France’s Case Surge and Deaths

By September 11, 2020 Commentary

This chart shows two things.  One is that the usual nonsense about the value of masks is grossly overstated.  France has had a widespread mask mandate for some time.  You can see how much it has suppressed cases.  The second is that while cases have surged, I assume in part due to excessive testing, look at how nothing has happened with deaths.  We are seeing this in several places.  It suggests a number of possibilities.  Some people are saying the virus has mutated to a milder form.  I don’t see any suggestion of that in the virus sequencing studies I peruse.  There are better treatment guidelines, which may limit deaths.  Another possibility is that the over-testing is catching a lot of very marginal infections, especially if higher cycle number thresholds are used.  That I think does account for some of it.  Some is age-related, with more of the “cases” among younger people.  But that latter factor is also related to what I believe is the primary explanation, what I have called front-loading.  Whether because of dose sensitivity or just more vulnerable immune systems, the virus had an uncanny ability to attack the most likely to succumb to serious illness in the early stages of the epidemic.  And some of these people were clustered in group living situations which facilitated further spread.  A lot of the most vulnerable either died or were infected and survived, so there are just fewer left to become infected.  In any event, it is a striking feature of the case uptick in many countries.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • James Alt says:

    Kevin, wondering if the “death bubble” here in the US can be popped. We have seen a decrease in the number of “cases” but we are still having close to 1K deaths per day. We all know that just about everyone dying in the US today is a Covid death, but shouldn’t someone look at the numbers and say that there is no way if we are averaging around 30K-40K “infections” a day (or lower) there is no way 1000 people are dying of Covid a day. That would be an astronomical death rate.

  • SteveD says:

    ‘Whether because of dose sensitivity or just more vulnerable immune systems, the virus had an uncanny ability to attack the most likely to succumb to serious illness in the early stages of the epidemic.’

    I was looking at the CDC webpage and the infection rate vs. age class data almost completely inverted sometime around week 19 and 20. Looking at infection rate alone, the oldest age class originally had the highest percentage of infections, now they are have the lowest. the question is why.

    This is interesting because as people age they generally become less susceptible to infection by respiratory viruses due to the immunities they have built up over their lives (or possibly because of their lifestyle).

  • Rob says:

    If you compare the US death rate over the last month with the hospitalization rate over the same period, half the people hospitalized are dying.

    This says one of two things: either the hospitals are getting WORSE at treating patients, or people are being admitted to the hospital for other illnesses and if/when they die a lot of them are getting counted as C-19 deaths.

  • Alex says:

    It’s interesting to see infection rates increase at the point of mask mandates. It’s happening here and what do the mid-wits in power say? It’s because ‘people aren’t listening’. Yeh sure. We’ve had this dubious mandate since July. You would think there would be some kind of positive result. But there isn’t. It blows my mind how they don’t seem to follow or read data. Whitmore in Michigan now mandates it for sports – but the pros. This strikes me as dangerously irresponsible. Then again, she did mess up with the nursing homes.

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