We Need To Leave BizarroWorld

      97 Comments on We Need To Leave BizarroWorld

Here’s how bizarre BizarroWorld has become: in some California counties, you can be fined $1,000 for being out in public without wearing a mask. In Michigan, the governor decided seeds and hardware supplies are non-essential and people can’t go out to buy them … but alcohol and lottery tickets are essential, so it’s okay to go buy those. Meanwhile, people all over the nation are calling the police to rat out fellow citizens who fail to observe mandated social distancing. Sig Heil.

This is nuts. People are acting as if the coronavirus is airborne HIV or the Super Flu from the Stephen King novel The Stand. By gosh, if someone doesn’t properly social distance himself, he’ll spread the disease to all of us and we’ll all die. Honey, that man is playing basketball in a public park with his friends! Call the police before he kills us all!

The insanity is continuing even though the death toll is a mere fraction of what various governments and experts predicted. Dr. Fauci, the head of the coronavirus task force, initially suggested COVID-19 could kill as many as 240,000 Americans. Now he’s downgraded that prediction to 60,000. As I write this post, the reported number of deaths in the U.S. is around 33,000. Yes, that’s a lot of deaths. But keep in mind, the CDC estimates at least 60,000 and perhaps 80,000 Americans died from influenza during the 2017-2018 flu season.

And there’s a good chance the number of COVID-19 deaths has been exaggerated. Here’s a quote from a Fox News article:

The federal government is classifying the deaths of patients infected with the coronavirus as COVID-19 deaths, regardless of any underlying health issues that could have contributed to the loss of someone’s life.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, said the federal government is continuing to count the suspected COVID-19 deaths, despite other nations doing the opposite.

“There are other countries that if you had a pre-existing condition, and let’s say the virus caused you to go to the ICU [intensive care unit] and then have a heart or kidney problem,” she said during a Tuesday news briefing at the White House. “Some countries are recording that as a heart issue or a kidney issue and not a COVID-19 death.

“The intent is … if someone dies with COVID-19 we are counting that,” she added.

A Minnesota senator who also happens to be a doctor reported that he received a seven-page document from the MN Department of Health advising him to fill out death certificates with a diagnosis of COVID-19 whether the person actually died from COVID-19 or not. It’s almost as if governments are so heavily invested in convincing us the coronavirus is especially deadly, they’ll fudge the numbers if necessary.

It’s not just the death toll that’s been far lower than originally predicted. The number of hospital beds, ventilators, etc., we were told we’d need was way off as well. New York, which originally said it was desperately short of the ventilators it would need, is now apparently shipping excess ventilators to other states.

Well, that just proves social distancing worked!

Uh … no. Here’s a quote from an article in National Review:

There is no shortage of government spin, regurgitated by media commentators, assuring us that the drastic reductions in the projections over just a few days powerfully illustrate how well social distancing and the substantial shuttering of the economy is working. Nonsense. As Alex Berenson points out on Twitter, with an accompanying screenshot data updated by IHME on April 1, the original April 2 model explicitly “assum[ed] full social distancing through May 2020.”

The model on which the government is relying is simply unreliable. It is not that social distancing has changed the equation; it is that the equation’s fundamental assumptions are so dead wrong, they cannot remain reasonably stable for just 72 hours.

It simply doesn’t make sense that the drastically reduced death toll is all because of social distancing. Let’s not forget what flattening the curve means. Better yet, let’s start by explaining what the theory behind social distancing doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean “we avoid contact with each other, and therefore most people are never exposed to the virus, and far fewer people die.”

The virus is going to spread through population eventually. Social distancing was mandated to slow down the rate at which it would spread. The fear was that if too many people became sick within a short span, there wouldn’t be enough hospital beds and ventilators to save people who could be saved with medical intervention. Flatten the curve means we slow down the rate of exposure so the medical system isn’t overwhelmed. That’s all it means. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick made that point in a recent post.

It may well seem that all this suffering was…well, for what, exactly? To simply prevent a surge of cases. This government, all governments, must be honest about this and admit that in the longer term we cannot prevent almost everybody getting infected and acknowledge that a proportion of those infected will die.

When lockdown restrictions are lifted this does not mean that the virus has gone. It does not mean that people cannot infect each other. It does not mean we can simply carry on as before. It means that we have kept the first surge under control.

The big social-distancing lockdown was never about stopping the spread the of virus. That’s not possible. So unless you believe more than 100,000 Americans were saved from death because medical intervention was available thanks to social distancing, the logical conclusion is that the lethality of the virus was wildly overestimated.

So how deadly is the virus? We still don’t know exactly, because we don’t know how many people have been exposed to it. We won’t know until antibody tests are available and given to large, random samples of the population in different areas. But there’s growing evidence that the virus has already spread more than government officials first believed. Here’s a quote from Chicago City Wire:

A phlebotomist working at Roseland Community Hospital said Thursday that 30% to 50% of patients tested for the coronavirus have antibodies while only around 10% to 20% of those tested have the active virus.

Sumaya Owaynat, a phlebotomy technician, said she tests between 400 and 600 patients on an average day in the parking lot at Roseland Community Hospital. Owaynat said the number of patients coming through the testing center who appear to have already had coronavirus and gotten over it is far greater than those who currently have the disease.

Here are some quotes from an article in The Los Angeles Times:

A man found dead in his house in early March. A woman who fell sick in mid-February and later died.

These early COVID-19 deaths in the San Francisco Bay Area suggest that the novel coronavirus had established itself in the community long before health officials started looking for it. The lag time has had dire consequences, allowing the virus to spread unchecked before social distancing rules went into effect.

I disagree with that last sentence. The virus is going to spread. Social distancing only slows down the spread. So if San Francisco’s hospitals weren’t overwhelmed, it’s good news that the virus has already spread more than officials estimated. More on that later. Back to the article:

“The virus was freewheeling in our community and probably has been here for quite some time,” Dr. Jeff Smith, a physician who is the chief executive of Santa Clara County government, told county leaders in a recent briefing.

How long? A study out of Stanford suggests a dramatic viral surge in February.

But Smith on Friday said data collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local health departments and others suggest it was “a lot longer than we first believed” — most likely since “back in December.”

“This wasn’t recognized because we were having a severe flu season,” Smith said in an interview. “Symptoms are very much like the flu. If you got a mild case of COVID, you didn’t really notice. You didn’t even go to the doctor. The doctor maybe didn’t even do it because they presumed it was the flu.”

The virus that has people ratting out fellow citizens for playing basketball in a park is sooo freakin’ deadly, by gosh, millions of people may have already been exposed and failed to notice.

Even the CDC’s own data suggests coronavirus was here far earlier than we thought:

CDC Data supports theory of much earlier COVID infection than has been reported. Data shows a dramatic spike in “Influenza Like Illness” in certain states as early as November of 2019. A number of states appear to have already experienced an ILI and made it through to a more stable ILI footing for this time of year.

The US Military participated in the 2019 Military World Games in Wuhan, China between October 18 and October 27 of 2019. Their chartered flights arrive and depart from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Washington is one of the earliest states to show a spike in ILI, corresponding with the incubation period should the virus have been introduced as the military traveled through Washington to other destinations.

If the virus has been around longer than officials originally believed, and if tests eventually show far more of us have been exposed than originally believed, that’s very, very good news. Two infectious disease researchers I saw interviewed in YouTube videos both made the same point: a virus like this spreads until it runs out of new, vulnerable hosts. If millions of us have already been exposed, the virus is running out of those hosts. One of the researchers, in fact, said that social distancing may just ensure a second wave of deaths, because new hosts are being held in reserve.

An article in The Economist quotes researchers who believe the virus is about as deadly as the flu:

Despite initially being warned about deaths in the “millions” if Americans didn’t subject themselves to business killing closures and “social distancing,” the coronavirus, while it has spread faster than normal viruses do has actually been less deadly, according to the Economist, citing a new study.

Last Saturday, the Economist said that it is actually somewhat of a blessing that the coronavirus’ spread across the United States as it did, in fact calling it “good news.”

“If millions of people were infected weeks ago without dying, the virus must be less deadly than official data suggest,” the magazine reported, while utilizing graphs that suggest the faster the disease spreads and hits its peak, in fact the fewer people that will die from it.

Citing a new study by Justin Silverman and Alex Washburne, the Economist says that data shows the coronavirus is currently widespread in America, which is quite obvious.

In a somewhat surprising conclusion, the two researchers found that the mortality rate of coronavirus could be as low as 0.1 percent, or similar to the mortality rate of the flu.

Okay, any mortality figure is a best-guess until we really and truly know how many people have already been exposed. But considering how many people have tested positive and never felt sick (ABC’s George Stephanopoulos being a recent example), I find it difficult to believe that this virus is soooo deadly, we all have to avoid each other and kill the economy in the process.

Yes, the virus is deadly for a small subset of vulnerable people. The vast majority of us aren’t in that subset.  As this study put it:

People <65 years old have very small risks of COVID-19 death even in the hotbeds of the pandemic and deaths for people <65 years without underlying predisposing conditions are remarkably uncommon. Strategies focusing specifically on protecting high-risk elderly individuals should be considered in managing the pandemic.

Most of the people who’ve died from COVID-19 died were elderly and had existing health problems. I suspect many of them would have died from ordinary influenza if COVID-19 hadn’t gotten them first. After all, influenza kills more than 30,000 Americans in a typical year, and (at the risk of repeating myself) killed perhaps 80,000 Americans in 2017-2018.  If the death toll from that flu had been the lead story every night on the news, people would have been just as scared.

I think it’s time we start operating on what Lierre Keith called adult knowledge in her wonderful book The Vegetarian Myth. She was referring to vegans who want to believe nothing dies to put food on their plates. Adult knowledge of how food is grown and harvested says otherwise. As adults, we simply have to accept that things aren’t always as nice and pretty as we’d like.

Adult knowledge says the coronavirus will spread … and the most social distancing can do is slow the spread. Adult knowledge says the virus will kill people – just like the flu kills people — whether we shut down the economy or not. Adult knowledge says we’re not going to save millions of lives by sheltering at home for months on end – but we will bankrupt thousands of businesses and put millions of people in debt.

I agree with Dr. Malcolm Kendrick:

So, what is the exit strategy? The answer is that we don’t have one. We have a strategy of delay and mitigation which will continue until… when? Until everyone has been infected? Until we have an effective treatment? Until we have an effective vaccine? Until enough people have been infected that we have achieved herd immunity?

The Government must tell us the truth and be clear about what end point they are seeking to achieve. Only then can we have an exit strategy. One thing for sure is that this lockdown is not a way to defeat the virus.

BizarroWorld has been kind to me. I’m still employed, my expenses have gone down, I get to spend more time with my daughters because they’re not in school, and I get to work from home every day, which I prefer. But we need to leave BizarroWorld behind.

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97 thoughts on “We Need To Leave BizarroWorld

  1. Bill

    Very well said. I have been off work for three weeks now. I work in a factory and the people I work with are expecting something to be different when we go back that will keep everyone from catching the virus. The fact is, short of shutting the plant down permanently there is nothing they can do that will keep people from catching the virus. It’s here now and it’s not going anywhere. It’s not a matter of if you catch it but when. My best advice to them I’d to take this time off to work on improving their immune system. Sitting on the couch eating junk food for a month isn’t going to help.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Sitting around eating junk food will make it worse. The death rate among people with metabolic syndrome is much higher.

  2. Margaret

    Thank you. I’m so incredibly tired of BizarroWorld. So ready to be a part of humanity again.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      BizarroWorld has been like a pleasant semi-vacation for me, but I want it to end because I know most people aren’t in my position. I feel sorry for the millions forced into unemployment. I want us to get back to work.

  3. Firebird7479

    I am posting this on Facebook….hoping they don’t flag it the way they do with anything I post about cures, remedies, alternative plans like Dr. Shiva’s. Common sense approach. Can’t have it.

  4. Craig Rich

    Agree 100%. There’s a video on youtube by zdoggMD (a doctor) who puts all this in perspective. More people die from car crashes than have died from covid. I’ll link the vid, you can decide if you want to keep the link. He talks about a lot of other things about covid like how we’ve decreased the overall mortality in the US because people who aren’t covid+ aren’t going to the hospital and thus the hospital cannot kill them. https://youtu.be/_WqtBb9lVxo

    1. Firebird7479

      I’m guessing there are a lot of “You can’t compare this to car crashes!” in the comments section, just like you get backlash for comparing it to the flu.


    The other thing I haven’t seen mentioned so far is that we have become a nation of people who are afraid – no, DEATHLY afraid – of each other. Everyone is giving everyone else the side-eye, even with adequate (whatever that is) personal protection equipment. Not only are there no smiles between strangers (who would know, though, when all are wearing a mask?) there really is little to no eye contact, as used to be common in day-to-day transactions with strangers. We have become a nation of zombies.

    And the meanest insult of all is suffered by families who are separated by distance through no fault of their own, and can’t even travel to see one another. Grandparents are too afraid they will be the ones to inadvertently hurt their grandchildren.

    When this first started and I began to realize the implications of what was happening (as much as possible at the time) my first question was: how long are people going to put up with this stuff? I have been surprised that it has lasted as long as it has – at least superficially, but fear has a way of grabbing hold and not letting go. I am happy to be seeing signs of more activity out and about as the weather gets warmer. I am also beginning to think people are pretty much ready to hang it up, break out of this shell of fear and take back our autonomy.

    I hope it’s not too late.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      It’s been disappointing in the least to see how quickly people can become afraid of each other. For the love of Peter, this isn’t some virus that kills everyone it touches. The vast majority of us wouldn’t know if we had it.

    2. Firebird7479

      Except the politicians at their own press conferences — a public building — NOT wearing masks. Not a one. Neither do the field reporters for the local news. I guess they have to have their faces on camera to soothe their egos.

      I bring that up repeatedly. Nobody seems to care. But walk around the neighborhood without one…

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      One of the researchers I saw interviewed said people think this is about the economy vs. lives. No, he said, it’s about lives vs. lives. Sending the world into a long-term economic depression will kill people.

    2. Bob Niland

      Keep an eye on the other causes of death stats. If (as seems likely), CoD is being biased toward COVID-19, we might expect “mysterious” declines in deaths due to flu, cardiac, diabetes, AD, PD & the myriad other Diseases of Civilization, whereas the deaths from trauma could stay about on annual trends.

      Even showing a graph of that may not advance government agendas, not to mention sky-is-falling media mantras.

      If antibody tests become cheap and available, it might be worthwhile for everyone on an enlightened ancestral diet to get checked. Could be eye-opening.

      1. LA_Bob

        What you really mean to say is, “If antibody tests become cheap, available, and reliable…”

        And I can’t remember where, but I saw some speculation that some people might get infected, have no symptoms, and never make antibodies. In effect, their innate immunity protects them before adaptive immunity sets in. Of course, these folks might get infected again, but, who would care?

  6. Lori Miller

    What we have is scope creep. It started out as “flattening the curve,” meaning avoid overwhelming hospitals. Which we have–we (mostly) stayed home while others made masks, ventilators and personal protective equipment to get ready. Now it’s “stop the spread.” At some point, we come out and the spread resumes.

    But I think the Los Angeles Times’ headline is misleading. From the story: “Stanford’s virology lab, looking retroactively at some 2,800 patient samples collected since January, did not find the first COVID-19 cases until late February — from two patients who were tested Feb. 21 and Feb. 23.” A similar study from the Fred Hutch Center came up with similar findings: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1249414291297464321.html. Here in Indiana, only 20% of tests are coming back positive–and that’s among health care workers, the very ill, and first responders (IIRC)–people who’ve had a lot of exposure.

  7. Elenor

    On the paranoid hand: About: “social distancing and especially lockdowns” … seen any recent school shootings? Explosives at a teen pop concert? Anyone getting their heads cut off in the street with a machete? Antifa rioting in the streets, burning down Starbucks? Seen anyone driving a truck into a crowd of shoppers? Oh, right — NO CROWDS OF SHOPPERS! No school room full of kids, not concerts, no sporting events! Things that make you go: hmmmmm.

    They can’t shoot up schools that are closed.
    They can’t shoot up deserted malls and theaters.
    So windup toy ops are off the table for the deep state.
    They can’t send their own rage mobs and antifa into the streets. So that’s off the table for the leftists.
    The crashing the economy Sword of Damocles has already dropped. That’s off the table now.
    All the enemy has left are their lies.

    They’re building a tent “hospital” in Central Park. Madison Square Garden is EMPTY; there are LOTS of empty buildings — but they’re building a TENT “hospital?!?! SOMEthing is going on, but we don’t know what!

    1. Firebird7479

      Reports of pneumonia cases go down as Covid-19 cases go up. Same thing in NY with the flu. They are definitely cooking the books.

      The late Roy Halladay — former Blue Jays/Phillies pitcher was said to have drugs in his system and doing stunts with his plane when he died 3 years ago. Cause of death has been changed to Covid-19. 🙄

  8. j

    If you think this bizarro world is bad, wait until the next one hits. It’ll make this one look like a walk in the park. This one was just the warning shot.

  9. Laura

    I just thought I’d share since I’m so thrilled to see her again.

  10. egocyte

    I already commented last month from France, where we seem to be ahead on the epidemic. Yesterday, the French authorities for health released a provisional report on the disease and its consequences:
    Even if you don’t read French, you can check on page 13 the graph of the weekly national all cause mortality from 6 years back and up to the beginning of april. In black: the observed mortality, in red: the expected mortality, in green: each line is twice the standard deviation. Clearly now the mortality is much higher than for the usual flu, even the very bad flu of 2016-2017 and we still don’t have the figures for the last two weeks which were the most deadly! it’s only starting to calm down these days. And that is the graph for the whole country (half of it isn’t touched, yet), the figures for the regions where the virus is more active are far worse.
    So, I agree we need to calm down and stop acting as if the air outside was toxic and the virus flying around everywhere. But we can see that the mortality is abnormal, and nowhere near the average flu…
    Here they started to test people’s immunity and it seems less than 15% have caught the disease. I agree most of us “need” to catch the virus, but knowing it’s almost certainly more deadly than the flu, how can we deal with this?
    All this to say I think there are two pitfalls to avoid: not taking the virus seriously enough (by cherry picking the optimistic data), and taking it too seriously (overeacting and making the cure worse than the disease). Happily I’m not in responsibility to take those decisions, because I don’t freaking know what we should do…

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      It will be some time before we know if this is deadlier than the flu (my guess is yes, but nowhere close to 10x or 20x deadlier as first predicted). The numbers have to come in and be crunched. As for what to do, my opinion on that didn’t solidify until I saw the infectious disease experts explain that the virus can’t be stopped from spreading any more than the common cold can be stopped from spreading. It will spread. We can slow it down for a time, but that’s it. The virus will spread. Once we accept that, shutting down the world only makes sense if you believe we’re still in danger of hospitals being overwhelmed. We seem well past that point.

    2. Fred Jones

      Hi egocyte; eat good food like Tom would say, and you are going to do fine: everyone in France needs to get out in the fresh air; the sunshine makes winter flu go away; it will disappear over your French summer. The CDC charts of winter flu in the US show this dramatically; flu disappears about now in the US: all gone. Get out and mix in the sunshine. If you look at NZ and Australia, the corona thing got to them in December; as their summer arrived; it quietly spread all around: NZ had 600,000 visitors from China in 3 months: Dec-Feb: not bad for a population of 5 million.

      From early Jan, it seems there were sporadic reports of flu; chest infections; pneumonias; but with a very hot and dry summer in both countries we hear; things have gone well. Naturally the authorities play along with the official spin that this thing was going to suddenly climb off a plane in late March; and start immediately ravaging the 2 countries; so it could magically be in synch with everyone else’s problems, and do a lockdown like all their chums were doing, but our chum the corona was doing the rounds from December; but in the sunshine and heat; and maybe toxic levels of VitD!! in the hosts it was trying to infect, no-one seemed to get too sick.

      There have been a maximum of about 14 people in hospital in NZ at any one time with the corona; so they have about 3500 hospital beds sitting empty; fair’s fair? Whole country under house arrest in NZ: Oz not quiet so much. There have been 3 cases admitted to an ICU in NZ we hear: from a population of 5 million. Sunshine and clean air is your friend: get out there and protect yourself: sun and wind.

    3. Stuart

      To add to Egocyte’s post I recommend you read Jo Nova’s post
      Some highlights:
      “NThese graphs compiled by the Financial Times of the UK, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Belgium, show that this is not remotely a normal flu season, and can not be ascribed to “relabeling” deaths that are not due to Coronavirus. The bodies in icerinks, and freezer trucks are real.

      Global coronavirus death toll could be 60% higher than reported
      Mortality statistics show 122,000 deaths in excess of normal levels across 14 countries analysed by the FT”

      “In 13 countries and cities people are dying at rates far higher than normal and hundreds of thousands of people (at least) have died that we can assume would not have died if the CCP virus, or whatever we want to call it, had not spread around the world.”

      “The official tallies of deaths probably underestimate the deaths — even if we accept that some normal heart attacks and strokes have been mislabelled as “coronavirus deaths”, both autopsies and medical papers show that Coronavirus is also causing heart attacks and strokes that would not have happened. …….. This is not true of all nations. In Denmark there are only 100 or so unexplained deaths. It’s not above the normal range. In Portugul and Austria deaths are only up 10% or 12%. In Sweden it’s 18% (so far, but the curve is not slowing). In the UK, it’s up 37% , Spain, 50% and in Italy an awful 90%. We’ve already discussed New York where deaths are up 100%. But of course, in some areas, deaths are down, below average, the lockdown means less flu, less car accidents and over all lower mortality where the lockdown was started early enough, or where some other variable saved the day (climate, geography, demographics, population density).”

      Jo’s conclusion:
      “We don’t solve the economic crisis without first solving the medical one
      We all want the lockdown lifted as soon as possible. For those of us in a democracy, where the voters en masse, want action to stop this virus, the choices are to get rid of the virus (see New Zealand, Australia, South Korea and other nations crushing the curve) or to convince fellow voters to accept death rates that are far higher than usual, and that a significant proportion of the population will have to be “protected” which is a soft form of imprisonment.

      Unless a treatment appears soon, the countries that try option two (which is not as good for business or for lives), will end up doing option one — Especially once voters see other nations beating the virus. The long run costs of living with the virus, losing hospitals periodically, suffering repeat lockdowns, and “managing the death rate” will be far more painful than the cost maintaining borders and two week quarantines with countries that fail to control this virus”

      1. Stuart

        For those of you who claim that “They” are deliberately inflating the Cv-19 numbers as part of a nefarious plot by the Deep State, I point out that total death rates don’t lie. In the UK the death rate started spiking way above normal at the end of March. In the week ended 17th April all-cause mortality more than doubled. Note that the excess over normal deaths in fact understates the cv-19 casualties because isolation reduces the transmission of influenza and other infectious diseases and deaths from industrial and motor accidents will be way down.

        As for the video by that clown Dan Erickson I switched off after he made the false claim that you need to be exposed to viruses to keep your immune system strong. Yeah right, tell that to the 25-30% of the mediaeval European population that died of the Black Death. That’s clearly where they went wrong: not exposing themselves sufficiently to the bugs. Elsewhere I was accused of being closed-minded because I refused to waste an hour listening any further to Dan Erickson’s conspiracy theories. Well I also don’t listen to people who say aliens built the Pyramids, NASA faked the moon landings and the guvmint is controlling us all through microchips implanted in our brains.

        Here’s Jo Nova’s take on Erickson

        “Of all the scores of frontline docs who say the opposite, I was very interested to find a couple that disagree. I watched enough to see these docs made a couple of early sweeping epidemiology mistakes, and were not considering things that disagreed with what they wanted to find. Let me know if you find another copy. The Erikson doc (s?) also relied heavily on the Santa Clara antibody study, ignore all the flaws in it — which I covered here, self selecting, non-random assay in the high risk county in CA which was adjusted up from only 1.5% to 4% based on a postcode weighting, but totally ignored the demographics, when age has such a bearing on results. The result was so weak it could not be ruled out that it was entirely a false positive score. Indeed, it was a leaked copy of a preliminary result, the wife of one of the researchers even emailed invites out with calls for people to get a free result that could show them whether they could work again. The study effectively harvested for people who thought they had Covid. It disagreed with all the large and random official PCR tests. EG Austria and Iceland. Didn’t fit with results from the Diamond Princess either.

        Part of the problem is there are scores of docs saying the exact opposite of what they said, but some people are only watching youtube videos and reading arguments that support the belief they want to hold.”

        I totally agree. The death rates from the Spanish Flu varied widely from country to country (and even within countries), largely according to whether the government took appropriate action early enough. New Zealand took a laissez-faire attitude and had one of the highest death rates in the world, Australia took action early and had one of the lowest.

        None of this means that we will not have to eventually lift most of the restrictions and get the economy going. Malcolm Kendrick was completely correct that what should have been done is to isolate the most vulnerable, the elderly and immunocompromised, and let those less vulnerable get on with developing herd immunity. But that would require sufficient ongoing PPE supplies to equip healthcare and aged care workers, accurate tests available in quantity and sufficient ICU beds. None of those are in place today let alone when it started getting serious in Europe and NYC, despite it being evident since at least mid-January that the potential for a pandemic was there. Going into this situation the UK and the US had the lowest number of ICU beds in the developed world whereas countries like Germany and Sweden had 2-3 times as many. The UK & US governments failed to take action in January-March because Bozo the Clown and the Orange Chump had their heads up their respective fundaments. The lockdown is necessary precisely because of their lack of action. Hopefully the voters will remember that incompetence at the next election.

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Are you seriously suggesting Trump should have ordered a lockdown in January, when Dr. Fauci and the WHO were both still saying the virus isn’t easily transmittable among humans, there was no need to curtail travel, and people in the U.S. were in no danger?

          Go back and look at what the experts were telling us in January. From WHO on January 10:


          From the currently available information, preliminary investigation suggests that there is no significant human-to-human transmission, and no infections among health care workers have occurred.

          WHO does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers. It is generally considered that entry screening offers little benefit, while requiring considerable resources. In case of symptoms suggestive to respiratory illness before, during or after travel, the travellers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share travel history with their health care provider. WHO advises against the application of any travel or trade restrictions on China based on the information currently available on this event.

          From WHO on January 24:


          WHO advises against the application of any restrictions of international traffic based on the information currently available on this event.

          And here’s what several U.S. health officials were saying on January 28:


          The top US public health officials today said the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak that began in Wuhan, China, is not a threat to the average American citizen.

          “Americans should know this is a potentially very serious public health threat, but Americans should not worry for their own safety,” said Alex Azar, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

          All officials at the press conference offered assurances about the US response to the five confirmed 2019-nCoV cases identified in Washington state, Illinois, Arizona, and California. So far, none of the cases have resulted in secondary transmission, they said, and all patients have cooperated with the CDC in gathering as much information as possible about the illness.

          “We have no evidence of human-to-human transmission in the United States,” said Messonnier. “All the cases have been directly transmitted from China.”

          Fauci said monoclonal antibody–based therapies will be the next step in developing a possible treatment for the virus, as will a phase 1 clinical trial of a potential vaccine.

          He also addressed concerns about whether the virus could be easily spread by asymptomatic carriers. “The driver of respiratory outbreaks is symptomatic people, not asymptomatic carriers,” said Fauci.

          If you’re blaming Trump for not going against the advice of both world and U.S health officials in January, then sorry, but you’re suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome.

          Well, actually he did go against their advice when he stopped travel to and from China on January 31 (which was exactly the right move in retrospect). When he did that, the Democrats and their obedient lapdogs in the press called him a racist and xenophobe.

  11. Tanny O'Haley

    The number of people from the latest projection who are predicted to die from COVID-19 is within the same range of people who die from the flu.

    Because of the shutdown we have over 20 million newly unemployed.

    The mortality rate for the unemployed is 63% higher than the employed.

    Is the cure worse than the virus?

  12. Bret

    Sounds like the CDC is counting COVID deaths the same way they counted obesity deaths years ago, as described by Dr. Eric Oliver on a film called Fat Head. 🙂

    It is worth mentioning that even if the infection & death rates were still truly skyrocketing, no government in the US has the right to order people into a lockdown. The First Amendment does not footnote the right to peaceful assembly with an exception for a virus or other hobgoblin.

    Bless those patriots that jammed up the Michigan capitol. That utter moron governor earned every bit of it. Of course she is taking the opportunity to tell CNN how these citizens are endangering others and likely to prolong the lockdown.

    Speaking of morons, Nancy Pelosi really hit the mark on her recent livestream to the Late Late Show, wouldn’t you say? While 18% of Americans are unemployed, many worried about putting food on the table, she showcases her extremely well stocked gigantic double-freezer that, as aptly described by Scott Adams, costs more than the average person’s HOUSE.

    Meantime the news media has a crisis to obsess over, so that they don’t have to nail the left’s hardcore #BelieveWomen hypocrisy with completely and totally ignoring Tara Reade’s allegations against Biden.

    I’m starting to think this virus outbreak was the best thing to ever happen to Democrats.


    What really has me bugged about this bloody fiasco is our politicians have discovered they can suspend our freedoms and rights and few protesting voices will be raised. The worst politicians of course are the Democrats, Michigan and New Jersey being the most blatant. As much as I like Governor Abbot of Texas I really disagreed with him when he started shutting down our state. Country-wide warnings about this China Virus should have been broadcast, the governments should have sent out the usual warnings of being careful in social situations, etc., but all I see now is politicians knowing they can order us to stop our activities and we will blithely go along, making this situation far, far worse than the deaths that have occurred.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I suspect at some point, citizens are going to realize this isn’t a virus that’s going to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans and start defying the lockdown orders. There was already a big protest in Michigan, which was good to see.

      1. j

        Protests are now all over the country. Hope people now realize how much more powerful than the gov they are. And if it ever came to it, the military and police I believe would side with the people.

    2. Firebird7479

      I live in New Jersey. He has been dictatorial in nature since he took office. He was on Tucker Carlson the other night. I do believe the State Trooper jacket he was wearing while sitting in front of a jail cell was sending everyone a message.

  14. David Lawrence

    “New York, which originally said it was desperately short of the ventilators it would need, is now apparently shipping excess ventilators to other states.”

    What’s the source for that? I’m having a hard time finding it via searching and would like to read more.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Back on April 1, Gov. Cuomo said yes, we have a stockpile, but we’re saving them for the peak:

      Now he’s sending them to other states:



  15. Torcuato Gemini

    – Predicted deaths in the US if no measures had been taken: over 2,000,000.
    – Predicted deaths after lockdowns, social distancing, etc: 60,000.
    – Some people’s reaction: “See? Covid19 wasn’t that bad after all. We overreacted.”


    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Read the post again:

      the original April 2 model explicitly “assum[ed] full social distancing through May 2020.

      Social distancing cannot possibly explain the death toll dropping from hundreds of thousands to 60,000 … especially now that there’s evidence perhaps a third of us have already been exposed.

      And (he said for the umpteenth time), according to every infectious disease expert I’ve seen interviewed, SOCIAL DISTANCING CANNOT STOP THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS. IT CAN ONLY SLOW DOWN THE SPREAD.

      Get that through your friggin’ heads, people!

      So you’d better hope and pray you’re wrong that it was social distancing that prevented hundreds of thousands of deaths. Because if that’s the case, it means when the virus spreads — AND IT’S GOING TO SPREAD — those hundreds of thousands of people will die.

      1. Anonymous

        I seem to recall an article that said that the models with the really big numbers featured an R0 of four, which is at the high outside edge of a reasonable.

        I’m not so sure. If the teedsting capacity were there, and you knocked down the active cases with social distance, you might conceiveably be able to handle the outbreak with testing and contact tracing.

    2. Firebird7479

      Wait until the deaths pile up from heart disease, suicide, murder, etc. because of the stress people will be under in the coming months because the measures they took caused businesses to permanently shut down, people to permanently lose their jobs. Hunger, homelessness, not being able to support a family will have a far greater impact on a person’t health and well being than ANYTHING this virus has caused.


  16. Eric

    Many thanks to Laura for bringing Denise Minger’s new post to visibility.

    The ONLY measure one can trust these days is total mortality from all causes. Denise ferreted out data from some areas which report Total Mortality in a timely manner. See her section #4. See her graphs for London, Spain, Madrid, Bergamo, northern Italy, Netherlands. New York City. I am looking for reliable counts from my state and county, but I read that in the U.S. only New York City provides reasonably current death counts.

    You guys demanding the economy be opened, congratulations, you are going to win. You will. Americans cannot tolerate rolling shutdowns. The protest rally in Michigan is the first of many. In August, kids will be going back to school, and by then, workers back to the workspace. Maybe 10% of the 320M Americans will stay socially isolated, because they have the funding and the mindset. Everybody else will be experiencing the spikes seen in section #4. Enjoy your win.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I’ll keep saying this until I’m blue in the face, and then I’ll say it least 10 more times: according to every infectious disease expert I’ve seen interviewed, THE VIRUS IS GOING TO SPREAD. IT CANNOT BE STOPPED. IT CAN ONLY BE SLOWED DOWN. THE ONLY PURPOSE OF SOCIAL DISTANCING WAS TO SLOW DOWN THE SPREAD, BECAUSE IT CANNOT BE STOPPED UNLESS WE ISOLATE FOREVER.

      Got that?

      So basically, everyone saying we need to stay locked down because spikes will occur when we go back to work is saying this: WE NEED TO STAY LOCKED DOWN FOREVER! Or at least, WE NEED TO STAY LOCKED DOWN UNTIL A VACCINE IS CREATED AND TESTED AND EVERYONE GETS IT, EVEN IF THAT TAKES THREE YEARS!

      Is that your position? If not, explain your position.

      1. Bret

        100%, Tom.

        The loyal congregants of the news media and deep state need to get it through their heads:

        The virus is here to stay, likely forever. It will be a seasonally occurring disease in perpetuum, like the flu and the common head cold.

        The point of social-distancing-turned-lockdown was to prevent the inefficient, heavily regulated medical industry from being overwhelmed all at once………..not to eradicate the virus, which is something that social distancing cannot do.

        Once we true Americans regain control of this country from tyrant Democrat governors and local city/county officials (assuming we do…….the prospect grows dimmer as time passes and a greater %age of citizens become passive, comatose sheep), we will actually end up better off, for two big reasons:

        1. The immutable presence of this virus will give each of us an incentive to be as healthy as possible. People will have one less excuse to eat poorly, smoke, and live a sedentary indoors life (ironically this latter point being exactly what the experts & authorities are telling us to do at the moment). Even our health care system, lacking market forces and poisoned by government funding and rent-seeking behavior, will not save people from their unhealthy lifestyles in a post-COVID world (not that it ever did).

        2. We are finally going to get divorced from our abusive spouse-nation China. And maybe — just maybe — our citizens will force labor and industry reform in the US after they wise up to the fact that fully American goods are so god damn expensive because of heavy government interference, between regulatory capture and minimum wage, and everything in-between. (Not holding my breath for very long on that one, but one can hope.)

      2. Firebird7479

        Quarantining the healthy is akin to a dentist pulling healthy teeth in order to prevent cavities.

      3. Kate

        The deal is, the slower the spread, the more time we buy to get effective treatments. The more time that goes by, the better we understand this disease. Currently, there are alarming reports of high stroke incidence in younger covid-19 patients, for example.

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          What do you think those effective treatments will be? A vaccine? Finding one that’s effective against all the mutations could take years. We simply cannot keep the world’s economy shut down while waiting for treatments that could take years to develop.

          Honest question: has the lockdown taken away your livelihood? I’m pretty sure the people who are willing to stay locked down for months on end while hoping some cure comes along haven’t lost their jobs yet.

    2. Lori Miller

      I don’t think any serious person has denied that parts of western Europe or New York City have seen a lot of deaths. Be that as it may, you should be able to find annual death counts for your county. Here in Indianapolis (Marion County), which the Surgeon General called an “emerging hotspot” a few weeks ago, we’ve seen 192 COVID deaths. In 2017 (latest year available), 8,439 people died from all causes according to indiana.edu. A 2.3% increase isn’t a spike. In Michigan–half their COVID deaths are in Detroit. Take out Detroit and Michigan has 1.4% of deaths from COVID. For this, 21% of Michigan workers are now unemployed. And BTW, I didn’t see from Denise Minger’s post that Sweden, with no lockdown, was seeing any spike in mortality.

      Of course, you are free to stay in your home or wear a respirator when you go out.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I read it. Good job as usual, but I don’t see anything in there that negates anything I’ve written. I’m more suspicious about the number of deaths being reported than she is, but that’s pretty much it.

  17. Bong Kim

    Even though COVID-19 might have a similar fatality rate like flu, the difference is flu has a vaccine, a treatment and a season. This means that flu will be gone anyway without social distancing.

    But COVID-19 will last forever until the majority of population infected and recovered or a vaccine is available. Without regulations this herd immunity strategy is going to overwhelm hospitals easily and kill many people including uninfected patients because of collapsed hospitals. COVID-19 is way more contagious than flu.

    Social distancing can not stop the virus spreading but it definitely slows down the virus infection and save the hospitals. The point is keeping hospitals in working order. COVID-19 doesn’t seem to disappear in some months. If you stop social distancing now in a city like New York, I bet you don’t want to see the result.

    It is about keeping the balance between hospitals in working order vs ordinary life, and no one knows how to strike it yet because we don’t know very well about COVID-19. Some researchers believe it “a perfect virus” – not that lethal but highly contagious.

    Stay healthy.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      The hospitals have been saved from being overwhelmed. Many are laying off staff because they’re nearly empty. New York may or may not be an exception — we still don’t know how many people have been exposed but show no symptoms — but it makes no sense to maintain social distancing in areas where the hospitals are in no danger of being overwhelmed.

      1. Firebird7479

        Governor Hitler, I mean, Murphy, here in New Jersey, is going to make it mandatory for kids returning to school in the fall to wear masks. That’s just what their still developing immune systems need. 🤦‍♂️

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Good lord. Having healthy kids exposed is part of how we reach herd immunity.

          1. Firebird7479

            I remember some of those colds I got, usually with an earache, too, from what my mom suggested was from pulling in my nose too much. 🤷‍♂️

            The older I got, the fewer colds, the fewer flu bugs. My freshman year in high school I had perfect attendance whereas prior to that, I almost got the flu every year. It went through the house, we all got it. We all stayed home until we got better. We all went back to school.

            And if memory serves, some teachers never got sick and if they did, missed a couple of days.

      2. ur

        Some data suggests that people in New York have about 15% antibodies. If that’s the case, if you stop maintaining social distancing there, woudn’t you expect to see about 85% of the surge they had the first time? I’ve been seeing variations on “the curve is flat now, so we can stop” which pretty much isn’t what you should request if the herd immunity is low.

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          I don’t believe that’s quite how it works. Even when the lockdown ends, people will naturally be more conscious of not spreading the virus. The virus will spread, but I don’t believe it will the house-on-fire spread that happened initially.

    2. cy

      I just want to point out that idea that the “regular” flu is so very less lethal than Covid-19 because there is a vaccine for it, is not true because it ignores the fact the the current yearly flu vaccines are largely ineffective.

      Although there are many articles proclaiming that the vaccine reduces your risk of getting the flu by 60 or 70 percent, it is very misleading. This is because that “60-70%” number is what is known as a “relative risk number”. The “absolute risk number”, shows that you will reduce you chance of getting the flu by only several percentage points.

      A Scientific American article on flu shots makes this point when they report the reduction as “absolute risk” numbers:

      ”—the vaccine reduces the relative risk that an adult under 65 will catch the flu by about 75 percent. In absolute terms, however, this means adults have about a four percent chance of catching the flu if they don’t get the vaccine and about a one percent chance if they do.


      Additionally, they point out that the flu shot has not been proven to work well in elderly patients. They write:

      “One oft-cited claim, based on several large meta-analyses published more than a decade ago, is that seasonal flu shots cut the risk of winter death among older people by half. But the research behind that claim has been largely debunked. A 2005 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine noted that influenza only causes about 5 percent of all excess winter deaths among the elderly—which works out to one death from flu per 1,000 older people each season—so it’s impossible for the shot to prevent half of all their winter deaths.”

      This is a great discussion about consequences of dealing with corona virus/lockdown and I don’t know how much this contributes to the debate on the legal/social rules that people/the government have decided on to deal with the infections–just wanted to point out that anyone claiming that the flu vaccine is what protects us all from “regular” flu deaths has been fooled by those evil statistics. Also, I don’t see how the new corona virus will be so very different from previous virus’ as to allow an effective vaccine when it hasn’t ever worked in the past.

  18. Rae

    I’ve been chided by Facebook do-gooders for daring to walk around my suburban neighborhood (every day! Have I no shame?) and for keeping a Dr appointment that was not a life or death situation (masked as were the entire clinic staff). Are we to suspend all attempts at preserving our own good health and sanity right now? People love to police each other.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Scary, isn’t it? Some doctors are now suggesting that people will die because they didn’t get “non-essential” medical care that could have spotted a problem before it became life-threatening.

      1. Heather W

        My husband has a very painful cervical injury he can’t get any help for because all non covid medical care is shut down. He’s had three appointments cancelled already with no end in sight. It’s ridiculous. One office just basically said that pain that makes you non functional isn’t important.

  19. Kathy in OK

    This has been one of the best discussions in recent memory. Thanks everyone! I’m pretty sure I’ve had the virus and I’m 72. I wouldn’t mind knowing if I’m immune, but who knows if we will ever know that. I will say that this is getting a bit old – and I’m a natural born hermit.

  20. egocyte

    FYI, maybe a link with the usual subject of this blog: in France we noticed that obese people developed a more severe form of the disease, requiring mechanical ventilation:
    “High prevalence of obesity in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus‐2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) requiring invasive mechanical ventilation” https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/oby.22831
    It’s just a suggested correlation for now, maybe not a causation (many other confounding comorbities for obese people), but it might not be a good news for the USA and could explain the differences by country (34% obesity in the US, 24% in France, 7% in China, 3% in Japan…)

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      The connection seems to be more about blood sugar, since diabetics are succumbing at a higher rate as well. As we know, obesity and high blood sugar often go together.

  21. pablo

    Hi Tom, a big problem with politicos and national media is that they continually compare apples to oranges. The NYC metropolitan area has absolutely nothing in common with the area I live in (northeast Florida). Our beaches are back open, and we only have about 2 new cases per day in a county of 250,000. In my particular zip code, there have been 12 cases since early March, and zero deaths. Why should we have to have the same rules as say, the Bronx or Queens? In late March the spring-breakers were everywhere on the beach, and my relatives (in the NY area, naturally), said we would pay the price for allowing all the partying. Hasn’t happened. It’s about time the adults took over and put things to right.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Exactly. The major news organizations are located in New York, so they think the whole country is like New York. In the county where my family lives in Illinois, there are nearly 200,000 people. The entire county has had 53 cases and four deaths … two women in their 70s and two men in their 90s. That’s hardly the kind of pandemic that justifies shutting down all the local “non-essential” businesses that require interaction with the public.

    2. Firebird7479

      Researchers have discovered that Covid19 is destroyed by sunlight, heat, and humidity. You ZIP Code has hit the trifecta. But ABCNNBCBS won’t tell you that because it doesn’t fit the narrative. And we never DID FIND OUT how many of those Spring Breakers truly infected their friends and family back home and probably never will.

      1. Stuart

        Tell that to Singapore, which is currently seeing a second outbreak among migrant workers who live in crowded dormitories. That’s a part of Singapore that the tourists don’t see. The sunlight, heat and humidity don’t seem to be protecting them.

  22. rob

    I just wanted to point out that elective procedures account for up to 80-percent or more of most hospital revenue. Most people do not know that elective procedures include some cancer treatments, joint replacements, breast reconstructive surgeries, back surgeries, tendon repairs of various types, mammograms, etc. A public health official in the UK has predicated that because of this type of ban he expects more people to die over the next 5-years than the virus ends up killing.

    Most hospitals in the US are hemorrhaging money at alarming rate because of not being able to perform elective procedures. Nurses and other health care practitioners are being laid off or they are being forced to work at reduced pay. Medical doctors are having their pay cut as well. The Wall Street Journal has said up to 1.5-million health care workers could be laid off in the near future (if things do not change). Some large hospital groups are losing up to 100-million a month now. A lot of small rural hospitals (20 to 30 in the last year or so) have failed in recent years. They can not compete if they are not associated with larger health organizations. This virus will put the final nail in the coffin for many more.

    There is no guarantee that a vaccine will ever be made. We need to learn to live with this virus. No amount staying at home will get rid of it. It may just disappear like SARS did or may become seasonal like the other CORONAVIRUSES are. We just do not know.

    We need to leave behind BizarroWorld. If the situation looks hopeless people will start ignoring these orders in en mass. I do not even think the bat-sh??-crazy governor of Michigan will be able to keep people inside.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Agreed. It’s time to get back to work. We know cases will rise for a time after that, but they’re going to rise whether we leave lockdown now or a year from now.

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          There will absolutely be a second wave. No avoiding that. I just hope we don’t panic and close down the country the moment the cases start going up.

  23. Heather W

    There is a sign on the highway near my house that shows a daily tally of deaths from car accidents. It’s no surprise that it’s going up faster than Covid deaths. Even with less people on the roads.

  24. Ray

    Just finished watching episode 4 of Ty Bollinger’s “The truth about vaccines.” He points out that the CDC combines deaths from pneumonia with the deaths from flu, so the deaths from flu alone are far lower than reported. I used cdc’s FluView tool, downloaded several seasons of data, and found there are typically only 40,000 influenza positive tests reported to the cdc annually. Not sure what to make of that, but I think there is a story there.

  25. Bret

    So sorry to learn of Mrs. Naughton’s passing. Condolences to Tom, Jerry, and families. 🙁

  26. Dave

    “The insanity is continuing even though the death toll is a mere fraction of what various governments and experts predicted. Dr. Fauci, the head of the coronavirus task force, initially suggested COVID-19 could kill as many as 240,000 Americans. Now he’s downgraded that prediction to 60,000. As I write this post, the reported number of deaths in the U.S. is around 33,000. Yes, that’s a lot of deaths. But keep in mind, the CDC estimates at least 60,000 and perhaps 80,000 Americans died from influenza during the 2017-2018 flu season.”

    Current number 110,000, half way there, hmmmm.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Tue, but the numbers are likely polluted by instructions to doctors to count anyone who tested positive for coronavirus and died as a coronavirus death. The good news is that the deaths peaked halfway through April, which means the pattern followed the pattern of a flu outbreak and would likely have done so whether we went into lockdown or not. Meanwhile, deaths from pneumonia and flu still exceed the deaths from COVID, but we don’t shut down the country every winter when pneumonia and flu come around.


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