Good news on warm weather?

I don’t have any axes to grind on coronavirus (except perhaps on masks), so some of my posts may seem to conflict. But they probably conflict less than you assume. Earlier I did a post questioning whether summer would make the problem go completely away, pointing to a rapid rise in coronavirus cases in many tropical countries. Today, I’ll present three pieces of evidence that warm weather will help at least somewhat:

1. Warm weather in the US seems to help. The three big warm states (CA, TX, FL) have (per capita) caseloads well below the national average. The same is true of Arizona, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. And this is mostly true even if you exclude New York from the sample, as it biases the national figures.

2. A few weeks ago, I noticed that Australia and Canada had tracked each other very closely for a considerable period of time. But in the past few weeks they’ve strongly diverged, to the benefit of Australia. Perhaps the first cases were mostly imported, and now that community transmission is the key factor we see Canada doing much more poorly. You might wonder why I don’t compare Canada to the US, but I actually regard Australia and Canada as the more similar countries.

3. The tropical countries continue to have strong growth in caseloads, but it doesn’t seem as explosive as the previous growth in Europe and the US, especially given their huge populations. Of course there may be a delayed reaction, or perhaps flawed data. But as of today they seem to be doing better than I would have expected.  India and Luxembourg?!?!?

In an earlier post I suggested that this is becoming a white man’s disease. If anything, that tendency has since become even stronger. South and East Asia have most of the world’s population, but only about 80 of the roughly 6000 coronavirus deaths today will be in that huge region. Africa is also mostly unaffected. Of the 26 countries with the highest active caseload, 25 are mostly white or mixed white (i.e. Brazil.) South Korea is 20th, and falling.

But a few weeks from now I might have a completely different view.

China’s active caseload has been steadily falling for many weeks. But the internal composition is interesting. The active caseload in China’s big cities (and some border regions) has been rising fairly rapidly, but the effects are masked by an even more rapid decline in Hubei province. At some point something will have to give. Either travel restrictions will slow the number of imported cases, or the total caseload will again begin to rise.

PS.  Don’t confuse official national policies with reality.  Governments in Brazil and Sweden have not adopted strong social distancing policies.  But Brazilian state governments have done so and in Sweden I’d guess that at the individual level people are doing much more social distancing that if the epidemic did not exist.  Someone correct me if I’m wrong in that assumption.



53 Responses to “Good news on warm weather?”

  1. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    2. April 2020 at 14:54

    It sounds like coronaviruses in general are thought to be seasonal or, at least, strongly affected by the season:

    – The alpha Coronaviruses and the two earlier beta coronaviruses are said to be seasonal in this doc, (Also contains simulations for SARS-COV2):

    The fraction of tests that were positive for the four seasonal CoVs (HKU1, NL63, OC43 and 229E)showed a strong and consistent seasonal variation…We find that seasonal variation in transmissibility has the potential to modulate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 with a wide range of possible outcomes that need to be taken into account when interpreting case counts and projecting the outbreak dynamics. The onset of spring and summer could, for example, give the impression that SARS-CoV-2 has been successfully contained, only for infections to increase again in 2020-2021 winter season.

    These articles argue that the two most recent beta coronaviruses before SARS-COV2, are also seasonal:

    – Mers –

    “Results suggest that primary MERS human cases in Saudi Arabia are more likely to occur when conditions are relatively cold and dry.”

    – Sars1 –

    In this study, we showed that high temperature at high relative humidity has a synergistic effect on inactivation of SARS CoV viability while lower temperatures and low humidity support prolonged survival of virus on contaminated surfaces. The environmental conditions of countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand are thus not conducive to the prolonged survival of the virus.

    Here’s a paper, however, that argues that SARS and MERS are not seasonal,

    A significant number of infectious diseases display seasonal patterns in their incidence, including human coronaviruses. Betacoronaviruses such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV are not thought to be seasonal.

  2. Gravatar of agrippa postumus agrippa postumus
    2. April 2020 at 15:03

    you are suffering from post hoc ergo propter hoc.

  3. Gravatar of Brian Brian
    2. April 2020 at 15:24

    Regarding Canada versus Australia infections, the Iwasaki Laboratory says the “innate immune system” is affected by temperature. The following quote is specific to rhinovirus but if the innate immunity is affected then draw your own conclusion in connection to coronavirus…

    Airway epithelial cells, the cells that form the lining of the nose and the other airways, are the main target of rhinovirus infection. In order to amplify, spread, and cause disease, the virus must enter these cells and make more copies of itself. By studying airway cells incubated at different temperatures, we discovered that mechanisms used by the innate immune system to protect cells against this virus are quite effective at core body temperature (37°C), but are greatly diminished at slightly cooler temperatures, such as temperatures that might be found in the nasal passages upon inhaling cool ambient air (33°C).

    And apparently humidity matters also. I read recently absolute humidity is what you need (not relative).

    Quoting a newswire…

    Explained Dr. Iwasaki, “A mask will certainly keep your nose and mouth warmer and more humidified. I always wear a mask on international flights for this reason, where 10% relative humidity and closed environment makes for a perfect transmission incubator.”

  4. Gravatar of Brian Brian
    2. April 2020 at 15:35

    Temperature helps to explain why I never feel like I can catch a cold running in the winter. It’s walking in the winter that feels risky.

  5. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    2. April 2020 at 15:46

    Carl and Brian, Interesting.

    Agrippa, Not interesting.

  6. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    2. April 2020 at 15:54

    10 million unemployment claims in two weeks the US. And we are in the first inning.

    Another 18 months of this and then we get our vaccines, if we are lucky.

    We have a novel cold virus and a naive population. So when is ending lockdowns advisable?

    Perhaps voluntary sequestering of elderly is a policy option.

  7. Gravatar of rwperu34 rwperu34
    2. April 2020 at 16:29

    WRT Arizona, I can tell you with certainty the reason our caseload is so low is because we are well below average in testing.

    We are also not doing a very good job of social distancing. Our governor issued a stay at home order for all but “essential” business, with essential being just about everything.

    We were also late getting started, not having our first death until a week ago. We’re at 32 deaths right now. I don’t see any way we stay under 1,000.

  8. Gravatar of agrippa postumus agrippa postumus
    2. April 2020 at 17:24

    let faith oust fact. starbuck would approve. i see the direct connection in your worship at the alter of monetarism and desperate hope you can find an answer to the known unknown.

  9. Gravatar of sd0000 sd0000
    2. April 2020 at 18:10

    Scott, if the virus dies down in Europe and North America and instead blows up in Africa and/or the Middle East, will you call it a “black man’s” or “brown man’s” disease? Or is that terminology only reserved for white?

  10. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    2. April 2020 at 18:47

    Just to put your previous post in context..

    1. You put the title of the post in quotes “Warm, humid weather will take care of the problem,” and said “Maybe, but that’s not obvious to me;” Presumably you we’re quoting someone. I wonder who.

    2. On the exact same day of your previous post, The Atlantic bashed Trump for claiming warm weather would mitigate the problem in an article entitled “All the President’s Lies About the Coronavirus. An unfinished compendium of Trump’s overwhelming dishonesty during a national emergency”

    3. Every other liberal publication that same day was also bashing Trump on the same issue.

    4. The exact same source you are now citing above was showing the following data at the time you of your previous post…

    Cases per million people below…

    Malaysia 50
    Brazil 11
    Phillipines 5
    Indonesia 3

    UK 119
    South Korea 178
    USA 166
    Norway 529

    And to make it really obvious…

    Vietnam 1
    Iceland 1,899

    Just saying…


  11. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    2. April 2020 at 19:02

    And the next time a duck farmer in India sneezes…we do this all again?

    But with bravado!

    After all, Trump did not close the borders soon enough! We did not go into lockdowns soon enough!

    Halt commerce prophylactically or be accused of negligent mass manslaughter!


    I understand hysteria. But hysteria as institutionalized policy?

    See post 9/11.

  12. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    2. April 2020 at 19:24

    Sweden (30 deaths per million) is doing much poorer than its (smaller) neighbors Norway (9 per million) and Finland (3 per million).

  13. Gravatar of JayT JayT
    2. April 2020 at 19:59

    I wouldn’t put much weight into the India numbers, they’ve only done ~43,000 tests, about as many as Illinois.

    @rwperu34, Arizona has done the 15th most tests in the US and has the 14th largest population, so I don’t think low testing numbers is the whole story. They have done more tests that Georgia, Michigan, or Virginia, all of which have larger populations.

  14. Gravatar of JayT JayT
    2. April 2020 at 20:08

    Georgia, Michigan, and Virginia all also have more positive cases than Arizona, I forgot to mention.

  15. Gravatar of Student Student
    2. April 2020 at 20:19

    With respect to climate… I am thinking it’s the concentration of ultra violet light that matters most as the radiation warps the structure of the viruses genetic material and prevents the viral particles from making more copies of themselves. Obviously those things are correlated with temperature and dry climates but I think it’s actually the sunlight that matters most. Perhaps sunlight is the best disinfectant in many ways.

  16. Gravatar of Student Student
    2. April 2020 at 20:26

    Notice, they don’t sell sanitizers that heat things up to 37 degrees Celsius with some level of humidity, but we can sanitize with UV light.

  17. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    2. April 2020 at 21:05

    I don’t think the process by which climate impacts transmission is fully understood. There are many theses (all or which might be true.)

    Viruses die faster in warmer temperature
    Aerosol particles fall to the ground faster in higher humidity (but actually live longer when humidity is higher)
    Ultraviolet light kills the virus
    People spend more time outside where there is better circulation
    Space between people is greater when they are outdoors and not indoors
    More humid conditions keep the throat, nose and air passage better moisturized and thus less susceptible to penetration by the virus.
    UV lights stimulates Vitamin D production in people which increase immunity.
    Increased cosmic rays from Krypton intoxicate and immobilize the virus
    Good weather improves people’s mental health which strengthens their immune system.

  18. Gravatar of Student Student
    2. April 2020 at 21:16


    Good points.

  19. Gravatar of Laura Laura
    2. April 2020 at 21:40

    What I’ve heard first hand in Sweden is that the emphasis is focused on separating by generations. This strategy has been effective at flattening the curve of hospitalizations but not of overall cases. If few at-risk people get sick, hospitalizations stay under control. Meanwhile, the community avoids the second wave in the fall because of wide-spread immunity.

  20. Gravatar of Rob Rob
    3. April 2020 at 01:34

    I am in Sweden now and can say that people are doing a fair amount of distancing, but definitely not as much as say London or New York right now. Probably a bit more than pre-London lockdown, but I haven’t been in Stockholm so I’m not sure how it is there.

    E.g. most people are working from home, gatherings of over 50 have been banned, people are recommended to not see older relatives and not to travel for easter. Things are definitely a lot quieter than normal. The elderly are supposed to be completely isolated.
    BUT You don’t see people aren’t queuing up at 2-meter distances outside of shops. Friends will still offer to meet for dinnner. Primary schools are open. Non-essential shops are still open. Ski resorts were only just closed (madness IMO). Restaurants still can be open although many or most are closed for lack of business.

    People here are genuinely much more blase about this virus than I expected. People trust the government/civil service a lot and many seem to support the strategy of flattening the peak and letting it work its course slowly. Some obviously disagree, but it feels like a different vibe than in the UK where people seemed much more outraged about that when it was the strategy. Personally I think it will be a disaster in Stockholm quite soon.

  21. Gravatar of Rob Rob
    3. April 2020 at 01:36

    Also, as they keep telling us in their press breifings, there are only ~500 ICU beds in the whole country…

  22. Gravatar of Tony Ashwin Tony Ashwin
    3. April 2020 at 02:38

    ‘Perhaps the first cases were mostly imported, and now that community transmission is the key factor we see Canada doing much more poorly. You might wonder why I don’t compare Canada to the US, but I actually regard Australia and Canada as the more similar countries” SCOTT

    ‘Regarding Canada versus Australia infections, the Iwasaki Laboratory says the “innate immune system” is affected by temperature. The following quote is specific to rhinovirus but if the innate immunity is affected then draw your own conclusion in connection to coronavirus…BRIAN

    Guys…please look at the numbers…you are not innumerate and that is a fundamental part of The Money Illusion….yet there is so much anecdotal stuff on this blog now about COVID-19…..

    Read these stats below – In AU – we are an island and we have closed our borders to others. We closed to China early, but closed flights from the US too late. Look at the numbers in the charts on where the infections came from:

    PS. The AU and Canadian health systems are different but all citizens get care… Then compared to the US health system….pheew. I wish you all of the best in the coming weeks.

  23. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    3. April 2020 at 04:00


    Sweden rules.

    Sad fact (via Marginal Revolution). Some 80% to 90% of people put on ventilators die anyway. Having ICUs does not help.

    Sequestering old people makes tons of sense. Let us hope that is the route quickly taken.

    Economic suicide is not a policy.

    Good luck.

  24. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    3. April 2020 at 04:13

    Really impressed by Sumner’s flexible mind. Notice when the facts change, he changes his mind, like Lord Keynes. What do you do, Rayward, Ben Cole, dtoh, List, Agrippa (sorry my friend I’m with Team Sumner now) and other inflexible minds?

    @Brian Donohue- Sweden got infected early from that chalet in Turin as reported in the WSJ, where there was lots of corona. Same with Milan, Italy which had daily flights to Wuhan.

    @everybody – the Covid-19 virus, which is almost certainly a chimeric virus, is from the family of cold viruses like the rhinoviruses, and, as such, for some of the reasons dtoh cites, tends to die out in warmer, more humid weather. So hopefully by May the worse will be over (until the fall). So shelter in place until then is my advice, posting from lockdowned Greece.

  25. Gravatar of JDF JDF
    3. April 2020 at 04:19

    Sweden has social distancing; they just haven’t gone full lockdown.

  26. Gravatar of bill bill
    3. April 2020 at 04:22

    I should show the posts about this being a white person disease to my aunt. She said the opposite and that’s why it hit NYC the hardest. And Spain. Where is a good biology page on what defines the races?

  27. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    3. April 2020 at 04:48

    OT – Like Dr. Sumner wisely predicted a few posts ago, the US government itself censors people who speak out about Covid-19 in unauthorized channels. Note Navy Secr. T. Modly contradicts himself, claiming firing Cap. Crozier was not for using unclassified channels but for ‘spreading panic’ (absurd), then reverses himself in the same statement. – RL

    Newsweek: 4/3/20 – Veterans have spoken out against the decision to relieve the captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt after he sent a letter to the Navy pleading for help after his ship was stricken with the coronavirus. Thomas Modly, the acting secretary of the Navy, accused Capt. Brett Crozier of having “poor judgment” for using a “non-secure, unclassified” email address to write an email to his immediate chain of command which also included “20 or 30” additional recipients. Speaking at a press conference, Modly said Crozier was not relieved because the letter was leaked — although he “did not take care to ensure that it couldn’t be leaked,” noting it appeared in his hometown paper — but for causing unnecessary panic. Modly said Crozier’s actions made it seem like the Navy was only acting in response to his letter being leaked, which he said was not the case.

    @bill- there’s no such thing as ‘race’ really, in terms of DNA the bells shaped curves for the black, white, and yellow races are practically on top of each other. What Dr. Sumner is saying is that it’s a rich country disease (GDP per capita, compare all the C-19 highly impacted countries with China, but pace South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, which fought the disease wisely using government).

  28. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    3. April 2020 at 06:56

    Agree Canada and Australia are similar—and his examples in US are encouraging—hope it is right

    I am not sure what Scott means by white man’s disease–I just assume there is some kind of irony he perceives (such as economic differences–who knows)—-and maybe he just likes to troll—-but he certainly cannot literally mean genetically—not that that is impossible–although it appears not likely.

    I sometimes think Scott ignores comparing stats from small population places—with stats from large population places—although I am certain he is aware of the issue.

    I am an African grey parrot on this point—but Scott’s routine use of stats from China continue to amaze me. Maybe he has some double secret probation info on China we are all unaware of. For some reason he believes they misrepresent total numbers but do not misrepresent ratios. I find it interesting—his thought process, that is, on China.

    I still lean toward those who argue this whole initiative of mitigation was a grave error in judgement—but at this point “what difference does it make”.

    We need to have a clean exit strategy by June of some kind in place

  29. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    3. April 2020 at 07:15


    On March 14, Sweden had 3 deaths and 1,040 cases, while Norway had 3 deaths and 1,254 cases.

    Sweden is twice the size of Norway.

    Now Sweden has 333 dead, while Norway has 56.

    Finland hasn’t been as aggressive as Norway, but I understand that social distancing is a way of life for Finns.

    Norway has been on top of it, Sweden has been lax.

  30. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    3. April 2020 at 08:20

    The three big warm states (CA, TX, FL) have (per capita) caseloads well below the national average.

    I think you are conflating different factors.

    Car and home ownership (FL,TX) help with social distancing.
    Mandarin speakers and tech workers (CA) help circumvent us media and disseminate truth.
    Open air markets (tropics) help dilute virus.
    Lots of cases are rich person / travel related, which is why Sun Valley is #2 after NYC for per capita infections.

    What do Seattle and Los Angeles have in common? Nice weather?
    What do Boston and New Orleans have in common? Nice weather?

    New Hampshire is doing better than Boston, despite being seeded from Italy exactly the same date.

    And Democrats are already plotting to accuse Trump of racism for disproportionately infecting blacks and latinos. No, it’s not a white man’s disease.

  31. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    3. April 2020 at 10:05

    rwperu, That’s also true of California, but testing doesn’t explain the low death rate in CA or AZ. I do agree that the numbers will rise sharply.

    sd2000, Yes, if it becomes 90% an African disease I’ll say so. Ebola was primarily an African disease.

    dtoh, No, I wasn’t thinking of Trump. I would have quoted him directly if I had. Trump’s a complete irrelevancy to all this. He’s a child. His administration has ended in disaster, but it’s not really his fault. In any case, both his fans and his opponents have always overrated his impact.

    In contrast, your second post contains some very good points.

    Rob, Thanks for that info.

    Michael, Most humans live in South and East Asia, and yet they have barely over 1% of the deaths. And it started in East Asia! You don’t think that’s weird? Africa also has a very low caseload, but that’s less surprising.

    What are the odds that 25 of the 26 countries with the highest caseloads would be white or mixed white?

    Steve, I have no idea what point you are trying to make. There are multiple factors? Duh.

  32. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    3. April 2020 at 10:14


    “His administration has ended in disaster”

    I wish. His approval ratings have never been higher. And as you have correctly pointed out before, he’s probably going to get re-elected, so the administration will have 4 more years to be terrible.

    The hoi polloi are not blaming the pandemic on him, nor the recession it caused. I suppose if things are still terrible in November he will have problems, but that’s really unlikely.

  33. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    3. April 2020 at 10:38


    A month ago, Andrew Yang, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren were still in the running for the Dem nomination. The DNC held multiple debates, but the media never asked the candidates about coronavirus. Covid wasn’t an issue in their eyes. Instead the donors and insiders got together and decided the guy with dementia was their guy.

    Amazing how fast things change. Again, that was only a month ago!

    Maybe if there were evidence of leadership from the other side, Trump’s numbers would be falling.

  34. Gravatar of Thaomas Thaomas
    3. April 2020 at 10:43

    Views on the epidemiology of the Covid-19 are welcome, but what about comments on what the Fed is doing to keep NGDP growth steady?. Many days have passed since the break-even spread of the TIPS collapsed and I don’t see the Fed dong anything about it. We know it’s not that the Fed is “out of ammunition” So what’s up and what SHOULD be up? What would we observe if the Fed were targeting NGDP?

  35. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    3. April 2020 at 10:43


    It’s not that complicated, and has nothing to do with the Dems. Presidential approval always rises in a crisis as we rally around the leader.

  36. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    3. April 2020 at 11:01

    Presidential approval always rises in a crisis as we rally around the leader.

    Not true. E.g., 2008 and Bush. Most people thought the tanking economy would wreck Trump (it still might). Pelosi’s initial instinct was based on 2008 muscle memory, to sabotage the Coronavirus bill and blame Trump for the market crash.

  37. Gravatar of Chase Chase
    3. April 2020 at 11:11

    Interesting support for the weather idea if you have time to view.

  38. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    3. April 2020 at 11:13

    Regarding your comment:

    I am thinking it’s the concentration of ultra violet light that matters most…

    I found conflicting reports that UV light could kill viruses. This article follows some Columbia U researchers working on using Far-UVC light to kill viruses:

    In this new study, they found that far-UVC light also killed airborne H1N1 virus, a common strain of flu virus. Far-UVC light has a very limited range and cannot penetrate through the outer dead-cell layer of human skin or the tear layer in the eye, so it’s not a human health hazard…However, because viruses and bacteria are much smaller than human cells, far-UVC light can reach their DNA and kill them…Lamps with this type of UV light currently cost less than $1,000…but that price would likely fall if the lamps were mass-produced.

    (See and

    But then I looked around and found a bunch of reputable sites calling it a myth that UV light kills viruses.
    (See and

    I also went looking for evidence that simple infra-red could kill viruses because of my parents’ old advice that you should sweat out a fever. What I found was that it sounds like the heat increases T-Cell activity in the body, not that the heat itself kills the virus:

    Scientists found that the generation and differentiation of a particular kind of lymphocyte, known as a “CD8+ cytotoxic T-cell” (capable of destroying virus-infected cells and tumor cells) is enhanced by mild fever-range hyperthermia.


    Then to follow on to Brian’s point above, I went looking for humidity studies:

    The Yale research team, led by Akiko Iwasaki, the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology, explored the question using mice genetically modified to resist viral infection as humans do. The mice were all housed in chambers at the same temperature, but with either low or normal humidity. They were then exposed to the influenza A virus.
    The researchers found that low humidity hindered the immune response of the animals in three ways. It prevented cilia, which are hair-like structures in airways cells, from removing viral particles and mucus. It also reduced the ability of airway cells to repair damage caused by the virus in the lungs. The third mechanism involved interferons, or signaling proteins released by virus-infected cells to alert neighboring cells to the viral threat. In the low-humidity environment, this innate immune defense system failed.


    So, my current understanding is that warm air’s primary value is that it can hold more moisture, but that the warmth itself may help the body’s immune system to function better and that the common wisdom is that UV light doesn’t help but that that common wisdom is being challenged. I also feel more confident that my parents were on to something, at least with mild fevers, when they encouraged us to sweat it out.

  39. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    3. April 2020 at 11:15

    Looks like I even referenced the same study as Brian. Sorry for the redundancy.

  40. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    3. April 2020 at 11:21

    Actually it looks like my comment with citations was eaten by WordPress. I was just responding to Student to say that it seems the common wisdom is that UV light does not kill viruses but that some research going on with Columbia U. researchers is having success with Far UV light. I was also saying that humidity appears to be critical for the body’s immune response and that elevated temperatures within the body help produce more T-Cells which improves our immune response.

  41. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    3. April 2020 at 11:51


    People blamed Bush for 2008, no one blames Trump for this (although some obviously criticize his handling of it at first).

    I can see you are a politics junkie and that’s cool, it’s fun to go on at length about theories of politics and what ‘people’ think. That’s all Nate Silver’s site does for example. But for the most part political junkies are obsessing over what other political junkies think. Approval ratings are what the masses think, and they aren’t that complicated.

  42. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    3. April 2020 at 12:01

    I didn’t expect this at all, like always, but I think now – with 20/20 hindsight – you can find enough reasons why Trump is doing surprisingly well in the polls.

    1) Major crises, attacks, and wars always play into the hands of every government.

    2) It’s not as if other Western governments have been warning about this virus months before Trump or were better prepared. Nearly all Western governments have been nearly equally unprepared.

    3) Biden is stuck in his house. There’s not much he can do.

    4) Trump is said to be a Germaphobe. He can now live out this part of his personality without people finding it so strange anymore. We are all quite germaphobic now, except maybe Benjamin Cole.

    5) The only way to prevent the virus from entering the US would have been to close all borders at some point in February. Anyone who wanted to enter would have had to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

    Trump’s eternal obsession with borders is helping him now, he can now claim that he actually wanted to do this, but everyone else (opposition, media, justice, trump-critical Republicans) was against him.

    6) The virus coming from China doesn’t exactly harm Trump either. He can now claim that he was right about China all along.

  43. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    3. April 2020 at 12:25

    @ Christian List

    Bingo. Everything you said. The virus could still hurt Trump, but only if he comes across as callous toward the people locked out of their jobs. He needs to reopen the economy or provide more assistance to the unemployed, and justify that choice.

  44. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    3. April 2020 at 15:13


    You said; “I wasn’t thinking of Trump.”

    Read my post carefully. I didn’t say you we’re thinking of Trump.

  45. Gravatar of mikef mikef
    4. April 2020 at 05:32

    The other factor that is not being discussed is the average age of each country. The average age in Africa is around 20, the average age in Vietnam is low as well. Calling it a white man’s disease is very misleading. I expect African Americans to be hit very hard. There seems to be some fake news making the round that Black people are immune to this..which could not be farther from the truth. Have not seen any data on this yet, but the higher rates of obesity, preexisting conditions, less social distancing, poorer health care, etc. are probably going to make it worse in the black community.

  46. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    4. April 2020 at 06:13

    Another factor could be that the table is basically the world transparency index close to 1:1.

    Or in other words: The table represents the ability to perform tests, in combination with the will to publish these tests completely. This combination is important.

    The point is clear for Africa and autocratic states. North Korea has zero cases, how great is that?

    But even in South Korea, it is striking that the largest transmission group that was released was allegedly an outsider sect. Here the question arises: Was this really the largest group or is it the group that the South Korean authorities would like to present as the largest scapegoat group?

    And even from Japan we know since Fukushima that transparency is not necessarily their greatest strength. Moreover, until a few days ago Japan had another big incentive to talk down the disease: they were still hoping for the Olympics.

  47. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    4. April 2020 at 08:12

    msgkings, Oh, he’ll probably get re-elected, but you don’t think 15% unemployment is a disaster? Seriously?

    Obviously I’m not blaming Trump for the disaster.

    Steve, You said:

    “Pelosi’s initial instinct was based on 2008 muscle memory, to sabotage the Coronavirus bill and blame Trump for the market crash.”

    LOL, the crazies are really out today.

    dtoh, OK, I read it again. So what’s your point? I did a post showing skyrocketing rates on infection in tropical countries. And your response is data that has no bearing on that post.

    mikef, No one said black people are immune, stop being silly.

    And “average age is not being discussed”??? Where the hell have you been?

  48. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    4. April 2020 at 11:36

    @ssumner: it is a disaster, but not really a disaster of Trump’s administration. That would be things like the child separation policy, the trade war, the blowing up of alliances, etc.

  49. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    4. April 2020 at 22:57


    I was just saying that it was glaringly obvious from all the data at the time that a) the number of per capita cases was much lower in warmer climates (including in the countries you cited), b) the rate of increase in warmer countries (including in the countries you cited) was much lower than in colder countries, and c) in the countries you cited, the rates of increase… far from “skyrocketing”… were in fact flat or decreasing.

    I was merely observing that this uncharacteristic breakdown of your logical faculties and sudden inability to interpret empirical data was highly correlated with the appearance of many articles criticizing Trump for suggesting that warmer weather would reduce the spread of the virus.


  50. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    5. April 2020 at 13:28

    msgkings. I never suggested he caused the problem. Nor did Bush cause the Katrina fiasco. That’s not the point. The point is that Trump failed to Make America Great Again. It may be 100% someone else’s fault. Maybe his policies were excellent, considered in isolation. But he failed. It’s not even debatable anymore, unless you think double digit unemployment is “great”.

    dtoh. Sorry, but you are wrong on both fronts. I never once even suggested or even hinted that warm weather doesn’t help. I was merely questioning the claim that it solves the problem. Look at the data for the 4 tropical countries I provided, and then tell me that caseloads cannot rise rapidly in tropical countries. They obvious can.

  51. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    5. April 2020 at 13:29

    dtoh, Check out the graph for India:

  52. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    5. April 2020 at 16:47

    The last statements from scientists that I read (in a paper) were that warm weather might explain 18% of the variation in disease doubling time:

    “Results indicate that the doubling time correlates positively with temperature and inversely with humidity, suggesting that a decrease in the rate of progression of COVID-19 with the arrival of spring and summer in the north hemisphere.

    A 20ºC increase is expected to delay the doubling time in 1.8 days. Those variables explain 18% of the variation in disease doubling time; the remaining 82% may be related to containment measures, general health policies, population density, transportation or cultural aspects.”

    18% is not small, but does it have a big impact? Not to mention that the whole study seems a bit wishy-washy to me.

  53. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    6. April 2020 at 01:36

    You were talking about rates. I can’t tell if you were talking about the rate or increase or the rate of infection. If you’re just talking about the rate of infection that’s exactly the same thing as saying the number of cases is increasing. Any way you cut it though….

    For warmer countries, the data you cited all shows that.

    The number of cases is much lower
    The rate of infection (cases per million) is much lower
    The rate of increase is much lower, and
    The rate of increase is flat or declining

    And BTW – the somewhat higher rate of increase in India is just a result of increased testing.

    And just saying that the caseload is increasing rapidly doesn’t mean anything. Rapidly in comparison to what? So rapidly that the implementation of other measures like testing, contact tracing, distancing and improved hygiene can not bring the disease under control?

    And yes, if it does bring the underlying rate of transmission down to the point where other measures become effective in stopping the spread, warmer weather does in fact solve the problem.

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