We Have No Idea Which Interventions Work Against COVID-19

Flying blind.

We have loads of modeling estimates of various interventions:

Stay-at-home orders
School closings
Social distancing
Mask wearing
Bans on large gatherings
Closure of restaurants
Closure of non-essential businesses
Mass testing and contact tracing


For practical purposes . . . we have no reliable empirical data at all on any of these measures. It makes sense that some or all of them have an effect—and it’s probably safe to say that all of them put together have an effect—but we have no idea which particular ones have a large effect vs. which ones have a small effect.

And given the vast range of assumptions used in various models, it’s not clear to me that we can trust models to tell us anything useful at the level of specific interventions.

Flying blind.

via Mother Jones

Coronavirus Disease 2019 vs. the Flu — Infections, Deaths worldwide and U.S. Etc.


COVID-19: Approximately 2,994,640 cases worldwide; 965,933 cases in the U.S. as of Apr. 27, 2020.*

Flu: Estimated 1 billion cases worldwide; 9.3 million to 45 million cases in the U.S. per year.


COVID-19: Approximately 206,811 deaths reported worldwide; 54,877 deaths in the U.S., as of Apr. 27, 2020.*

Flu: 291,000 to 646,000 deaths worldwide; 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. per year.

Wrinkle in our time?

The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly. Since this disease is caused by a new virus, people do not have immunity to it, and a vaccine may be many months away. Doctors and scientists are working on estimating the mortality rate of COVID-19, but at present, it is thought to be higher than that of most strains of the flu.

Who says?

*This information comes from the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases map developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

via Johns Hopkins Medicine

Prosecutor’s memo: Pritzker’s stay home order may not survive scrutiny in court

Says the state’s Appellate Prosecutor’s Office:

“My research leaves me less than confident that a reviewing court will hold that the Governor has the authority close businesses (sic), bar attendance at church services and assemblies in excess of ten citizens (particularly if they are assembling to redress grievances),” Robinson wrote.

“From a strict enforcement standpoint, although well-intentioned on an emergency basis, the EO (executive order) is very broad and does not appear to meet strict scrutiny – this is not to mention the EO appears to be beyond the framework of the specific Act [it] cites as support.”

Sloppiness in Guv P’s office?

via Cook County Record

US cardinal dismisses prayer power during pandemic: We can’t just pray and think things will change

We have to wonder why he beats this drum in this way at this time. It’s a harsh way to put down foolishness. Does he know of Catholics who dismiss self-help and ignore danger for the sake of magical prayer? Is this how he sees the day’s challenges?

It’s as if he sees his role as designated apologizer for the supernatural, front man for an organization eager for majority support. A little nuance might work better. It’s unseemly for him to appear so eager to cater to the suspicious or uninformed.

Later: Whom does he know who prays but ignores the peril? It’s Cupich one, straw man nothing.