‘A Lot Of Death, Unfortunately’, And One Curve You Don’t Want To Flatten

"A World War I or II or something."

“There will be a lot of death, unfortunately”, Donald Trump said Saturday, addressing reporters (and the nation) on a day when the US death toll from coronavirus hit 8,405.

More than 300,000 Americans have been infected, nearly triple the next highest country total globally.

“There’s going to be a very, very deadly period”, Trump went on to say. “I really believe we probably have never seen anything like these kind of numbers”.


New York is vying with Spain and Italy to become the second highest “country” total behind the US as a whole. The state had nearly 114,000 cases as of Saturday evening.

It’s worth emphasizing (again), that at the current rate, New York’s infection total will be double that of China in relatively short order. Last week, US intelligence reportedly told the White House that the numbers out of Beijing are “fake“. Beijing of course denies the accusations, but China’s population is 1.4 billion. New York State is home to roughly 20 million people.

The administration is hewing to the now widely disseminated estimate that the country could lose between 100,000 and 240,000 people by the time the virus runs its course.

Trump on Saturday said that “maybe during the war – a world war”, the US has seen more deaths. “A World War I or II or something”, he mused.

For those interested, the visual below quantifies the president’s “or something” remark. The following are the actual numbers as they compare to the projected deaths from COVID-19.

By now, most are aware of the extent to which the elderly are at greater risk, but you might not be apprised of the actual mortality rates across countries and broken down by age groups.

Here are some visuals from a Friday note from Deutsche Bank in that regard:

(Deutsche Bank)

When it comes to the “curve”, the US doesn’t appear to be anywhere near the “flattening” phase, underscoring the warnings from the administration that the next couple of weeks are set to be particularly harrowing.

Deborah Birx matter-of-factly told Americans not to go to the grocery store. “The next two weeks are extraordinarily important”, she emphasized on Saturday. “This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe and that means everybody doing the six-feet distancing, washing their hands”.

Meanwhile, another “curve” that isn’t anywhere near “flattening” is the trajectory of the Fed’s balance sheet, which hit $5.8 trillion this week.

“On top of all the swap lines, the Fed is buy[ing] bonds at a pace never seen before in [its] open-ended QE”, Nordea writes, noting that “these are amounts that would usually not even be seen on a monthly basis [so] it’s not unimaginable that the Fed balance sheet will have more than doubled or even tripled by the end of Q2”.


Those of you “old” enough to remember 2018 know what happens to risk assets whenever that “curve” starts to “flatten”.


1 comment on “‘A Lot Of Death, Unfortunately’, And One Curve You Don’t Want To Flatten

  1. I see Camus’ “The Plauge” is being widely read. Here in N.Y. we are at the point where you realize it is your own breath that may kill the ones you love.
    Our President and council let greed guide early inaction. Vanity precludes wearing masks. A malaria pill is the Presidents personal hope.
    Aeschylus cast the press as chorus.
    Nietzsche should be here for this.

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