same kind of thinking that promotes boom and bust economics and that is some deep loon pond ideological goo.

    • That’s a tough one. Maybe because the national rugby union competition is not broadcast on free-to-air TV?

      While you may wonder how I could be any more helpful, let me try: give up watching professional sport.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Mate, I’m such a tragic I watch the degraded Brisbane Rugby League comp on stalkbook, with yesterday’s game being a hard fought bout between the Fortitude Valley Diehards and old enemy Western Suburbs Panthers, with 40 year old Scott Prince leading the Diehards to an excellent win to leave them at the top of the table.

  3. This pandemic has been terrible for MB comments, and obviously for the mental health of some MB commenters.