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Age-Adjusted Mortality At Just 2004 Levels (Despite Media Claims That COVID Is “Worse Than The 1918 Flu”)

Age-Adjusted Mortality At Just 2004 Levels (Despite Media Claims That COVID Is "Worse Than The 1918 Flu")

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

Last week, the media again tried to ratchet up the public’s fear over covid-19…

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Age-Adjusted Mortality At Just 2004 Levels (Despite Media Claims That COVID Is "Worse Than The 1918 Flu")

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

Last week, the media again tried to ratchet up the public’s fear over covid-19 by labeling it more deadly than the 1918 flu epidemic.

“COVID-19 Is Now the Deadliest Disease in U.S. History,” reads one headline from an NBC TV affiliate. Considering the realities of cancer and heart disease, that headline is absurdly false. Perhaps the author meant “communicable disease.”

 A TIME headline was at least arguably factual, declaring, “COVID-19 Is Now the Deadliest Pandemic in American History.”

But even the TIME headline is only arguably true if stripped of all context. If we actually look at disease mortality proportionally to the population, the 1918 epidemic was far worse than covid. Considering that the US population in 1918 was one-third its current size, we find that deaths per million from the flu epidemic totaled about sixty-five hundred per million. Covid, by comparison currently comes in—in the official numbers—around twenty-two hundred per million.

But this is all part of a larger pattern—one well embraced by the media—of presenting information with as little context as possible. One such example was the reporting on suicide rates in 2018, which ignored everything but the most recent trend.

A current example—and one very much related to the attempts to compare covid to the 1918 flu—is the failure to look at covid mortality—and mortality in general—in light of an aging population.

Rising Mortality and an Aging Population

After all, the fact that the American population is rapidly aging is going to increase total mortality over time. We see that in the total mortality data over the past twenty years. For example, from 2001 to 2020, total deaths increased in every year but four. It’s unlikely this was because the United States was becoming a more deadly place to live for children or the middle aged. Rather, over that time, the US population became increasingly elderly—and also larger in general—and more people were dying.

This trend appears to have accelerated after 2011, with total annual deaths increasing by 33 percent. Moreover, even if we create a death rate and thus account for increases in total population size, we still find that the death rate has increased in every single year since 2009. Again, we have to wonder if this is because life is more deadly for the general population.

Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Center for Health Statistics.

And, of course, there is the larger increase in mortality that occurred in 2020, thanks—in part—to covid deaths. But this increase occurred in a context of total deaths that was already in an upward trend.

We can get a better perspective on this if we adjust for the aging population. Since the makeup of the population is changing over time, it makes more sense to make comparisons over time using “age-adjusted” total deaths.

Using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s official age-adjusted numbers for total deaths, the trend naturally looks different. Age-adjusted death rates have generally declined for the past twenty years. Indeed, the overall trend has been mostly downward for the past 120 years. (A notable exception was from 1914 to 1918, when the rate increased 18 percent.)

Source: Historical data through 2018 obtained from National Center for Health Statistics Data Visualization Gallery (Mortality Trends in the United States, 1900–2018). Age-adjusted death rates for 2020 obtained from Farida B. Ahmad, Jodi A. Cisewski, Arialdi Miniño, and Robert N. Anderson, Provisional Mortality Data—United States, 2020, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 70, no. 14 (Apr. 9, 2021): 519–22. The report notes: "In 2020, approximately 3,358,814 deaths occurred in the United States (Table). The age-adjusted rate was 828.7 deaths per 100,000 population, an increase of 15.9% from 715.2 in 2019."­­

So what does this added context tell us?

For one, it tells us the comparisons to 1918 are quite inappropriate. Age-adjusted deaths increased by more than 265 per hundred thousand from 1917 to 1918. The same rate increased by 113 per hundred thousand from 2019 to 2020.

Moreover, looking more closely at the past twenty years, we find that the increase from 2019 to 2020 takes us back only to somewhere between 2003 and 2004 in terms of comparable rates. Anyone over the age of twenty-five who remembers those days may recall that the period was not considered to be a time of unprecedented health crises.

Source: Centers for Disease Control. Historical data through 2018 obtained from National Center for Health Statistics Data Visualization Gallery (Mortality Trends in the United States, 1900–2018). Age-adjusted death rates for 2020 obtained from Farida B. Ahmad, Jodi A. Cisewski, Arialdi Miniño, and Robert N. Anderson, Provisional Mortality Data—United States, 2020 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 70, no. 14 (Apr. 9, 2021) 519–22.

The point here, of course, is not that covid deaths over the past eighteen months are insignificant. Indeed, even if we make no distinction between covid deaths and noncovid deaths since early 2020, it’s clear more Americans have indeed been dying from all causes. And that’s hardly something to celebrate or ignore. Nevertheless, it remains important to obtain some much-needed context when examining a disease which is being used to justify unprecedented increases in state power and violations of human rights.

American citizens are nowadays subjected to a nonstop drumbeat of claims about "unprecedented" levels of mortality.

We’re even told covid is just like the flu of 1918.

And to what end?

Apparently, to rob people of their livelihoods if they refuse to receive a vaccine. It’s to attempt to make pariahs of anyone who makes health decisions of which the regime does not approve. It’s to continue to justify 2020’s ineffectual lockdowns. It’s to justify government spending at levels unprecedented in peacetime. It’s to deny that natural immunity provides meaningful resistance to the disease.

Yet all this rhetoric occurs at a time when age-adjusted mortality is not exactly panic inducing if we look beyond the confines of just the last few years.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/14/2021 - 14:00

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International

Visualizing The World’s Biggest Real Estate Bubbles In 2021

Visualizing The World’s Biggest Real Estate Bubbles In 2021

Identifying real estate bubbles is a tricky business. After all, as Visual Capitalist’s Nick Routley notes, even though many of us “know a bubble when we see it”, we don’t…

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Visualizing The World's Biggest Real Estate Bubbles In 2021

Identifying real estate bubbles is a tricky business. After all, as Visual Capitalist's Nick Routley notes, even though many of us “know a bubble when we see it”, we don’t have tangible proof of a bubble until it actually bursts.

And by then, it’s too late.

The map above, based on data from the Real Estate Bubble Index by UBS, serves as an early warning system, evaluating 25 global cities and scoring them based on their bubble risk.

Reading the Signs

Bubbles are hard to distinguish in real-time as investors must judge whether a market’s pricing accurately reflects what will happen in the future. Even so, there are some signs to watch out for.

As one example, a decoupling of prices from local incomes and rents is a common red flag. As well, imbalances in the real economy, such as excessive construction activity and lending can signal a bubble in the making.

With this in mind, which global markets are exhibiting the most bubble risk?

The Geography of Real Estate Bubbles

Europe is home to a number of cities that have extreme bubble risk, with Frankfurt topping the list this year. Germany’s financial hub has seen real home prices rise by 10% per year on average since 2016—the highest rate of all cities evaluated.

Two Canadian cities also find themselves in bubble territory: Toronto and Vancouver. In the former, nearly 30% of purchases in 2021 went to buyers with multiple properties, showing that real estate investment is alive and well. Despite efforts to cool down these hot urban markets, Canadian markets have rebounded and continued their march upward. In fact, over the past three decades, residential home prices in Canada grew at the fastest rates in the G7.

Despite civil unrest and unease over new policies, Hong Kong still has the second highest score in this index. Meanwhile, Dubai is listed as “undervalued” and is the only city in the index with a negative score. Residential prices have trended down for the past six years and are now down nearly 40% from 2014 levels.

Note: The Real Estate Bubble Index does not currently include cities in Mainland China.

Trending Ever Upward

Overheated markets are nothing new, though the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the dynamic of real estate markets.

For years, house price appreciation in city centers was all but guaranteed as construction boomed and people were eager to live an urban lifestyle. Remote work options and office downsizing is changing the value equation for many, and as a result, housing prices in non-urban areas increased faster than in cities for the first time since the 1990s.

Even so, these changing priorities haven’t deflated the real estate market in the world’s global cities. Below are growth rates for 2021 so far, and how that compares to the last five years.

Overall, prices have been trending upward almost everywhere. All but four of the cities above—Milan, Paris, New York, and San Francisco—have had positive growth year-on-year.

Even as real estate bubbles continue to grow, there is an element of uncertainty. Debt-to-income ratios continue to rise, and lending standards, which were relaxed during the pandemic, are tightening once again. Add in the societal shifts occurring right now, and predicting the future of these markets becomes more difficult.

In the short term, we may see what UBS calls “the era of urban outperformance” come to an end.

Tyler Durden Sat, 10/23/2021 - 22:00

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Government

The return of text is inevitable

Welcome to Startups Weekly, a fresh human-first take on this week’s startup news and trends. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here. On Equity this week, we discussed the value of the written word. You can imagine that the resulting argument is inheren

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Welcome to Startups Weekly, a fresh human-first take on this week’s startup news and trends. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here.

On Equity this week, we discussed the value of the written word. You can imagine that the resulting argument is inherently biased, considering we are three journalists who have bet our livelihoods on ink; but, I promise, there’s more nuance here beyond how important a lede is.

We recently published a recent deep dive on Automattic, the commercial media company behind the WordPress publishing platform. Founded in 2005, Automattic is one of the few companies that has been able to evolve and expand its way through a graveyard of media sites. Valued at $7.5 billion, it has also convinced investors of the financial promise of its vision.

I was most struck by how text has shaped Automattic’s hiring process: The company offers a purely written interview, where potential new hires never need to reveal their face or voice to anyone through the recruitment funnel. It takes away the inherent bias that comes with a Zoom interview, which, at its core, is just a digital version of a face-to-face interview. Monica Ohara, chief marketing officer of WordPress.com, explained more about her thinking:

“You normally think you’ve got to talk to them; see them on video. With text only, you remove all this bias and focus on the content of what they’re saying, and also test for a style of communication that’s really important in a distributed team.

“In Silicon Valley, everyone is competing for the same people that would add diversity to your pool. Which is great for those people, but what about all the others who don’t have those opportunities because of where they were born or live? For me, I was born in the Philippines and if I hadn’t had the luck to move here, I’d be living a different life.”

Rethinking the value of text, the same way we rethink how many synchronous meetings should be on our calendar, feels like the natural next step for companies figuring out how to scale distributed work. Even in a world seemingly ruled by short-form video, words — and sound — seem to matter in a way that other formats never will.

In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about PayPal’s reported new friend, the Chinese venture capital market and not at all about Facebook’s impending new rebrand. 

PayPal picks Pinterest

Image Credits: TechCrunch

We rushed to Twitter Spaces this week after rumors came out that PayPal may be buying Pinterest for a reported $45 billion. The fintech giant has been on an acquisition spree of sorts, but scooping up a social, photo-sharing platform may signal its hungry to own the content — not just the customer.

Here’s what to know: This feels nostalgic. PayPal potentially joining forces with a more content-focused e-commerce business comes more than a half-decade after it divorced from eBay. But, as Finix Chief Growth Officer Jareau Wadé pointed out, Pinterest is not a shopping destination like eBay — it’s a place where shopping begins for nearly 450 million users.

In a Substack post, Wadé makes the following argument to describe why PayPal may buy Pinterest:

At its core, Pinterest is more like Google than eBay. It’s a search engine that conducts over 5 billion searches per month for fuzzy, hard-to-describe ideas where pictures, rather than words, are often the best place to start. It also has a growing ads business that produced $613 million last quarter, up 125% YoY. With Pinterest, PayPal would be buying the top of the funnel — the awareness and interest stages — for millions of websites on the internet. PayPal would provide Pinterest with the bottom of the funnel, allowing them to see the purchases that result from shopping that began on Pinterest.

Imagine if PayPal could use their core product and the commerce assets they’ve acquired over the past five years to build a deconstructed sales funnel, not just for one website, but for the whole internet.

Put a pin in it:

China is thriving

Flag of China with pile of bitcoin

Image Credits: TechCrunch

Data from CB Insights shows us that, aside from a single outsized 2018 round, China’s third quarter of 2021 was the best three-month period for Chinese startups ever — both in deal value and deal count.

Here’s what to know: We’re surprised, too. On Equity, we discussed how the growth of China’s venture capital market contrasts in sentiment with the region’s government restrictions. It seems that regulatory impact hasn’t stopped all companies from raising, and growing, their businesses there.

Internationally speaking:

Around TC

TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 is next week! My colleagues have put together an amazing show about the sector that seemingly can’t stop attracting millions from investors. We’ll see what stopped eating the world, how hunger is turning into innovation and definitely hit a few SaaSy notes through panels with experts.

Check out the event agenda, buy your pass and come hang with us on October 27.

Across the week

Seen on TechCrunch

A massive ‘stalkerware’ leak puts the phone data of thousands at risk

What do people want in a co-founder? YC has some answers

Station F adds an online program to educate the next generation of entrepreneurs

Trump to launch his own social media platform, calling it TRUTH Social

Seen on TechCrunch+

Mission-driven ventures are growing fast during the pandemic

Dear Sophie: Any suggestions for recruiting international tech talent?

Lessons from founders raising their first round in a bull market

Udemy targets valuation of $4B in major edtech IPO

Talk soon,

N 

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Economics

DAX index forecast ahead of the ECB meeting

European stocks rose on Friday on a surge in technology stocks; still, rising inflation became a concern for investors. European inflation was confirmed at 3.4% YoY in September, and concerns grew that the European Central Bank could change its monetary..

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European stocks rose on Friday on a surge in technology stocks; still, rising inflation became a concern for investors. European inflation was confirmed at 3.4% YoY in September, and concerns grew that the European Central Bank could change its monetary policy.

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said that ECB would maintain its accommodative policy for as long as necessary, but this could change soon. Germany’s DAX index has advanced again above 15,500 points, but it is still trading below its recent highs.

Germany’s recovery from the pandemic has been strong so far, and the country will release the preliminary estimates of its October Inflation data and its Q3 GDP next week.

Results from many big companies provided a strong start to third-quarter earnings, and investors’ focus will remain on the third-quarter earnings season because many companies have yet to publish their reports.

Next week, Deutsche Bank, Volkswagen,  Linde, MTU Aero Engines, and Daimler are among the companies scheduled to report quarterly results.

According to the German Economic Ministry, the outlook for the industry remains positive, but the world’s supply chains crisis represents a serious problem for Germany because of its dependence on exports.

The German economy is particularly vulnerable to shortages of key parts and raw materials, and more than 40% of companies reported they had lost sales because of supply problems.

Many big companies scaled back production of some of their most profitable models, while Opel announced last month that it would shut down a factory in Eisenach until the beginning of 2022.

It is important to say that nearly half of Germany’s economic output depends on exports of cars, machine tools, and other goods, while the semiconductor shortage throttling global car production suggests more pain for the automotive industry.

Despite this, the German Economic Ministry reported that it expected this effect to be temporary while the German central bank expects that the German economy could grow 3.7% this year. The German Economic Ministry added:

Healthy order books give us reason to expect strong recovery impulses from industry, and thanks to that strong overall economic growth

The European Central Bank recently reported that exports from Eurozone would have been at least 7% higher in the first half of the year if not for supply bottlenecks. The European Central Bank will announce its decision on monetary policy next Thursday, which could significantly influence on DAX index in the near term.

15,000 points represent support

Data source: tradingview.com

DAX index has advanced again above 15,500 points, and if the price jumps above 15,800 points, the next target could be at 16,000 points.

On the other side, if the price falls below strong support that stands at 15,000 points, it would be a strong “sell” signal, and the next target could be around 14,500 points.

Summary

The European Central Bank will announce its decision on monetary policy next Thursday, which could significantly influence on DAX index in the near term. DAX index has advanced again above 15,500 points, and if the price jumps above 15,800 points, the next target could be at 16,000 points.

The post DAX index forecast ahead of the ECB meeting appeared first on Invezz.

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