Category Archives: Stupidity

Why not real data on COVID?

I still don’t understand how many supposably intelligent human beings in the US (and elsewhere) cannot seem to understand this.  mrossol

WSJ 10/30/2020. By Holman W Jenkins, Jr.

There is no conspiracy of silence in India. Confirmed Covid cases are reported as they are in the West, but reporters enthusiastically stress seroprevalence surveys that show the real infection rate to be a multiple of confirmed tests. Example: On Thursday, the Hindustan Times noted in its headline a 40% positive antibody rate from the latest survey of the Srinagar district. Only far down in the story did it indicate this was 25 times the “confirmed” case count.

Why can’t our press do the same? In the U.S., the reality principle is not blacked out only if you look hard enough. A New Jersey survey in August found 14.7% of the population infected, seven times the confirmed cases. A New York survey in late March suggested two million infections; the official count was 76,000. An Orange County, Calif., survey in August found true infections seven times the official case count. A national survey of dialysis patients in July showed a similar ratio. I could go on.

Any single study might be flawed, but the findings are echoed in every country. Maybe our press imagines that our testing is so voluminous and efficient that it now is converging with the underlying infection rate. Wrong. Voluntary testing is inherently biased. Last month, a U.K. study should have put a stake in any delusions on this point. Relying on random, rather than patient-initiated, testing, the report estimated that daily new infections were running about nine times the official rate as of late September.

Nearly half of Covid infections are believed to be asymptomatic. From previous research, 80% of people with flu symptoms and 95% with cold symptoms don’t seek medical help. Though 150 million total tests given in the U.S. so far, and 1.2 million new tests a day, sounds like a lot, it’s not when 330 million Americans can be negative one day and infected the next.

Unfortunately, because our press wasn’t in Mr. Stuppy’s science class, it doesn’t understand that while confirmed cases might be data, they aren’t a sample in any meaningful scientific sense.

Not to be dramatic, but when I refer to a conspiracy of silence, I really mean a mosaic of misrepresentation required by a certain mood. Our press this week reported, with hair on fire, that confirmed cases exceeded nine million. Would its hair be more aflame or less if it acknowledged true cumulative infections are likely between 50 million and 100 million?

A realistic picture would suggest tens of millions of Americans have encountered the virus without fuss. It would suggest the death risk for any individual is flu-like—as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, and many other experts have been telling us since February.

The bigger numbers might suggest we are grappling with a natural phenomenon over which we exercise little control.

Let’s recap. Unlike the flu, 160 million of us of aren’t vaccinated against the new virus. None of us, school age and up, have resistance from previous encounters. Local hospitals face a Covid challenge two or three times bigger than their annual flu challenge simply because so many more of us are susceptible. Plus there’s the non-negligible risk of a severe reaction when our immune system encounters a virus it hasn’t encountered before.

All of us would rather not get the disease. All of us benefit from putting it off until hospitals learn how to treat it—even though the risk for each of us is flu-like.

But the reality principle doesn’t ignore us even if we ignore it. The test-and-trace silver bullet, which epidemiologists once promoted, Dr. Fauci now admits is impractical because of a large number of asymptomatic cases. Germany, once a role model, admits it has been able to trace only 25% of confirmed cases, which probably means 5% of true cases.

Our politicians have had to become realistic about withholding their interventions unless and until hospitals become overwhelmed. For many of us, especially the young, it makes no sense to impoverish our lives to suppress Covid.

When Joe Biden calls this running up the white flag, he’s prepping you to believe that Donald Trump could have stopped Covid and now a President Biden is stuck with a mess. Whoever is president next year will need to introduce more realism than this into the discussion as a vaccine rolls out.

Once again India is ahead of us: Its Business Standard newspaper jauntily warned its upscale readers that they can expect to be screened out because “the government does not wish to waste the precious vaccine shots” on millions who already have antibodies the natural way.

In the meantime, Americans respond to information. Masks will go back on. The barhopping is being curbed. Some herd immunity may kick in to help with the winter surge. We battle the virus, though, while being fed a colossally distorted picture of the epidemic and its progress by an incompetent and sociopathic press.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-other-media-blackout-11604094677

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Trump, Covid and Reason

I say again: Why isn’t “anyone” listening to the scientists – that MSM and the “control politicians” keep saying have “all truth”??

WSJ. 10/6/2020

President Trump’s tweet Monday “Don’t be afraid of Covid” has invited more criticism that he’s again downplaying the virus. Mr. Trump doesn’t do nuance, and he and his team have often acted recklessly, most prominently at the Rose Garden ceremony announcing Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination. But scientists generally agree with his fundamental point that Americans need to learn to live with the virus.

That’s also the message of a new declaration from scientists that the media are ignoring. Organized by Harvard’s Martin Kulldorff, Sunetra Gupta of Oxford and Stanford’s Jay Bhattacharya, the Great Barrington Declaration recommends that people be allowed to live normally while protecting the vulnerable. The authors are infectious-disease experts, and the statement by our deadline had been signed by more than 2,300 medical and health scientists and 2,500 practitioners, and counting.

 

They describe their approach as “Focused Protection,” but it’s essentially what Sweden has done and even the World Health Organization is now recommending. Many European leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron are also slowly embracing it, though it still remains heresy on America’s left.

The collateral damage from government lockdowns “include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health—leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice,” the declaration says. “Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.”

 

Reams of public-health data and medical literature agree. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there have been 93,814 non-Covid “excess deaths” this year, including 42,427 from cardiovascular conditions, 10,686 from diabetes and 3,646 from cancer. Many are due to government shutdowns of non-essential medical care.

Public-health surveys also show depression levels, substance abuse and drug overdoses have spiked amid rising unemployment. A quarter of 18- to 24-year-olds in June said they had increased substance use to cope with the pandemic.

Pediatricians have reported a worrying rise in child abuse and accidental injuries from school closures, which have also resulted in stunted learning and emotional growth. A new Stanford study finds that students across 19 states in the spring lost from 57 to 183 days of learning in reading and 136 to 232 days of learning in math.

As the Great Barrington authors explain, “vulnerability to death from COVID-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young. Indeed, for children, COVID-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.” Sixty-seven children under age 15 in the U.S have died from Covid-19.

“Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity,” they write. That means protecting the elderly and high-risk individuals—for instance, frequent testing of nursing-home staff—but also reopening schools, colleges, restaurants and businesses with reasonable precautions.

The virus isn’t going away even if Joe Biden wins the election and perhaps not even with a vaccine. Better treatments and protocols have improved outcomes enormously for high-risk individuals—of which Mr. Trump may turn out to be a textbook case.

The shame is that Covid has become so politicized that the calm reasoning of the Great Barrington scientists is drowned out by the fear and loathing of those who want to blame Donald Trump for every new infection. But it is the best advice for how we should cope with Covid.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-covid-and-reason-11602026102

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The Case against Revolution with Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Another very thoughtful discussion about the real threat facing America today. Yes, we have problems. Yes, we need to come together to find solutions. This is what Americans have done for 244 years. But Black LIves Matter is calling for an overthrow of the institution of America. All serious Americans, regardless if your political party need to stand up against this attack – and it is an attack on the essence of this great nation.

mrossol

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The Backward March of Civilization

Disease on those who unresponsively denigrate vaccination. Nothing is risk-free. Even stupid me knows that. I don’t have the time of day for them.

 WSJ  12/7/2019

Our age likes to believe in the inevitability of human progress, but for an example of the opposite consider the Pacific island nation of Samoa. A measles outbreak there has already killed more than 60 people, and authorities declared a two-day curfew on Thursday and Friday.

Businesses were obliged to close and vehicles had to stay off the roads from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mike Cherney of The Journal reports that residents were told to fly red banners from their homes if anyone inside needed vaccinations in the country of roughly 200,000 people. Officials were going door-to-door to vaccinate people. Most of the dead were children under 4 years old, and more than 4,300 have been hit with the disease.

The outbreak is especially tragic because measles can be contained with vaccinations. But misinformation from vaccine opponents has spread around the world in recent years, including in supposedly civilized America.

An outbreak hit New York last year among Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods where parents often block vaccinations. New York State banned nonmedical exemptions for school vaccinations as a result. Some 1,200 measles cases have been recorded across the U.S. so far this year, the most since 1992. Countries like Samoa are more vulnerable because they have less developed health systems and sometimes less efficient governments. Only 31% of Samoans were vaccinated against measles as of 2018.

The outbreak—and death toll—ought to chasten celebrities and others in the U.S. who have spread fears about vaccines, which are remarkably safe and prevent more deaths by far than they cause. It’s also a reminder that the march of civilization isn’t always for the better. Especially in the age of social media and lack of social trust, bad information can drive out good. Avoidable deaths like those in Samoa can be the tragic result.

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