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Posts Tagged ‘death rate’

The press continues to lie about COVID-19 to generate fear | Behind The Black

Posted by M. C. on June 27, 2020

Oh my! We are all gonna die!

Not. What the CNN article completely failed
to mention is the number of deaths from COVID-19 taking place during
this rise in new cases. Are you curious why? Could it be because, though
the number of people now infected with the virus has skyrocketed, the
number of deaths has remained largely flat, as shown by the graph above (data source here)

https://behindtheblack.com/behind-the-black/essays-and-commentaries/the-press-continues-to-lie-about-covid-19-to-generate-fear/

Daily U.S. Wuhan flu deaths as of June 24, 2020

They just won’t stop lying: If you have been reading the mainstream leftist press, you are probably now under the impression that the COVID-19 epidemic is once again raging across the land, destroying whole communities while spreading out-of-control everywhere because some Republican governors thought it was now okay to come out of hiding.

The CNN article at the link above is typical, reporting in lurid detail how multiple states across the country are now experiencing record levels of new coronavirus cases.

Oh my! We are all gonna die!

Not. What the CNN article completely failed to mention is the number of deaths from COVID-19 taking place during this rise in new cases. Are you curious why? Could it be because, though the number of people now infected with the virus has skyrocketed, the number of deaths has remained largely flat, as shown by the graph above (data source here). The past two days has seen a slight uptick, but that is entirely within the range of the weekly ups and downs caused apparently by low numbers recorded over the weekends.

I am not the only one to notice this strange dishonest reporting, Nor is CNN the only culprit. This article at Just News noticed the same thing in a Washington Post report.

On Wednesday evening, the Washington Post issued a breaking news email alert headlined “New coronavirus cases in the U.S. soar to highest single-day total.”

“Across the United States,” reported the Post, “more than 36,000 new infections were reported by state health departments on Wednesday — surpassing the previous single-day record of 34,203 set on April 25.”

Yet the article failed to mention that even while new infections are on the rise, new COVID-19 deaths are not.

This vital information gap in the media is causing some health policy experts to worry that fear about the coronavirus — evidenced, for example, by Wednesday’s sharp stock market drop — is not founded in facts, particularly about how the virus disparately impacts different age groups. The spreading of unfounded alarm, the experts fear, could risk deep harm to Americans’ livelihoods and mental health due to a prolonged, widespread shutdown. [emphasis mine]

This dishonest reporting however is par for the course from mainstream leftist outlets like CNN and the Washington Post. Having failed to overthrow Trump with the Russian collusion hoax and the Ukraine phonecall hoax, they are now working hard to gin up more panic and fear about COVID-19, thus allowing their partners in the fascist Democratic Party to use that fear to justify further power grabs, such as in Oregon, where Democratic governor Kate Brown has convened her Democratically-controlled legislature into emergency session for the sole purpose of suspending due process for up to sixty days.

It is all despicable and evil. That the number of actual cases is not rising in any significant way should be a sign of relief and hope. Not only are lots of people easily throwing off the virus with no problems, these flat death numbers combined with the rising new cases strongly proves once again that the virus is simply not that lethal to the general population, and it likely very comparable to the flu.

Relief and hope cannot be allowed however. That might mean that things can go back to normal, that freedom will once again ring out across the land, and that Trump might actually win in November. Heaven forbid. Better to destroy the country with lies and fascist dictatorships then let things unfold as they should, in a free nation.

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The Experts Have No Idea How Many COVID-19 Cases There Are | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on April 20, 2020

the missing data on deaths in the deaths-to-infections ratio is still almost certain to be dwarfed by the expected increase in the denominator when the total number of infections is better understood, epidemiologists say. The statistic typically cited by mayors and governors at Covid-19 news conferences relies on a data set that includes mostly people whose symptoms were severe enough to be tested.

Put another way, the case totals often cited by politicians are nothing more than wild guesses.

https://mises.org/wire/experts-have-no-idea-how-many-covid-19-cases-there-are?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=c19a729e74-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-c19a729e74-228343965

In the early days of the COVID-19 panic—about three weeks ago—it was common to hear both of these phrases often repeated:

  • “The fatality rate of this virus is very high!”
  • “There are far more cases of this out there than we know about!”

The strategy of insisting that both these statements are true at the same time has been used by politicians to implement “lockdowns” that have forced business to close and millions to lose their jobs. For instance, on March 12, Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton insisted that “over 100,000” people are “carrying this virus in Ohio today.” The state began to implement “stay-at-home” lockdown orders that day.

At the time, the World Health Organization (WHO), the media, and others were reporting that 2 to 4 percent of people with COVID-19 would die. Taking the low-end 2 percent number, and allowing for an incubation period, this would mean that two weeks after Acton’s announcement—assuming that the lockdown was 100 percent effective and not a single additional person caught the disease—two thousand Ohioans would likely be dead of COVID-19.  But as of April 17, more than a month later, and after a month of the disease spreading through grocery stores and other “essential” areas of commerce, about 418 Ohioans have died of COVID-19.

Clearly, something doesn’t add up.

At the time, Acton was lampooned by some for presumably inflating the number of infections in the state. Indeed, the very next day she backpedaled, saying she was only guessing.

As more research comes in, however, it may be that Acton wasn’t wildly inaccurate in her “guesstimate” after all. Medical researchers and epidemiologists are increasingly claiming that the COVID-19 virus has spread much more quickly and is much more prevalent than has long been assumed. And if that is true, then the percentage of people COVID-19 cases that result in death are far lower than is assumed. If so, Acton was still wrong, but she was more wrong in her assumptions about fatality rates than about total cases.

Here’s why:

When people say “death rate” or “fatality rate” they generally mean “case fatality rate” (CFR). This is simply the number of people who die from a disease divided by the number of cases. If there are 10,000 cases and 100 people die from the disease, the CFR is 1 percent. (This is not to be confused with “mortality rate,” which is the number of deaths divided by the entire population.)

To calculate the CFR accurately we have to know what the total number of cases is and also know how many people have died from the disease. If the total number of cases is bigger than we think, then the fatality rate is smaller than we think.

How Death Rates Are Affected by Government Data Collection Methods

Counting the number of deaths has been far easier than counting total cases. Due to “severity bias,” people who have presented severe symptoms or have died have been far more likely to be tested for COVID-19 than have people with few symptoms who never required medical attention. As one epidemiologist quoted by the New York Times noted:

“To know the fatality rate you need to know how many people are infected and how many people died from the disease,” said Ali H. Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. “We know how many people are dying, but we don’t know how many people are infected.”

Some deaths of course are missed, especially among those who die at home. But as the Times article concludes:

the missing data on deaths in the deaths-to-infections ratio is still almost certain to be dwarfed by the expected increase in the denominator when the total number of infections is better understood, epidemiologists say. The statistic typically cited by mayors and governors at Covid-19 news conferences relies on a data set that includes mostly people whose symptoms were severe enough to be tested.

Put another way, the case totals often cited by politicians are nothing more than wild guesses.

Indeed, many researchers and other observers have claimed that total cases numbers were considerably higher than was known from testing.

Vermont could have 16 times more infections than officially reported,” one March 18 headline reads. But this estimate doesn’t apply just to Vermont. The headline comes from a nationwide estimate of cases from Stanford epidemiologist Steve Goodman:

Goodman says the 16 times multiplier is a rough, back-of-the-envelope hypothetical based on current knowledge of how the virus is spreading in other places. It assumes that one in four people who have COVID-19 are symptomatic enough to be tested….Another researcher, Samuel Scarpino, a Northeastern University professor who specializes in infectious disease modeling, told the Globe that the U.S. has identified only between 1 of every 10 cases and 1 in 30 cases.

Similarly, in the Wall Street Journal on March 23, Stanford researchers Eran Bendavid and Jay Bhattacharya suggested the known cases were a tiny fraction of the actual number. According to a study by Bendavid and Bhattacharya,

we get at least 990,000 infections in the U.S. The number of cases reported on March 19 in the U.S. was 13,677, more than 72-fold lower. These numbers imply a fatality rate from Covid-19 orders of magnitude smaller than it appears….If our surmise of six million cases is accurate, that’s a mortality rate of 0.01%, assuming a two week lag between infection and death. This is one-tenth of the flu mortality rate of 0.1%.

On Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on a new study of Santa Clara County in California, which suggests that “cases are being underreported by a factor of 50 to 85”:

If the study’s numbers are accurate, the true mortality and hospitalization rates of COVID-19 are both substantially lower than current estimates, and due to lag between infection and death, researchers project a true mortality rate between .12 and .20.

That US case fatality rate of 2 to 4 percent commonly reported by politicians and media outlets is looking less likely every day.

What Does This Mean for Policy?

If the Santa Clara study or the estimates of Bendavid and Bhattacharya apply to the nation overall, then the current count of 710,000 COVID-19 cases in the US is only a small fraction of the total number of people with the disease. The true number of cases could number from 35 million to 60 million.

In a nation with such a large number of infected, efforts to forcibly shutter businesses and put millions out of work until there are “no new cases, no deaths“—as suggested by federal health bureaucrat Anthony Fauci—are absurd. This goal is likely unattainable without completely ending interstate travel and destroying the US economy over a period of many months, or possibly years.

Moreover, some epidemiological models models being used by politicians to justify harsh lockdowns, like the IMHE model, assume fatality rates based only on “cases reported” to calculate the CFR. This highlights the highly questionable practice of basing draconian public policy measures on woefully incomplete government-collected data. From the very beginning, neither the WHO nor national governments have ever had a handle on how many cases there are, what the case fatality rate is, or by what means—or how quickly—the disease spreads.

One need not know anything about viruses to know from the beginning of the panic that the process of collecting data for government policymakers tends to be a biased and makeshift undertaking. This is true of all sorts of data, and in this case policymakers have never known how many cases there are (or were) but have nonetheless quoted numbers that suited their political purposes. Meanwhile, government officials have been encouraging doctors and hospital administrators to maximize the number of reported deaths due to COVID-19.

Worst of all, this make-things-up-as-you-go attitude toward COVID-19 numbers is being draped in the mantle of “science” by bureaucrats and elected officials who seek to pander to frightened voters. But somewhere along the line, the United States became a nation where knowing next to nothing about a disease’s true fatality rate or prevalence is sufficient to justify abolishing the Bill of Rights and millions of jobs throughout the nation. But it’s fine, apparently, because this is what the “experts” say we should do.

UPDATE: April 20

Over the weekend, several new articles have been published noting increased prevalence of COVID-19 than previously known (or admitted). The AP reports today :

A flood of new research suggests that far more people have had the coronavirus without any symptoms, fueling hope that it will turn out to be much less lethal than originally feared.

While that’s clearly good news, it also means it’s impossible to know who around you may be contagious. That complicates decisions about returning to work, school and normal life.

In the last week, reports of silent infections have come from a homeless shelter in Boston, a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, pregnant women at a New York hospital, several European countries and California.

In more than ten states, the proportion of tests that are positive is nearly 20 percent or more.

But even this may be too low since tests may return false negatives nearly one-third of the time .

Meanwhile, one new study in Massachusetts found one-third of people randomly tested on the street tested positive for COVID-19.

 

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Diseases Are Bad. Government-Forced Shutdowns Are Often Worse. | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on March 26, 2020

With the current focus, the authorities ignore the side effects of their measures. State agencies are obsessed with smoothing the curve and thereby ignore the fact that pursuing this goal almost exclusively will bring more collateral damage than the possible cost of the epidemic itself.

Viruses mutate constantly. Without specific tests, the modifications go undetected. If they were all discovered, one could panic almost every day.

https://mises.org/wire/diseases-are-bad-government-forced-shutdowns-are-often-worse?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=a6bc05b227-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-a6bc05b227-228343965

However high the death rate of the COVID-19 coronavirus becomes, the governmental response to the threat will be even more dangerous. If the current blockade of economic life continues, more people will die from the countermeasures than from the virus itself. In a short time, the basic supply of everyday goods will be at risk. By interrupting the global transport and supply chains, important medicines will be missing and food supplies will be insufficient. This is how a containment strategy works: operation successful, patient dead.

Government’s Main Strategy: Destroy Commerce

The main concern for those responsible for healthcare is not the absolute number of deaths, but “flattening the curve,” i.e., stretching out the frequency of cases of infection.

The model may be correct, all else remaining equal, but it ignores the extent of the damage that the control measures entail. We already have a foretaste of that. In addition to drastic restrictions on international air traffic and the partial closure of borders, there are a whole series of measures that intervene deeply in the everyday lives of citizens and are aimed at isolating everyone as much as possible.

With the current focus, the authorities ignore the side effects of their measures. State agencies are obsessed with smoothing the curve and thereby ignore the fact that pursuing this goal almost exclusively will bring more collateral damage than the possible cost of the epidemic itself.

If government agencies continue to act as they are doing, people soon will be confronted with the problem that they can no longer buy necessary things—first, because the shelves will be empty, and second, because they will have no more income later, when the shelves are slowly restocked again. Companies have closed and salaries will not show up in bank accounts. Rent due dates for homes and businesses will not be met. It is not the coronavirus that will bring the economy to a standstill, but the way in which politics is responding to the epidemic.

Another strategy (partially practiced by South Korea and in Taiwan) is to minimally intervene in the daily life of the majority of the population.

If policymakers understood the very real threats to human life and wellness associated with economic destruction, they would adopt policies designed to ensure businesses remain open. The focus would be on ensuring that the most at-risk individuals and populations are able to voluntarily isolate themselves.

On the other hand, in Europe and much of the rest of the world, a state of emergency and a series of general lockdowns were proclaimed. Even if the current nightmare should end and the curfews and travel bans no longer exist, it would take a long time for the economy to recover—not from the virus, but from the response to it. In the United States and in many European countries, the state has taken control in the belief that with the severe restrictions on private and public life the epidemic can be gotten under control. The attitude prevails that there is no alternative to practically shutting down the economy and imposing restrictions on the everyday life of the people. Instead of bearing the immense costs that come with the current policy, capacity could be expanded in anticipation of taking care of the sick, moribund, and dead.

Although the burden of proof must be on those who wish to close businesses and bring the economy to a halt, the advocates for destroying the global economy have not made their case. In fact, up to now, in Europe, including Italy, the number of deaths remains well below what we expect from the fluThe mortality rate remains unknown because of the biases and difficulties in estimating total cases and collecting data—one can deal with it using short-term emergency measures. The statistics on the number of virus carriers are incorrect, since the error rates of test devices for new disease phenomena are usually high and in the case of COVID-19 tests are probably even higher, since demand and use has increased so quickly in a short time. The fact that a data set has been published by the authorities does not mean that the numbers reflect the facts. Even standard tests have error rates and usually several tests are necessary to arrive at a reliable judgment.

Not only is the death rate problematic because the actual number of cases is completely unknown, but the official death toll attributed to COVID-19 is also questionable. There is no reliable way to tell from the virus’s presence in a corpse that the person died because of it. People’s lives end due to countless factors, and old people die of  all kinds of ailments. Italy reports that 99 percent of COVID-19 victims had other illnesses at the time of death. If COVID-19 is found in a corpse, it does not prove that the virus was the cause of death. It may be just one of countless possible causes.

Viruses mutate constantly. Without specific tests, the modifications go undetected. If they were all discovered, one could panic almost every day. One can be sure that sooner or later another virus will appear after the coronavirus epidemic is over. Imagine if politics reacted the way it has done in the face of the coronavirus every time. The absurdity of the current antivirus policy becomes obvious.

The Longer the Forced Shutdown Goes On, the Greater the Resulting Poverty Will Be

The authorities want to make people believe that the many restrictions that are already in place are short-term measures. But what if the containment strategy taken much longer than foreseen? The consequences for the economy are already catastrophic. Every day and every week the damage increases more and more. Even when the policies achieve the containment of the viral disease, the economic damage will persist for a much longer time.

The real threat is less COVID-19 than it is the wave of bankruptcy and unemployment that will soon spill across economies like a tsunami. If the governments honor their aid commitments and make compensation payments to those affected, such high sums will be required that price inflation may result and exacerbate the effect of the economic recession. We will see widespread impoverishment—and, as usually comes with impoverishment, a decline in general health and a rise in morbidity.

Against the Political Scaremongering

Yes, there is reason to panic, but it’s not the virus, it’s the coronavirus policy. Organized panic serves as an excellent test for the state of how far it can go in terrorizing citizens and taking away their freedom without encountering resistance. Like sheep, people follow the orders of their leaders. The media is preparing the lambs to go silently and without a scream into the slaughterhouse.

Beyond the economic damage that has been already been caused by the political reaction to the epidemic, an even greater tragedy lurks: the loss of fundamental human rights and of our individual freedom. Given the modern methods of surveillance, a new kind of totalitarianism would surpass all the horrors that are known from past dictatorial regimes.

 

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