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 February 11, 2020  Posted by at 9:40 am Finance, Primers Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

René Magritte La belle captive 1946



Today I took a few things out of my daily Debt Rattle news aggregator because I think they shouldn’t get lost in there. It’s interesting, for instance, that the coronavirus incubation period is now thought to be 24, not 14 days. It’s also interesting that the Chinese government tells local officials not to be too strict on companies wanting to re-open plants: “We will strictly stop restricting the production resumption in an oversimplified and crude way”.

If you ask me, that’s asking for trouble. What if one of those factories becomes a petri dish for new infections? Yesterday perhaps 10% of workers are thought to have reported back to their workplaces, today it might be 30%. Then again, in certain places the Lunar New Year has apparently been extended to February 18, so let’s not read too much into this-yet.

But that I’ll deal with later today in the February 11 Debt Rattle, which will be a bit later than usual because of this article. I’ll start this with Hong Kong University Professor Gabriel Leung, around whose January 31 report I based my February 5 article The Big Lockdown. Professor Leung has some more BIG numbers today. We’re getting into Spanish Flu territory now:

Expert Warns Infection Could Reach 60% Of World’s Population

The novel coronavirus epidemic could spread to around two-thirds of the world’s population if it cannot be controlled, according to Hong Kong’s leading public health epidemiologist. His warning came after the head of the WHO said recent cases of coronavirus patients who have never visited China could be the “tip of the iceberg”. Professor Gabriel Leung, chair of Public Health Medicine at Hong Kong University, said the overriding question was to figure out the size and shape of the iceberg. Most experts thought that each person infected would go on to transmit the virus to around 2.5 other people. That gave an “attack rate” of 60-80%.

“Sixty per cent of the world’s population is an awfully big number,” Leung told the Guardian in London, en route to an expert meeting at the WHO in Geneva. Even if the general fatality rate is as low as 1%, which Leung thinks is possible once milder cases are taken into account, the death toll would be massive. He will tell the WHO expert meeting that the main issue is the scale of the growing worldwide epidemic and the second priority is to find out whether the drastic measures taken by China to prevent the spread have worked – because if so, other countries should think about adopting them. [..]

At the end of January he warned in a paper in the Lancet that outbreaks were likely to be “growing exponentially” in cities in China, lagging just one to two weeks behind Wuhan. Elsewhere, “independent self-sustaining outbreaks in major cities globally could become inevitable” because of the substantial movement of people who were infected but had not yet developed symptoms, and the absence of public health measures to stop the spread.

Epidemiologists and modellers were all trying to figure out what was likely to happen, said Leung. “Is 60 to 80% of the world’s population going to get infected? Maybe not. Maybe this will come in waves. Maybe the virus is going to attenuate its lethality because it certainly doesn’t help it if it kills everybody in its path, because it will get killed as well,” he said.

About that fatality rate, we read today that “The Hubei health commission said the province had a total of 31,728 cases with 974 deaths by the end of Monday – a fatality rate of 3%..


The most interesting part of the numbers game comes from Ben Hunt at Epsilon Theory, who ‘normally’ writes about finance, investing, not viruses or epidemics. He’s the Chief Risk Officer of Salient Partners, an $18 billion asset manager. Hunt starts out his piece with showing how the US and Vietcong incessantly lied about casualties in the Vietnam war.

He then cites someone with the moniker Antimonic, I think on Reddit, who predicted the coronavirus death tolls of the past 5 days, 5 days ago, before they happened, using very simple math.

Hunt on Twitter: “I just published an update to this note, where I developed an absurdly simple model of how I’d show “Progress in the War against Coronavirus!”. It predicts the DAILY reported death rates with ridiculous accuracy. They’re. Not. Even. Pretending. Anymore.

Here’s how Hunt summarizes it in his own words:

Let’s imagine, for example, that you’re President Xi, and you’d like to show that you are Winning the War ™ against nCov2019. You can’t just say that the epidemic is over and the disease is cured, because you’ve got more than 100 MILLION people in a military quarantine, and it’s kinda obvious that the disease is anything but cured. But you want to show progress in Winning the War ™. So maybe you come up with a rough formula that goes something like this …

Yesterday we told everyone that 500 people have died since the outbreak. That’s a made-up number, of course, but that’s what we told everyone. Today let’s tell everyone that an additional 15% of that number died yesterday, so 75 new deaths for 575 total dead. And tomorrow let’s tell everyone that 14% of that total number died, and the day after 13%, and then 12% and then 11%. Clear progress! Got it, my loyal cadres?

This way, the absolute numbers can rise, while the percentages fall.


Body Count (Ben Hunt)

The daily body count of killed and wounded North Vietnamese soldiers was, in Epsilon Theory-speak, a cartoon – an abstraction of an abstraction in service to the creation of Common Knowledge. Hey, everyone knows that everyone knows that we’re winning the war in Vietnam. Didn’t you see the body count numbers on CBS last night? Once you start looking for cartoons, you will see them everywhere. Inflation numbers? Cartoon. Employment data? Cartoon. Asset allocation? Electoral coverage? Financial journalism? Cartoon, cartoon, cartoon. And yes, we write a lot about cartoons. But this is the kicker.

Because it was so important to maintain the fiction that we were Winning the War ™, and that fiction required metrics like a body count of North Vietnamese that was always a multiple of the South Vietnamese casualties and always a factor of the American casualties, American war-fighting policy was soon driven by the narrative requirement to find and count the “right number” of North Vietnamese casualties! These were the infamous search-and-destroy missions of the Vietnam War. This is The Maw in action. Do a little research on search-and-destroy. Read about My Lai and Son Thang. Read Matterhorn. And then take a fresh look at the coronavirus stats coming out of China. Here’s the core post in a reddit thread that’s Matterhorn-esque in its truth (and a heck of a lot shorter to read).



The point of this quadratic regression on Chinese infection and death numbers as reported by the World Health Organization from the first official announcement through February 4 was the publication of this projection.



Sure enough, the WHO announcements since this prediction was published have been eerily close.
• 2/5 — 24,363 cases — 491 fatalities
• 2/6 — 28,060 cases — 564 fatalities
• 2/7 — 31,211 cases — 637 fatalities
• 2/8 — 34,598 cases — 723 fatalities
• 2/9 — 37,251 cases — 812 fatalities
• 2/10 — 40,171 cases — 908 fatalities

Crazy, right? The deaths being reported out of China are particularly accurate to the model, while the reported cases are leveling off (which is what you’d expect from a politically adjusted epidemic model over time … at some point you have to show a rate-of-change improvement from your epidemic control measures). But wait, there’s more. The really damning part of Antimonic’s modeling of the reported data with a quadratic formula is that this should be impossible. This is not how epidemics work. All epidemics take the form of an exponential function, not a quadratic function.



All epidemics – before they are brought under control – take the form of a green line, an exponential function of some sort. It is impossible for them to take the form of a blue line, a quadratic formula of some sort. This is what the R-0 metric of basic reproduction rate means, and if – as the WHO has been telling us from the outset – the nCov2019 R-0 is >2, then the propagation rate must be described by a pretty steep exponential curve. As the kids would say, it’s just math.

Read more …

Today according to “official” numbers we have 43,103 cases and 1,018 fatalities, which is up 108 from yesterday’s 910. What’s that, 10.5%? Close enough for discomfort.

And we now have a whole new way to interpret the offical numbers.




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    René Magritte La belle captive 1946     Today I took a few things out of my daily Debt Rattle news aggregator because I think they shouldn’t
    [See the full post at: Corona Cartoon Numbers]

    Dr. D

    Wonder what that split orb is. Something to indicate the painting is also a painting? Ceci n’est-ce pas une pipe?

    They may have shifted to a new reality: it’s too late: everyone is going to get Kung-flu. Therefore, there’s no point in wrecking the Chinese economy as well. They’ll need it to recover (with all the babies that are about to get born). That’s some terrible math to say that, but I understand it. Also may go with Trump’s comment. What an idiot! How ridiculous! What does he know, the conspiracy theorist? What does he know? He has almost the highest security clearance in government, and nearly the world. So y’know, everything he knows, which is given to him by the world’s foremost bio-experts, CIA intel experts, and modeling quantum supercomputers, is of course just a bunch of made-up garbage, and the 3rd Yale intern from the NY Times, with NO information whatsoever – and us, of course – know waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than he does when he says it’ll be burned out by April, so we, with no information, can clearly say he, with all the information, is a madman and an idiot. Logic!

    But let me suppose what he means: 1. Since we created Kung-flu, we’ve known for a decade what it models as it unstoppably goes through the population and it will have met everyone on earth in 6 months. Pretty likely. – Corollary, this almost certainly suggests it’s racial and attacks only (or primarily) the Han (at least in fatal form, still searching confirmation on this). 2. Somehow they are even more clever, and have a death-switch in the virus where it shuts itself off after a certain time. How, I can’t imagine, but doesn’t seem impossible. 3. Other technology such as adequately fabricating and spraying pre-known vaccine or gene therapy. –Which does exist, but very unlikely.

    But let’s be clear: Trump, with highest security clearance, the gene code, almost all the world’s experts by the hundreds, and a bag of hidden military tech = a moron who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, while you, me, Yahoo News, CNN, NY Times and the Guardian, who’ve gotten everything wrong for years, who got this story wrong already for a month and have NO access to hardly ANY real information = super smart and correct.
    Right! Of course! #OppositeLand #AntiLogos. We must always presume the direct opposite of logic.

    Oh, and literal expert and pathology expert from Duke University, Chris Martensen, is banned, de-personed, and ceased to exist on Wikipedia, probably at request of Chinese government, while fact-and-synapse-free interns continue providing random, made-up information on BuzzFeed and Vice…or in this case, transparently made-up information. Perfect. Gotcha. Because Science™! Trust the experts! (Except like here and the OPCW when they disagree with our narrative and drive for war and profit, then they’re obviously fake, and novachok sits on a doorknob and kills no one, including the target and the Bobbies investigating, because physics and reality are optional, and the only REAL reality is what O’Brien says when he holds up his fingers.)

    Logical Fallacies: Appeal to Authority.

    10 Logical Fallacies You Should Know and How to Spot Them

    Not much to offer today, just pointing that out.


    Holy Crap! exponential and not quadratic. Seems obvious now it’s laid out….. Shit – this could get a lot worse before it gets better. Thanks so much for putting this article together Raul, it explains so many things – the massive lockdown – which would only have been done for the gravest of reasons, the delays in all info etc. The Spanish flu wiped out so many people but at a time when there wasn’t that many people so on a purely “it’s just math” level we could see a lot of people die and a lot of MAJOR disruption to markets and regular going’s on…


    Think you’re reading too much into what Trump may have said, Dr. D. He said last week that China is trying hard, and especially Xi. Because…what else could have said? He did first close the borders to anyone who’s as much as ever ordered a chow-mein take-out though.

    As for April, that’s just what he heard, like everyone else in the US and Europe, because unlike me, the MSM has been working overtime on not covering the virus. It’s only the last 4-5 days where they feel they can no longer stay out of the game. They’re just as late in reporting the virus story as China was in first reporting its existence.


    Dr D. the top 10 logical fallacies with bonus number 11 was great – I’d like to add my newest favourite is virtue signalling. It is so hot right now. I read the internet so I must be a smart person who knows all about stuff.
    Actually I am completely lost.

    Dr. D

    Orlov would have been the first one in line to torch Jews for causing the black plague.
    I imagine it was the same argument back then. Someone saying “I’m not saying this is happening but….”.
    Oh well, ssdd.

    Dr. D

    Orlov’s been slipping lately. Like Cait Johnstone at some point we all get exhausted and salty with it. No reason to not try to be objective though.

    Wonder why the Docktor is always down on Science:

    “No One Can Explain Why Planes Stay in the Air”

    Scientific American. You don’t know this, which isn’t quantum physics and can see with your eyes, an essential part of our reality, and you want to be considered experts to tell us what to do everywhere else? Sorry, this being broadly known sets us back to a better level. Not that Science is wrong, but about what we know and don’t know, and that asking questions is cool. Continents are not yet discovered, you can still invent the next hoverboard (coming shortly) instead of a flat, dry, empty world where everything is known by ‘experts’ and used against you as leverage. That’s a world children really would commit suicide in.

    Life is still open. Be the next Einstein (who couldn’t figure it out), and tell us how birds fly.

    Maxwell Quest

    On Feb 4 and investigative journalist was able to trick a Wuhan funeral home into divulging their crematorium workload. It’s a fascinating exchange, not least because the supervisor was at her wits end from fatigue.

    Based on her data, I penciled out a quick graph of the workload between the dates of Jan 23 – Feb 3, assuming that the workload began to increase quadratically starting on Jan 23. With only 11 of 18 ovens functional they had cremated 116 of the 127 bodies delivered on Feb 3, which she complained was 4-5X their normal workload. Using a conservative estimate, I calculated their normal workload for that 12-day period at 348 bodies. This left 488 that must be attributed to the virus, totaling 836 altogether.

    The supervisor stated that the nearby Hankou Funeral Home had a much larger workload than her funeral home. Assuming that her funeral home had an average workload, and that there are 49 crematoria in the Hunan area, 488 x 49 = 23,912 virus deaths just for the Hunan area. Just sayin.


    Maxwell Quest

    D’oh! Correction, Wuhan area, not Hunan.


    We live in a very difficult time when it is difficult to distinguish what is real. Since the MSM has disintegrated into such an unreliable source of information, people have resorted to alternative media that has its own problems.
    Due to the availability of so much alternative media, people tend to gravitate towards the type that provide and reinforce their own personal echo chamber, dangerous.
    I was born about the time of McCarthyism red scare. I never thought it would happen again in my lifetime. Educated people, who should know better, believe that Russia is behind everything. Interestingly, the less educated, although they may hate Trump, doubt it. Either way, a large segment of the population have allowed themselves to be deceived by a crude form of propaganda by which repeatedly repeating a falsehood becomes true.
    Others, who have rightfully abandoned MSM have fallen into the trap of believing too much of what they hear in alternative or Youtube clips. They have fallen for the type of propaganda, the more sinister type, where only part of the story is true so therefore it is all true. I call it the Zero Hedge effect.
    Anyway, a plague may be upon us. Lets try not to make it worse by repeating or contributing to false news (easier said than done).

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