Friday 19 February 2021

How it’s going - Covid economic shock

If only because I am bored of seeing the usual suspects say the UK has had the worst global recession due to Covid and the most deaths and what an exceptional horror story we are etc etc. 

As always in reality, it is much greyer, the major economies of Europe have been in a very similar vein, except Germany who avoided the tough first wave and they only compare the the USA who have not closed down as much as Europe (but, on balance have the same level of deaths broadly, if not a little better). 

But funnily, I don't read anywhere that the USA has done better than Europe throughout the pandemic from both a medical and economic perspective? I wonder why?


Timbo614 said...

If you base it on starting at 100% and assuming that each %age is relevant to it's previous level, we haven't done well really.
UK comes 2nd to bottom:

France 94.98
Germany 95.92
Italy 93.46
Spain 90.14
UK 92.23
US 97.52

We beat Spain whoopee.
No idea why I did that but a quick mental scan said so :)

Timbo614 said...


E-K said...

I tried comparing the whole of the EU to the USA (a fairer comparison than the BBC makes) and pro rata, the death rates were virtually identical.

Graeme said...

Just how good are these GDP figures, particularly in assessing the contribution of the public sector, especially areas such as education and health? I know that the ONS have played around with the numbers to account for school closures and the cessation of much medical activity but most governments have kept to the old 100% input =100% output. I wonder how much insight these figures give

Elby the Beserk said...

Problem, all these "death rates" are bollocks.

Witness. I test positive for Covid 2 weeks ago.

Yesterday I died of a massive coronary, which I had been working on for years.

What was my death registered as?

1. Cardiac Arrest?

2. Covid-19?

You know well how it was recorded.

The figures are meaningless. Completely meaningless.

The real death rates amongst the healthy are no worse than in a bad year for flu. And for elderly folks - well, no worse than the annual figures for pneumonia. Which now, like 'flu, seems to no longer be a mortal threat to the frail and elderly.

Sigh. Most everyone I talk to now is beyond pissed off with this, and getting crotchety. If we need a new vaccine for every mutation, lockdown will be for ever. Which will please Hancock, it would seem.

DJK said...

I think these GDP comparisons are pretty meaningless. Differences in methodology (a methodology meant for normal times) means it is a case of comparing apples and pears.

Elby: Just because deaths are hard to measure, doesn't mean the stats are meaningless. There are actually three measures of deaths: (1) died within 28 days of a positive test, (2) Covid-19 listed on the death certificate as a cause of death, (3) excess deaths above a normal average. For the UK, the three totals are pretty close: (1) 118,195, (2) 129,442, (3) 115,674. For some other countries, (Russia, Mexico) tally 3 is about double tally 1.

Anomalous Cowshed said...

What's the source for the table?

Anyway, GDP is a "least worst" type of number. None of the economies listed have the same structural features, so even in normal times, comparisons were of the apples and oranges variety.

Deaths per 100,000 head of population have a similar issue; the demographics aren't the same, so if a country has a population that trends younger than others, it'll show fewer deaths on a per capita basis.

So, what ought to be done is compare the number of deaths per capita in the 65+ age group being those most at risk. Refine that by the underlying rates of co-morbidities.

At which point, you'll have structural differences between social care to worry about, and then specific policy implementations.

Don Cox said...

When the 65+ people have all been vaccinated, they are no longer those most at risk.

Don Cox

E-K said...


Uncle Derek died of stage 4 prostate bone cancer and contracted CV-19 in his last two weeks because his rellies wanted to hug him.

After six months of writhing on a vibrating mattress what did his death go down as ??? (even though he suffocated with fluid on his lungs - pneumonia)



Bel Mooney reports the same of her father today in the Daily Mail and if someone even moderately famous can say this then we can be pretty sure that the practice is endemic.

Clearly Lefty doctors are keen to stir up the shit for the Tories.

jim said...

At first sight the numbers don't look too bad and the markets are holding up well. Let us assume that lasts then we might begin to think - 'we eliminated a great many people from working and not much happened - try some more'.

Obvious ideas so relative competitive advantage for the West will not change much (except for the French). The tricky problem is how our competitive position vis a vis Asia goes. Our governments will still be lumbered with the excess humans. They have to be fed and watered. So not much improvement overall.

We might soak up the excess with more public sector jobs, perhaps renew the Civil Service and bring outsource back in. Who could be the new Northcote and Trevelyan? - McKinsey and Bain - turkeys/Christmas? Might employ a few extra but at what cost. Loads of fun to look forward to. Nice little war anyone?

Anonymous said...

What DJK said. For all of the anecdotes, its hard to duck the excess deaths numbers.

If you like anecdotes and won't believe official statistics (sound instinct, but there's a limit) and if you sadly find yourself organising a funeral, talk to the undertakers and the florist. Round our way, which is all I can speak to, they freely admit have never had so much business. Lockdown? The florist has been making like valentines day (her description) all the time, and not just nice occasional gestures for bored people.

Suff said...

It’s gonna be interesting to see how they spin a sudden spike in Covid cases in Texas, as the the fairy wands and vanity mirrors failed to produce any meaningful energy and they couldn’t buy enough of that nasty gas ( in Texas FFS)
“The male age 25 was found frozen to death huddled under blankets in his apartment”
“ Frozen to death?”
“ Yes he was like a popsicle and had a body temperature of -10”
“ -10 is surely a flue like symptom?....... And was he wearing a mask?......and....and only 25, the disease has now obviously mutated and now killing younger people. More measures are needed to combat bla bla bla

E-K said...

Yes, Anonymous

But people haven't been getting treatment for a large number of lethal illnesses and one of the old gals on my care rounds visibly deteriorated in lockdown and died of heart attack on Christmas Day. It's the third funeral I've been to in locdown and none due to CV-19 but arguably because of lockdown.

She had been a sprightly carer herself the day before lockdown.

I'm not surprised in the slightest that there is a higher death rate.

Solitary confinement is the toughest punishment they give to prisoners in the UK. Solitary confinement and a withering bombardment of negative emotion is what they use to test and extract information from commandos and special forces operators. So imagine what that does to old people.

THEN attribute everything to CV-19 on the death certificates.