“There’s a virus out there that’s killing people.”
“Really? Which people?”
“Well, the median age is 80, and about half the people who died were in nursing homes.”
“Oh my god! Ya know what we should do? We should close all the schools!”
“Uh … but —”
“I mean, some young people died too, right?”
“Turns out the virus is less likely to kill young people than the ordinary flu, but yes, some younger people died. Nearly all of them had pre-existing diseases or metabolic problems like obesity, diabetes—”
“Holy moly! In that case, we need to cancel college sports! We can’t take a chance that 20-year-olds in peak athletic condition will get sick and die!”
“But … ya see … I was just pointing out that—”
“Is there any indication of when this horrible virus will stop killing people?”
“Actually, in most regions, hardly anyone is dying from it now. People aren’t even showing up in hospitals anymore.”
“That’s terrible! We need to make sure everybody wears a mask so this senseless slaughter will stop!”
Welcome to the world of bed-wetter logic, where facts and data bounce off people’s heads like tiny ping-pong balls.
Remember a few months ago, when the bed-wetter media breathlessly reported on the rising number of deaths? You don’t see that much anymore. Now the bed-wetter reports are mostly about THE RISING NUMBER OF CASES!
Well, yes, the number of people testing positive for some fragment of the virus is rising and rising and rising. That’s because we’re testing like crazy, and – surprise! – finding more of exactly what we’re trying to find. The vast majority of the people who test positive have no symptoms, which means for the vast majority of us, coronavirus barely qualifies as a cold. That ought to be good news.
But no, the bed-wetter media insist on reporting the rising number of (ahem) “cases” as if it’s proof the equivalent of airborne AIDS is blowing around out there and we’re all in danger. Not surprisingly, surveys show that a huge chunk of the public wildly overestimates how many non-elderly people have died. Here are some typical survey results:
Six months into this pandemic, Americans still dramatically misunderstand the risk of dying from COVID-19:
On average, Americans believe that people aged 55 and older account for just over half of total COVID-19 deaths; the actual figure is 92%.
Americans believe that people aged 44 and younger account for about 30% of total deaths; the actual figure is 2.7%.
Americans overestimate the risk of death from COVID-19 for people aged 24 and younger by a factor of 50; and they think the risk for people aged 65 and older is half of what it actually is (40% vs 80%).
Yup, lots of people out there believe thousands of school-age kids have died. That’s what happens when the bed-wetter media are more interested in scaring the hell out of the audience than in … oh, I don’t know, let me think back to journalism school and see if I can remember the supposed purpose of news organizations … oh, yeah: informing the audience.
Substitute watch TV news for read the newspaper, and Mark Twain’s observation has never been more relevant than it is today: If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.
Thanks to our bed-wetter media, here’s how badly misinformed people are:
This misperception translates directly into a degree of fear for one’s health that for most people vastly exceeds the actual risk: we find that the share of people who are very worried or somewhat worried of suffering serious health consequences should they contract COVID-19 is almost identical across all age brackets between 25 and 64 years old, and it’s not far below the share for people 65 and older.
The discrepancy with the actual mortality data is staggering: for people aged 18–24, the share of those worried about serious health consequences is 400 times higher than the share of total COVID deaths; for those age 25–34 it is 90 times higher. The chart below truly is worth a thousand words:
The hysteria and the wild overestimation of actual risk among the misinformed has allowed bed-wetting politicians to get away with authoritarian overreach and impose restrictions that make absolutely no scientific sense.
In California (governed by a world-class bed-wetter) the schools are closed for the foreseeable future. We just can’t risk exposing kids to this horrible, deadly disease, doncha know. And how many school-age (under 18) kids have died from COVID-19 in California? Wait for it …
One. That’s right, one. In the entire USA, a grand total of 92 school-age kids have died from COVDID-19, and most of them had pre-existing health issues. Those are the actual facts. But thanks to the bed-wetter media’s constant hyping of the RISE IN CASES!, people are afraid their kids will get sick and die if they go to school.
The bed-wetter media apparently exist all over the world. Check out this video of a doctor being interviewed on Spanish television. (If you don’t speak Spanish, you’ll have to read the subtitles.) The journalist clearly wanted the doctor to confirm the EVERYTHING IS AWFUL angle of the story. Lucky for the viewers, the doctor told the truth instead. He keeps trying to point out that positive tests among people with no symptoms don’t mean anything, and the epidemic is basically over. Meanwhile, the bed-wetting journalist keeps interrupting to cite the positive test numbers as proof that EVERYTHING IS AWFUL. Never mind what the doctor who actually works in a hospital says.
Ivor Cummins has been using the term casedemic to describe the current round of bed-wetting. I don’t know if he originated the term or not, but it’s perfect. Here he is, using data to explain the difference between an actual epidemic and the current casedemic:
If you chose to skip the video, here’s what Ivor is talking about: The bars above the red lines are cases, which are rising because of all the testing. The bars below the red lines are deaths, which have plummeted to nearly zero, despite all those (ahem) “cases.”
Thank goodness, at least a few media outlets are making the distinction between cases and actual illness. Here are some quotes from an article in the U.K.’s Sunday Times:
The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has fallen 96% since the peak of the pandemic, official data reveals.
Remember when lockdowns were all about flattening the curve so healthcare systems wouldn’t be overwhelmed? They’re clearly not overwhelmed. And yet the hysteria continues. Anyway, back to the article:
Hospital staff are now treating just 700 coronavirus patients a day in England, compared to about 17,000 a day during the middle of April, according to NHS England.
Last week, some hospitals did not have a single coronavirus patient on their wards, with one top doctor suggesting that Britain is “almost reaching herd immunity”.
I believe that’s true in the U.S. as well.
Wait … before any bed-wetters out there jump into the comments section to berate me, yes, I’m aware that deaths have been rising in some southern states, such as Florida. The summertime rise in the south is following the same curve as previous flu outbreaks. And as we saw elsewhere, 82 percent of deaths in Florida have occurred among the elderly, and nearly half of those occurred in nursing homes. Regardless of the recent (and predictable) rise in deaths in the south, here’s the latest CDC chart showing the deaths by age since the epidemic began.
Notice how younger people barely show up on the chart. And yet I’ve seen bed-wetters on Twitter post links to articles like this one, apparently thinking they’ve proved something awful is happening:
A Georgia school district that does not require masks has closed a high school and now has over 1,100 students and staff in quarantine due to the coronavirus.
Naturally, the bed-wetter reporter had to work does not require masks into the article. Yeah, that must be why the kids are infected, boy oh boy. It couldn’t be that they were already infected and didn’t know it until they were tested.
The Cherokee County School District, based in Canton about 40 miles north of Atlanta, made the announcement Tuesday, just eight days after its schools reopened.
“This decision was not made lightly,” Superintendent Brian Hightower said in a statement about the temporary halt to in-person instruction at Etowah High School.
Ahhhh, the decision wasn’t made lightly. So there must have been a major outbreak of COVID-19 among the students, leading to a bunch of hospital admissions.
He said the high school had 14 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 15 tests pending as of Tuesday morning.
An entire high school was closed because 14 kids tested positive for a virus that’s soooo deadly, they didn’t know they’d been exposed … at least not until testing added them to the casedemic files. I asked the bed-wetter who posted this article on Twitter to find the follow-up article telling us how many of those 14 kids required medical treatment. I’m still waiting for his reply.
If closing schools actually stopped the spread of coronavirus, we’d see dramatic differences (or even kinda-sorta moderate differences) in outcomes between areas that closed their schools and areas that didn’t. But we don’t. Here are some quotes from an article in the Irish Times:
The reopening of schools in many EU countries has not led to significant increases in community transmission of Covid-19, according to a new report.
Child-to-child transmission of the disease in schools is uncommon and not the primary cause of infection in children attending class, particularly in preschools and primary schools, the report by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) suggests.
Schools are unlikely to be more effective environments for propagating the virus than other work or leisure settings with similar densities of people, the report states.
There’s a good reason schools are unlikely to be an effective environment for spreading COVID. Watch this report from the BBC and, if you’re impatient, skip ahead to about the 2:15 mark:
I’ll repeat what a researcher says in the report, in case you skipped the video entirely:
Unlike illnesses like influenza, which are spread wonderfully by children — they’re very good at spreading influenza — children don’t seem to be spreading the COVID 19 virus to anything like the same extent. and that’s very different from most respiratory illnesses, where it’s usually the child that’s brought the illness into the household. So there’s something different about this that provides some reassurance when it comes to opening schools.
Closing schools hasn’t made a difference. Lockdowns haven’t made a difference either. As I’ve been saying since coronahysteria began, the virus is here and it’s going to spread, period, whether we impose lockdowns or not. Here are some quotes from a BBC article:
Exposure to Covid-19 is similar in Stockholm and London, based on antibody tests, despite different lockdown strategies, research suggests.
Sweden chose to avoid a strict lockdown, with shops and restaurants staying open.
Health experts predicted that 40% of the population in the capital, Stockholm, would have developed antibodies to the disease by May.
The actual figure was 17%, according to a review of evidence.
The research, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, found that 17% of people tested in April in Stockholm had developed antibodies.
This compares with 17% of Londoners tested in April and May, and 5%-10% of people living in Geneva.
Sweden adopted a lighter-touch strategy for dealing with the pandemic compared with most other European countries, deciding not to institute a widespread lockdown, and putting in place relatively few restrictions.
This was based partly on the idea of letting Covid-19 sweep through the population creating so-called herd immunity. Such an approach was considered but then abandoned in the UK.
The herd-immunity approach shouldn’t have been abandoned, but unfortunately, the bed-wetters won the day.
By the way, if you’re thinking 17% of a population testing positive for antibodies doesn’t sound like herd immunity, think again. Remember, most people who test positive for coronavirus fragments never felt ill. It turns out many people shake off the virus without producing antibodies. Here are some quotes from an article in the U.K. Telegraph:
Antibody tests may be missing large numbers of people who contracted Covid-19 because they don’t work for people who had a mild infection, new research from Oxford University suggests.
A study of more than 9,000 healthcare workers suggested significant numbers of people were getting ‘negative’ test results, despite probably having had the virus.
The work has major implications for government health policy, and scientists said it might also mean reviewing where the threshold between negative and positive results lies.
Hospitalizations and deaths in Sweden – with no lockdowns and no masks — are now close to zero. I’m pretty sure at this point, the bed-wetters would prefer to pretend Sweden doesn’t exist. A professor of microbiology and immunology in Tel Aviv name Udi Qimron made that point when interviewed for the Israel National News:
“There is a very great interest for anyone who has supported the draconian measures taken around the world to say that Sweden’s policy has failed. Because if it succeeded, and trillions went down the drain for no reason, someone will have to answer for it.”
“That is why all over the world they prefer to claim that [Sweden] was wrong. But in the end, the truth came to the surface. In a world where decision makers, their advisers and the media were able to admit their mistake and the initial panic that gripped them, we would have long since returned to routine. The ongoing destruction due to the inability to admit this mistake, despite the epidemic’s small mortality numbers, is outrageous.”
Yup. It’s been several years since I mentioned the terrific book Mistakes Were Made (but not by me), which explains why people who take very public positions find it darned near impossible to admit they were wrong, even when the evidence proves they were wrong. We’re seeing the phenomenon described in the book among all the bed-wetter politicians now.
Back to Professor Qimrom in the Israel National News:
He said smart behavior would be the opposite of what we do today; Populations not at risk should become infected and create chains of immunity, which will protect the sick and the elderly. We are currently working for sweeping social distancing, which prevents such differential immunity, he said.
He went on to explain that infection of children is a welcome thing, because it protects at-risk populations. “For the same reason, I would open up the whole education system, because the vast majority is made up of people who are not at risk. Of course a solution needs to be found for teachers suffering from diabetes or other background diseases, but I see no reason to prevent activities that encourage the economy. Not only because it allows parents to go to work, but also because it lowers mortality in the long run. I would also ask children and young people to take off their masks.“
But … but … in a Georgia high school that does not require masks, 14 kids were found to have fragments of the virus!
I was more or less agnostic on the wear your mask! issue at first. I suspected they wouldn’t do much to stop the virus because I saw at least three doctors explain that the virus is so tiny, wearing a mask to avoid spreading it is like trying to keep out mosquitos by putting up a chain-link fence.
But I also had my doubts because of some basic logic: if areas that imposed lockdowns didn’t fare any better than areas that didn’t impose lockdowns, why the @#$% would telling people to wear masks make a difference? Let’s think through that logic, shall we?
Okay, keeping people apart didn’t work, so we’ll let them out in public again – but they need to wear some cotton on their faces, because that will somehow do what keeping them apart didn’t do.
Suuuure, it will.
The wear your mask! crowd trots out studies showing one of two results: 1) wearing a mask reduces the distance saliva droplets travel if you cough or sneeze, or 2) the rate of infection among healthcare workers declined after they and all patients were required to wear masks in hospitals.
So if you’re out in public and still sick enough to spread the virus via your saliva (in which case, why the heck are you out in public?), a mask might stop you from sneezing the virus onto another person. Okay, we’ll go with that.
As for the reduced infections among healthcare workers after mask mandates were imposed … that could be a coincidence. I haven’t seen anything like a control or comparison group for the same time period.
For the sake of the healthcare workers, I sincerely hope the masks do work. But again, we’re talking about healthcare workers who treat COVID patients sick enough to show up at a hospital. That means up-close-and-personal interactions with people who are likely coughing and sneezing the virus into the nearby air. It’s probably putting masks on the patients that made the difference, not putting masks on the healthcare workers. Either way, that tells us absolutely nothing about the effectiveness of ordering asymptomatic people to wear masks when they’re out in public.
Scientists in other countries have formed an opinion, however:
Denmark boasts one of the lowest COVID-19 death rates in the world. As of August 4, the Danes have suffered 616 COVID-19 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
That’s less than one-third of the number of Danes who die from pneumonia or influenza in a given year.
Despite this success, Danish leaders recently found themselves on the defensive. The reason is that Danes aren’t wearing face masks, and local authorities for the most part aren’t even recommending them.
This prompted Berlingske, the country’s oldest newspaper, to complain that Danes had positioned themselves “to the right of Trump.”
Because wearing a mask should, of course, be a political decision, not a scientific one. No wait … that doesn’t sound right …
This apparently did not sit well with Danish health officials. They responded by noting there is little conclusive evidence that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of respiratory viruses.
Denmark is not alone.
Despite a global stampede of mask-wearing, data show that 80-90 percent of people in Finland and Holland say they “never” wear masks when they go out, a sharp contrast to the 80-90 percent of people in Spain and Italy who say they “always” wear masks when they go out.
Well then, Spain and Italy must have much lower COVID deaths rates than Finland and Holland, thanks to those masks. Let’s check the data:
Dutch public health officials recently explained why they’re not recommending masks.
Does the explanation look something like this?
“From a medical point of view, there is no evidence of a medical effect of wearing face masks, so we decided not to impose a national obligation,” said Medical Care Minister Tamara van Ark.
There’s more about Holland’s decision not to mandate masks in the U.K. Daily Mail:
The nation’s top scientists, having examined key data and research, have declared there is no firm evidence to back the use of face coverings. Indeed, they argue that wearing the wretched things may actually hamper the fight against disease.
Face masks in public places are not necessary, based on all the current evidence,’ said Coen Berends, spokesman for the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. ‘There is no benefit and there may even be negative impact.’
Norway isn’t requiring masks either:
In a memo, published in English on its website, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, said that even in the best case, with medical masks which prevent 40 percent of infections, 200,000 people would have to wear them to prevent just one new infection per week.
That’s one COVID case, not one COVID death.
This, it said, meant that the likely negative impacts outweighed any benefits “in the current epidemiological situation”.
“The number of people who experience undesirable effects is likely to be much larger than the number of infections prevented,” it said.
Wait, what? Ya mean wearing masks can have undesirable effects?
Why yes, they can. Here’s a video posted by a woman who’s spent 20 years working as an OSHA-approved Personal Protective Equipment expert.
Yes, it’s a long video. I’d urge you watch to it, but in case you don’t, here are some of the points she makes:
- Masks can’t possibly stop you breathing in or breathing out the virus because it’s incredibly tiny. (Again, I’ve heard doctors describe wearing cotton or even surgical masks to stop the spread of COVID as the equivalent of putting up a chain-link fence to keep out mosquitos.)
- Yes, masks do reduce the amount of oxygen you breathe. She mentioned that several doctors and nurses have disputed that point by saying they wear masks in surgery all the time and breathe just fine. But what they don’t know is that OSHA has stringent requirements for hospital environments, including … wait for it … extra oxygen pumped into operating rooms because OSHA knows masks reduce oxygen intake. (I don’t need an OSHA expert to tell me that. When I wear a mask at the grocery store, I have to periodically pull it away from my face and take a few deep breaths to avoid feeling light-headed.)
- Because masks reduce your oxygen intake, OSHA doesn’t allow employers to mandate masks unless each employee passes a medical exam to prove the mask won’t cause problems … and again, OSHA often requires the employer to pump extra oxygen into environments where masks will be worn. Now OSHA has mysteriously set those requirements aside.
Perhaps the dumbest argument I’ve heard for wearing masks goes something like this: Sure, there’s no evidence they actually stop the spread of the coronavirus. But if you wear a mask when you’re in a public place, it will make the people around you feel safer.
Allow me to interpret that:
Now that we bed-wetters have needlessly scared the hell out of everyone over a virus that’s a threat to almost nobody who goes out in public, we need you to wear a worthless mask on your face so the people we’ve terrified will feel less terrified. It’s your civic duty, doncha know.
Here’s my alternate suggestion: The virus is here, it’s not going away, and it’s going to spread, period … no matter how many lockdowns the bed-wetters impose, and no matter how many asymptomatic people they force to wear cloth over their faces. And for the vast, vast majority of us, that’s not scary news at all. In fact, the sooner we get to herd immunity (if we’re not there already), the better.
So let’s tell the bed-wetters to @#$% off, put on their big-boy pants, and leave the rest of us alone. We have lives to live.
If you enjoy my posts, please consider a small donation to the Fat Head Kids GoFundMe campaign.