“Mind the lag”; what we can learn from the States

In America they said the virus was beaten, and the virus wasn’t beaten

Complacency, arrogance or just bad leadership? America thought it could return to normal and yesterday it recorded its highest number of confirmed cases ever.

I haven’t been outside this week. I won’t till I cycle over to Guys hospital next Friday. I watch with amazement the scenes in Bournemouth , around Anfield and in South London.

I look at this chart that chronicles Governor Abbott’s reactions to his numbers


The lag between restrictions being lifted and the second wave (more a Tsunami) is 6 weeks. Abbott is reacting not anticipating.

We have not yet seen a couple of weeks since the first restrictions were lifted. If we had followed Texas’ trend, my elective surgery would not happen next weekend.

We are told to follow the data. I am very worried about the data and the science behind it.

More than 40,000 new cases were recorded across the  whole US on Friday

The total of 40,173, given by Johns Hopkins University, was the highest daily total so far, exceeding the record set only the previous day.


What else this second US Surge teaches us.

I am reliant here on the BBC’s reporting of Dr Anthony’s Gauci’s comments at the first White House briefing in months.

Dr Fauci said the current rises were due to everything from regions “maybe opening a little bit too early”, to opening at a reasonable time “but not actually following steps in an orderly fashion”, to the citizens themselves not following guidance.

“People are infecting other people, and then ultimately you will infect someone who’s vulnerable,” he said.

“You have an individual responsibility to yourself, but you have a societal responsibility because if we want to end this outbreak, really end it… we’ve got to realise that we are part of the process.”

Dr Fauci added that if the spread was not stopped, eventually even the parts of the country doing well now would be affected.

texas 2

It is not New York or New Jersey that is leading the second surge (though their new case numbers are still high) it is those states that thought they were immune, Texas, Florida, California, Georgia, Arizona and North Carolina.

If you think because you live in the South West or the north of Scotland that you are immune, think of that.

How are we doing?

We are a very densely populated nation. Despite some terrible mistakes (most notably our neglect of our elderly in care) we are not doing as badly as some commentaries suggest.


With Brazil added by the COVID-19 actuaries

This chart, which looks at cases per 5 million of population shows that unlike the US, Britain currently has disease transmission under control.

I will be going into hospital to receive elective surgery confident that for now we have an improving situation.

But is this just because of the lag? Will the events on Bournemouth beach become as concerning as the spike in US infections in a month’s time?

The only way we have of answering that question today, is not to spend the coming days telling each other we have beaten the virus.

We are doing fine now, let’s keep it that way.


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in actuaries, coronavirus, pensions and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply