Daily Digest 3/21 – Staggering Rise in Jobless Claims This Week, The Hammer And The Dance

Economy

Coronavirus: The Hammer And The Dance (JK)

The UK has seen a similar set of measures: lots of recommendations, but very few mandates.

These two groups of countries illustrate the two extreme approaches to fight the coronavirus: mitigation and suppression. Let’s understand what they mean.

Before Virus Outbreak, a Cascade of Warnings Went Unheeded (Sparky1)

Many of the potentially deadly consequences of a failure to address the shortcomings are now playing out in all-too-real fashion across the country. And it was hardly the first warning for the nation’s leaders. Three times over the past four years the U.S. government, across two administrations, had grappled in depth with what a pandemic would look like, identifying likely shortcomings and in some cases recommending specific action.

The Arc Of The Long Descent (James W.)

The coronavirus marks the end of the long era of growth and the new era of deglobalisation, supply disruption, international balkanisation and state interventionism. We are now entering that era.

Last year, in my post “How to prepare for a dying future”, I wrote that “at some point, major pandemics will become inevitable, leading to huge disruption of global and regional supply chains, international tensions and the closure of borders to refugees.” I should have added everybody else as well!

Hell is Coming: Here is the Mathematical Proof (Alex M.)

In early February the Princess Diamond cruise ship was quarantined in Japan after one of the passengers tested positive. This was a bad idea for passengers as a total of 712 passengers were eventually infected and 7 of these people died. As far as I know all 3000+ passengers of this cruise ship were tested, so we have a reliable dataset with pretty accurate number of infections and number of deaths. The case fatality rate on Princess Diamond is 0.983%. We know that the fatality rate is higher among older people. Assuming that the median age of passengers on Princess Diamond is greater than America’s, which is 39, we can estimate that the new coronavirus’ fatality rate will be around 0.8% in America (maybe a little lower, but this is a nice round number).

Governors raise alarm as coronavirus taxes health systems (Sparky1)

In a conference call with other governors, Edwards warned Trump of the “worst-case scenario” modeling. But he also told reporters that Louisiana was on track for that “sobering” reality if the state’s residents don’t actively work to decrease contact with others — staying home more and distancing themselves from people.

Louisiana had nearly 400 positive tests for COVID-19 Thursday, up from 280 a day earlier, Edwards said. Ten people have died.

Netflix asked to slow down streaming so the internet doesn’t break (thc0655)

What that means is Netflix currently uses “adaptive streaming” which automatically adjusts picture quality based on a network’s capacity. The company has also distributed hubs of its content on servers worldwide so shows can be delivered locally and quickly rather than all steaming from one central source. In other words, Netflix has already taken steps to not be a bandwidth hog, though because of those steps we could see streaming quality reduced in some areas during the crisis regardless of whether the U.S. asks streamers like Netflix to scale back.

Brooklyn Count Soars, as Coronavirus Cases in N.Y.C. Near 4,000 (Sparky1)

The total as of Thursday afternoon was more than 5,200 cases statewide, up from about 3,000 cases on Wednesday. There were more than 750 people hospitalized statewide. At least 29 people had died of the virus in New York State.

Mr. Cuomo has said the virus has spread so widely that the increase in the number of confirmed cases reflected New York’s added testing capacity more than anything else.

What We’re Buying for the Quarantine (Sparky1)

Plenty of New Yorkers—including health-care providers, delivery couriers, and transportation workers—don’t have the luxury of withdrawing from the public, even if they desire to. One group that’s possibly busier than ever are the employees of the city’s grocery stores, one of the few types of businesses that remain open. At supermarkets across the city, shoppers have thronged the aisles, some anxiously provisioning for weeks of bunkering at home, others simply (and, perhaps, defiantly) going about their normal routines.

The Staggering Rise in Jobless Claims This Week (Sparky1)

Washington is an especially relevant case study because it imposed containment measures — including the closing of schools and restaurants and a ban on large gatherings — a week or so ahead of many other states. It seems likely that other states’ labor markets will also follow Washington’s path.

Although Washington has not revealed the most recent official figures, state officials said that claims increased 150 percent last week and that the state was seeing an “even more dramatic increase this week.” They also mentioned that call volume surged more than eightfold on Tuesday.

Rich Socialist Restaurateur Lays Off Hundreds Amid Coronavirus Outbreak (thc0655)

On Saturday, Busboys and Poets addressed the coronavirus concerns on its Twitter feed, writing that it enacted “enhanced cleaning protocols.” The chain also said that it provides “paid sick leave for all employees.” “We are proud to have been at the forefront of this movement in Washington, D.C.,” said the restaurant group.

Trump says he would support government taking stake in certain companies (Sparky1)

The White House did not immediately respond when asked if purchasing shares in battered companies was really under consideration. The U.S. government rarely invests in public companies except in the case of bailouts to save ailing firms and jobs.

The COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus, which originated in China late last year, has sickened more than 11,000 people in the United States and killed more than 180, upending American life as it shutters schools, restaurants and businesses across the country.

‘If I get it, I die’: homeless residents say inhumane shelter conditions will spread coronavirus (Sparky1)

California has the largest homeless population in the US, with more than 40,000 people living in shelters on a given night. Advocates and shelter residents have warned for years that many of the facilities are underregulated and underfunded, and that conditions in some may pose significant health hazards. Amid the coronavirus crisis, they fear, those circumstances could make the spread of the virus in shelters near-inevitable.

California orders its nearly 40 million residents to stay home to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Sparky1)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order marks the first statewide mandatory restrictions in the United States to help combat the outbreak. It went into effect at midnight Thursday, meaning Californians should not leave home except for essential things such as food, prescriptions, health care and commuting to jobs considered crucial.

COVID-19 In Canada (Evan G.)

Three people who tested positive for COVID-19 have recently passed away. Two were residents of the Lynn Valley Care Centre and one was a man in his 80s from the Fraser Health region.

American Red Cross faces ‘severe blood shortage’ as cancellations increase due to coronavirus (Sparky1)

As of Tuesday morning, nearly 2,700 Red Cross blood drives in the U.S. have been cancelled, resulting in approximately 86,000 fewer blood donations, according to a statement from the organization.

Why mass COVID-19 testing — even of those who are symptom-free — is key to stopping spread (Leo)

The initial round of testing that month showed three per cent of the population had been infected with the illness. Every single one of those residents was then put under isolation at home and not allowed to have any contact with others.

Ten days later, the entire town was retested — at which point the rate of infection had dropped to 0.3 per cent, marking a 90 per cent decrease.

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