Covid-19 Media Project
Public concern for a virus is based on the probability of being infected and the severity of the symptoms if one becomes infected. Probability and severity of the consequence. This article establishes risk by age and health and contrasts the actual risk of severe outcomes from Covid-19 to the public perception.
The business model of the media is very simple. Attract the attention of an audience and sell time to people who are selling products and services to access that audience. The more attention attracted the more money they make. The way a story is presented determines how much attention that story will attract and how long story developments will be followed.
This article establishes the individual risk of being infected with Covid-19 as it relates to age and health including the implications of serology studies. This quantified risk will be contrasted with the risk projected by the media and how it has influenced public opinion and public policy. Media stories will be examined and tactics identified to illustrate how risk has been exaggerated to serve the inherent interests of the media and political actors. Conclusions and consequences concerning the effects of the hysteria are summarized in the final section.
Table of Contents
1: NBC Nightly News 3/2/2020
2:New York Times “Worst Case Estimates of Coronavirus Deaths in the US”.
3:Lily Singh “Myth Busting Coronavirus (Covid-19) with Dr. Fauci”.
4: CNN “Angry Bus Driver Post Facebook Video About Coughing Passenger. He Died 3 Days Later”.
5: Seattle Times “Healthy People in Their 30s and 40s Barely Sick with Covid-19, are Dying of Strokes”.
6: Politifact “Images Show Covid-19 Victims Being Buried in Mass Graves in NYC.”
7:NPR “Who’s Sickest from Covid-19? These Conditions Tied to Increased Risk”
8: Tony Evers Facebook Response to Lawsuit Against Safer at Home.
Serology is testing for antibodies from random samples of the population to determine how widespread the virus actually is. The only way a person can test positive for antibodies is if they have been exposed to the virus. Serology studies are fairly recent in the evolution of the virus where three were published in the United States near the end of April 2020. These studies contextualize statistics by allowing us to estimate the actual number of cases to understand the proportion of people who die and experience severe symptoms.
People who are interested in maintaining their bias and the bias of others have asserted that a small percentage of the population being infected is bad. Their argument is the virus hasn’t infected a great proportion of the population which means many people are still at risk for infection. This is an argument that attempts to confine the value of the findings to herd immunity. Or the critic is attempting to divert attention from what is important about serology findings because it harms his position.(1)
1: Gretchen Vogal 4/21/2020 “Antibody Survey Suggesting Vast Undercount May Be Unreliable” Science (https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/04/antibody-surveys-suggesting-vast-undercount-coronavirus-infections-may-be-unreliable) The criticism of the Santa Clara findings are speculative where one critic asserts since the study advertised to participants that it was more likely that people who experienced flu like symptoms were inclined to participate. There is no substance to that criticism as the level of concern created around Covid-19 and the prospect of immunity after having been exposed to it causes the general public to be as inclined to participate as those who experienced flu like symptoms. The second criticism relates to the tests themselves claiming they were less specific in other studies and the positive results could be a statistical error. The problem with that assertion is these tests have been used in various places across the country and in the world. If the tests were only returning an unusually high number of false positives larger sample sizes would typically yield larger proportion of positive results. If we compare the Santa Clara study to the Los Angeles County study, the Los Angeles county study has roughly ¼ the number of participants and returned a slightly higher rate of infection. The less accurate the test is, the greater chance there is for false positives the larger the sample size is. The fact that larger sample sizes have returned lower rates than smaller sample sizes suggests the test is as accurate as the researchers claim.
(How serology improves our understanding of the virus)
As explained in the previous paragraph, what is important is the difference between confirmed cases and the actual number of people infected. On the lower end of the spectrum, if you have a 3% infection rate, but the confirmed cases represent an infection rate that is .075% of the population, then the virus is believed to be 40x more deadly than it actually is. 40x more dangerous than it is, is conservatively the problem that exists in the United States right now, with some places like New York City finding that 21% of the population has tested positive for antibodies. (2)
2: Josh Marshall 4/23/2020 “Preliminary Antibodies Study Shows 21% of New York City is Infected” TPM. https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/preliminary-antibodies-study-shows-21-of-new-york-city-infected
(Covid-19 Mortality by age)
To contrast personal risk to the risk presented by the media based on serology would be unfair since serology studies didn’t exist during all the times I’m covering. The statistics I’m referring to represent the first month of outbreak proportions in the United States to distinguish risk by age and causes for increased risk. Next we seperate age mortality into healthy people and at risk people and define the characteristics that distinguish the differences.
People 20 to 44 have an average mortality rate .15%, or a 99.85% chance of survival, or 3 out of every 2000 people in that age range die..
People 45 to 54 have an average mortality rate .7%, or a 99.3% chance of survival, 7 people out of every 1000.
People 55 to 64 have an average mortality rate of 2%. 98% chance of survival or 1 out of 49 people in this age group die of the virus.
65 to 74 have an average mortality rate of 3.8%, 96.2% chance of survival or about 1 in 26.
Even at 75 to 84 the average mortality rate is 7.4%, 92.6% chance of survival for 80 year old people. (3)
3: Center for Disease Control. Table. Hospitalizations, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission, and Case Fatality Percentages for Reported Covid 19 Cases, by Age Group. United States February 12th to March 16th. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6912e2.htm?s_cid=mm6912e2_w While still not completely accurate, this early sample is more representative of the fatality rate since it represents a greater proportion of confirmed to actual cases than other stuides. It is also being used to determine what was known about the virus while the media and politicans were exaggerating the danger.
(Establishing the rate of mortality with underlying medical conditions)
These numbers by age do not reflect the true risk of mortality because the number of confirmed cases is always much lower than the actual number of cases. Without serology studies there was another tool that existed at this time to contextualize risk. Mortality studies showed that people who died of Covid19, 94% of the time were people who had underlying medical conditions. The CDC observed in a 7000 person 184 death sample, that 78% of people who required ICU treatment and 94% of hospitalized deaths were people who had serious underlying medical conditions. (4)
4: CDC Report: Preliminary Estimates of the Prevalence of Selected Underlying Health Conditions Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 — United States, February 12–March 28, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 31 March 2020. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6913e2 It’s important to know that this sample is consistent with the larger pool of data, that at the time was represented by Italy and China.
(Distinguishing the risk of death from Covid-19 in healthy from unhealthy people)
To understand a healthy person’s risk of death without serology in those age ranges we subtract 94% (people with serious underlying medical conditions) from the mortality rate which gives us a general distinction between the risk of death for healthy and unhealthy people.
(Establishing the general mortality rate for healthy people)
20 to 45 year old healthy people have (6% of .1%) a .006% mortality rate, or 6 out of every 100,000 healthy people.
45 to 54 year old healthy people have (6% of .7%) a .042% mortality rate, or 42 out of 100,000 healthy people in that age range die. The reduction is roughly 1 out of every 2500 healthy people in that age range die.
55 to 64 year old healthy people have (6% of 2%)a mortality rate of .12% which is 12 out of every 10,000, or roughly 1 out of every 1000.
65 to 74 year old healthy people have (6% of 3.8%) have a mortality rate of .23%, 23 out of 10,000 or about 2 out of every 1000 people in that age range dies.
75 to 84 year old people have (6% of 7.4%) a mortality rate of .44% or 44 out of every 10,000 or roughly 1 out of every 250 healthy people in that age range die.
(Why do healthy people die from Covid-19)
Why do 6 out of every 100,000 healthy people under the age of 45 infected with Covid19 die? The risk of death to healthy people is not random. The two most common reasons are immunogenetic abnormalities, and underdeveloped immune systems. Immunogenetic abnormality means a person has a weak immune system because of their genes. To distinguish healthy people from people with unknown immunogenetic deficiencies, health can be qualified by your history of sickness. If you have been sick a few times in your life where you have developed a fever, maybe went to the hospital but did nor require hospitalization, you are a healthy person. Your body has been exposed to viruses like the flu and demonstrated the ability to fight them off. You are healthy, and evidence of your health exists in having been sick periodically throughout your life and recovered.
(Underdeveloped immune system)
An underdeveloped immune system can be the product of germ avoidance. Germ avoidance has become an industry where manufacturers promote the idea that germs must be avoided to sell people products to reduce their exposure to germs. If a person encounters a virus for the first time it may take their immune system a week or longer before their entire immune system is fighting the virus. If a person is infected with a virus they’ve already been infected with, a full immune response can begin in a matter of hours and the infected person is probably not even aware that they were infected with anything.
(Immune memory without exposure)
How does exposure to germs increase the immune response against viruses a person has never been infected with? Researchers have found that exposure to other pathogens, bacterial, fungal, and viruses can create immune memory against viruses and other pathogens a person has never been exposed to. The more viruses and bacteria you’ve been exposed to, the better prepared your immune response becomes. In addition, when immune cells reproduce the cells create combinations of preparedness based on the pathogens you’ve been exposed to. If you’ve excessively avoided germs your entire life this lack of exposure leaves your immune system less prepared. Which is NOT encouragement to seek out pathogens to strengthen your immune system, only that being obsessive about germ avoidance does have the potential to weaken your immune system, and this is one factor in seemingly healthy people dying of Covid19, potentially representing some of the 6 out 100,000 people. (5)
5: Bruce Goldman 2/7/2013 Immune Systems of Healthy Adults Remember Germs to Which They’ve Never Been Exposed to Study Finds”. Stanford News Source Author, Mark Davis https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2013/02/immune-systems-of-healthy-adults-remember-germs-to-which-theyve-never-been-exposed-stanford-study-finds.html
(Not all medical conditions increase risk for severe symptoms and mortality)
Before lockdown was initiated in most states across the country we knew the mortality rate by age, and we knew that death was associated with underlying medical conditions in a great majority (94%) of cases resulting in death. Underlying medical conditions does not include all medical conditions. I have seen news reports that attempt to inflate the proportion of people in the United States that have medical conditions in an effort to exaggerate the danger of the virus. Some medical conditions we expect to complicate respiratory infections like asthma, do not increase the patient’s chances for severe symptoms or mortality. (6)
6: Tibi Puiu 4/21/2020 “Asthma is Surprisingly Uncommon Among Covid-19 Paitents Who Died In NewYork”. ZME Science. https://www.zmescience.com/science/asthma-covid-19-05236/ There is no report that references any sample size of any meaning that shows Asthma increases a person infected with Covid-19 chances of severe symptoms or death. I have read several articles on the subject and cited this article since it draws from NYC data where if there was a general correlation, it would be found in NYC.
(Leading underlying medical conditions that cause Covid19 complications)
Diabetes, chronic lung disease, and cardiovascular diseases are the conditions most likely to produce complications in Covid19 patients. Non-causative conditions have been correlated with Covid19 deaths in an effort to exaggerate the danger of the virus. Mainly obesity, which is an effective tool for exaggerating danger given how plump the US population tends to be.
(Understanding obesity as it relates to risk)
There is a correlation between people who are obese having a greater liklihood for complications, but being obese usually has little to do with the complications. The same as age is much less indicative of covid19 complications than the basic correlation suggests (mortality increases with age because age predisposes people to medical conditions), obesity in itself doesn’t necessarily predispose people to complications. Obesity increases the likelihood that a person has serious underlying conditions like diabetes, chronic lung disease, and cardiovascular disease which causes the predisposition to complications.
(Proportion of the population with underlying medical conditions)
As mentioned previously, there are articles that inflate the proportion of the population who has underlying medical conditions to exaggerate the danger. To inflate the amount of people who have cardiovascular disease, the American Heart Association considers anyone with blood pressure above 130/80 as having a cardiovascular disease and this creates the statistic that 48% of Americans have a cardiovascular disease. When high blood pressure is excluded, 9% of Americans have an actual cardiovascular disease.(7) 9.4 % of the population has diabetes,(8) and the most common respiratory diseases (other than asthma which doesn’t increase risk) is 5%.(9)
The presumption is 23.4% of the population has a serious underlying medical condition that predisposes them to complications, and slightly more with less prevalent conditions like cancers or organ issues.
7: Brett Molina 1/31/2019 “Nearly Half of All American’s Have Heart Disease Study Says”. USA Today https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/01/31/heart-disease-nearly-half-u-s-adults-have-it-study-finds/2729955002/
8: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Diabetes Statistics. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/diabetes-statistics.
9: Ruth Basgotia “Facts Statistics and You”. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/copd/facts-statistics-infographic#1 Source: National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute. 16 million Americans, (5% of 330 million).
(A better estimation of the proportion of people with underlying medical conditions)
The mistake even in the 23.4% conclusion is people are being counted twice. 43% of people who have diabeetus also have cardiovascular disease.(10) We don’t have 9% of the population who has heart disease and 9.4% of the population who has diabetes, because 43% is a comorbidity. This means we have 9.4% of the population who have diabetes and CVD, and we have 5.1% of the population who have CVD. Diabetes and CVD represents 14.5% of the population. We also don’t have an additional 5% of the population who has COPD because 20% of people with COPD also have diabetes.(11) Roughly 18.5% of the population has major medical conditions that increase their risk of death, with other conditions like kidney and liver disease also being prevalent among people with diabetes. Many other diseases that create complications like HIV represent a very small proportion of the population (.3%) and people with risk factors in the United States probably represent about 20% of the population. Whatever portion of the population actually has a medical condition that increases their risk for severe symptoms or mortality is much less relevant than degree, whereas if you have a medical condition and you’ve had the flu and recovered, you’re probably healthy enough to recover from Covid-19. Most who have a preexisting condition have an elevated risk for mortality associated with Covid-19, not a high probability of death. Of people who have risk factors who are infected, only 13.5% will be admitted to ICU and the mortality rate is 6.5%. (12)
10: Brook Hudspeth 8/23/2018 “The Burden of Cardiovascular Disease in Patients with Diabetes”, American Journal of Managed Care. https://www.ajmc.com/journals/supplement/2018/reducing-rick-cv-patients-with-diabetes/the-burden-of-cardiovascular-disease-in-patients-with-diabetes
11: John Botrell 9/1/2017 “Diabetes and COPD what’s the deal?” https://copd.net/clinical/link-diabetes/
12: Data from CDC Study footnote 4, explanation in Case 7 in Media Analysis section.
(Primarily changing the cause of, and insignificantly postponing death)
An interesting study is going to be the total number of deaths in 2020 and 2021 caused by heart disease, diabetes, and chronic bronchitis and emphysema (COPD). 647,000 people die from heart disease every year, that is one person every 49 seconds.(13) About 80,000 die of diabetes each year, and 140,000 die of COPD each year. The more advanced the underlying condition is, typically, the more probable complications are. When we compare the 2020 fatalities by death certificate cause of death, I anticipate we will have a reduction in those deaths that reflect probably 70 to 90% of the Covid-19 death toll. Whatever the reduction is, it will tell us that those people were probably going to die of their medical condition this year.
13: Center for Disease Control “Heart Disease Facts”. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
(Covid-19 is not randomly deadly)
The virus is not randomly intense and does not randomly kill people. Right now more than half the people in this country believe the virus is randomly deadly, that anyone who is infected has a 5% chance of dying, or perhaps even a greater chance since risk is based on the sum of impressions and not on any hard data. The truth is, a healthy person’s risk of death is not 6 out of 100,000 for people under 45 or 1 out 2500 for people 45 to 54, or even 1 out of 1000 for people 55 to 64, their actual risk of death is 0. If infected by the virus their immune system will initiate a response that will overwhelm the virus, and there is no chance that the virus could have killed these people. The real risk of dying from a virus is 100% or 0%. Your immune system is able to respond, target, and remove the virus faster than it can multiply, or it cannot.
(What a doctors prognosis means)
If a doctor claims a patient has an 80% chance of survival that doctor isn’t actually making that prognosis based on this patient’s chances. The virus is the same and the symptoms you experience depend on your body’s response to it. What it means is based on patients they’ve treated with Covid-19 whose body’s have responded as this person’s body has responded to this point, 8 out of 10 patients have recovered. Maybe 4 out of those 8 people experienced symptoms that became worse before they started to get better. This is the time it takes for immune cells responding to the pathogen to focus the remaining immune cells to target the pathogen. If a few days pass and the symptoms do not improve it is evidence that the virus is duplicating faster than the immune system is killing it, but as mentioned it could take time before the entire immune system is engaged. After a few weeks if the symptoms still are not improving it is either evidence that the immune system is being overwhelmed by the virus, or it means there is very little net gain by the immune system versus the virus’s rate of reproduction, so symptoms and the volume of infection are not perceivably improving. These are cases that require weeks to recover.
(You have either a 0 or 100% chance of recovering from Covid-19)
A person walks away from that experience and tells people they almost died. The doctor after a few weeks may have told the family that 1 out 100 survive in the condition that the patient is in at that point in the virus’s progression. Still, the chance was not 1%, it was 100% chance of survival. The doctor’s prognosis is based on the person having been infected for a period where their full immune response was active and the symptoms didn’t appear to be improving, and in that doctor’s experience 1 out of 100 patients recovered from that situation. A healthy person, who has experienced periodic virus induced sickness and recovered, doesn’t have even a 1 in 2500 chance of death, they have a 0% chance of death. This scenario relates to virus infection for which there is no treatment as obviously there is more for the doctor to consider with more complex conditions and with treatment options available when making a prognosis.
Serology studies conducted by the University of Southern California and Stanford found that about 4% of people tested for Covid19 antibodies in Los Angeles County(USC study), and about 3.5% (2.4 to 4.4%) tested positive in Santa Clara county (Stanford study). (14) A serology study in NYC found that 21% of the 3000 people tested, tested positive for Covid19 antibodies. This means different things for different places. I typically don’t reference the NYC study because the overall population is greater than any other city in the country, and it is one of the most densely populated cities in the nation.
14: Gennedy Sheyner 4/21/2020 “Los Angeles Study Backs Stanford Researchers Conclusions about High Prevalence Covid-19” Palo Alto Online https://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2020/04/21/los-angeles-study-backs-stanford-researchers-conclusion-about-high-prevalence-of-covid-19#comment_form See footnote 1 for deflection of criticism.
(What serology studies mean to the general mortality rate)
This USC study was reported on April 21st, at which time the US had 825,000 confirmed cases and 45,000 fatalities. The USC study found a rate of infection in Los Angeles County that was 28 to 55 times higher than the confirmed case number. The Stanford study in Santa Clara county found the rate of infection to be 50 to 80x the number of confirmed cases. In New York “21.2% of New York City residents tested positive for COVID19 antibodies. 16.7% for Long Island; 11.7% for Rockland and Westchester (the suburbs just to the north of the city); and 3.6% in the rest of the state.” (15) California was also the first state to lockdown, meaning the rate of infection in other places that did not lockdown, may vastly exceed the proportion observed in Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties. However, 3.5% is roughly what is observed in New York state minus New York City, which is also a state that initiated lockdown orders prior to many other states.
If the rate of infection at the lower end of the spectrum is 28x as high as the number of confirmed cases, we don’t have 825,000 cases as of April 21st and 45,000 deaths, we have 23,100,000 cases and 45,000 deaths. If the prevalence of the virus is 50x greater which represents the data collected by the Stanford study in Santa Clara county, then we have 41,250,000 and 45,000 deaths. A general mortality rate of .1%, the same as the flu which has a mortality rate according to the CDC that fluxuates between .1 to .2% between seasons, where variation depends more on who is infected than anything else.
15: See footnote 2 for source of quote.
(Inflated official death toll)
We haven’t actually had 45,000 deaths from Covid-19 as of april 21st. This number has been inflated by states counting people as having died of Covid19 without these people being tested for Covid-19. New York added 3700 people to their Covid-19 death toll who were never tested for Covid19. (16)
16: J. David Goodman and William K Rashbaum 4/21/2020 “N.Y.C. Death Toll Soars Past 10,000 in Revised Virus Count”. New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/14/nyregion/new-york-coronavirus-deaths.html
(Why do people die from Covid-19)
While I am certain some of those people who were not diagnosed with Covid19 probably did die of Covid-19, I’m also certain that many did not. When a person dies of Covid19 it is typically because they develop pneumonia where inflammation and fluid in the lungs prevents the body from taking in enough oxygen. In other cases, the virus creates a hindrance to maintaining health with other conditions and people die from organ failure.
(Distinguishing Covid-19 death from the flu)
Why do people die from the flu or even other respiratory infections including some respiratory bacterial infection? They die of the same causes as people who die of Covid19. More importantly, Covid-19 symptoms and influenza symptoms are for the most part the same. If we evaluate a person’s symptoms and cause of death, there is no way to distinguish between a death caused by Covid19 and a death caused by the flu without the person having been tested. The death toll is inflated, and we don’t know by how much. A simple study could prove me wrong. Present 100 doctors with 100 people who have died: 50 of Covid19 and 50 of the flu. Provide the doctors only the symptoms and symptomatic cause of death and see how many doctors get it right. Obviously eliminate gotcha and gimmie cases, where someone with the flu has a loss of smell (rare: gotcha) or someone with Covid-19 has a loss of smell (sometimes: gimmie).
(Agreeing to agree with critics of the cited serology studies)
It’s fair criticism to say we don’t know that the serology studies from Santa Clara County, Los Angeles County, or the state of New York (excluding the NYC metropolitan area) that were in agreement as of April 21st, represent a rate of infection that is 30 to 80x greater than confirmed cases across the United States. There is no way to definitively factually invalidate the opinion that these studies only represent the areas where the tests were conducted.
I’m of the opinion that California and New York serology studies most likely underrepresent the number of unconfirmed cases nationally. These states have taken the most aggressive measures to reduce the spread. To argue that they over represent the number of unconfirmed cases is to state that forced quarantine is ineffective at limiting infection. If forced lock down does not reduce the spread of infection it serves no purpose to lock down. If lockdown does reduce the spread of infection, then you have to concede that serology studies in the earliest and most strict states underrepresents the national average of infection. The implications are that the mortality rate is much much lower than people have been led to believe, therefore forced lockdown is not necessary. Or, forced lockdown is ineffective at containing the virus and therefore it is not necessary.
The critic denies that quarantine reduces the spread of infection, whereas I deny the need to reduce the spread of infection among the healthy population because the risk for healthy people is sickness and recovery. It’s a bearable outcome if encountered. However, if you agree that quarantine reduces the spread of infection, then you must also agree that serology studies from states with the most aggressive quarantine policies under represent the percentage of people infected in states with less aggressive stay at home orders.
(Stay at home cannot be both effective and necessary in light of serology)
Either quarantine is ineffective or unnecessary. There is no basis for quarantine being both effective and necessary because the variation in results produced by serology testing between the Santa Clara County study, and the New York City study, with roughly the same sample size, demonstrates a general reliability.
Critics have claimed it’s a bad sign for herd resistance, but if a virus has a fractional mortality rate it means the virus cannot harm healthy people. We know this without serology studies based on the prevalence of other medical conditions in fatal outcomes. Whether the virus infects 30, 40, or 60% of the population to run its course doesn’t matter because this portion of the population who is exercising risk has no actual risk of dying from the virus.
(Comparing the flu to the rona)
For people with serious chronic health conditions Covid-19 may be slightly more deadly than the flu is, but even this is difficult to justify. Although the rona has produced more deaths than comparable peak flu season (8 weeks), these deaths occur almost exclusively among people with medical conditions. Since the general mortality rate is about the same in consideration of serology projections, and the risk factors are the same, it is reasonable to believe that without a flu vaccine the flu would produce comparable numbers among the sick and elderly.
The risk to healthy people is the same as the flu, and it is less dangerous to children. Since this article is an analysis of media coverage of Covid-19, we should compare that coverage to other viruses, and important developments that were ignored because they were unlikely to generate attention in the Covid-19 manufactured scare environment. At the end of March to the beginning of April, 7 children died of the flu. (17) While it may have been a detail mentioned in some broadcast I haven’t seen, it seems unlikely. If you google 7 children died of the flu in the last week of March, the only article is from the American Association of Pediatrics and the CDC, where if it was mentioned in broadcast there is usually an associated print story.
Another point of comparison is the hospitalization rate for children was 93.9 per 100,000 children, whereas the overall hospitalization rate for Covid19 is 40.4 per 100,000 people. Meaning a child in the United States was more than twice as likely this flu season to be hospitalized because of the flu than any person was to be hospitalized because of Covid-19. The Covid 19 mortality rate among children is incomparable, with at most a dozen cases in the US which I haven’t found nationally compiled. 3 people under the age of 18 died of Covid19 in NYC, and all 3 had medical conditions.
17: Alyson Sulaki Wykoff 4/3/2020 “CDC Reports 7 More Flu Related Deaths in Children” American Association for Pediatrics. https://www.aappublications.org/news/2020/04/03/fluupdate040320
(Risk for mortality caused by underlying medical conditions varies by person)
A healthy person’s severity of risk for Covid-19 is sickness and recovery, a bearable outcome and something we can experience at any time without the existence of Covid-19. I’m not distinguishing between age because the individual risk of death for healthy people as they get older does increase, but when medical conditions are accounted for, the risk is not significant. For those who have serious chronic health conditions like diabetes, a 72,000 person study suggests your risk of death is 3x higher, which while still not great overall depending on your age group (most ages probably still have a survival rate in the 90s), is a significant point of risk when the consequence is the end of your life. Individually, if you have a serious chronic health condition that predisposes you to complications, you should take precautions, but if you’re infected, there is a good chance you will survive (93.5%). You know the specifics of your health and the degree of your condition which is more determinative of the outcome with Covid-19 than the disease itself.
(No benefit from quarenting healthy population from healthy population)
The defining feature of a communicable disease is it requires close contact in order to be transmitted from one person to the next. There is no basis for the idea that the healthy population must be quarantined from the healthy population to prevent at risk people from being infected. If at risk people quarantine themselves from the healthy interacting population, then regardless of what the rate of infection is among the healthy population, there is no greater chance for infection among the at risk population, because at risk people are not interacting with them. This relates to a moral statement of political purpose. Government does not have the right to determine what risk a citizen can take, if that risk does not impose risk on others. Forced lockdown does exactly that.
(Speculation of healthcare services being overrun)
There has been a great deal of speculation concerning health care being overrun by Covid19 hospitalizations, and they went so far as to bring a ship to New York that in about a month treated all of 180 people. That was close, if not for the ship being brought in how would we have treated the additional 6 people per day that the ship treated?(18) There was speculation concerning ventilator shortages (will be addressed in the media analysis portion) despite there having been no reports of anyone dying because they did not have access to a ventilator. A ventilator is a last resort treatment where globally the survival rate is 33%. To put hospitalization into perspective, and to put flu numbers into perspective overall, consider the 2017 to 2018 flu season.
(18) Gidgit Fuentes “Hospital Ship Comfort Ends NYC Covid-19 Mission After Treating 182 Paitents” USNI News 4/27/2020
(2017-2018 flu season medical care demand)
First, flu statistics do not represent an entire year of the flu. It is the record of peak flu months that occur between December and March, representing on average 17 weeks of the year, with the bulk of infections typically occurring during an 8 week period.(19) During this period in the 2017-2018 flu season 800,000 people were hospitalized. (20) This represents an average of 47,000 hospitalizations per week.
19: CDC “The Flu Season” https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season.htm
20: CDC “2017-2019 Estimated Influenza and Illnesses, Medical Visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths, and Estimated Influenza Illnesses, Medical Visits, Hospitalizations Averted by Vaccination in the United States.”https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden-averted/2017-2018.htm
(Comparing medical care demand 2017-2018 flu season and Covid-19)
While I cannot even find the total number of hospitalizations in the US for Covid-19, likely because it creates a comparable basis for the flu that undermines the credibility of exaggerated danger, per capita the rate is 40.4. (21) There are 330 million people divided by 100,000 = 3300 x 40.4 = 133,320. Active surveillance of Covid-19 in the US began in March which does not represent the first hospitalization, but it is a fair place to begin recognition of the outbreak and how it relates to hospitalization. March to May 3rd is 64 days which represents 9 weeks. The average amount of hospitalizations per week caused by Covid-19 is 14,813. Most of these hospitalizations did not overlap with the end of flu season which may have created an issue if you had high flu hospitalization and high Covid-19 hospitalization which could become an issue next flu season. If March isn’t fair, then let’s begin in April, call it 133,320 hospitalizations in 5 weeks, and we’re still talking about an average of 26,000 hospitalizations per week. It’s ludicrous to claim we have the resources to handle 47,000 flu hospitalizations per week, where people with medical conditions the same as Covid-19 spend weeks in the hospital, require ventilators, and ECMOs, but the hospitals were unable to handle half as many cases of people experiencing the same symptoms, and requiring the same treatment. Some NYC hospitals experienced overwhelming demand for treatment, and these examples were paraded across national media to imply that these few hospitals in NYC, represented all hospitals in NYC, and what was being experienced across the country.
21: CDC “Covid-19 Weekly Summary updated May 1st” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview/index.html
Case 1 NBC Nightly News March 2nd 2020
The news begins with the anchor stating “breaking news, the Coronavirus death toll grows as 4 more people die in Washington state”. The screen cuts to an elderly woman being wheeled on a bed into the ambulance. The anchor goes on to inform the audience they are going to hear from a top expert who is tasked with fighting the virus and they air a clip from the interview with Fauci stating “outbreak proportions and likely pandemic proportions”. After mentioning other headlines Lester Holt qualifies Fauci as the top expert in the country and quotes outbreak proportions a second time.
The anchor cuts to a field reporter’s summary of Washington state, he mentions the death climbs, and states that dozens of residents and first responders are now under isolation. The mood is reinforced through imagery of first responders and the sound of an ambulance backing up. He mentions several patients are in critical condition, already suffering from underlying health conditions, but not to add context for healthy people, instead to emphasize the misfortune of those in critical condition.
The report cuts to a woman whose mother is sick, who states she’s very scared and shows the mother sick in a hospital bed. This short interview serves no purpose of informing, but will cause the audience to think about their own relationships and the condition of older loved one’s in their own family.
The reporter mentions the possibility of a national emergency being declared, schools being shut down, and then flashes to a graphic of a map of the United States of 106 cases highlighting the states in a virus print where there are reported cases. It is a dramatic impression that at the time did not provide any information to the public regarding risk, because even if there are cases reported in your state you could be 100s of miles from a confirmed case. For example, Texas was highlighted at that time. If there were cases in Dallas or Houston, a person living in El Paso would be 600 miles from any confirmed case. The graphic was more of a tool to exaggerate the area of infection at that time to exaggerate individual risk.
The audience is exposed to the word outbreak, they hear of deaths, they see ambulances and people being carted off by first responders; they see a middle aged daughter fearful her elderly mother’s health is going to produce fatal complications with the virus. This increases concern by prompting the audience to consider people who they know who could be at risk.
The report goes on to mention 18 deaths in Italy, and mentions cases in Wuhan have begun to decline. Finally the report cuts to an anchor on scene at the nursing home and concludes with the necessity to contain the spread.
NBC interviewed the head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease about the Coronavirus. Before going to the interview the anchor introduces the segment and states one of the nations top health officials expects a pandemic. The program cuts to footage outside of the national institute of health while a narrator introduces Fauci as a the top expert on the subject and quotes him as saying “the Coronavirus is spreading, and America may have to take drastic action.”
The reporter before the sound fades in can be seen greeting Fauci with visible reverence, like a firefighter just saved him from a burning building. There is an expectation created mentioning outbreak and pandemic multiple times, combined with the general dramatic impressions and the reporter’s body language, that here is the man with all the answers who is going to keep us safe. The reporter asks in concerned tones “what are we dealing with with this Coronavirus COVID-19?”
Dr. Fauci replies “We’re dealing with clearly an infectious disease, and we have reached a level of outbreak proportions and likely pandemic proportions’, as the headline on the screen reads “Fauci: Coronavirus likely to become pandemic”.
The only context most people have for the word outbreak and pandemic is from Hollywood. The doctor hasn’t actually said anything but the impressions associated with these words are associated with movies they’ve seen. The word outbreak means the sudden or violent start of something unwelcome such as war, disease etc. It provides no insight on the chances of an individual becoming infected, reveals no insight into the spectrum of symptoms, and most importantly, doesn’t provide the individual with any understanding of what his risk is based on demographics in the unlikely event he contracted it. But it sounds scary when an expert in a lab coat says a word that is associated with dramatic impressions. The word is not informative but the public’s perception of the word influences public opinion.
The build up features dramatic impressions consistent with what people have seen in apocalyptic movies. It creates a sense of OMG we’re living in pandemic! Which isn’t to say that people don’t recognize the sensationalism in movies, only that their association with these words come from these movies and they are words they don’t use and have no context for. Instead of the reporter asking follow up questions they cut away to exaggerate the danger through implied inflation of the statistics. If Fauci thought his statement was informative he would have explained what those words meant. We have the sudden introduction of a contagious virus that has spread to multiple countries, which is the same statement. There’s no value to that statement because people already know this. The words pandemic and outbreak are repeated and then solidified through Fauci’s credentials intended to leave dramatic impressions. These impressions create concern that attracts and reinvites attention for future developments.
After Fauci answers the question stating we’re dealing with outbreak proportions and likely pandemic proportions they cut to the flu total death statistics. After showing the flu statistics they state Covid19 is 10x more deadly and imply that since the flu kills as many as 650 thousand people, that Covid will kill millions. They fail to contextualize the statistic citing global statistics to a national audience many of whom will presume they are hearing national statistics.
Fauci states that the 2% confirmed case fatality could drop down to 1% and to some it would appear that he is attempting to reduce the danger. First, he has to account for mild and asymptomatic cases that are not confirmed, if he doesn’t, his opinion will be subject to scrutiny for implying the confirmed cases to death ratio is accurate. Second, the contrast to the news presentation builds credibility for him moving forward. Most importantly, whether the fatality rate is 1%, 2%, 5%, or .5%, the number implies the virus is randomly deadly at that rate.
The reporter in a dramatic voice fit for soap opera tv said “people are scared. When you’re on the subway and somebody coughs. Are they right? If someone coughs on the bus should you get off”? What he’s done is encouraged people to be fearful by stating that people are scared. The audience thinks if people are afraid it’s probably because there is something to be afraid of. A gazelle may never actually see or understand the threat but it runs because the other gazelles are running. By stating people are scared, coming from the news people accept it as fact, which causes other people to be scared, and others fear to be reinforced.
This was only March 2nd, and although Fauci downplayed preventative measures at that time, he did lay the foundation in people’s mind for what would need to be done for them to be protected if the outbreak spread, which are the elements of lockdown that we’ve experienced. Uncertainty was added by Fauci stating this is a new virus and implying we don’t know anything about it, despite having 3 months worth of data from Wuhan. Every aspect of this broadcast was fear reinforcing, with the exception of people in critical conditions having underlying medical conditions which was immediately dragged into a place of elevated risk, without informing of how risk of death and serious symptoms generally eludes healthy people.
Case 2: New York Times. “Worst-Case Estimates for Coronavirus Deaths in the US”.
Sheri Fink, 3/13/2020
The CDC estimated that over 2/3rds of the United States could be infected by Covid-19. Based on what we have experienced, in China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, and the United States, there is no long term basis for these numbers, where I presume they are using the rate of spread in an area over a short period of time (cherry picking), and then extrapolating that rate in a scenario with zero or minimal containment that has not been observed anywhere in the world. The article expresses that the modelers assume that each person infected with the virus would infect 2 to 3 people. They claim they are drawing these numbers from Chinese data, however, each person infecting 2 to 3 people doesn’t include the parameters for containment, and as we’ve seen, every location it has sprung up at has experienced declines, on a local basis, even if not on a national basis (other countries infected before the United States).
The following is a quote from the article: “Between 160 million and 214 million people in the United States could be infected over the course of the epidemic, according to a projection that encompasses the range of the four scenarios. That could last months or even over a year, with infections concentrated in shorter periods, staggered across time in different communities, experts said. As many as 200,000 to 1.7 million people could die.” A disease that has been global for 2 months and has only infected roughly 140,000 people (3/14), is going to infect 214 million in the United States in a matter of months to a year? And if it did it still doesn’t change the mortality rate for healthy people.
One model creator states the arbitrary nature with which variables are accounted for. First he states “We’re being very, very careful to make sure we have scientifically valid modeling that’s drawing properly on the epidemic and what’s known about the virus,” he said, warning that simple calculations could be misleading or even dangerous. Then he contradicts his first statement stating “You can’t win. If you overdo it, you panic everybody. If you underdo it, they get complacent. You have to be careful.” If you are trying to make scientifically accurate models, what are you overdoing or under doing? You can’t be objectively creating models and reporting on the findings if your intent is to produce behavior in the population that seems to be in between panic and complacency. The reporter records the answer but is unable to deduce and report the implications of the answer.
The modeler said the scenario cited (which is the only scenario cited) is not realistic with the preventative measures we’ve already taken. What’s the value of NYT presenting a worst case scenario that is no longer the worst case scenario according to the creator of the scenario? The severity of the risk is a respiratory infection, coughing, sore lungs, fever, and other symptoms most people have already experienced through exposure to other viruses that infect the lungs. For this we’re destroying our economy, quality of life, culture, and cultivating a future that is 3 trillion dollars lighter by not participating in the normal motions of our lives.
In addition to the article presenting a cooked no longer possible worst case scenario, the article also presented statistics out of context. The reporter uses what I presume was also a no longer relevant estimation of as many as 21 million hospitalizations in a nation with only about 1 million hospital beds. We also have to consider the duration of hospital stays since we don’t go from where we are today to 21 million overnight. 21 million relies on over 100 million people becoming infected over time. While 1 million beds would likely be insufficient even over time, it doesn’t mean we’d require 21 million beds as the article suggests.
The reporter references a congresswoman asking doctor Fauci a question about a model that estimated 70 to 150 million people could be infected. The article states “what will determine the ultimate number, he said, “how you respond to it with containment and mitigation”.
The article isn’t finished misleading, the reporter quotes a modeler who asserts that covid 19 is only slightly less severe than the Spanish Flu of 1918. Readers may look up the spanish flu or they may already have a conception of the Spanish Flu, and the association is largely false based on the distinguishing characteristic of the Spanish Flu from other viruses. The Spanish Flu was as likely to kill a person aged 15 to 34 as it was to kill a person over 65, with people 40 to 55 having a peculiar lower rate of death than both older and younger people. Based on the age groups and people who have a risk for mortality because of preexisting conditions, Covid19 is much more similar to the seasonal flu than it is the Spanish Flu.
The story reports one “expert’s” model is arbitrary, or is being presented arbitrarily. She reports a worse case scenario that is no longer a worst case scenario. She provides an exaggerated number of hospitalizations compared to hospital beds without providing context for how those hospital beds would be required, if that exaggerated number of people required hospitalization. She references Fauci encouraging public consent for impending restrictive mitigation policies. She compares the virus to the Spanish Flu which produced severe outcomes indiscriminately across age groups whereas Covid-19 does not. The one area where the modeler provided parameters for fatality he provided them generally. The estimated deaths are going to be inaccurate because a scientifically accurate model would have taken population demographics into account, mainly medical conditions and age. The model would project by risk according to observed data, and had a range of different values for different groups, and different probabilities of infection for different groups based on what they understood about who has been infected to that point. At that point, any model is still arbitrary without serology to gauge what the true infection rate actually is. The article as nearly all others is an exercise in risk exaggeration.
Lily Singh, 3/27/2020
There are two relevant points made by doctor Fauci as it relates to exaggerating risk that take place in the first few minutes of the podcast. The remainder of the podcast is primarily related to prevention like transmission, the effectiveness of masks, social distancing, and other points of risk mitigation based on the idea put forth in the beginning: that the virus is randomly deadly and randomly intense. I’m not a regular watcher of this podcast but was attracted by the title when the video appeared in my recommended youtube videos.
The first myth he was tasked with busting is the comparison of the virus to the seasonal flu. He recites his line from other programs that the virus is 10x more deadly than the flu and this is the greatest distinguishing characteristic. 10x more deadly is built on the baseless assumption that only twice as many people are infected as have been confirmed. Baseless because there were no serology studies available at that time to assume a probability of infected people. There were however, the studies from Italy, Wuhan, and the United States that showed near totalities that the people who die have underlying conditions, with rare deaths among seemingly healthy people the same as the flu. This contextualizing piece of information goes unmentioned leaving the listener with the perception that the virus is randomly intense and randomly deadly.
To further distinguish Covid-19 from the flu, Dr. Fauci lied to the public stating “We’ve never seen hospitals running out of beds and ventilators the way we’ve seen in Europe and in New York because of the flu”.
First we have seen hospitals run out of beds because of the flu, recently, in the 2017-2018 flu season, where there were reports of hospitals rescheduling non-essential surgeries to treat flu patients, hospitals treating patients in hallways, and in California they erected tents to treat the sick as bed space was overwhelmed. (22)
22: Amanda Macmillan, 1/18/2018 “Hospitals Overwhelmed by Flu Patients, Hospitals Are Treating Them in Tents.” Time https://time.com/5107984/hospitals-handling-burden-flu-patients/
We also saw examples of hospitals not only in New York, but hospitals across the country in the 2014-2015 flu season. The report I’m citing, where the media in the absence of a new virus to exploit emphasized the deaths of healthy people from the flu, recapping the deaths of 17 children who died in the past week, and a 40 year old mother of two, a 26 year old newly wed health care worker, a 23 year old man from Massachusetts, and a 12 year old from Wisconsin, who were among those who put faces on the flu deaths.(23) Something I’m including because it seems like people in this country have forgotten the flu kills healthy people every year, at about the same rate as Covid-19 according to serology studies.
23: NBC Nightly News 1/16/2015 “Hospitals Across the US are Overrun with Flu Patients”. https://www.nbcnews.com/video/hospitals-across-u.s.-are-overrun-with-flu-patients-385536067882
At the time Fauci made this statement, NYC, the location of the greatest number of cases due to the greatest population and a great density of population, had beds available, including 307 ICU beds, which should be equipped with ventilators and or ECMOs.(24) 3 days later on March 30th, while the media was still churning out stories about shortages of beds and ventilators, there were 392 ICU beds available in NYC.(25)
24: Josefa Velasquez, 3/28/2020, “New York Hospital ICUs Nearing Limit as Covid19 Surges”. The City https://thecity.nyc/2020/03/new-york-hospital-icus-nearing-limit-as-covid-19-surges.html
25: Nolan Hicks and Julia Marsh 3/31/2020 “Coronavirus in New York: City Has Fewer than 400 Intensive Care Beds”, New York Post https://nypost.com/2020/03/31/coronavirus-in-ny-nyc-has-fewer-than-400-free-hospital-beds/
In order for a shortage of ventilators to have occurred it requires that a person dies because they didn’t have access to a ventilator, and that did not happen. While different hospitals experience different demand, and the news is going to follow the hospitals with the most demand, as a whole, the city of New York during these periods never came close to a shortage of ventilators. Yes, you can find different hospitals that are extremely tight on resources and project the idea that there is overwhelming stress on the city’s healthcare resources as a whole, but we have the ability to transport people to other hospitals where the resources exist.
On 3/31 Politico reported that the NYC Health Department had 3700 ventilators not including ECMOs for the worst patients.(26) At this time, 3/31, there were 66,000 confirmed cases of the rona in NYC.(27) There are no reports as to the percentage of people who have been put on ventilators in the US. This prevents people like myself from showing with absolute certainty that the city was not even close to running out of ventilators. The facts still speak pretty loudly in the absence of the definitively proving variable: the amount of patients who required ventilators.
26: Sally Goldenberg, Amanda Eisenberg, and Danielle Muoio, 3/31/2020 “Everybody’s in the same boat’: Coronavirus drives New York’s hospitals to breaking point” Politico. Also source for 21,000 hospital beds in following paragraph in addition to 3700 ventilators cited as wells as unused temporary care structures. https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2020/03/31/everybodys-in-the-same-boat-coronavirus-drives-new-yorks-hospitals-to-breaking-point-1269943
27: WGRZ Staff, Associated Press, TEGNA, 3/31/2020 “WNY/NYS Coronavirus (Covid-19) Updates March 31st” https://www.wgrz.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/wnynys-coronavirus-covid-19-updates-march-31-2020/71-329056a3-11a1-418a-ad5d-ab8a0bbed489
A small Chinese study found that 12% of hospitalized patients required invasive ventilation. (28) The general rate of hospitalization is 20% of confirmed cases.(29) To contextualize that number, if as serology suggests we have 40x the number of confirmed cases the general hospitalization rate is really only .5%. NYC has 66,000 confirmed cases at the time (3/31) they are building makeshift hospitals and bringing in ships that have since been shut down and left, and were barely used not out of necessity but because they were present. 66,000 confirmed cases should have resulted in roughly 13,200 hospitalized at a 20% hospitalization rate. Which bear in mind, is not 66,000 cases resulting in 13,200 hospitalized on 3/31, but it is important to note that NYC according to the NYC health department has 21,000 hospital beds in the city. 12% of 13,200 means over the course of a month, the city should not have had a demand for more than 1584 ventilators.
28: Alex Hogan, 3/31/2020 “Ventilators are in High Demand for Covid-19 Paitents. How do they Work?” Stat News https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/30/covid-19-ventilators-how-they-work/
29: Bloomberg Surveillance 4/16/2020 “20% of Covid-19 Paitents Require Hospitalization: Johns Hopkins Farley” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2020-04-16/20-of-covid-19-patients-require-hospitalization-johns-hopkins-farley-video
I’m not saying that they didn’t require more because no one is publishing the data, which probably won’t come out for sometime and will only be revealed through an audit of insurance billing. I’m sure the reports of some hospitals being in tight supply is accurate, but there was never a problem of shortages over all, or even close to shortages. At most you had a logistical challenge that is easily overcome. There never was a shortage of ventilators and the shortage of hospital beds or ICU beds was exaggerated by focusing attention on specific hospitals during periods when they were most in demand in NYC.
There have been various reports concerning the overuse of ventilators in Covid-19 cases. The explanation is that most Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome is accompanied by a lack of elasticity in the lungs where forced air is required to get oxygen to the lungs, whereas Covid-19 patients typically do not have a lack of elasticity. The doctor is tasked with bringing oxygen levels up when patients are not getting enough oxygen, since low oxygen will damage organs and lead to death. This is most of the reason why ventilators have been overused globally and has also probably led to fatalities in patients that could have recovered if not for incubation. Ventilators can harm the lungs and lead to additional infections. (30)
30: Megan Williams, 4/17/2020 “Ventilators are Being Overused on Covid-19 Paitents Globally World Renowned Critical Care Specialist Says”. CBC https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/ventilators-covid-overuse-1.5534097
In the United States some doctors work in an overt or covert incentivized environment. There is an incentive for the hospitals to ventilate, and probably some incentive for doctors to use ventilators on patients. The difference between a Covid-19 pneumonia patient who is in ICU and one who is in ICU and put on a ventilator, is charging Medicare $13,000, verus charging Medicare $39,000.(31) It would be difficult to audit or find cases of unnecessary incubation given the medical justification of low oxygen levels, but some of that probably occurred motivated by profit. The assertion may be evidenced by the comparison of mortality statistics of ventilators in the United States versus China and the British national systems. (32)
31: Michelle Rodgers, 4/24/2020 “Fact Check: Medicare Pays Hospitals More Money for Covid-19 Paitents” USA Today https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/04/24/fact-check-medicare-hospitals-paid-more-covid-19-patients-coronavirus/3000638001/?fbclid=IwAR3UlBwVPcar2oVNJFQ75LznmR-sn3TXjoiOIeT6Jjinq_fwIUcl3a5lZts
32: British and Chinese studies have shown ventilator mortality to be 66%. A study in the US has found that of roughly 1100 patients who were put on ventilators, 88% have died. The issue with the findings is 71% of the patients are still on ventilators but of those who either recovered or died, 88% have died. If the mortality rate remains unchanged it suggests a greater amount of use of ventilators in the US than other countries that could be responsible for the greater incidence for mortality. Motivation could be profit.
The points are Fauci lied when he told that woman we haven’t seen hospitals overwhelmed like in NYC because of the flu, as we have in 2014-2015 seasons, and in the 2017-2018 seasons. He lied when he said we haven’t seen shortages of ventilators like we did with Covid-19. Based on the observed proportions of hospitalizations with the virus and the need for ICU and ventilators, there never was anything close to a shortage. As I previously pointed out, to qualify a shortage requires a person dying because they needed a ventilator and there were none available.
This is the person who the American public relies on to think for them about this virus, and he is lying to them along with the media. Part of his motivation is this opportunity to feel important, where his importance relies on the public’s perceived danger of the virus and their dependency on him. I’m sure he probably has other ties that are valuable to business interests, probably nothing overt, but probably nothing could be better for Gilead who manufactures Remdesivir than his endorsement. An endorsement he made despite conflicting findings on the drug’s effectiveness. (33) He makes false statements, uses words associated with dramatic impressions that are uninformative, and quotes statistics absent their complete context to cause the public to associate the virus with random death, instead of probable sickness and recovery.
33: Hannah Kulcher and Donato Paolo Mancini, 4/29/2020 “Fauci Praises Remdesivir After Data Shows it Speeds Recovery”. Financial Times https://www.ft.com/content/1625275b-9981-49f4-b788-661f8243890d Article cites Lancet study where researcher concludes ““Unfortunately, our trial found that while safe and adequately tolerated, remdesivir did not provide significant benefits over placebo,”. This study consisted of 238 participants with a control group and was peer reviewed. The study that showed it was effective was not peer reviewed.
Fauci told Lilly Singh “people should never shake hands” even without a virus like Covid-19 in circulation. Without Covid-19 and the “fear porn” that has taken shape around it, if he was on television and told people they should never shake hands the people of this country would never listen to another word that came out of his mouth. Mainly because people have been shaking hands and having personal contact since the beginning of human history which shows his views to be extreme and unduly imposing on the quality of the human experience.
Case 4: CNN “Bus Driver Posts Angry FaceBook Video About Coughing Passenger. He Died 3 Days Later.” 4/3/2020
CNN aired a story of a bus driver who made a video post about a woman coughing on the bus and the driver died of the virus days later. The story was clearly intent on implying that you could be coughed on and die of the virus days later. The driver appeared sick in the video and he probably did not contract the virus from the women who coughed on the bus and died 3 days later. There is a 2 day to 14 day incubation period before the onset of symptoms. It is extremely unlikely that he was infected and experienced symptoms on the third day that were instantly deadly.
CNN didn’t share his medical history, but in his video he is walking in detroit which even if it was warm for the day wasn’t above 50 degrees. He was wiping himself down as he walked and talked seemingly perspiring. He was heavy and seemed short of breath. Perspiring while performing a non-aerobic task on a cool day is a sign of hypertension, meaning the driver who appeared obese, may have had heart problems, at least high blood pressure, and could have had other weight related diseases like diabetes. The story is aired to scare people into thinking they are going to die using public transportation, when the driver probably had underlying medical conditions and does not represent a risk of death for healthy people, despite this being the impression projected.
The segment cuts to the mayor who is telling the story and encouraging others to watch it. As Andersen Cooper did before him, he praises his courage in serving the people of detroit. Yes, he died of the virus, but to refer to driving a bus as a courageous act on the front lines suggests a level of danger that greatly exceeds the actual risk of dying of the virus. As mentioned, even people who have medical conditions have a 93.5% survival rate, whereas healthy people have essentially no risk of death.
This frontlines narrative continued in an interview with a bus drivers union representative where Cooper listed a few different other professions of people who were on the front lines. By doing so he implies that anyone who is out in public is on the front lines. To win the war you stay indoors and watch the news for updates, which is good for the news who earns money by attracting attention.
The bus driver reinforces this fear based narrative. He rightfully asserts that bus drivers see more sick people than anyone, picking people up and taking them to and from the hospitals, grocery stores, etc. He stated he was glad that the issue of the virus for transportation workers was finally addressed. He was disappointed it had to come to this, and transit lives matter. No doubt, public transportation workers probably have as good a chance to be infected as anyone else, probably more than health care workers since the bus drivers are more likely to be exposed to infected people who do not know they are infected. The danger of being infected is grossly exaggerated.
The largest count of public transportation workers in the US who have died of Covid-19 is 94. (34) 94 is a lot of people to die, but there are 430,000 public transportation workers whose job frequently exposes them to contact with infected people.(35) Consider the flu at a fatality rate of .1%. If all public transportation workers were infected with the flu, 430 would die. Not exactly, because like Covid-19, the general fatality rate doesn’t represent individual risk based on preexisting conditions and age. Although I’m not able to find flu statistics by occupation, I’m sure the flu doesn’t kill 430 public transportation workers in a season, probably around 40 to 50 over the 13 to 20 week season. This doesn’t mean Covid-19 is more deadly, it’s just the difference between a flu vaccine, where the flu would kill as many as Covid-19 if at risk people did not vaccinate.
34: Lois Beckett 4/20/2020 “Revealed: Nearly 100 Transit Workers Died of Covid-19 Amid Lack of Protections” The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/20/us-bus-drivers-lack-life-saving-basic-protections-transit-worker-deaths-coronavirus
35: American Public Transportation Association: Public Transportation Facts https://www.apta.com/news-publications/public-transportation-facts/
The report concludes with typical union grievances concerning the failure of the Detroit DOT to protect the workers lives against the threat of Covid-19, which is the song of random death he was being called to sing. Cooper closes stating the implications of listing other occupations previously, by saying everywhere is the front lines.
CNN exaggerates the risk by presenting an exception as the norm and reinforcing the idea that the virus is randomly deadly. Even a 50 year old man with underlying medical conditions dying of the virus isn’t likely. As I mentioned previously, the study I cited for 94% of people who died having underlying conditions, also showed that only 6.5% of people infected with underlying conditions died, and the risk of mortality increases with age. This means a 50 year old man has less than a 6.5% chance of dying. It is generally a high rate, but individually, even for the most at risk, it isn’t probable they will die if infected. Yet these cases are presented to the public as if they represent a likely outcome for the virus, when they do not; not for most people who are at risk and definitely not for healthy people.
Case 5: Seattle Times/Washington Post
“Healthy People in Their 30s and 40s Barely Sick With Covid-19, Are Dying of Strokes”
Ariana EunJung Cha
The media oftly presents the exception as the norm. During any flu season there are enough healthy victims to put one or more on TV every day, and if the public didn’t already have familiarity with the flu, they would think the flu is killing healthy people in droves. I want to present more of those cases but I also recognize the need to finish this in a timely manner since the information is important to public well being. What’s interesting about this case is the author did absolutely no research into the cause of strokes associated with Covid-19 and the title is completely false.
The tone of the article is frantic and introduces cases of strokes among younger people with covid-19 and suggests that some people who died of strokes in their home who were never tested may have died of Covid-19. Half of all people who die of strokes don’t make it to the hospital and typically die in their homes. It isn’t uncommon for stroke victims to die in their homes. The article claims 4x as many people died in their homes, but there is no context for the statement, no cause of death, no baseline to understand what 4x as many represents on a weekly basis, where we could be talking an average 1 to two weeks where 8 people died. More importantly we don’t know if this increase is anomalous or if the rate of people who die in their homes fluctuates wildly, where they’ve experienced weeks where 10x as many people have died in their homes compared to a typical week. The author has deprived the audience of the opportunity to make a comparison because stating 4x has a greater impact than the whole numbers for the argument she is trying to make. Mainly implying that Covid-19 is causing strokes randomly among the population which is a myth I will address momentarily.
The article explains what a stroke is (an interruption of the flow of blood to the brain) and mentions stroke victims in Wuhan who were sick and elderly. The article introduces a researcher who is preparing to publish a study on strokes in Covid-19 patients. The article quotes the doctor who reveals the mystery.
“Chou said one question is whether the clotting is a due to a direct attack on the blood vessels, or a “a friendly fire problem” caused by the patient’s immune response.” (I did not put the a after is. It is a direct quote from the article. I did however think it was funny based on the stereotype of the ethnic dialect.)
“In your body’s attempt to fight off the virus, does the immune response end up hurting your brain?” she asked. Chou is hoping to answer such questions through a review of stroke and other neurological complications in COVID-19 patients treated at 68 medical centers in 17 countries.”
The article states that 12 people over a 3 week period who were treated for blood clots in their brain were infected with Covid-19. Then she says that 40% were under 50. This is an effort to exaggerate the perception of the number. 40% of stroke victims infected with the virus over a 3 week period has a greater appearance than 5 stroke victims infected with Covid-19 over a three week period were under 50. What’s interesting is, this is not the experience of a single hospital, this data comes from a network of 14 medical centers in Philadelphia and NYC.
“Eytan Raz, an assistant professor of neuroradiology at NYU Langone” embellishes the figures further stating “We have never seen so many in their 50s, 40s and late 30s.”
The article proceeds: “Raz wondered whether they are seeing more young patients because they are more resistant than the elderly to the respiratory distress caused by COVID-19: “So they survive the lung side, and in time develop other issues.””
The article mentions Mount Sinai who also experienced an increase in strokes during the referenced three week period. Mount Sinai is the largest medical services provider in NYC and they experienced a doubling in strokes during this period to 32. The researcher from Mount Sinai is quoted in the article “Mocco, who has spent his career studying stroke and how to treat it, said he was “completely shocked” by the analysis. He noted the link between COVID-19 and stroke “is one of the clearest and most profound correlations I’ve come across.”
There were 5 from the other medical centers who were under 50, and this article concludes by mentioning 5 who were ages “33, 37, 39, 44, and 49”. There are 795,000 strokes each year.(36) 2% occur in people ages 40 to 59. 15,900 people in this age group have strokes every year. People 20 to 40 years old represent .45% of strokes for a total of 3577 per year. For the lower age range we experience roughly 10 strokes per day. Since people have strokes at these ages there are people who are at risk of stroke who are infected by the virus and have strokes.
36: American Heart Association Prevelence of Stroke by Age and Sex https://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_449858.pdf
They didn’t share the general medical history of these patients, only implied that most were healthy, whatever it is they mean by that. As I mentioned some people have immuniogenetic abnormalities in the lower age range that can cause them to appear healthy but end up dying from infections.
Rather than summarize, I’m going to quote what one of those disorders is.
“Antiphospholipid syndrome is a disorder characterized by an increased tendency to form abnormal blood clots (thromboses) that can block blood vessels. This clotting tendency is known as thrombophilia. In antiphospholipid syndrome, the thromboses can develop in nearly any blood vessel in the body, but most frequently occur in the vessels of the lower limbs. If a blood clot forms in the vessels in the brain, blood flow is impaired and can lead to stroke” (37)
37: National Institute of Health US National Library of Medicine “Antiphospholipid Syndrome” https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/antiphospholipid-syndrome#genes
According to the National Health Services website, APS is usually diagnosed in people 20 to 50 years old. (38)
Although it isn’t common, viruses can cause a person who has the antibodies associated with APS to initiate an autoimmune response where these antibodies produce blood clots. Clearly, if it isn’t uncommon for a person to be diagnosed until they’re 50, a seemingly healthy person could die of a stroke while being infected with Covid-19. In rare cases, Covid-19 could be a virus that triggers APS which causes strokes.
Does Covid-19 predispose healthy people to strokes? No. If it did, we wouldn’t be talking about 5 young stroke victims infected with Covid-19 from the largest medical care provider in NYC that has seen a greater amount of patients than any single private health services provider in the world.
If we discovered that Covid-19 triggered an autoimmune response associated with APS this would be significant, but still wouldn’t be a correlation between Covid-19 and stroke, it’s a correlation between Covid-19 and aPL antibodies leading to APS that causes the stroke. If this is the case, it’s genetic and there is no risk of healthy people dying of a stroke because of Covid-19.
Lastly, if Covid-19 in these ultra rare instances caused these 10 strokes of people under 50 during a 3 week period, it is still a product of their immune response or personal predisposition to stroke, not the virus randomly causing strokes in young healthy people as the article and these researchers are making every effort to purport. Young healthy people are not dying of strokes because of Covid-19 except by some genetic predisposition absent the healthy population. These researcher representatives of these organizations presented a disingenuous version of what was observed to promote their research and these organizations. They’ve grossly exaggerated the risk of death to healthy people to further their personal interests, and fueled the hysteria.
Case 6: PolitiFact “Images Show Covid-19 Victims Being Buried in Mass Graves in NYC” (Mostly True)
Samantha Putterman, 4/10/2020
It should come as no surprise that attention has only been brought to NYC’s Hart Island used to bury unclaimed bodies during the efforts to maximize the fear of a virus that presents no risk of death to healthy people. Pictures of a bulldozer and plain wooden boxes being covered in dirt is an impression that reinforces that idea.
I first learned about Hart Island through a Facebook post. A person copied the picture from the internet and posted it claiming they’re burying Covid-19 victims in mass graves. I found an NPR article that did contextualize the assertion, which included an explanation that the island has been used to bury the unclaimed dead for over 150 years.(39) It also quoted the mayor as saying the bodies being buried there on that day, were bodies that were there for weeks, predating the recent surge in deaths.
39: Meg Anderson 4/10/2020 “New York City Mass Graves on Island are Not New, but Are Increasing During Pandemic” NPR https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/10/831875297/burials-on-new-york-island-are-not-new-but-are-increasing-during-pandemic
Politifact rates the claim mostly true that the images shown are Covid-19 victims. The reviewer cites a change in policy where unclaimed bodies that used to be held for 60 days were now only being held for 15 days, and 25 bodies per week being transported to the island had increased to 25 bodies per day. NYC had the capacity to store about 900 bodies. (40) What is mostly true is that bodies that accumulated from people without the means or concern to bury these bodies occupied space that was required for the increase in deaths from Covid-19. It is mostly, and probably completely false that the images showed bodies of Covid-19 patients being buried in mass graves.
40: V.L. Hendrickson 3/30/2020 “New York City Expands Morgue Capacity by 75%-Can Now Handle 3600 Corpses at a time”. Market Watch https://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-york-city-expands-morgue-capacity-by-75-can-now-handle-3600-corpses-at-a-time-2020-03-30
Past that date, since Covid-19 deaths have increased, are Covid-19 patients being buried in en masse on Hart Island? No. Because the only bodies being buried on Hart Island are unclaimed bodies, and there is no reason to believe that a greater proportion of Covid-19 bodies are unclaimed than deaths from other causes.
An increase in deaths from any cause can rapidly put stress on any city’s ability to store bodies primarily because the turnover is a fairly quick process. Claimed bodies which make up the majority of bodies may be released within as little as 24 hours.(41) This implies that in most deaths that do include suspicious circumstances the mortuary may be picking up the body within a few days. A few hundred additional deaths per day will quickly put strain on the morgues capacity.
41: Tarrant County, Texas, Medical Examiner. https://access.tarrantcounty.com/en/medical-examiner/frequently-asked-questions/how-long-will-it-be-before-the-body-is-released.html
There is a story about a woman in NYC telling her personal experience living across the street from where a refrigerated trailer was storing bodies. Like the first impressions of the Hart Island story, the reader views this account as an extreme measure without precedent to manage the accumulation of bodies because of Covid-19.(42) In 1995, a heatwave in Chicago that resulted in a few hundred additional deaths required the city to bring in refrigerated trucks. (43) Heatwave victims as well as other unclaimed bodies from different causes were buried in a mass grave. (44) Surges in deaths caused by drug overdoses led to Summit County in Ohio bringing in refrigerated trucks on 3 occasions due to morgues overflowing with bodies. (45) If you read influenza pandemic planning guides, refrigerated trucks to store bodies are in the protocol so it is a fairly common practice that people are unfamiliar with.
42: Simon Shuster, 3/31/2020 “I Still Can’t Believe What I’m Seeing. What It’s Like to Live Across the Street From a Temporary Morgue During the Coronavirus Outbreak”. Time https://time.com/5812569/covid-19-new-york-morgues/
43: Bonnie Miller Rubin and Jermey Gorner “Fatal Heatwave 20 Years Ago Changed Chicagos Emergency Response”. Chicago Tribune.
44: Judy Pasternak “Chicago Heatwave Victims Buried Together”. Los Angeles Times. http://tech.mit.edu/V115/N32/chicago.32w.html
45: Josh Katz 6/5/2017 “Drug Deaths In America are Rising Faster than Ever” New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/05/upshot/opioid-epidemic-drug-overdose-deaths-are-rising-faster-than-ever.html
NYC has had a serious issue with the virus but the rest of the country has not. The characteristics of NYC predispose it to rapidly transmitting a virus and it is much more difficult to quarantine the sick and elderly than it is in other places. 76% of New Yorkers commute with other people, subway, buses, trains, taxis, and carpools. (46) Even people who walk places are constantly around people and areas where others have walked with a virus that can linger in the air for as long as 27 feet and be carried by air currents. (47) In addition, the sheer number of people who interact with the same objects creates a great probability for objects to be interacted with by an infected person, and then multiple non-infected people who infect themselves.
46: Wikipedia “Transportation in New York City” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transportation_in_New_York_City
47: Linda Bourouiba 3/26/2020 “Turbulent Gas Clouds and Respiratory Pathogen Emissions”. Jama. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2763852
People have been dying of Covid-19 in NYC for about 8 weeks which represents half a flu season. It is important to point out that deaths have been decreasing since April 13th, and today is May 6th which is relevant in the sense that if Covid-19 lasted a full flu season, it isn’t likely that it will produce twice as many casualties. The bulk of flu season deaths typically take place over an 8 week period. What we’ve experienced with Covid-19 is comparably representative of a full season. Yesterday on May 5th, there were 6 deaths in NYC, the day before 38, the day before 61, 93, and 108, which represents a consistent downward trend in progress back to April 13th.
Total confirmed Covid-19 deaths in NYC is 13998. (48) The 2017 -2018 flu season killed 4749 people in NYC. (49) This doesn’t represent a fatality rate that is nearly 3x higher because we have vaccines for the flu, and usually those who have the greatest risk for complications (the sick and elderly) are vaccinated against it. Without the vaccine, it is reasonable to presume the flu would produce comparably the same results over the same period of time. We have the same demographics for complications, the sick and the elderly.
48: NYC Health Department. Covid-19 Data. https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-data.page
49: NBC Channel 4 New York 3/31/2020 “As NYC Nears 1000 Deaths, How Does Pandemic Compare to the Typical Flu Season?” https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/as-nyc-nears-1000-covid-19-deaths-how-does-it-compare-to-typical-flu-seasons/2352180/
For those who contend that Covid-19 is more deadly, even if we accept that conclusion, the relevance of that assertion is who that increased probability of death applies to. This isn’t to say these people are expendable, it is to say those people need to take the precautions they feel are necessary to protect themselves. The point I am using it to make is that the risk of mortality to healthy people is the same as the flu which is essentially 0. Whereas the media and every interested party in the exaggerated danger of the virus, has led people to believe the virus is randomly deadly.
Case 7: NPR “Who’s Sickest from Covid-19? These Conditions Tied to Increased Risk” 3/31/2020 Allison Aubrey
The study published by the CDC that 78% of ICU admissions and 94% of people who died had underlying medical conditions was reported by NPR. After the researcher stated the data was consistent with data from China and Italy, she did everything she could to undermine the significance of the findings as it related to risk, including misrepresenting and omitting other aspects of the study.
The study consisted of 7162 people including nearly 200 deaths. At the time there were about 122,000 cases and roughly 2000 deaths in the United States. While 200 deaths may seem like a small number it represented nearly 10% of all deaths that took place in the United States at that time. And it was consistent with data from other countries where the virus had already been for months.
In the third paragraph the article explains the data is consistent with what has been observed in China and Italy, but provides the quote before quoting another section that states these findings “highlight the importance of Covid-19 prevention in persons with underlying medical conditions”. While I do not necessarily fault NPR for quoting the researcher, the researcher shouldn’t limit the context of what the findings are telling us about the risk of Covid-19 to healthy people, but as we proceed, it’s clear the Allison Aubrey reviewed this report skimming for points that would reinforce the idea that Covid-19 poses a risk to everyone.
She goes on to write
“The report includes a snapshot of cases among children and teenagers, and it adds to the evidence that people of all ages are vulnerable to infection.”
“The analysis concludes that about 23% of the COVID-19 cases were among children and teens (under age 19). But only a small number of these young patients were known to be hospitalized. The CDC documented 48 hospitalizations among this age group. Eight young patients were sick enough to be admitted to the ICU.”
First we need to address the 23% assertion. It is not an accurate depiction of the proportion of children who have become infected by Covid-19 as she asserts. This report came from a data pool that was over 70,000 cases, and 7162 cases were selected for analysis because these cases had information on whether there were underlying conditions.
“Case report forms were submitted to CDC for 74,439 cases. Data on presence or absence of underlying health conditions and other recognized risk factors for severe outcomes from respiratory infections (i.e., smoking and pregnancy) were available for 7,162 (5.8%) patients”. (50) 23% of the cases for which there was data on the existence or absence of underlying conditions out of that 7,162 were children, not “about 23% of the COVID-19 cases were among children and teens”. She misrepresented the data to imply that children represent roughly 1/5th of Covid-19 cases. The actual known rate of infection among children is 1.7%, and they are hospitalized at a rate of .3% for children 0 to 4, and .1% for children 5 to 17. (51)
50: CDC Preliminary Estimates of the Prevalence of Selected Underlying Health Conditions Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 — United States, February 12–March 28, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 31 March 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6913e2.htm?s_cid=mm6913e2_w 4th paragraph
51: CDC 4/17/2020 Hospitalization Rates and Characteristics of Patients Hospitalized With Laboratory Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 19. COVID-19-NET, 14 States March 1st through 30th. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6915e3.htm
The 94% of fatalities being people with underlying conditions are not skewed by the inclusion of children because the CDC report did not provide the data for the presence of underlying conditions in children.
“The percentages of patients of all ages with underlying health conditions who were not hospitalized, hospitalized without ICU admission, and hospitalized with ICU admission were calculated. Percentages of hospitalizations with and without ICU admission were estimated for persons aged (=or greater than) ≥19 years with and without underlying health conditions. This part of the analysis was limited to persons aged ≥19 years because of the small sample size of cases in children with reported underlying health conditions (N = 32).”
The 78% rate of ICU admissions and the 94% of deaths by people with underlying conditions is a product of people who are over 18 years old. A second notable piece of information is 32 of the 48 hospitalized had underlying conditions and the higher rate of hospitalization was most likely newborns who make up the bulk of children who are hospitalized because of Covid-19. All 8 of the ICU cases were more than likely children with underlying conditions or newborns.
The article is about who is the sickest from Covid-19 based on other medical conditions, and she inserts information about children grossly misrepresenting the proportion of children infected, and then does not include the number of children who had underlying conditions who were hospitalized. The implications of which are healthy people even children are getting sick and being hospitalized.
Her second effort to minimize the significance of the findings was quoted in the portion of the report “The analysis was limited by small numbers and missing data”.
What data was missing? There were missing onset dates that had to be estimated, which is the date when symptoms began which has nothing to do with the analysis of the presence of underlying conditions and their impact on hospitalization and fatality. What else was missing? Information on children who died with or without the presence of underlying health conditions. It wasn’t missing, it was absent because to that point, no child had died of Covid-19 in the United States. If we are informing on the risk of children, that is a point that is important for a parent to know which was not included.
She includes the quote from the report that the research could change as more data becomes available, which of course undermines the significance of the data to healthy people. The data is consistent with what other countries who have more experience with the virus have observed. There’s no basis for the idea that the proportion between those who are admitted to ICU and die of the virus will change as more data is collected since they haven’t changed since the virus spread, and has been collected in two other countries.
The last two paragraphs have nothing to do with the study and are inserted to restore the idea of risk to healthy people. She states “it’s important to note that about 60% of cases evaluated in this analysis were among people who did not have documented chronic conditions. Healthy, younger people can be vulnerable, too.”
60% of cases consisting of people without underlying conditions doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t tell us how many of those people were hospitalized, how many were in ICU, or how many died. The report doesn’t mention age groups of the 6% of people with no underlying medical condition who died in the study to know how young people are represented in that 6%. There’s no reason for “younger people can be vulnerable too” except to imply that the virus is
still randomly intense and deadly with the only implication of the study being that people with medical conditions are people who have risk.
The article concludes by citing another report that 40% of people who were hospitalized were under 55 and 20% were under 45. That report provides no insight or perspective to this article and the only purpose of inserting it is to undermine the findings that healthy people have no greater risk of death from Covid-19 than they do of the flu. That statistic doesn’t tell us much because it isn’t 20% of people who were hospitalized were under 45, it means of the people who were hospitalized, 20% were under 45.
Another important detail from the report to provide context for people with underlying medical conditions is that of those who had underlying medical conditions (2650), 52% (1388) were not hospitalized. Of those who had medical conditions, only 13.5% (358) were admitted to ICU. And of those who had medical conditions 6.5%(173) died, meaning 93.5% recovered. Instead people with medical conditions come across this article and think if they are infected they’re dead. Healthy, young people, many of whom have no risk of death leave the article with the impression that they could die. It is also interesting that a 6.5% mortality rate among people with underlying medical conditions is right around the mortality rate of confirmed cases of the general population, only slightly higher.
If we chop the article up we could award points for portions that inform and negatives for portions that exaggerate risk. This is not an accurate representation of the impression left because although there is an opportunity to understand risk, the article drowns out that opportunity in exaggerating risk by misrepresenting data, failing to include data that provides context, calling the data that informs of risk into question, and inserting other information not related to the article in an effort to exaggerate the risk for healthy people.
Why am I still citing this study from March 31st? I’m yet to find another US report on the fatality rate compared to underlying conditions to those without. Every other article I’ve seen cites this data. I found a local media report from Oregon, where upon their 101st death on April 20th, every person who died in Oregon to that point has had an underlying medical condition. (52) In Italy, 99% of people who died had at least one underlying medical condition. (53) Still no one draws the obvious conclusion that healthy people dying of the virus are anomalous and the risk of being infected should be associated with sickness not death.
52: KTVZ Channel 21 News, Associated Press, 4/29/2020 “Oregon Covid-19 Deaths Reach 101; All Have Had Underlying Conditions. https://ktvz.com/news/coronavirus/2020/04/29/two-more-oregon-covid-19-deaths-raise-toll-to-101/
53: Tommaso Ebhardt, Chiara Remondini, and Marco Bertacche March 18, 2020. “99% of those who Died from Virus had Other Illnesses, Italy Says”. Bloomberg https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-18/99-of-those-who-died-from-virus-had-other-illness-italy-says Article is exceptional in that it is a retelling of the facts without personal qualifers or slants.
Case 8: Tony Evers Facebook Post in Response to Lawsuit against Stay at Home.
The following is a message that Governor Tony Evers of Wisconsin posted to his Facebook Status in response to the legislature filing a lawsuit to overturn his executive order enforcing forced lockdown. I saw the message through the REOPEN Wisconsin Liberty Community Rally Action Page. I responded point by point and I’m presenting it as an exchange as an example of politicians peddling misconceptions.
EVERS FB: Republicans are exploiting a global pandemic to further their attempts to undermine the will of the people. But what’s at stake goes far beyond political power–lives are on the line.
OS Response: The destruction of the economy harms everyone’s interest. Although the republicans do not represent the interest of the general public any more than the democrats do, the interests they do represent are harmed by the shutdown which puts them in a position with Covid19 to represent the interests of the general public. The game is being played by the democrats in an election year where perpetuating the exaggerated danger of the virus serves their political interest, where they can appear as the party who was concerned with the safety of people. After they are elected with the economy in ruins, they can pass stimulus legislation to benefit the business interests they represent.
EVERS FB: Today, Republicans in the Legislature filed a lawsuit to effectively strike down our #SaferAtHome order and cripple our ability to respond to a pandemic that has already taken the lives of 242 people in our state. This isn’t a game. This isn’t funny. People die every day because of this virus — oftentimes painful and lonely deaths — and the more we delay or play political games the more people die.
OS Response: It isn’t funny, and it isn’t a game as the value of life itself is reduced when a person cannot earn a living, pay their bills, or participate in activity outside the home. We know over 94% of people who die of Covid19 have pre existing medical conditions. The virus is not randomly deadly and those with risk factors like medical conditions and age (80+) should quarantine themselves. The healthy population’s infection rate does not increase risk to quarantined people.
EVERS FB: We’ve seen what happens in communities that don’t contain this virus through isolation measures like we have with #SaferAtHome. Look at Italy. Look at Spain.
OS Response: Look at Spain and Italy. Spain has a median age of 45 (54) years old and Italy has a median age above 47 years old. (55) This means a greater proportion of the population is advanced in age and more likely to have medical conditions or experienced advanced immunosenescence (weakened immune system with age). Nations with a greater proportion of elderly people will have a greater proportion of sick people, and consequently, a greater proportion of deaths than countries that have lower aged populations. The other aspect of the deaths in Spain and Italy is they have had a shortage of tests, the same as the US had a shortage of tests and most people who have been infected, have never been tested; those with no symptoms, mild symptoms not severe enough to go to the hospital, or those who have moderate symptoms without risk factors are not tested.
54: https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/spain-population/ Spain Population Median age 44.9
55: https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/italy-population/ Italy Population Median Age 47.3
EVERS FB: Read the reports of doctors rationing ventilators and having to choose which patients will live or die. Read the reports of needing refrigeration trucks for the deceased, or even worse, being left at home for days because the morgue is overcrowded.
OS Response: To date, in the United States there have been no reports of any Covid19 patient dying because there was no ventilator available. First ventilators are rarely required. Second, when they are required, the chances of recovery are about 1 in 3. Which I suppose is irrelevant because we haven’t experienced a shortage of ventilators because no one has died from not having access to one, at least not in the US, but not anywhere else that I am aware of. As far as reading reports of overcrowded morgues I did see a report dated February 25th. (56) Before the outbreak. This was a problem before Covid19 but you’re using this pre-existing problem to inflate the danger of the virus. Morgues overflowing because of Covid 19 doesn’t tell us anything about our individual risk of symptoms and death if infected, so what relevant information does the report provide? No useful information, only dramatic accounts that sensationalize the issue of storing bodies when something causes an increase in deaths. This is what Evers and others of his position rely on to persuade people without substance, dramatic impressions.
56: Jordan Kisner 2/25/2020 “Piled Bodies, Overflowing Morgues: Inside America’s Autopsy Crisis”. NYT. Shortage of qualified medical examiners has caused morgues to back up across the country. ://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/magazine/piled-bodies-overflowing-morgues-inside-americas-autopsy-crisis.html
EVERS FB: This is why we took bold action with our Safer at Home plan to keep Wisconsinites safe and healthy. It’s working. We have flattened the curve here in Wisconsin and have prevented the death of at least 300 Wisconsinites, and perhaps as many as 1400 lives.
OS Response: I’d like to see the source and methodology for establishing that 300 to 1400 lives were saved through these actions. Iowa who has not issued a state wide shutdown order has a rate of infection that is only 1.4x the rate of infection of Wisconsin. (57) Iowa, although smaller, is similar to Wisconsin in population distribution consisting of a few cities with over 100,000 people, many smaller cities and villages with 10s of thousands of people as well as rural expanses that are sparsely populated. Wisconsin is 1.8x the total population but distribution is similar. (Following numbers are dated to response 4/22 updated at end of section) If Iowa had the same population as Wisconsin, Iowa would have (3748 x 1.8= )6746 cases. The true difference between Iowa cases and Wisconsin cases (6746 – 4845) is 1901 cases. If we divide the Wisconsin cases by the proportionate Iowa cases we get 1.39. Iowa, a state without a statewide lockdown order has a rate of infection that is only 1.4x greater than Wisconsin.
57: Numbers are from 4/22 when I responded to this post. Iowa 3748,https://ktiv.com/2020/04/22/iowa-reports-107-new-covid-19-cases-7-additional-deaths/ Wisconsin 4845. https://wkow.com/2020/04/22/225-new-covid-19-cases-reported-in-wisconsin-4-more-dead/
Wisconsin has 4845 cases. If WI had Iowa’s rate of infection, a state of comparable size and distribution, without a statewide lockdown order, Wisconsin would presumably have 1901 additional cases. At Wisconsin’s exaggerated mortality rate at the time of 5%, the most lives that Evers could claim to have saved is 95.
Even this is exaggerated because most people who show symptoms in Wisconsin are being told they probably have Covid-19, but they are not being tested. This has two positive consequences for Evers and the democrats in charge in Wisconsin. 1: It reduces the number of confirmed cases to create the illusion that the lockdown is effective. 2: It increases the mortality rate to create cooked projections to assert how many lives have been saved through the lockdown.
EVERS FB: Today legislative Republicans told the 4,600+ people in the state of Wisconsin who have contracted COVID-19 and the families of the 242 people who have died, we don’t care about you — we care about our political power.
Their lawsuit doesn’t mention saving lives. It doesn’t mention protecting our nurses, doctors, first responders, and critical workers. Instead it’s 80 pages of a lawsuit focused entirely on how to get legislative Republicans more power.
OS Response: I haven’t read the lawsuit and unfortunately I’m too preoccupied with editing my book (Truth Over Everything and Liberty is True) to read it. I challenge you to qualify that assertion. It is my understanding and your admission in paragraph 2, that the lawsuit was to strike down the stay at home order, which as we’ve already established doesn’t create a risk to anyone’s life except those willing to risk a week or two of flu like symptoms, to be able to live productive and fulfilling lives.
EVERS FB: Apparently, instead of having us act quickly and decisively to respond to a crisis, Republicans would rather have us jump through hoop after hoop and ask for their permission to save lives. Folks, we don’t have time. COVID-19 will not wait.
OS Response: This paragraph is purely a political statement. What the republicans have done is attempted to strike down this order to restore the rights of people to manage their own risk. You are overstepping your authority and imposing on peoples rights because you see it as politically advantageous, and you’re saying you don’t care about the people who have been infected and died, because if you did, you wouldn’t use their loss to further your political agenda
EVERS FB: Today’s action by legislative Republicans during a crisis is a shameful response by people elected to protect and serve the people of our state. It is a disservice to those we represent, those who are struggling in this crisis, and the economy we will need to rebuild together.
OS Response: Politicians are elected to protect within the parameters of the constitution and to represent the interests of the population. The threat fails to justify the action taken by the state. People’s lives have been imposed on in response to a virus that poses no real risk of death to healthy people, and healthy people interacting with one another does not increase the risk of being infected for people (at risk) who are not interacting with healthy people.
EVERS FB: Wisconsin is a place for kindness, compassion, empathy, and respect, and today, Republicans have shown that even in the midst of a global pandemic, these values are beyond them.
OS Response: Kindness, compassion, empathy and respect. None of these qualities except for respect have anything to do with the shutdown and we could make the case that the shutdown contradicts these qualities, but let me restate the point of respect that this controversy hinges on. Every person can do what they want to do so long as what they do doesn’t prevent anyone else from doing what they want to do. As it relates to covid, you falsely assert that ending the shutdown puts people at risk. It doesn’t, because people who are quarantined have no greater risk regardless of what the infection rate is among people in the world they are not interacting with. We respect the rights of people who want to remain in quarantine to do so. You fail to respect our right to proceed with our lives assuming our own risk of infection, and us assuming this risk does not impose on the lives of anyone who is not ready to resume their lives.
Evers attempts to influence public opinion by referring people to stories of dramatic impression, like the sensationalization of Spain and Italy, or the difficulties in NYC in managing the storage of bodies. His assertion of lives saved is empty, and the general idea he is trying to convey is that forced lockdown saves lives and the republicans want people to risk death for profit. He has to direct his argument to the elements of covid-19 that have been dramatized because an objective contextualized fact based argument doesn’t support his position.
Dramatic impression refers to the graphic nature of descriptions, sounds, and imagery producing emotional responses, and people associate that feeling with the cause of that result. When they see people in critical condition, mass graves, bodies in semi trailers, people mourning; what they feel when they are seeing that is associated with the virus that produced the result. When people are bombarded with these kinds of impressions associated with the virus, and every single account is exaggerated and embellished they become afraid of the virus and are willing to do whatever they hear will keep them safe. This is why Evers refers them to the references that he does. This is why the CNN story includes the Mayor of Detroit telling everyone they should watch the Jason Hargrove video, because it moves you to see a person who was alive days before warning about the virus, who is now dead. The video provides no context for how you or anyone else is at risk for that outcome should you become infected.
The case is in the hands of the Wisconsin Supreme Court who has heard arguments and I presume will rule quickly. The Evers administration claims Wisconsin law allows the health department secretary to shut down public life indefinitely and arbitrarily to control the spread of an infectious disease. The defense claims if they don’t like the law they should change it. This isn’t the argument put forth in the suit, as the parties who filed the suit claim the law itself does not invest this authority in the health secretary.
Representative of the state legislature, Ryan Walsh summarized the objective of the case stating the lawsuit isn’t about whether stay at home “is a good idea”. He expressed it was about two people being able to arbitrarily decide what restrictions were necessary without any input or oversight. “Allowing Executive Order 28 to remain “would mean that the governor and DHS get to exercise unlawful authority for as long as they want while relying on data that they refuse to disclose, all the while denying the people’s elected representatives a role in addressing the long-term response to this pandemic.” (58)
58: Stephen Joyce 5/5/2020 “State Defends Virus Orders in Court as Lawmakers, Citizens Sue”. Bloomberg Law. https://news.bloomberglaw.com/coronavirus/states-defend-virus-orders-in-court-as-lawmakers-citizens-sue
Justice Rebecca Grassl Bradley asked the attorney general representing the Evers Administration, “Where in the Constitution, did the people of Wisconsin confer the authority on a single unelected cabinet secretary to compel almost six million people to stay at home and close their businesses and face imprisonment if they don’t comply? With no input from the legislature, without the consent of the people? Isn’t it the very definition of tyranny for one person to order people to be imprisoned for going to work among other ordinarily lawful activities?”
The attorney general responded that “the constitution provides for the state legislature to enact statutes to protect public health”. He fails to provide a legal explanation, and having not read the statutes to protect public health I’m unable to substantively provide an opinion. My argument would be based on what I’ve shared in this article that shows the public health risk has been grossly exaggerated. He goes on to express that the secretary of health is accountable the same way Evers is accountable in that the people can vote him out in 2022 or recall him. The recall effort would be significantly impacted by the stay at home order as it is difficult to collect signatures for what would be deemed the non-essential act of assembling to solicit a petition.
Bradley asked the attorney general if the secretary had the power to order people of Wisconsin into internment camps where they could be properly socially distanced to contain the virus? The attorney general didn’t dispute that she has that authority but claimed that people could sue for a violation of their civil liberties. He concedes that she does have the power, but there is a remedy, and yet fails to recognize how civil liberties are presently being violated, and citizens are without either the means, time, or the know how to file suits for these violations of their civil liberties. (59)
59: Mark Joseph Stern 5/5/2020 “Wisconsin Supreme Court is Going to Use Fox News Arguments to Undo the States Covid-19 Restrictions”. Slate. I was going to use this as a case example itself but the bias is so extreme it isn’t representative of coverage that features interest based bias which is the subject of this article. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/05/wisconsin-supreme-court-lift-covid-restrictions-fox-news.html
The court did not rule on the constitutionality of the states power to impose restrictions for Covid-19, instead the lawsuit challenged the duration for which emergency powers could be used by the governor and the secretary of health. The court ruled the powers were being used inappropriately, where emergency powers are used to protect the public at the onset of an emergency when normal legislative processes could hinder an effective response; whereas with Covid-19 after weeks pass there is time to include public input and representative input in addressing the virus.In
60: Charles “Cully” Stimson and David B Rivkin Jr. 3/21/2020 “A Constitutional Guide to Emergency Powers”. The Heritage Foundation. https://www.heritage.org/the-constitution/commentary/constitutional-guide-emergency-powers
1905 the population was being inoculated for Smallpox and those who refused were fined. In the case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the supreme court ruled that the community has a right to defend itself against an epidemic of disease that poses a threat to the safety of its members, where restrictions on liberty may be imposed to accomplish this protection. This ruling confirmed and established the legal basis for imposing restrictions to protect public health.
From a legal standpoint, Ever’s and other governors lack a crucial qualification for lock down because Covid-19 does not qualify as a serious public health concern. To claim there is a great risk to public health, that risk has to include the health of everyone. Since the virus means brief sickness and recovery for 99% of the population, 99% of the population has no risk of being severely harmed by the virus, therefore, there is no threat to public health. For those who have risk factors, healthy people interacting with one another does not impart risk on them because they are still able to mitigate their risk of being infected to whatever degree they feel is necessary.
I’m not surprised by any of this. There are people who are against the lock down, and a great many more people for continuing the lockdown that don’t have a factual understanding of the subject. Their position is based on dramatic impressions and the opinions of others they accept as fact, with little to no ability to distinguish one(opinion) from the other (fact), and are lacking a thorough enough understanding of the virus, to understand the context that a fact must be considered in before it becomes something that is true.
People involved with education, especially principals and even more so administrators who impose policy, are some of the most arbitrary and authoritarian people in our society. It’s evident by the school environment. You’ve elected one as your governor. Lol. Maybe the next phase will be psychological referrals for those who require behavior modification, and the same way schools medicate kids who don’t behave as the school requires, citizens will be medicated to achieve the desired behavior. Something I mention not as a serious measure, but to remind people of the environment of Evers background.
I don’t know much about Evers. My disdain for him is based on his exaggerated perception of the virus that demonstrates he is incompetent, where he has failed contextualize the individual risk to life the virus poses to healthy people. Or his willingness to contribute to the exaggerated danger, using the virus for the presumed political advantages based on polls. His belief that the government is allowed to decide the risk a citizen takes when that risk does not impart risk on other citizens. His unnecessarily authoritarian response which is harming everyone in the state. His background which seems to govern his approach to law, where as a principal or administrator he feels his first duty is the safety of students, and he has no moral, civic, or legal conception of the purpose of government.
My argument is that the virus does not pose a risk of death to healthy people, therefore, healthy people can interact with another and become infected without creating any lasting risk to one another’s health.
In the final section I will express nationally what the consequences of this blunder will likely be, which will likely be worse because people do not know how to admit they are wrong especially when it costs them their jobs. Ever’s would much rather put another 500,000 Wisconsites out of work, than lose the election in 2022.
As far as the effectiveness of the additional measures taken by Wisconsin that have not been taken by Iowa, the effectiveness of these measures to contain the virus are vastly overstated. I’m not of the opinion that they do nothing, but Wisconsin is overstating the benefit by withholding testing from people who have symptoms that doctors suspect have the virus. (61) This is evident in the numbers. Since April 22nd Iowa has outgained Wisconsin in the number of cases it has, while Wisconsin has outgain Iowa in deaths. As of May 7th, Iowa has 11059 cases and 231 deaths. Wisconsin has 9215 cases and 374 deaths.
61: Madeline Heim 5/4/2020 “Covid-19 Testing is Widely Available in Wisconsin, but Some Doctors and Patients Haven’t Gotten the Message”. Post Crescent. There are many other stories featuring people in Wisconsin with symptoms suspected of having Covid-19 who were not tested. I chose to cite this story because it is dated from may 4th and demonstrates it is still an issue. https://www.postcrescent.com/story/news/2020/05/04/more-wisconsin-coronavirus-tests-available-but-not-everyone-knows/3035642001/
There are only a few variables that can account for this discrepancy in deaths. The first is that people in Iowa are healthier than people in Wisconsin. One way we could qualify this is through median age, where if Wisconsin’s median age was substantially higher it increases the likelihood that people have medical conditions which would cause them to be more susceptible to complications. This isn’t the case because Wisconsin’s median age is 39 and Iowas is 38. The other way to qualify this would be comparing the proportion of people in Wisconsin to Iowa based on the prevalence of underlying medical conditions that lead to complications.
If the general health of the population isn’t the cause, then we have to consider the quality of healthcare. It could be Wisconsin has less overall infections but the response of the Ever’s administration and the ability of Wisconsin hospitals to treat symptoms effectively to allow at risk patients to recover, is not as good as Iowa? This isn’t my opinion, but it is an explanation as to why Wisconsin has 83% of Iowa’s cases, and 161% of Iowa’s deaths.
The final reason, which I am more inclined to believe, is that not testing patients with symptoms is artificially deflating the number of confirmed cases. Drive through testing two months after your first confirmed case is not an effective measure to determine who has been infected, since many may have already had the virus and shed it. As I mentioned previously, this creates the best set of statistics to argue for a public health risk. It creates a higher hospitalization and mortality rate to justify the risk, while also maintaining a lower amount of confirmed cases to argue that the measures are effectively containing the virus.
Most cities and counties can enact and enforce their own safer at home policies. Milwaukee’s safer at home policy predates governor Evers order, so while the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the legislature, negating the state order does not prohibit municipalities from enforcing their own orders.
All mainstream reports bear the hallmarks of exaggerated risk. Some less now that public opinion has shifted and there is a broader market for information that challenges popular misconceptions concerning Covid-19, but most is still danger reinforcing while trying to tie the information to politics.
What I presented is not the exception to coverage it is the norm, and I would have provided more examples but time was of the essence. I believe by explaining the elements of exaggeration in these examples, it provides people a better understanding of the virus and a better understanding of how they are being influenced by the presentation of the coverage. The news is never going to present a story in a way that is less appealing than the story could be simply because it is misleading. In fact the news will always mislead the public if it means it will draw people’s attention and hold if for a longer period of time. That is the essence of their existence and a requirement of their business model.
The media took advantage of an opportunity to attract attention through the exaggeration of the danger of the virus. Public perception first put pressure on politicians to respond to the public’s misconception that the virus is randomly deadly and much more deadly than it actually is. Politicians, always performing the role they think the public wants to see them play, decided to capitalize on the exaggerated risk of the virus. The harm caused to the public as well as to industry, has caused some politicians to reverse course, and in fairness, there were some politicians who recognized that the danger was exaggerated. We now face serious economic challenges that will be worsened by the prolonged exaggeration of the threat.
I was an independent contractor for a company that shut down. I received no unemployment and no stimulus check, and there are not many jobs available. The company had 10 weeks of work scheduled. I have a book I completed that I was editing and reorganizing. I intended to work for the 10 weeks to save my money. I was going to use that money to publish, sell and promote my book, to advance the understanding and ideas in it. I worked for the company a little over two weeks and the company shut down because of Covid-19.
I have been personally affected. On the other side of it, my book Truth Over Everything and Liberty is True, is largely the product of addressing misconceptions concerning people and systems, identifying the points of dysfunction, and identifying solutions to address social, as well as political and economic dysfunctions through market based solutions that empower people without money to have greater opportunities for self determination. I can think of no better example than Covid-19 to represent most of what the book is about, people knowing nothing. An entire world full of people who cannot properly identify the points of controversy and create a fact based dialogue to arrive at simple conclusions about the virus; the risk it poses to different people, and the value of restrictive containment versus a less destructive approach?
Nationally, we’ve lost over 33 million jobs in 6 weeks. A study from Stanford estimates that 40% of these job losses may be permanent, (62) and bear in mind, we are not through losing jobs yet. That’s 12 million jobs. To put that into perspective, in the last 5 years we’ve averaged 206 thousand jobs per month. (63) That’s 6 years of recovery worth of job loss in a healthy and growing economy which is not what we’re headed into. 12 million represents those who have filed for unemployment, not independent contractors, not small businesses that fail, not non-reporting exempt workers who provide temporary services through businesses that downsize or fail. The other aspect of contraction, recession, depression and the general or trending lack of economic growth, is the ever increasing demand for jobs by new people entering the workforce. We need growth to sustain the creation of at least 850,000 jobs per year, just to keep up with the number of people who are entering the workforce for the first time.
62: Samantha Fields and Mitchel Hartman 5/8/2020 “How Many Jobs Will Come Back After the Covid-19 Panemic End?” Market Place. https://www.marketplace.org/2020/05/08/how-many-jobs-will-come-back-after-the-covid-19-pandemic-ends/
63: Chuck Jones 9/20/2019 “Trump has Created 1.5 Million Fewer Jobs than Obama”. Forbes. 206k per month average based on 2014 through 2018 period. https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjones/2019/09/20/trump-has-created-15-million-fewer-jobs-than-obama/#4811aa5527ce
James Bullard of the St. Louis Federal reserve in an interview with CNBC claims once the virus is over people will go back to work and everything will be fine. Even if this were true, and it is not because many jobs will be lost permanently, everything is not going to return to normal. (64)
64: Jeff Cox 3/25/2020 “Fed’s Jame Bullard: After Short Term Unparalleled Shock, Economy Will Boom Again”. CNBC https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/25/feds-james-bullard-says-after-a-short-term-unparalleled-shock-economy-will-boom-again.html
What Bullard fails to account for is consumer purchasing power, and consumer spending habits which will be affected long after people’s rights are restored to resume their normal lives. How many people will go to a movie, a trade show, book a flight, attend a sporting event, go to a bar, get on a train, go to a concert, travel, schedule an elective surgery, go on a cruise, stay in a hotel, or will resume participating in spending activities that puts them in close proximity to others? That is the real question involved in economic recovery and long term job loss, is how will consumer spending be affected short, intermediate, and long term. Nobody knows that answer right now.
We also have to be prepared how global markets are going to affect the domestic economy and jobs. The United States is responsible for 18% of global imports and 15% of global exports. (65) The ability of many nations to import US goods is determined by their ability to export goods to nations like the US, European nations, and China. If consumers in the US are purchasing less imports this has implications for the recovery of other nations, which has implications for people who work for US companies that export to other nations, which leads to more job loss and the exacerbation of the problem associated with the cycle. The idea that the economy is a switch we shut off and then we’re going to turn it back is ridiculous, when consumer purchasing power, and consumer habits have been altered to such an extreme degree and will remain altered moving forward.
65: EuroStat 8/24/2017 “EU, US, and China Account for Almost Half of World Trade” 2016. https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/DDN-20170824-1?inheritRedirect=true
We shouldn’t forget, the economy wasn’t as great as unemployment numbers made it out to be prior to the shut down. We still had 40% of the population who have negative wealth, which in most cases means what people earn is less than their expenses.(66) We had an individual median income of 33,000 dollar per year, which means many households are co-dependant on one another’s income because of how difficult it is to live alone when compared to the average cost of living. (67) Many people we’re already in positions where they were working for survival and the little bit of entertainment, their limited means and free time afforded them.
66: Statista US Wealth Distribution 2016 https://www.statista.com/statistics/203961/wealth-distribution-for-the-us/
67: St Louis Federal Reserve “Real Median Personal Income in the United States” https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MEPAINUSA672N
I’m sending this article to people of various professions including legislators, not only because restrictions are unnecessary and unconstitutional (since the risk doesn’t justify the response), but also in an effort to inform the public of their risk to restore their confidence in interacting with people, which is essential to the restoration of economic function, a prompt recovery, and the quality of life for every person in this country moving forward.
I can’t help but wonder how far governments will go with this. I mean this document, that truthfully, and articulately explains risk while addressing misconceptions, could be viewed as encouraging behavior that violates the stay at home order. Will freedom of speech be criminalized the same as the lawful interaction with one another and our property? What do we call it when the state silences its critics because it lacks a substantive rebuttal? It is a defining feature of facist regimes, and an element of totalitarianism. I’m not insinuating that this document will be silenced, or that I’ll be silenced, only considering the contents implications to the stay at home order, after having seen a video of a woman being referred to the DA’s office on criminal charges for opening up what appeared to be a retail shop.
As I mentioned, I am out of work. If you’ve benefited from this article, if you recognize the need for the public to have an accurate understanding of their risk as it relates to Covid-19, and you are for improving people’s quality of life as it relates to liberty, you can make a contribution to these endeavours through the link below. Please share.
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