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Facts and Perspective on the Pandemic of 2020

May 28, 2020

We think our models of the world are more real than the world itself. That tendency is understandable since we can experiment with our simple models, while the real world is awash in complexity. We ignore what we don’t know. We shut down civilization because a model of the coronavirus said we were in danger. The facts matter, but we need more than facts and figures and the lastest models to feel safe again.

Are we at risk from Covid-19? Putting facts into perspective lets us see the relative size and distance of our concerns. We can compare the virus to other infections, to other risks we face, and compare the risks in our state versus other states. The first thing to notice is that we are not all the same.

One third of Covid deaths are in the green area, one third are in the yellow area, and one third are in the red area.

Diversity-
We’ve long been told that diversity is our strength. That is true in the case of this pandemic because we can see that a few states contain almost all the deaths from Covid-19. Even that statement hides how concentrated the fatalities really are. New York state has the most covid deaths. Even then, it is really New York City rather than upstate New York. Within the city, there are a few nursing homes that provided long-term care where the disease killed significant numbers. We see the unusual death toll in New York City because New York government demanded that patients discharged from the hospital with Covid-19 had to go to state-supported nursing homes to recover from the virus. Covid patients were sent to live with elderly people living in nursing homes even though the new patients were still contagious and shedding the virus. Other states did not do that, and that difference saved tens-of-thousands of lives across the country.

Before we can evaluate the danger of Covid-19, we have to ask if we will deliberately put old people into a dangerous setting. Decisions like that make over a 50-fold difference in the results. That isn’t a model, that is observation.

Best and Worst States for Covid-19

Covid-19 is now projected to kill about a hundred-and-thirty thousand people in the US this year. That sounds like a disaster, and it is about one-fifteenth of all the people we expect to die in the US this year from all causes. To put that projection into perspective, 130 thousand lives are about twice the number of people who died from the flu over the winter of 2017-2018. It is certainly worth our attention, but not the end of the world anymore than the flu was the end of the world two years ago.

We’ve seen diseases like Covid-19 before. SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) was also a coronavirus. We developed a vaccine for SARS over a decade ago, but SARS disappeared before the vaccine could begin clinical trials. We are again seeing similar behavior from Covid-19.

 

One well established theory says that about 60 to 70 percent of us have to be immune to the flu before the disease dies out. One problem with that theory is that we haven’t all had Covid-19 and yet we’re seeing a sudden drop in new cases. Now that we’re six weeks past the peak, have we suddenly become that much more diligent at washing our hands?

We observe that about 17 percent of us may have been exposed to the virus, and yet it is dying out as if we already reached herd immunity. Those are the results from antibody tests taken across the country. One untested theory is that many of us, if not most of us, have a natural immunity to Covid-19. Our immune system, particularly our T-cells, remember similar coronaviruses even if we don’t have the antibodies for this years virus. That is only a theory, but epidemiologists are struggling to explain what is protecting many of us from getting the virus as the rate of new Covid-19 infections falls so fast. You might not have heard about that epidemiological puzzle because good news doesn’t sell newspapers.

Here in the USA, it looks like Covid-19 will kill about 4-people-in-ten-thousand. Some places have been much worse and some have been much better. No matter where we live, we want to take care of those who are at an elevated risk, but there are greater dangers out there.

Whether you find that comforting or troubling remains up to you.
~_~_~_

I gave you 600 words. Please share them with a friend. The original article is here. RM

Sources-

https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america
https://www.statista.com/statistics/1103688/coronavirus-covid19-deaths-us-by-state/
https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/popest/2010s-state-total.html
https://web.archive.org/web/20200407103413/https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/03/doh_covid19-_nhadmissionsreadmissions_-032520.pdf
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html
https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2020/05/is-covid-19-dying-out.php
https://judithcurry.com/2020/05/10/why-herd-immunity-to-covid-19-is-reached-much-earlier-than-thought/
Covid Death Rates by State as of 25 May, 2020- RM

Albany Can’t Save You from the Flu

May 25, 2020

Politicians can do two things; they can arrest us and they can spend our money. Neither of those measures will save us from Covid-19. You can be safe, but only you can do that, not your mayor and not your governor.

The problem is not one of intelligence or wealth. The problem is about your unique personal information. The politician’s can’t know you and what you need. Albany can’t save you, and neither can Trenton, or Hartford, or Lansing or Boston.

To start, the governor’s public-health decrees don’t take account of how old you are. For young people in good health, the Wuhan flu is simply..the flu. Not so if you’re over 70 years of age and have serious chronic illnesses. The governor can’t know your family situation. If you’re a young family with kids, then you should be at the playground having fun. College students should be at the beach. Some of you will get the flu, just as you did last year and just as you will next year. I’m sorry you missed a few days of vacation with the sniffles, but that is life and you’ll get over it.

That isn’t true if you are taking care of elderly relatives with health issues. In that case, you might want to stay home, have your food delivered, and watch bad television for a few more weeks.

While staying home might be a good solution for you, it is a death sentence for someone waiting for cancer treatment. Let us go because lives are at stake. We need different solutions for different people.

The governor’s orders don’t take into account the rate of infection in your local community. One third of the deaths from Covid-19 for the entire USA are in the New York City area. Meanwhile, many counties are waiting for their first confirmed fatality.

One third of deaths in green, one third in yellow, and one third in red

The personal safety measures that work for you might not work for New York City,
and what works for New York City has devastated the rest of the USA.

We saw the New York City government put seriously ill people who had the virus into nursing homes along with elderly patients. The results were deadly. We had governors shut down their entire state, and we’re still learning how bad that was as rates of addiction and suicide grew six fold.

We asked government to solve a problem that was beyond them,
and politicians didn’t have the humility to admit it.

Your mayor is issuing decrees so he looks good in front of the TV cameras and so he looks good in front of the political bosses at the state capital. That is what politicians do. The governor is thinking about his political future, not about your future and your family’s future.

The politicians’ universal solution is to hand out money and tell you to stay home,
even if that solution doesn’t fit you at all.

 

I have a different universal solution for Covid-19 and it has proven both safe and effective in real-world tests. Wash your hands and avoid large crowds in confined spaces. Beyond that, think about the problem and do what works best for your situation. Maybe you should go back to work or maybe you should stay home. You make the call.

We will adapt. Maybe we will change our routines. For instance, a parish might make the first religious services on Sunday the designated “old-folks mass.” Lots of churches already have hand-sanitizer next to the holy-water font. Instead of reading from a hymnal, people can read along on their phones.

I don’t know every solution, but you are much smarter than I am. You always were. We need you to remembered that. I trust and respect your judgement more than the decisions of a politician.

To the politicians I say, get the hell out of our way.
~_~_~_

I gave you 700 words. Please share them and leave a comment. RM
Sources-
https://spectator.org/coronavirus-deaths-the-most-predictive-factor/
https://wmbriggs.com/post/30833/”https://nypost.com/2020/05/24/california-city-has-seen-more-deaths-by-suicide-than-covid-19-doctor/
https://thefederalist.com/2020/05/19/relapses-are-through-the-roof-overdoses-are-through-the-roof-how-the-pandemic-is-upping-substance-abuse/

 

Repost- There Is No Evidence Lockdowns Saved Lives. It Is Indisputable They Caused Great Harm – William M. Briggs

May 22, 2020

From W M Briggs, here are the statistics the legacy media didn’t show you. RM

“..we cannot conclude that lockdowns worked.

“..What politician anywhere will cop to ruining their economy and the lives of millions of their citizens? Who can say “Ah, it was only a few trillion”? This will not happen. It just won’t. All politicians will and much go on repeating that their lockdowns “saved lives”.

Source: There Is No Evidence Lockdowns Saved Lives. It Is Indisputable They Caused Great Harm – William M. Briggs

Should you be a slave to my fears?

May 21, 2020
tags:

Is it your fault that I’m afraid? Maybe it is your duty to do what I say until I feel better. Your rights end where my feelings begin, and I’m afraid of a virus and I’m afraid of freedom. That is why you have to do what I tell you to do. Or not.

Should you be a slave to my fears?

This so called “epidemic” is a wakeup call. More people will die from addictions and suicide than from Covid-19. Are we going to let someone take our freedom? We’re giving up the freedom to earn a living. The freedom to travel. The freedom to worship. We’ve given up the freedom to assemble and petition our government.

We’re willing to give up our freedom over the common cold, over the flu that will kill one out of two thousand of us, while other causes kill 15 times more of us every year.

This is our fault. We didn’t pay attention when our mayor was elected, and now he ordered us to stay home. We didn’t pay attention when our country board was elected, when our sheriff was elected, when our school board was elected. We didn’t ask the right questions when our state representatives, our governor, our federal legislators, and our president were elected. We didn’t do the work then, so now we have to get up and call them and demand our freedom back.

We didn’t do the work, so now we have to protest and contribute
to the legal organizations who are fighting for our freedom..
or we won’t have any.

We never agreed to slavery. We went from flatten the curve, to social distancing, to until we have a vaccine. We were told that the new normal is where abortion centers are open, and churches are ordered shut down and we should report our neighbors. We went from releasing violent criminals from jail, to jailing manicurists and barbers who see one client at a time.

That is socialism. That is fascism, and here is the cure.

Stop asking for permission. The strength of the american people is that we lead the way and make the politicians follow us, not the other way around. We’ll show the politicos when it is safe for them to come out of their safe spaces. They can follow our example.

I will not be a politician’s slave,
even if the politician is wearing a white lab coat and a surgeon’s mask.

There is no evidence that house arrest saves lives. None. There is a theory, but there is no data to support it. In fact, there is strong data against house arrest. Look at the experience of Sweden and Japan. Neither country enforced a lockdown. When we look at the severity of the illness, the US is worse than Japan and slightly better than Sweden. If we take out the New York metropolitan area, then the US infection rate moves closer to Japan.

That lesson is clear; don’t be like New York and move infectious people into nursing homes.
Don’t stay stuck on stupid.

It is your life and living it is up to you. Stay at home if you want, but you are not my slave and I am not a slave to your fears.

It is past time we acted like it.
~_~_

I gave you my best 500 words. Use them as you see fit. RM

The Lies the Legacy Media Will Tell Us

May 20, 2020

The legacy media lies. They lie to us in order to manipulate our opinion and to make more money from their advertisers. Those facts aren’t news. It doesn’t take much imagination to write the “epidemic” headlines that are headed our way.

-Every death in a bad red state is caused by Covid-19 and “poor political decisions,”
but every death in a good blue state is because “Orange-Man-Bad.”

–Politicians who hand out government money to their special interest voting blocs are
“acting with compassion during an emergency”,
but the politicians who open their state so people can earn a living are
“risking people’s lives as they sold out to greedy business interests”.

-Grocery stores are “selflessly serving the public” by being open,
but a priest, pastor, or rabbi is “needlessly putting people at risk” by opening his church.

-A politician is “sensitive to risk” when he empties the jails and the prisons,
but an honest citizen is “responding to unjustified panic” when he buys a firearm to defend his family.

-Protesters are “radical and threatening” when they petition to rescind the
government imposed house arrest,
but anti-gun politicians are “expressing concern for the public” when they
threaten to shoot people who don’t wear a mask.

-People die of Covid-19 because politicians have “blood on their hands”,
but people who die of the seasonal flu and suicide are.. invisible.

-You are “spreading distrust of our institutions” when you study and question government officials,
but you’re “responsibly informed” when you believe the legacy media on TV.

-Politicians are “implementing creative solutions”..
when they impose social controls before testing if their decrees actually work,
but patients who want to try novel dietary and medical treatments are “acting on superstition.”

-Politicians who threaten to jail shop owners and arrest people walking alone on the beach are
“bravely protecting public health”,
but the people demanding their freedom are showing a “slavish adherence to the constitution.”

-On average, 7,700 of us die from natural causes every day in the US, but we’d have lived forever if we’d only voted for Hillary in the last election.

The lies of the mainstream media are entirely predictable, so anticipating their stories isn’t hard. At least the legacy media could come up with more creative lies.

Please ask yourself this question- Are you watching Mr. Prettyface and Ms. Prettyface on the news in order to learn something and then act on that knowledge, or are you watching for amusement?

Spend your time, don’t waste it.
~_~_

I gave you 400 words that I thought were a good use of your time. Please share them with a friend if you agree, or leave a comment if you disagree. RM

Michigan barber defying Gov. Whitmer’s coronavirus shutdown has license stripped | Fox News

May 14, 2020

The power to regulate is the power to destroy lives. RM

A Michigan barber who reopened his shop in defiance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus shutdown orders had his license temporarily stripped Wednesday.

Source: Michigan barber defying Gov. Whitmer’s coronavirus shutdown has license stripped | Fox News

Did Shelter in Place Save Lives or Cost Them?

May 14, 2020
tags:

Covid-19 might kill 100 thousand of us in the US, but maybe not. We still have hope that it will kill far fewer. What we do know is that putting 200 million people under a relaxed house-arrest costs lives too. We have to ask if shelter-in-place saved lives or cost them. Who gets to decide that more young addicts committing suicide was worth it in order to have fewer old people die in nursing homes?

You want us to do what?
The entire discussion rests on shifting definitions. At first, we were told to “flatten the curve”, and that made sense. The mortality rate from the virus and from every other disease would skyrocket if our hospitals were overwhelmed and couldn’t take new patients. Fortunately, we flattened the curve really well. Once our medical facilities had some breathing room, then shelter in place didn’t save lives.

That is when some politicians announced that we needed to keep the disease from spreading. Diseases like this coronavirus are not easily contained. They spread as easily as the common cold, since many cold viruses are also coronaviruses. Did those orders serve a public health goal, or were they serving a political goal of putting the politicians in front of the news cameras? There isn’t data that they saved lives.

Died with the virus or because of the virus?
To make the entire question harder to understand, we also starting fudging the numbers. You might already know that many men die with prostate cancer, but not from prostate cancer. It is unclear how we should record it when a person who has several diseases and only a few years left to live dies with the coronavirus. Some deaths were recorded as being from the novel coronavirus while the patient could also have died from the seasonal flu which caused similar symptoms. The early numbers have large error-bars and overcounted the lethality of Covid-19.

We made the illness worse.
We’ve seen some very strange information coming from New York City. One bad practice was to move seriously ill patients with the virus to nursing homes to recover. These patients no longer needed critical care in a hospital, but they remained infectious. Many residents of these nursing homes are elderly people who are very vulnerable to the virus. That may explain the unusually high number of deaths that we saw among old people in New York city while we didn’t see that rate of lethality in other cities.

There are other medical costs.
Telling a hundred million people to stay home has secondary effects that go way beyond toilet paper. We told people with serious health problems to avoid medical treatment so we could make room for the flood of Covid patients. That flood never came. Instead, we had people die of heart failure or of cancer while they waited for medical treatment. Treating the entire USA the way we treated New York City was a mistake.

Does social distancing save lives?
It isn’t clear that mandated social distancing and shutting down schools and businesses actually saved lives. Sweden and South Dakota never issued stay-at-home orders. Their rates of infection were not much different from other states. Some were better, and some were worse. Japan had extraordinary success by isolating their vulnerable population and issuing voluntary health recommendations.

Two States of Being- Matt Bracken

It is hard to measure the benefits of forced isolation.
It is relatively easy to estimate the cost.

Isolation is dangerous.
There are a number of other fragile populations that politicians put at risk with lockdowns. As of yet, we don’t know the cost in human lives. We kept mental health patients from seeing their therapists. We kept addicts from attending their support meetings. We know that a regular schedule helps people keep their life on an even keel. Feeling useful at your job helps you feel like your life matters. People adapt, and therapists and addicts developed schemes to work around the edicts for social distancing. We don’t know how many more people relapsed or committed suicide because stay-at-home orders removed their support network. We do know that we made more addicts and more suicides.

The human cost of unemployment
Politicians put 15 million people out of work. That increased the unemployment rate by 8.2 percent. Earlier, we’ve seen the opioid death rate increase by 3.6 percent for each percent increase in the unemployment rate. We had about 114 thousand people die in 2018 from drug overdose and suicides. That number increases to about 192 thousand when we include deaths due to alcohol. If deaths due to alcohol abuse and suicide are as sensitive to unemployment as drug overdose deaths, then government mandated lockdowns might have killed an additional 57 thousand people. We’re not sure yet, and I hope it is less. Far less.

That doesn’t mean that mandatory stay at home orders failed. It means we have to see about a 40 percent reduction in the rate of death due to Covid-19 after states and counties impose lockdowns, or else the stay at home orders could cost more lives than they saved. We’re not seeing that sort of reduction in illness yet.

risks on both sides

Other people with a sharper pencil will generate more accurate numbers than I have. This quick glance is enough to know us we have to be careful. Putting people into social isolation costs lives and is only justified once we have evidence it actually reduces deaths from Covid-19.

Until we have that evidence, shelter-in-place orders are political theater.
~_~_

The original article is posted here with sources.
I gave you 800 words. Please share them with a friend and leave a comment. RM
Sources-
https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html
https://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate.html
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml
https://webappa.cdc.gov/cgi-bin/broker.exe
https://oregoncatalyst.com/47347-oregon-virus-death-3320-lose-jobs.html
https://www.bls.gov/charts/employment-situation/civilian-unemployment-rate.htm
https://www.thebalance.com/unemployment-rate-by-year-3305506
https://www.statista.com/statistics/192356/number-of-full-time-employees-in-the-usa-since-1990/
https://www.nber.org/papers/w23192

 

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