Nobel laureate predicts quick coronavirus recovery: ‘We’re going to be fine’

Nobel laureate and Stanford biophysicist Michael Levitt predicts a quick coronavirus recovery. Levitt began analyzing the number of SARS-CoV-2 cases worldwide in January. Long before many health experts had predicted, Levitt correctly calculated that China would get through the worst of its COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

He foresees a similar outcome in the United States and the rest of the world.

Joe Mozingo for The Los Angeles Times:

quick coronavirus recovery. Image: coronavirusWhile many epidemiologists are warning of months, or even years, of massive social disruption and millions of deaths, Levitt says the data simply don’t support such a dire scenario — especially in areas where reasonable social distancing measures are in place.

He analyzed 78 countries with more than 50 reported cases of COVID-19 every day and sees “signs of recovery.” He’s not looking at cumulative cases, but the number of new cases every day — and the percentage growth in that number from one day to the next…

[Levitt] blames the media for causing unnecessary panic by focusing on the relentless increase in the cumulative number of cases and spotlighting celebrities who contract the virus. By contrast, the flu has sickened 36 million Americans since September and killed an estimated 22,000, according to the CDC, but those deaths are largely unreported.

He fears the public health measures that have shut down large swaths of the economy could cause their own health catastrophe, as lost jobs lead to poverty and hopelessness. Time and again, researchers have seen that suicide rates go up when the economy spirals down. “The real situation is not as nearly as terrible as they make it out to be,” he said…

“What we need is to control the panic,” he said. In the grand scheme, “we’re going to be fine.”

MacDailyNews Take: A quick coronavirus recovery would be very welcome indeed!

That said, thank God this didn’t happen in late 1996/early 1997 or we’d all be stuck with bad upside-down and backwards Mac wannabes and flip phones today.

MacDailyNews Note: More info on the Prevention & Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) via the U.S. CDC is here. Track the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) here.


  1. I favour listening to the epidemiologists. For starters SARS in the USA and most of the West was rare and the spread of COVID-19 in a country where many people don’t have paid sick leave and access to free testing ie, the USA will be interesting. We don’t really know what the actual infection rate is with such low levels of testing.

      1. And having said that the worldwide data is weak, Professor Ioannidis then bases his conclusions by limiting consideration to the 700-odd cases on the Diamond Princess and extrapolating that to the age structure of the US population.

        The most glaring issue is that this sample is grossly unrepresentative. People who go on long cruises are mostly older, so many of the people who did not die were just as old as those who did. Cruise passengers also tend to be wealthy, hence well nourished and the recipients of above-average medical care. They were under close observation from before most of them showed any symptoms, and were taken to a well-equipped hospital immediately if their symptoms became severe. None of that is generally true of the 338,000 other Covid-19 patients.

        For a professional response to the Professor, see

  2. Well, I’m sure most of us are hoping it “will go away soon.” I’m not a Nobel laureate, but I’ll be sure to forward a copy of his article to Spain, Washington State, South Korea, New York, Italy, California and China (oops, China’s great firewall won’t permit that!).

    1. Dr. Levitt (whose Nobel is in Chemistry, not Medicine) seems to be basing his optimism on the outcome in China. Yes, the worst is over there, but that is because they could contain the outbreak before it became widely distributed in their population. They did that by applying totalitarian measures that would simply not be feasible in a Western society. Some other Asian countries similarly caught the virus by vigorous public health measures before there was substantial community spread.

      When Wuhan was reporting a 4% fatality rate, many Westerners blew that off as a combination of (1) underreporting mild cases with (2) an excessive death rate thanks to Third-World medicine. The true mortality rate, we were assured, was 1% or even less. Sounds good, but it fails to explain how a country like Italy with a good reporting system and a First-World medical system has a reported mortality rate of over 9%.

      A disaster is not assured. Even though it is too late to contain the virus in the US, it is not too late to mitigate. However, that will require public cooperation. Every article like this one that suggests that Covid-19 is really not all that much more dangerous than seasonal flu (which has a 0.1% mortality rate or less, and is substantially less contagious) makes strong public support less likely. That could cost many lives.

        1. Is that 1.4% mortality rate? Hubei (where Wuhan is located) reported “only” 3,153 deaths. Wuhan has a population of 11 million. If only 25% of the population were infected, that wouldn’t that be 38,000 deaths? Also, in a large population such as the United States, the difference between 1.4% and 0.1% is HUGE. Either my math is wrong or I’m missing something… but it doesn’t seem to add up.

        2. Sure, it seems low enough, but it is still over 10x as high as normal flu. It means when doing nothing, it would seriously overwhelm hospitals, which is happening all over the world. But I suspect mortality rate will creep up in the West as people don’t get the treatment they need as hospital beds are limited (China can scale up must faster) and more deaths of unrelated diseases will occur because people are not getting their cancer treatments and operations because hospitals are overwhelmed. So yeah, it’s not the end of the world, but not regular flu season either.

  3. I think I will “iCalc” his remarks – although it does not – and would not – comfort me in the least if he was wrong.

    Here is praying that he is right.,

  4. I am sure we will get over this Coronavirus and the recovery will come quick. Some business may go under, some new will arise. What is critical right now is the number of people that need hospital care. Basically everybody that has to be hospitalized needs to be provided with oxygen 24/7 for an average of 14 days. If the number of cases increases at the same speed, there will not be enough oxygen supply nor enough medical staff. If we all follow the social distancing rules, this will not happen. It will flatten the curve significantly, allowing to treat all the people in medical need, to give extra time to develop faster tests and to come up with a vaccine. So, please, take this seriously. – We will overcome this but only if we collaborate. No need to panic but no need to be careless either.

    1. We will overcome this but only if we collaborate. No need to panic but no need to be careless either

      I agree, but a huge problem is far too many people in the US, Canada, and other softly-hit (so far) western countries a) AREN’T taking this seriously enough, and b) believe even the mere SUGGESTION by government that they restrict movement and gatherings (esp. self-isolate for 14 days after returning from abroad, or staying 6 ft apart from people you don’t already co-habit with) to be assaults on freedom of assembly.

      Even in locked-down Italy, the worst-hit western country, mayors and other leaders are on official videos screaming and swearing at residents who are violating the curfew. People are allowed to go out with dogs for them to do their business only, but some are abusing that privilege by staying out and walking around.

      This crosses age and class boundaries. The selfishness of a few will be society’s undoing.

      1. Agreed. Unfortunately, there are some (many?) Americans who fail to take responsibility and prefer to place blame on others. Well, they are free to do so… even when their loved ones are turned away by the overcrowded hospitals. Then they will know. Their behavior is disgusting. It will cost us all. It is sad.

  5. Thanks for your post. Well said. I am, however, worried that some in the US both rely heavily upon and blame the government at the same time rather than acting themselves. Some say… Trump didn’t do enough, why is the vaccine taking so long, the government needs to do more of this or that, why isn’t there a treatment yet, the gov isn’t doing enough, etc… All of that may be true, but meanwhile the virus spreads why people “wait for it to get fixed” by others. MAJOR social distancing is coming… the kind where going out to the supermarket might get you and your family infected. OVERLOADS at hospitals are coming… the kind where they say “sorry” and send your mother home. MAJOR hygiene steps are in order… wearing a mask all day, near constant hand sanitizing and environmental disinfecting. Trump isn’t going to your house to squirt Purell on your hands. We have to do this ourselves. And it doesn’t work unless we all do it.

    1. When the president says “I don’t take responsibility at all”, it only makes sense that his supporters especially but society in general have an unconscious excuse to not take responsibility for their own well-being, let alone the well-being of others.

      1. Mossman, to say that it makes sense that his supporters especially but society in general have an unconscious excuse to not take responsibility is not logical. You are using emotion and dislike. The President did not say it the way you are stating it in this post, he was talking about state governors needing to take care of their state’s needs first and foremost. It is not any presidents fault, this is our USA system. Obama did the same actions for the most part, he did not interfere in state governments running themselves first and foremost. This is your assumption, not logic. Additionally, the USA system is one of states first and federal second. The feds do not take care of the states, which is what the President was referring to. State governments regulate and take care of their own citizens for the most part. While there are some federal programs, often these are grant or block based given to states to dole out. General rules or laws about behaviors come out of state governments though.

        1. The President did say it that way. When asked if he took responsibility for the obvious shortfalls in federal preparation, he said no. This is the same President who took complete credit/responsibility for the economy until the end of February.

    2. There will be no vaccine for the here and now the common cold, flu, sars, mers, and now coronavirus, the current flu vaccine is largely a placebo (Not even remotely on the same level as the Polio vaccine). A question of when not if you git it. If you are older and a non-smoker/vaper you might git thru this.

    1. It is not anywhere near the same level as the Polio, Tetanus, Rabies, and Smallpox vaccines if you can’t grasp that fact you are very stupid. Placebo vaccine doesn’t work the medical world say’s if and maybe when if comes to the flu vaccine nothing more than a public relations job. It has been 19 years since Sars broke out nothing, and close to ten years since Mers, talking about a vaccine now is false hope, Coronavirus is here to stay, and It is a question of when not if every human in their life time gets it. (similar to the common cold or the flu).

      Not smoking/vaping, washing your hands (no phone in bathroom) and clean air (EPA anyone?) over a lifetime is more prudent.

  6. The real truth is, no one really knows what’s going to happen. Being a bobel laureate in biophysics doesn’ uimpress the coronoavirus one bit. We’ll know a lot mor in the next coupl of weeks. Let’s hope that whatever we learn, it’s not as bad as some have predicted.

    Here’s another viewpoing….

  7. Well for one thing the media could start a bit more positive reporting rather than doom and gloom and the world is ending. But they are the media and negativity and scare tactics line their pockets and they really don’t give a shit what happens or who dies as long as they get their headlines and click bait. They are bottom dwelling scum suckers, the lot of them.

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