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BrianA

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Posts posted by BrianA


  1. Here's some interesting news that air pollution may significantly affect C19 death rates. Combine with a map of Europe's annual pm 2.5 pollution exposure, and you can see why North Italy might fare a lot worse?

     

    Harvard study finds small increase in long-term exposure to PM2.5 leads to a large increase in COVID-19 death rate

    https://www.greencarcongress.com/2020/04/20200408-harvard.html

     

    image_large.png.53ea4a873ca8958841ef6be8ad59f9d2.png

     

    PM2.5 annual mean in 2016

    https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/figures/pm2-5-annual-mean-in-1


  2. Tom, regarding short term pricing trends or empty shelves being indicative of economic okay-ness, I would disagree. These issues are being driven by significant supply chain disruptions, along with certain areas of the economy such as food having traditionally operated in a very bifurcated manner. By that I mean when it comes to food in the US, there are separate manufacturing facilities and distributors for the retail grocery side of things and the restaurant/institutional side. This is why you're seeing some shortages and crowds at the retail groceries currently - a lot of restaurants and institutions like schools are closed, so almost all food is having to be produced and distributed via the retail chain, leading to some problems. If you look at the restaurant food distributors like Sysco or US Foods they are on the other hand suffering significant economic damage, not to mention smaller restaurant food distributors and producers who may go out of business completely.

     

    As for prices at Amazon, there currently is a large reduction in competition on many products that are "non-essential" as Amazon was forced by overwhelming demand to disallow sellers from sending in those products to the Amazon warehouses. Other issues are lack of ability to obtain new inventory due to other kinds of supply chain disruptions going on. Worldwide air cargo capacity has been sharply reduced and prices for it increased drastically, so getting fresh inventory from China or other locations is currently either more expensive and/or slower than usual.

     

    Basically you're seeing various types of shortages and lack of competition in the supply chain, not necessarily increasing consumer demand overall.


  3. I''m sure some of the people you see are also just wanting time alone, I've heard reports of domestic violence have increased quite a bit in locked down areas. On the car battery, I'm sure it could go quite a bit longer than a week, I'm just being more cautious than usual because I don't want to have to deal with having a repair person work on it during one of the pandemic's peak phases, or finding it dead if there's some kind of unexpected emergency that needs me to drive to work or other family.

     

    BTW, my car dealer keeps desperately emailing its customers that they now have no-contact service pickups/deliveries and will let you test drive a new one by yourself now.


  4. Well you don't want to let the battery get so low it needs a jump start, because on an older battery it may not really recover from that. I could instead buy a battery tender device, but at the current cost of gas and how little gas the car uses when idling, it might take a couple years to recoup even that small cost. Plus I'm not sure but I might need to take additional steps to fully setup the car for a longer period of non-use if I'm not starting it... would have to research that. I don't sit in the car while idling it, don't want to breathe the exhaust. Just leave it in the driveway for 15 min while I go back inside, not a big deal.

     

    For people in a denser neighborhood where they have to park on the street then I can see why none of this an option due to no electrical socket nearby and also risk of theft if they leave it. So that may be why you're seeing people sitting there.


  5. Political Calculations has updated their stock market forecast based off the continued deterioration in future projected dividends... the projection in their 2nd chart looks pretty ugly. Dividend futures do of course fluctuate, so if the economy suddenly improves perhaps based off even more stimulus measures, this projection could change. Next 3 weeks will be interesting.

     

    https://politicalcalculations.blogspot.com/2020/03/s-500-rises-and-falls-on-fed-stimulus.html


  6. Some good news from this realtime US fever-tracking site:

     

    https://healthweather.us/

     

    The 2nd chart lower down on the page is showing a steady decline in overall percentage of their users showing fevers. It's now well below the typically expected rate for this time of year. Also if you switch the main chart to "Trends" mode you can see essentially the entire country is "cooling off" fever-wise.


  7. Singapore open sources their contact tracing phone app, which uses bluetooth to track other app users you have been near in the past. Would you install something like this on your phone, and allow it to upload data to authorities should you become infected?

     

    https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/coronavirus-spore-government-to-make-its-contact-tracing-app-freely-available-to


  8. Regarding the stock market, Political Calculations is a blog I track that uses dividend futures to try and guesstimate where the market may be heading. Lately as you can see in this post, particularly the 2nd chart, the futures for upcoming quarters have really dropped a ton, pointing that the market may continue to head a bit lower than it currently is in the coming weeks.

     

    https://politicalcalculations.blogspot.com/2020/03/s-declines-as-instant-recession-arrives.html

     

    They update this data regularly and do a fresh post each week.


  9. The "Contain and Eradicate" strategy discussed here is essentially my best current guess as to how to proceed:

     

    Covid-19 Points of Leverage, Travel Bans and Eradication

    https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/Ddgry4k64oBZYfrHy/covid-19-points-of-leverage-travel-bans-and-eradication

     

    The biggest lesson for the Western countries in this is next time this happens, they need to react waaaay earlier to implement this strategy. If they could have effectively contained it much earlier in just a few smaller geographic areas like in Taiwan or even South Korea, the economic damage would have been so much less.


  10. 8 hours ago, Gordo said:

    In all seriousness though, I think there is a good point.  I mean there is an awful lot of hysteria for this thing so far, and Italy which is used as a worst case, still has less than 3,000 official deaths, population around 60 million, you extrapolate that to the US population and we are still talking about fewer dead than our regular flu season from last year.  I'm in no way concluding that this should be taken lightly, but it seems the hysteria has overtaken the reality of the situation

    It's well accepted now that comparing this virus to the regular flu is incorrect. See this arstechnica review of that UK report:

     

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/03/new-model-examines-impact-of-different-methods-of-coronavirus-control/

     

    Essentially if you "do nothing" aka treat this virus as the regular flu and just let it run completely out of control, you might end up with around 2 million deaths in the US, something like 20x the amount of the regular flu. This is why the UK and US decided to start taking additional actions to slow it down. I wouldn't call it hysteria, unfortunately it's just the reality of this particular set of circumstances.


  11. Thanks for that alternate link. Well, the US is already in many places going through a fairly significant lockdown, we're already experiencing increasing intensity of it. I think it will likely be enough to slow the new cases significantly by early April perhaps. The question then becomes, what's the best way to proceed by mid-April or May? These lockdowns currently buy you time to figure that out while avoiding the health care system getting hit too hard, but if you don't come up with a more effective response for the post-lockdown time, then from the models I've seen we would expect the virus to come back just as big as before by the Fall or early Winter.

     

    So my thinking regarding the extensive testing is that while the US currently can't do it, it is ramping up towards being able to do it perhaps by mid-April or May. I'd like to see it by then implement an intensive testing regime (not just those with symptoms, but everyone who had contact with a positive case even if they are asymptomatic) with more technologically advanced case tracing and isolation adherence verification via phone app, in order to better keep things under control after that point and hopefully avoid a Fall/Winter massive resurgence.


  12. To me this seems to be a good replication of the South Korea approach. Test a huge amount, isolate the positive people (especially including the asymptomatic ones), but let everyone else keep working in the economy.

     

    Scientists say mass tests in Italian town have halted Covid-19 there

     

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/18/scientists-say-mass-tests-in-italian-town-have-halted-covid-19


  13. All these lockdowns are definitely having a huge impact on the employment figures. The upcoming weekly unemployment claims numbers could exceed peaks seen in 2008. The question is how rapidly and how fully do these jobs come back after the lockdowns are at least temporarily lifted in April/May?

     

    Ohio Unemployment Skyrockets By 600% After All Bars & Restaurants Shuttered

    https://www.zerohedge.com/economics/ohio-unemployment-skyrockets-600-after-all-bars-restaurants-ordered-closed

     

    Marist poll from March 13 - 14

    http://maristpoll.marist.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/NPR_PBS-NewsHour_Marist-Poll_USA-NOS-and-Tables_2003151338.pdf#page=23

     

    this is the part like back in 2008 where they corral Congress into a room and freak them out so badly they cough up huge amounts of stimulus:

     

    Mnuchin warns senators lack of action could result in 20% unemployment rate, source says

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/17/politics/steven-mnuchin-unemployment-warning-coronavirus/index.html

     

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