Fear Factor versus So-What Factor
Monday, June 29, 2020
Ignore words, see facts. Cases are rising, deaths not. Little scope for new lockdowns.
We caution against getting taken in by scary expressions like “second wave” to describe the rise in cases in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. These states did not re-open their economies any earlier or any more than other states. Case fatality rates are falling in all four states, and hospitals are not saturated. This is consistent with a sharp rise in testing, far larger than New York had during the peak of its infection. More testing captures more cases, and more that are mild or asymptomatic. So cases now are concentrated among the many and durable middle-aged, while deaths remain concentrated among the few and the fragile old-aged. There is little political scope for new lockdowns other than small-footprint symbolic gestures, so we see little risk that the V-shaped recovery under way will be interfered with.