PANIC PORN ALERT! 12/3/2020
250,000 MORE AMERICANS DEAD BY END OF YEAR!!
So it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these PANIC PORN ALERTS, not because there hasn’t been plenty of fodder, but the opposite. The inexorable increase in the hyperbolic craziness has gotten so out of hand as to be almost not worth dignifying with comment, but this one I couldn’t pass up.
President-elect Joe Biden said in an interview on December 2nd “I don’t want to scare anybody here but understand the facts, we’re likely to lose another 250,000 people DEAD between now and January. Ya hear me? Because people aren’t paying attention.” I capitalized DEAD because that’s how he said it. And I’d be interested in exactly what “facts” I should understand.
Nevertheless quite a statement, and you may be aware that these dire “predictions” have been swirling about since September when warnings of 200,000 to 400,000 more deaths by January were coming if you didn’t continue to wash your mail and wear your mask (or two) started surfacing. But Joe seems to have doubled (or tripled) down on those PANIC PORN predictions for as of today we’re at about 80,000 more (not 200,000 to 400,000) deaths than when the predictions were made in September so I guess we have to catch up. Can’t have those junior Nostradamuses be wrong AGAIN. Well as many of you who have been reading my posts know, I actually do pay attention, and to the actual SCIENCE AND DATA at that. Before we dive into the numbers, I found it interesting that the AP reported this quote as (and many outlets picked it up) “Biden Gives Dire Virus Warning for Next 2 Months” But that’s not what he said. He said “between now and January”. Not between now and the end of January but “between now and January”. Most normal people would understand that to mean within the month of December, but not the AP. Why is that? Does the AP not understand the English language or do even they realize that that’s just crazy talk and they’re trying to make the quote less crazy? Don’t know, above my pay grade (shout out Governor Murphy), but an interesting question.
So let’s take a look at some pictures and numbers. Below are the graphs for daily new cases and daily deaths in the US as of 12/2/2020. I have calculated some numbers based on a natural divide of the three “waves” of new viral cases (for the unindoctrinated, positive tests are not “cases” but we go with what we got) to provide some context and SCIENCE AND DATA to the discussion.
Here’s how those pictures translate into numbers:
CASES DEATHS FATALITY RATE
From the beginning to 6/14:
2,173,000 cases 121,000 deaths 5.6 FR
From 6/15 to 9/12:
4,559,0 cases 77,600 deaths 1.7. FR
From 9/13 to 12/2
7,562,000 cases. 81,200 deaths 1.07 FR
As you can see, there’s about a doubling of cases in each roughly three month wave. But also please take note of how the case fatality rate (CFR) has dropped. Now to be fair, the CFR was never 5+ (I posted about this back in April) because we weren’t testing every living thing the way we do now so the “case” rate, that is how many people were actually infected, back in the first wave was way underrepresented. There’s plenty of good evidence to suggest the number of people infected during that first wave was much higher than the stated number, which would in turn reduce the CFR considerably (there is new data out showing coronavirus was in the country earlier and more commonly than previously believed – a story for another day). Still high, but not worthy of the panic and insanity that ensued. Then you can see a significant drop in the CFR in the second wave (still a gross exaggeration because the stated case number was way low) and a further drop in the current wave (with the same caveat). To be clear, the actual number of infected Americans is at least 10 times the “official” count, and probably more (I wrote about this back in April also). That would lower the current CFR to at most 0.1 which is the same as the usual seasonal flu (and it’s probably actually lower than 0.1).
These reductions in the Case Fatality Rate are due to several factors: 1- more testing equals more “cases” which lowers CFR. 2-many of the susceptible have already fallen prey to the virus, leaving fewer to have bad outcomes from being infected. 3 – better medical intervention (although this accounts for a much smaller percentage of the reduction than 1 and 2).
And also, let’s be clear about something else. The rise we are seeing now in cases is absolutely normal for a seasonal increase in a respiratory virus for this time of year. Add that to hyper-testing and you get a “casedemic” (shout out Ivor Cummins) curve that looks like the one above. Also notice the almost vertical line of deaths in late March/early April. THAT’S an epidemic line. But that epidemic has been over since mid-May. So with these numbers in mind, let’s return to Joe Biden’s prediction.
To get to 250,000 additional deaths in the next say 30 days would mean more than 8,000 deaths a day. 8,000. After at least nine months of viral intrusion, we are at about 3,000 reported deaths in a day for the first time. A tragedy for sure, and please don’t mistake my attempts to put the numbers in some kind of perspective with a cavalier or careless attitude towards human suffering. That is certainly not the case. However, to throw out crazy numbers which can only serve to create more fear, anxiety, suspicion, and division is not right. One might wonder as to the motivations of such proclamations. At the current 1.07 fatality rate (and remember that number is way too high), that would mean another 25,000,000 diagnosed cases in the next month. In the last nine months since this thing began we have a total of 14,000,000 cases. It would mean more than 800,000 diagnosed cases a day. Right now we’re seeing about 175,000 a day. At our current test positivity rate of about 10%, that would mean more than 8,000,000 tests a day. Now we’re at about 1,500,000 tests a day. Are all those measures achievable? Possibly. Are they probable or likely? To me, no. To you?
So I know old Joe doesn't want to "scare"anybody, and I realize we're "likely" to lose another 250,000 people in the next month (because he just said so), but it would be nice if someone, anyone, with access to these doomsayers who constantly spew out this PANIC PORN and who have been wrong on almost every single one of their predictions (remember 2.2 million dead, 3 New Yorks, the need for tens of thousands of ventilators - now, etc.) would ask just once on what SCIENCE AND DATA these prognostications are made. I think we the people deserve at least that. I won't hold my breath.