Daily COVID-19 Deaths in the U.S. Have Fallen Dramatically Since April

“The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths, which peaked at 2,210 on April 18, had fallen to 605 as of yesterday—a 73 percent drop. The downward trend has continued for more than a month since mid-May, when the impact of post-lockdown infections should have started to show up in fatality figures. In Texas, for example, the seven-day average fell from 58 on April 30, when the statewide lockdown was lifted, to 20 on June 13 before climbing to 30 as of yesterday.

Some states, including Texas, have seen notable increases in confirmed cases and hospitalizations since late May. Those increases, which cannot be fully explained by expanded virus testing, may be related to Memorial Day gatherings and the mass protests against police brutality triggered by George Floyd’s death. The spike in cases that states such as Texas have seen can be expected to result in more deaths during the next couple of weeks than otherwise would have occurred. But if epidemiologists are correct in thinking that superspreading events on and after Memorial Day explain recent surges in infections—which makes senses given the timing—the resulting rise in daily deaths should be temporary.”

Do more guns facilitate more deaths? Video Sources.

Homicide Harvard Injury Control Research Center. Havard T.H.Chan School of Public Health. FIREARMS AND FAMILY VIOLENCE Arthur Kellermann, Sheryl Heron. 1999. Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0733862705700924 Firearm possession and violent death: A critical review Wolfgang Stroebe. 2013. Aggression and Violent

How the Supreme Court enabled police to use deadly chokeholds

“injunctions. When a court enjoins a particular defendant, they don’t just order that defendant to cease a particular behavior, they also can enforce that order with criminal sanctions or by imposing escalating fines until the defendant ceases their illegal conduct. A party subject to an injunction, in other words, can be squeezed so hard by court sanctions that they have no choice but to change their behavior.

Consider the case of Eric Garner, who was killed by a New York police officer’s chokehold in 2014. Although the NYPD had a formal policy barring chokeholds, it was frequently unenforced. The city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board received 219 chokehold complaints against NYPD officers in just one year.

If one of the victims of those chokeholds had obtained an injunction against the NYPD, then a court could have imposed strict sanctions on the city until police chokeholds ceased. And Eric Garner might be alive today.”

Has Sweden found the best response to the coronavirus? Its death rate suggests it hasn’t.

“using the Our World in Data website’s coronavirus statistics, helps put Sweden’s situation in perspective. It compares countries’ rates of coronavirus deaths per 1 million people.
As the chart shows, Sweden is actually faring worse than other Scandinavian nations and even worse than the United States, which has the highest number of confirmed total cases in the world.”

“Following the advice of the country’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, the Swedish government chose not to impose strict lockdowns, curfews, or major border closings because the government felt it would hurt the economy and would only push the crisis further down the road.”

“while experts say the vast majority of Swedes followed the government’s social distancing guidelines and voluntarily stayed home, those who continued to drink at bars and shop at stores likely spread the disease around.”

“Sweden’s public health officials now admit: That “more than 26 percent of the 2 million inhabitants of Stockholm will have been infected by May 1.””

“Where Sweden does compare favorably to the US is the country’s death rate when compared to New York City’s (not the whole US). About 12,000 reported deaths as of April 28 in a city of 8 million is surely worse than 2,300 deaths in a country of 10 million.

But there are three main reasons why the Big Apple would be worse off than the entire country of Sweden, experts say.

The first is population density: New York City has more than 38,000 people per square kilometer, while Sweden has just 25 people — meaning it’s harder to socially distance in New York.

Second, some hospitals in New York City were overwhelmed while Sweden still has about 250 hospital beds unoccupied. There are indications, though, that the hospital surge in New York City is declining.

Finally, there is significantly more international travel to New York City than there is to Sweden, which means there were more opportunities for people from countries suffering from severe outbreaks to spread the virus to the city than to the European country.

But when zooming out, it’s clear that Sweden as a whole is worse off than the US as a whole. That could, of course, change down the line, but any current arguments that Sweden got its outbreak response right are premature at best and dangerous at worst.”

Russia’s coronavirus outbreak is getting bad. Putin says the worst is yet to come.

“As of April 28, Russia reported nearly 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and nearly 1,000 deaths. Those numbers make Russia the eighth-hardest-hit country in the world.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday admitted that the country had a shortage of critical personal protective equipment for health care workers, and warned that the worst the pandemic is yet to come.

“Ahead of us is a new stage, perhaps the most intense stage of the fight against the epidemic,” he said in a national address, in which he also announced an extension of his nation’s lockdown until May 11. “The risks of getting infected are at the highest level, and the threat, the mortal danger of the virus persists.”

“Russia has managed to slow down the spread of the epidemic, but we haven’t passed the peak yet,” Putin continued.

His pessimism is warranted. Hospitals have become overrun with patients, leaving ambulances stuck idling in long lines outside hospitals just to deliver sick patients. At least one driver had to wait about 15 hours. Moscow might run out of intensive care unit beds before the end of this week. And nurses have quit en masse to protest poor working conditions and low pay.

Millions of Russians could lose their jobs this year due to the lockdown and oil revenues, which make up a significant portion of Russia’s economy, have dropped sharply as people around the world have stopped traveling and business have shuttered due to the coronavirus.”

Trump is keeping meatpacking plants open — but employees are scared to show up for work

“More than 3,000 meat processing workers across the country have tested positive for the virus in recent weeks, leading to additional spread in their communities, and more than 15 have died. Dozens of facilities have been forced to close temporarily or indefinitely.

Executives at America’s largest meat and poultry processing companies have warned of disastrous consequences for consumers should these facilities stay closed: Tyson Foods chair John Tyson said on Sunday that the “food supply chain is breaking.” Livestock prices have plunged because farmers have nowhere to send their animals for slaughter, while the price of consumer-ready meat has spiked.

While supply chain experts don’t anticipate a nationwide shortage of meat in light of the recent closures, they say there could be spot shortages at local grocery stores of certain types or cuts of meat.

But reopening the plants could come at great cost to their workers, who assert that their companies are doing too little to protect them from the virus. They say companies are failing to enforce social distancing on the production line and only recently beginning to offer additional protective equipment, if they do so at all.

Many employees also say they don’t have paid sick leave, health benefits, or substantial savings, offering them little assurance should they get infected and incentivizing them to work while sick.”

“Trump’s executive order instructs the Department of Agriculture to ensure that meat and poultry plants can continue operating uninterrupted as much as possible while abiding by guidance for Covid-19 preparedness issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The executive order leaves room for the agency to provide personal protective equipment to workers or issue additional regulations concerning worker safety — but it doesn’t explicitly provide any additional worker protections.”

COVID-19 Was Killing Americans Earlier Than We Previously Thought

“utopsies have now revealed that COVID-19 was responsible for the February 6 and 17 deaths of two people in Santa Clara County. Another person in Santa Clara died of COVID-19 on March 6.

“These three individuals died at home during a time when very limited testing was available,” said the county’s statement, noting that at the time, “testing criteria set by the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] at the time restricted testing to only individuals with a known travel history and who sought medical care for specific symptoms.””

“Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith suggested that the news may mean COVID-19 was spreading around parts of the U.S. for “a lot longer than we first believed.” Contradicting current wisdom on the matter, Smith said the virus most likely hit some U.S. communities “back in December.””

U.S. Population Growth Rate Lowest in a Century, Says New Report

“”In the United States, fewer births and more deaths reduced population growth to a 100-year low,” reports a new study by demographers at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). They add that “in nearly 46 percent of counties, more people died than were born last year.”
As I reported last year, the U.S. total fertility rate fell in 2018 to 1.73 births per woman, the lowest rate ever recorded. In general, the U.S. total fertility rate was been below replacement fertility—the level at which a given generation can exactly replace itself, usually defined as 2.1 births per woman—since 1971.”

“Interestingly, the low—that is to say, negative—population growth in 1919 was largely the result of the decimation caused by the Spanish flu pandemic. Between July 1918 and July 1919, U.S. population actually dropped by 60,000 people.”

A new study finds increasing the minimum wage reduces suicides

“The newest of the papers, authored by John Kaufman, Leslie Salas-Hernández, Kelli Komro, and Melvin Livingston in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, examined monthly data across the US from 1990 to 2015 and estimated that a $1 increase in the minimum wage led to a 3.4 to 5.9 percent decline in suicides among adults with a high school education or less. The authors also estimated that over the 26-year period, a $1 increase in each state’s minimum wage could have prevented 27,550 suicide deaths, or about 1,059 per year.

The paper has created a bit of a stir. But it’s just one of four studies in the past couple of years to find an association between higher minimum wages and lower death rates (specifically suicides).

If these findings hold up in subsequent research, they provide a new, persuasive rationale for raising the minimum wage.”