Coronavirus

Trump Is Wrong: Spreading Epidemic Is Responsible for Most of the Rise in COVID-19 Cases

Cases per 1,000 tests are rising in the majority of states.

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President Donald Trump has been trying to peddle his own version of fake reality, if not fake news, by repeatedly claiming that the recent rise in COVID-19 cases is only due to more testing. The president's most recent attempt to dupe the public with alternative facts occurred during his Fox News interview with Chris Wallace on Sunday. When Wallace displayed a chart showing the steep rise in the number of U.S. COVID-19 cases in the past month, the president dismissed it by asserting, "Chris, that's because we have great testing, because we have the best testing in the world. If we didn't test, you wouldn't be able to show that chart. If we tested half as much, those numbers would be down."

As a general matter, it is true that if you don't look for something, you are less likely to find it. That being said, the president is not wrong when he suggests that expanded testing is finding more mild and asymptomatic cases now than would have been identified earlier in the pandemic when there was a critical shortage of COVID-19 tests. However, the folks over at STAT have crunched the numbers and show that the spread of the virus, far more than testing, explains the soaring increase in the number of cases in a majority of the states.

STAT's analysis looked at the number of people tested and the number who tested positive for the disease (cases) in mid-May, mid-June, and mid-July to calculate the number of cases found per 1,000 tests as a measure of the disease's prevalence.

To illustrate how this works, let's take a look at their calculations for the number of cases per 1,000 tests to track the prevalence of COVID-19 in Florida over the past few months:

In Florida on May 13, that rate was 32. On June 13 it was 75. On July 13 it was 193. On May 13, Florida tested 15,159 people; on July 13, it tested 65,567. So indeed, the number of tests has increased.

But the number of cases per thousand, which is independent of the number of tests, has skyrocketed. On May 13, Florida recorded 479 cases; on July 13, it found 12,624. If the prevalence of Covid-19 were the same in July as in May, Florida would have found only 2,098 cases. In other words, 10,526 of the July 13 cases are not due to increased testing, but, instead, to the increased prevalence of disease.

COVID-19 testing in Florida has essentially doubled since mid-June while the number of cases has grown sevenfold in the past month. "The number of tests only increased by a factor of two," observed Youyang Gu, developer of the well-regarded COVID-19 Projections machine-learning model, to STAT. "Obviously, if you double the testing but the number of cases increased sevenfold, then the virus is clearly spreading."

STAT similarly calculates that, as of July 12, 1,441 of Arizona's 2,537 cases were due to increased prevalence. As of July 9, 1,969 of South Carolina's 2,280 cases were due to increased disease prevalence. Meanwhile, 2,244 of Texas's daily 5,655 cases were the result of disease prevalence. "In all, 26 states that did more testing in July than in May found more cases because Covid-19 was more prevalent. In 15 of them, the number of cases per 1,000 people tested had more than doubled," reports STAT.

In just seven states—Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin—the number of cases per 1,000 tests declined, indicating that the number of cases was rising in those states mostly due to expanded testing. In addition, STAT reports that expanded testing in 16 states actually identified not only fewer cases per 1,000 tests, but fewer cases overall, indicating that the prevalence of COVID-19 is falling in those states.

NEXT: New York City's Modest Reopening Marred by Arbitrary Guidelines

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  1. Duplicated testing should also be tracked. According to my friend who is a nurse in a hospital, if they have a covid patient they test them every day and report. This means that 1 person tested 10 days in a row becomes 10 new positive cases. Counting is hard.

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      2. Yes, and it’s also correct.

      3. It’s also the truth. They are lumping antibody testing in with it. If you test positive for antibodies you are listed as a case.

      4. Not really. My neighbor works in a hospice, the hospice deaths are being put down to Covid-19. I asked her why, she confirmed it was they get more money from the government, which I had previously not believed.

    1. But the number of cases per thousand, which is independent of the number of tests, has skyrocketed.

      Ronnie also called out specifically Florida which had many clinics only reporting positive test results. Not number of negative tests nor number of total tests.

      Weird he didnt address that issue.

      We also have reports of multiple state health organizations now including antibody testing as nee test cases. Another oddity you think would be important to the claims of this article.

      Even Nate Silver had called out the issues against the very claims Ronnie makes in this article.

      1. This is a direct result of the 24×7 Interwebs Clickity Clackity nature of our media cycle. No one actually wants to go count train cars, or lab results. They all scrape shit off websites and plug them into an excel spreadsheet. Then folks like Bailey and Sullum go on to report them breathlessly week after week.

        Let’s talk about the “Well Regarded” Mr Gu. Why is he well regarded? Evidently because his predictions- that are constantly being changed- are somehow more accurate. But is that true?

        From Reason’s own articles, Mr Gu was predicting “Over 200,000 deaths by August 28”. That was around May 28th, before the latest spikes.

        And today what does Mr Gu predict? 174,000 Deaths by August 28. Now, that isn’t the orders of magnitude bad of other predictions, but it is also changed by 13%. And note that today, everyone is insisting that we are SOOOO much worse off than anyone could have predicted back in May.

        The point is that if our journalists would spend hours calling around and getting to the bottom of these data discrepancies, it would do TONS better than the hours they spend writing hot takes each week based on whatever excel spreadsheet tickles their fancy.

        1. I have been 100% accurate with lotto numbers I changed at 10pm every tuesday and friday night.

        2. “The point is that if our journalists would spend hours calling around and getting to the bottom of these data discrepancies …”

          When I studied media reports on the disappearance of Danielle van Dam in 2002, and the trial of David Westerfield for kidnapping and killing her, I discovered that our journalists don’t spend hours calling around and getting to the bottom of discrepancies, they just blindly repeat whatever they are told. And, as a result, an innocent man now sits on Death Row.

      2. how do you have cases without test.
        Why the same way the man killed in the motorcycle accident was claimed to have died by covid without testing, because FYTW

        1. But you cant prove covid didnt cause the crash! What if he coughed!

          1. You forgot to put

          2. you forgot to put “/sarc”

        2. Ron can’t math. There is a statistic called a *proportion*. You can claim that the total number of cases going up is due to an increase in the number of tests. You can’t claim that they *proportion* of positive cases to tests is going up just because there is more testing going on. The *proportion* of positive cases is going up. The number of hospitalizations and deaths, which are lagging indicators to the proportion of positive cases, also go up independently of the number of tests.

  2. So what is the total fatality rate. Not mentioned here but has been dropping over time according to Sullum.

    But glad reason took the time to make this all about trump. I mean it’s important to make the lede tds in order to get those eyeballs.

    #defundkoch

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    2. He even had to add the qualifier only:

      repeatedly claiming that the recent rise in COVID-19 cases is only due to more testing.

      Which is a qualifier not found on the supplies statements.

      The fact is we have voluntary testing of asymptomatic people if they desire. This was not done previously in the pandemic. Inclusion of anti body testing numbers. And even backlogged test kits.

      Florida was audited on their metrics for exposure dates and were forced to admit the dates of the testing were test completion date and not sample taken date. So there is literally no temporal association to positive test date and infection date.

      1. “The fact is we have voluntary testing of asymptomatic people if they desire. This was not done previously in the pandemic.”

        Bingo. At the outset the only people who got tested were sick people. If you weren’t high-risk and you weren’t symptomatic, you couldn’t get tested. The vast majority of people who have COVID-19 are either asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms. It’s possible (and likely) that the true infection rate was about the same in March as it is now.

        There are no credible reports that our reported infection rate is accurate. Depending on which study you believe, we’re undercounting by at least a factor of ten, and possibly as much as a factor of eighty.

        1. The truth is there are THREE variables here:

          1) Number of tests being done.
          2) How people being tested are selected.
          3) Underlying infection rate.

          All three are capable of making huge differences in the bottom line, which makes the “case” rate a really, really lousy measure of the infection rate.

          If we really want to know what’s going on, we should be testing some number of people AT RANDOM.

          People have done that. The upshoot: The actual infection rate is much, much higher than the “case” rate, on the order of several percent of the population. As you say, at least ten times higher.

          This has been confirmed by studies of tests done on blood drawn for other reasons. Something like 3-5% of the population is, or has been, infected.

          The good news here is that this implies that the case fatality rate is a lot lower than you’d estimate from the “case” numbers non-random testing is generating.

          Other research has shown that something like 40% of the population already has at least some immune response to the virus, largely due to prior exposure to either SARS or other coronaviruses. This immunity is T cell mediated, and so doesn’t show up on the antibody tests.

          So, it looks like this virus simply can’t roar through the population like the Spanish flu did. And may be close to burning itself out in some places.

          1. No one ever talks about the second variable. This article should have mentioned it as you can’t draw any conclusions without addressing it.

            I tend to agree with the hypothesis about current levels of immune response, but we will know soon enough if it is accurate. I suspect we have a little further to go until our national curves look like Sweden or the UK, but that is what happens when you flatten the curve.

            1. Yep. If we had the same fatality rate as Sweden we’d end up at about 185,000 deaths. Right now we’re 40,000 under that with the sunbelt just after their peak.

      2. I have to get tested (presumably for RNA) 3 days before my cataract operation. For months they weren’t even doing cataracts. Replicate this situation for other surgeries, it multiplies the testing of asymptomatics.

    3. The total fatality rate is something that’s currently fundamentally unknowable in any meaningful way. Similar to how the final score of a hockey game can’t be known in the 3rd minute of the 2nd period.

      Once the “outbreak” phases of this virus are over and some kind of general resistance (assuming that’s something that’s possible) has been created by some combination of vaccination and past infection and further cases are relatively rare, it might be possible to get a handle on the real fatality rate.

  3. I’m panicking! Are you?!

    1. I’m picknicking too! Reading and spelling are hard too

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  5. No mention of people exhibiting symptoms more likely to be tested. That would impact the per tested metric.

    1. Bailey didn’t really think too hard about any of this. Not when given the opportunity for a little OrangeManBad

  6. Great. More spread means we’re closer to the end. And death rate is still way down.
    Take off your masks, morons. Let’s get through this shit this summer.

    1. Masks and protests are the only things keeping us alive

      1. Protests resulted in no spread because they kept exactly 6′ apart and wore masks.

        1. That mental image is like something from a horror movie

          1. “Mental image”? It’s what I actually see every time I leave the house.

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    3. Jesus Zeb trying talking to the fucking masks scolds in my area with that attitude.

      1. Would you surprised if people get upset if you decided to just start pissing on their legs? And that probably won’t even kill them.

        1. “And that probably won’t even kill them.”

          Same is true of Covid.

          1. So do you ask if people are low-risk before you decide to cough on them, or are they simply expected to take one for the team?

            1. No, shitstain, we ask those who are frightened to take care of their health. Don’t ask me to help with your panic attacks.

            2. People who weren’t raised by coyotes don’t cough on anyone, douche. Try not projecting for once.

        2. So the only reason you don’t cough/sneeze on people is because of a mask and if you didn’t wear pants you’d go around pissing on people?

          Christ, what an asshole.

    4. No, taking off the mask when in a crowd is foolish and inconsiderate. Avoid those crowded places and you can go without a mask.

      Wear a mask, but only when and where it makes a difference.

      1. If we weren’t in the middle of a huge authoritarian power grab and an incredible episode of mass hysteria, I might be more open to your argument. But I cannot in good conscience contribute to the idea that this is normal and acceptable.
        I won’t go to a crowded place if everyone wants masks. If a business wants me to wear a mask, I might, or I might take my business elsewhere. But I’m horrified at the prospect of this becoming a thing people accept as normal. It’s just horribly destructive to culture and society and that’s really why I take such a hard line.

        1. ” If a business wants me to wear a mask, I might ”

          The horror. The horror.

        2. It’s just horribly destructive to culture and society and that’s really why I take such a hard line.

          Avoiding people is more destructive of culture and society. Wearing a mask at least permits us to interact.

          I keep remembering what I heard Jan 20, 2009: “This, too, shall pass.”

      2. Well, since it never makes a difference because face diapers are 100% ineffective against viruses, then take the face diapers off. While you’re at it, reach down with both hands between your legs and see if you can find your balls.

        1. You’re drinking the Koolaid DE! Masks are effective especially if more both people interacting wear them.

  7. …Continuing our saga from yesterday…

    Having successfully disposed of Sullum, Bailey gathered his statistics, wrote his article, and ran it through the official Reason Quality Assurance Checklist. After checking the box marked “Trump”, he submitted the article for publishing.

    Noticing that it was after 10 A.M., with his work accomplished for the day, Ron knocked back a double bourbon, and headed off to lunch, knowing he was now the exclusive COVID writer for Reason Magazine…

    1. Bailey is way too much of a pussy for bourbon

      1. That’s right. Sipped a Zima and went to get tested. Again.

        1. He’s now responsible for approximately 65 new cases in whereverthehell he lives

        2. They tested a Zika for covid and it was found positive for covid.

          1. Zima… should I be proud my autocorrect changed that?

      2. No one who likes Junipero can reasonably be called a pussy when it comes to liquor.

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    3. Bailey vs. Sullum?!?

      And Ronald won?

      Wow. I wonder if Bailey used the old Iron
      Sheik loaded boot trick to take down Backland Sullum.

      1. knowing he was now the exclusive COVID writer for Reason Magazine

        1. …the newly crowned champion strutted about in too small wrestling trunks flexing his muscles?

          I like where this is going.

        2. misspelled Redbook

          1. That was below the belt line.

            Nice.

    4. What did he do with the body?!? How did he cover his tracks?!? Who drugged their drinks with prog pills?!? I must know!

    5. What he didn’t know was that Sullum is hiding out with Steigerwald, and they’re plotting their comeback.

  8. the daily beatings will continue …

  9. Ron Bailey says Trump is wrong. Therefore Ron Bailey is a traitor and enemy. QED.

    1. Ron Bailey advocates forced vaccinations and mandatory testing to be allowed to go out in public.
      On top of that, he’s been wrong on just about everything he’s written for a solid 4 months straight now.
      We get it: you’re a resentful little sycophant who has to make everything about your personal neurosis.
      Now wear your muzzle and go try to burn down a federal building

      1. That’s what I’m saying man! He says Trump is wrong therefore he is most evil man in world! Because Trump always speaks ex cathedra!

        1. Said not one argument in this thread except yours.

        2. But that wasn’t what you were saying.

        3. That poor straw man never stood a chance against you.

    2. I like how the arguments against the data Bailey provides actually use logic and peak into the issues with data…. while you claim any disagreement with said data means you like trump.

      Kudos for your amazing argumentation skills.

  10. Wait, hold on just a moment: aren’t you one of the guys who was insisting months ago that the solution to “stopping the pandemic“ and “saving the economy” was to perform much more testing?

    Frankly, that always sounded rather dubious to me, and now you’re sort of obliquely admitting that without really directly admitting it.

    Don’t get me wrong, more testing leads to more accurate information, and more accurate and comprehensive information is always good to have. However, it doesn’t actually do anything whatsoever to stop the spread of a rapidly spreading virus or to save the economy.

    1. Bailey’s argument isn’t really about testing. He is saying that the increased testing is showing an increase in the rate of positives and therefore the increase in the overall number of positives is the result of the disease actually spreading and not just of great testing as the President claims. The problem with that claim is that it rests on the assumption that increased testing could never result in a higher positive rate unless the disease really is becoming more prevalent. And that is just not true. It is possible that the disease is becoming less prevalent but that testing just under estimated its prevalence in the first place.

      1. We used to never test asymptomatic people and now we do.

        1. Those asymptomatic people can spread the virus as much as the very symptomatic.

          1. So you dont understand why an increase of positive tests could occur when we start testing different populations?

            Okay then.

            1. People with symptoms have a lower percentage of true negatives in the population, so the false positive rate doesn’t hurt you as much. Testing asymptomatics will have a large true negative population so false positives will be more common. Then there is PPV, you guys should probably look that up. It is basically the Bayesian posterior probability that you have the disease given you tested positive. Quite interesting, it basically shows that with low prevalence a positive test is not worth much.

          2. No they can’t

            https://www.healthline.com/health-news/even-asymptomatic-people-can-spread-covid-19-within-a-room

            There is a lot of debate about whether they can spread it at all. But it is clear that if they can, they spread it at a much lower rate than those who have symptoms. If we could just get people who have symptoms to stay home and stay away from people, this pandemic would be over very quickly.

            1. John the virologist. Could you just for once in your life concede to actual experts? They don’t know everything, true, but that means definitively that you don’t know everything either.

              1. I am conceding to the experts. The link is to what the expert opinion is and it is exactly what I said.

                How about you stop thinking what makes an “expert” opinion is whatever your politics demands?

                1. So in what ways are you following CDC guidelines?

                  1. We are not talking about the CDC guidelines you fucking half wit. The issue is can asymptomatic people transmit the disease. And the answer by every “expert” is seldom or never and certainly nowhere near the rate of transmission from symptomatic people.

                    Those are the facts. I am sorry they conflict with the fucking cult beliefs you adhere too. But there is nothing I can do about that.

                    1. But you have an incredibly long history of cherry picking facts to suit whatever hare-brained political end you have in mind at the time.

                      The lovely thing is that you don’t need to dig around in spreadsheets to know what the experts at the CDC (the best experts in the world) are telling you to do to help.

                      If you refuse to do anything to help, then you better not bitch at any Democrats for when the country can’t open up. It’ll be your fault.

                    2. Coughing and sneezing are super spreading events, and by definition the asymptomatic are NOT coughing and sneezing. So they are certainly not spreading the Big Bug as much as the others.

                      John is correct.

                      Logic. How do it work?

                    3. The question was never about “what the experts at the CDC (the best experts in the world(HA!)) are telling you to do to help.”

                      It was about the infections caused by asymptomatic people and their prevalence.

                      You’re changing the subject because John has the better of it.

                    4. My subject is following experts instead of hysterical bigots with a cable TV show. You don’t need to look at any numbers, since the experts have already done that. Just do what they tell you to do and stop trying to play doctor.

                    5. You don’t need to look at any numbers, since the experts have already done that. Just do what they tell you to do

                      Never mind the facts! Just do as you’re told!!

                  2. Tony, which experts do I listen to when I want to eat eggs? The ones who say Eggs are bad or the ones that say Eggs are good?

                    When I ask the CDC do I listen to them when they say NYC is the glowing example of how to get rid of a virus or do I listen to their actual guidance which NYC didn’t actually follow for months?

                    1. Contending that all expertise is faulty is not an excuse for making up your own facts.

                    2. Contending that all expertise is faulty is…

                      …not something anyone here has done.

                      not an excuse for making up your own facts.

                      What is a good excuse for simply ignoring facts in favor of blindly following orders?

                    3. Alexa, what is appeal to authority?

                    4. So Tony… what you are saying is to listen only to the experts you and you alone agree with and ignore the other experts. Got it.

            2. Asymptomatic means two different things.
              Pre-symptomatics absolutely spread the virus. Asymptomatics may or may not – evidence still isn’t there because most places haven’t done the tracing, testing and if they have they haven’t published results.
              But there is no way of telling the difference between pre-symptomatics and asymptomatics.

              1. Remember when 3 weeks ago you said arizona would be a land of ravaged dead bodies by now?

          3. please fear every person on the planet at all times.

          4. I don’t think anyone is saying that. I’m sure that asymptomatic people can infect others under some conditions. But hardly as much as people coughing all over the place.

          5. By definition they can’t. They aren’t shedding enough virus because they don’t have enough on board to make them sick.

      2. Based on what John says technically neither view, Trump’s or Bailey’s is provable as true or false and I’m good with that . there was a scientific paper recently about how some things are unsolvable and metrics of this type are prime examples

    2. months ago? yesterday

    3. Not just testing but testing and tracing could have help the economy immensely. After the shut down when cases dropped we could have ramped up testing and then traced the sources. Instead business opened up without additional testing and tracing and the opportunity was lost. Cases are on the rise and it will likely take drastic measures again to slow down the spread. Question is will we be smarter the second time around.

      1. So the new metric for reopening is nobody gets sick ever?

        1. That is the fundamental metric for everything in the snowflake safety culture generation. And not only nobody gets sick or hurt or dead, but nobody gets worried about getting sick or hurt or dead. The risks of life are just too much.

          1. The metric should be: do whatever you damned well please, but businesses can refuse you admittance and service if you aren’t wearing a mask, and government offices WILL refuse you entry without a mask.

            Smart, considerate people will wear masks when and where it is appropriate. The others, who cares? They will get us to herd immunity. Their acquaintances will quickly learn to avoid them or simply stay far enough away to avoid their spittle.

            1. I have trigeminal neuralgia and can’t wear a mask what am I supposed to do.

              And before you talk to me about exceptions please understand my state has had mask requirements for quite some time and I’ve been turned away without a single person asking me if I have a medical exemption or caring when I tell them that I do.

              1. Would a face shield work for you?

                People have a right to run their businesses as they see fit. No forced cake baking.

                1. That’s funny when they have to apply to the government for permits, licenses, and permission to exist, and when they have to keep buying that right to exist through inspections and periodic license/permit renewals. They will do what they think their government overlords want to them to do, and there is no element of “private” or “free” involved.

                2. Yeah I didn’t expect a useful answer.

            2. “Smart, considerate people will wear masks when and where it is appropriate.”

              Lame statists will make this assertion and hope someone mistakes it for an argument.
              Fuck off, slaver

        2. “So the new metric for reopening is nobody gets sick ever?”

          Well, until Biden gets elected. But yeah, that.

      2. Nope, this is still complete bullshit.

        The best thing we could do to help the economy would be to get the government’s boot off its neck. And even if we did that right now, we might still be screwed for a while anyway, because jerks like you succeeding in scaring the living fuck out of all the dummies who still believe most of they hear from the media and can’t think for themselves.

      3. Knock yourself out. It has a .05% mortality rate for people under 50. It no longer meets the CDC’s own definition of an epidemic. A “case” doesn’t mean someone is sick or will ever get sick. If you got tested for rhinoviruses or any other common virus you’d likely test positive for those too, but until or unless you became symptomatic you wouldn’t be considered a “case” of the common cold. For people under 50 KungFlu is 36 times less fatal than the flu (.05% vs. 1.8% mortality), but keep wetting yourself and acting like it’s the Andromeda Strain.

      4. Without tracking movement, tracing amounts to “tell us where you were and give us the names of people you were in contact with”. And if people who got tested were tracked on their phones (like Korea) most Americans would not have gotten tested.

        Considering how many Latinos are dying and getting infected, “trace and then quarantine” (a logistical nightmare for a country this size where 50 states are semi autonomous) approach might have zapped the economy further. How many of them work in retail, delivery, construction, etc?

  11. If we had a competent left-libertarian government, here’s how we’d fight the pandemic:

    (1) Open the borders. (This is the correct thing to do in any situation.)
    (2) Tell people not to leave their homes.
    (3) Encourage enormous public gatherings — as long as they’re for favored causes like #BlackTransLivesMatter.

    1. Nope, way too obvious. The “as long as” almost sounds like actual sarcasm. You let the mask slip.

      C-

    2. On that note: have you noticed that the same “open borders uber alles” crowd that acts like it’s the end of the world when America imposes travel restrictions doesn’t make a peep when other countries impose travel restrictions on Americans? Weird.

  12. If you test a larger cross section of the population, it is entirely possible that the number of positives per 1000 could go up even though the true number of cases, whatever that is, is not. As you test more people, you are more likely to test the hot spots of the outbreak.

    The assumption behind Bailey’s claim is that higher testing resulting in a higher positive per thousand rate must mean the epidemic is expanding. It might mean that but it doesn’t have to mean that. It is just as possible that the initial testing under estimated the actual infection rate. If that is the case, then the more you test, the higher rate you will find as the increased number of tests better reflects reality.

    1. We should also ignore the issues with quite incorrect counts from several testing locations and just assume that they are aberrations.

      Experts are not trusted. At all. And they will never realize that it is solely their fault that they are not.

      1. And also ignore the number of false positives. I seriously doubt very many people who test positive are just tested once. Let’s say you do test positive. You are going to want to be tested again as soon as possible to confirm that it is a real positive. Then, you are going to want to be tested at least once in the next two weeks so that you know that the virus has cleared your system as soon as it does. So, the number of positive tests, which is all these numbers are, is certainly significantly higher than the number of actual positive people.

        Moreover, as the tests have become easier to obtain, people who have tested positive are now much more likely to get tested again to confirm and to check to see when the virus has cleared their body. So, the number of multiple positives resulting from a single infection has gone up and further explains the rise in number of positive results per 1000 tests.

        1. Have you heard of the approved batch testing to speed up the processing. I haven’t looked into the process yet but it sounds like one heck of a way to make far more positives than there actually are.

          1. Like this?

            https://www.courant.com/coronavirus/hc-news-coronavirus-false-positive-tests-20200720-qlxbzl44wjflfmxtgwykuv6iey-story.html

            Went to go see how accurate batch testing was to find that almost a third of their positive results were wrong?

    2. Interesting that Mr. Bailey did not ask if those fine folks at STAT attempted to disentangle, in a statistical sense, what we are seeing. Perhaps they have, and Bailey does not want to talk about that. I wonder why.

      – No doubt, the reopening of the economy has lead to more professional and social interactions, and therefore we should expect to see more cases simply from more interaction.
      – No doubt, the mass demonstrations of thousands and thousands of people in close quarters yelling their asses off across the country has contributed to us seeing more cases.
      – No doubt, a significantly higher level of testing will find more asymptomatic KungFlu sufferers, and this also contributes to what we are seeing as well.

      All three of these things can be simultaneously true, and do not conflict with each other. You’d think that this is just common sense, but who knows with Reason.

      You know what is not spreading KungFlu? Going to synagogue, or to church. Yet, religious practice has been suppressed by the states, and for whatever reason, the Courts seem Ok with that. As if we congregants are some kind of children who don’t know better to protect ourselves. Bailey seems Ok with suspending the free exercise of religion, and so does Reason. For a publication dedicated to libertarian ideals, the rule of law, and our civil liberties, this is the cruelest irony of all.

  13. I wonder why so many people are getting this disease when we have such strict social distancing measures in place.

    You don’t think it could be because they’re bunching up and exerting themselves at these peaceful protests, do you? I mean, we were told that its family gatherings of more than 6 people that were dangerous, not peaceful gatherings of a thousand.

    1. We can’t have a wedding or a funeral with more than 10 people. BLM can stage weeks of mass protests and rioting. This is what Bailey calls “science based policy”.

      1. Do you often let black protesters dictate whether you behave like an adult or not?

        1. So you are saying they are not adults? That sounds pretty racist to me. I don’t agree with them but I wouldn’t say they are children. Also, most of the protesters are white anyway.

          1. Most of them are children, and they are behaving as we expect children to behave: a little too passionately. But I don’t let the reckless behavior of children dictate my actions like you. I prefer to keep a grown-up standard in my life regardless of whether someone else I’ve never met is being a hypocrite somewhere.

            1. I don’t know any children who burn down police stations, call black cops niggers or shoot people who happen to drive by. Last I checked the death count is up over 30.

              1. So you didn’t go to college?

              2. I’ll see your 30 deaths and raise you 130,000. Why is a brutal federal response OK for the former, but being asked to wear a mask for the latter is evil government tyranny?

                1. I wasn’t aware that a near full lockdown of our economy was a misinterpreted request for mask wearing., Thank god there are no fines or threats of jail to go along with it.

                  1. Since libertarians are squarely on the side of unidentified federal thugs cracking down on local threats, I don’t see what your problem is.

                    1. As opposed to progressives firmly on the side of rape, murder, and arson, I don’t understand why you care if someone dies from the virus or dies from one of your “mostly peaceful” protests. Or is it that you’re upset that you don’t get to do it personally?

                    2. So federal buildings arent federal property?

                      Tony, can you let me k ow what dictionary you’re using?

                  2. Tony is ok with increased police interactions with minorities for stupid mask laws because Tony is a racist fuck.

                2. “I’ll see your 30 deaths and raise you 130,000.”

                  That’s a string troll.

                  1. Unfortunately, we can’t call the Floor over, and have the troll 86d from the room.

        2. What a racist comment. Plus, John’s angle is on the attitudes and statements of public officials……not on the conduct of John’s family.

          1. “Some leftist was a hypocrite somewhere, and that gives me permission to run around hysterically and stick poo in my ears.”

            -The Trumpist credo

            1. Your entire shtick is “But Trump.”

    2. If you want to document systemic racism I suggest you start with considering Black protestors as expendable in the war against Covid.

  14. So the testing quality and protocols in May were exactly the same as the testing quality and protocols in July?

    Garbage in; garbage out.

    Same applies to the article and its conclusions.

    1. There are a million possible reasons why the positive rate could be increasing that have nothing to do with the actual rate increasing. Bailey just dismisses it.

      1. At least brandy jumped in to dismiss anyone who is skeptical as being a trump supporter.

        1. Skepticism is problematic.

          True believers is all Brandy wants.

  15. You guys can try as you will, but I don’t understand how you’re going to spin hundreds of thousands of deaths into a positive campagin story for Trump. “It’s only in the low hundreds of thousands!” Just not sure what you think you’re getting from downplaying the virus.

    1. Propose what courses of action would have lowered deaths to date, and by how much these actions would have lowered deaths. Show your work, with citations and math.

      1. I, too, would love to see Tony provide an answer for this specific question, instead of dodging it with obfuscation.

        1. Stricter lockdowns for longer. There’s not a single person with basic sensory functions who thinks we opened up just at the right time.

          And any measures that stretch this thing on longer than it needed to be will be the fault of people who chucked the evidence in the trash and argued in favor of skepticism of precautionary measures and for reopening faster.

          Stop screwing the pooch and then blaming the nearest liberal for when you find a dog on your dick.

          1. There’s not a single person with basic sensory functions who thinks we opened up just at the right time.

            Correct. We opened too late and millions lost jobs and tens of thousands had their medical procedures/treatments postponed and are now doomed.

            But you don’t give a damn about the cancer patients who missed their treatments. F you.

          2. the problem with lock downs is that no one anywhere knows how long a lock down needs to be and there is no way to know until the lockdowns have ended. Yes some people did claim the lockdowns may be ending to early but they were wrong since they predicted 3000 deaths a day, we are no where near that number and you will never have a null number of deaths until the second coming.

          3. Forever confinement to homes would have reduced the spread to -0- fairly quickly. It would also have brought an end to life as we know it. “Stricter lockdowns for longer” is pablum; how strict, how much longer, and what are the counterbalancing negative results? These are complex questions, but OrangeManBad is simple. You’re simple.

          4. So much for flatten the curve. Funny how that silently morphed into it will magically go away.

          5. “Stricter lockdowns for longer.”

            Fuck off and die, slaver.

      2. Copy/pasting the plan of literally any country that’s not Brazil or Sweden and we’d have better outcomes. We fucked up the response because Trump is an idiot. That’s the fact of the matter and you’ll have to live with your undying support. In your defense, how could you tell. He seems so solemn, dignified, and intelligent. It’s the flag humping that really sells it.

        1. I choose…
          Belgium, no wait, UK, no wait, Spain, no wait, Italy…

          Oh wait. they were worse despite the lockdowns than the us in deaths per capita.

          https://www.statista.com/statistics/1104709/coronavirus-deaths-worldwide-per-million-inhabitants/

        2. Directly from the John’s Hopkins page. You know, actual data. Literally the countries with a higher case mortality rate than the US (which is all we can really use to compare right now, since nobody knows the “true” mortality rate, and you have to use rates to account for population differences, not actual death counts):

          Yemen, Belgium, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Hungary, Netherlands, Mexico, Spain, Chad, Canada, Sweden, Ecuador, Ireland, Barbados, Sudan, Liberia, Bahamas, Niger, San Marino, Andorra, Switzerland, Slovenia, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Syria, China, Romania, Iran, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Greece, Mali, Indonesia, North Macedonia, Algeria, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Iraq, Lithuania, Tanzania, Poland, Antigua and Barbuda, Sierra Leone, Angola, Brazil, Kyrgyzstan, Guatemala, Japan, Zambia

          It’s ALL right here: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality

          1. And you selected case mortality rate (still bad for the US) and are simply ignoring total body count because you are good with the math and think too much testing is fudging up the numbers. I see.

            1. What other stat makes sense to use here? Total body count is obviously going to be higher in countries with higher populations. Who is arguing that’s not true? But because of this, you have to adjust for population when making country to country comparisons. To use total body count as your data to back up the premise that the US response to Covid is the has been horrific is like arguing that white people are the most horrific victims of police shootings because the body count of whites killed by cops is much higher than any other demographic. You don’t believe this. I know you don’t believe this. Nobody would argue that, and almost everybody knows it’s the rates that matter when looking at these things.

              1. I can help you out.

                Tony is functionally retarded and doesnt understand fancy things like normalized statistics.

            2. I see you woke up and decided to try and out stupid shriek and Molly today.

              That’s a bold choice, but I support your trying to do so.

    2. I think when you consider that the majority of the deaths are in states where they called Trump a racist for shutting down travel from Covid heavy areas AND that these places have Democrats who insisted on Covid positive patients being shipped to the places housing the most vulnerable among the populous, I don’t know how you can do anything but point at the incompetent Democratic Governors and their Never-Trumper associates.

      Oh, and you might note that the president has limited constitutional powers which Trump is following in terms of Covid policy. He does not have the power to enforce nation-wide mask mandates or the like. Or has this ceased to be a Libertarian magazine?

      1. Tony’s not a libertarian. He’s an authoritarian fuck who would have no problem with Trump overstepping his constitutional bounds so he could screech about it. If trump had a D after his name he wouldn’t even do that last bit.

    3. More honestly than the way that you spin the fact that NY/NJ/CT/MA, those deeply blue states, account for an absurdly disproportionate share of those deaths. NYC alone is the worst location on the planet assuming that any data out of China is real.

    4. When people are still behaving as if they are likely to die if exposed to the virus when they really have about a 1:10,000 chance of dying, I think a little downplaying is appropriate.
      How about we take a look at how much the media and government officials are downplaying the enormous downsides of lockdowns and restrictions on businesses. There are two sides to the equation. The virus isn’t the only bad thing in the world that can happen to people.

  16. Still doesn’t mean much.

    1. They used to test only those who showed symptoms. Now they test people without symptoms. Ergo, they are picking up a lot of people with cases too mild to matter.

    2. They used to test the same people every day, and count every separate test. That is patently ridiculous.

    1. 1. They used to test only those who showed symptoms. Now they test people without symptoms. Ergo, they are picking up a lot of people with cases too mild to matter.

      This. Not that Trump isn’t wrong on Bailey’s issue — he almost certainly is. But it doesn’t matter (except Orange Man Bad of course).

      What matters is the dead people. And the very sick who end up in hospital beds and cost six figures to treat.

      What if we tested 7.7 billion simultaneously tomorrow, and 5 billion turned up positive?

      Far from panicking, we would all breathe a huge sigh of relief. We would know the previous fatality rate estimates were garbage.

      1. More importantly we would know that we are very near herd immunity.

        1. More importantly we would know that we are very near herd immunity.

          No, we wouldn’t. Finding that the % of the population that is infected is much larger than was thought previously would only tell us that infection by the virus is not as dangerous, on average, as was thought. At this point there’s no solid evidence that herd immunity is even possible with this virus, save for an effective mass-administered vaccine.

          1. There may be no solid evidence. But it seems rather unlikely that this virus would be so different from all of the other similar viruses that we are quite familiar with.
            There is also no evidence that an effective vaccine is possible or likely.

          2. No evidence except for the fact that it burns itself out in about 6 weeks.

            Do you REALLY think NYC was able to drag their curve out to 4+ months? That’s ridiculous.

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  18. Interesting that Wisconsin, which has the 2d fewest covid restrictions in the nation, also is one of the few states with declining numbers of cases per 1,000 tested. What’s becoming clearer, in my view, is that the lockdowns simply delayed and prolonged suffering, and in many ways made that suffering worst by introducing unnecessary economic hardships into the mix. The CDC and Fauci are a joke, as are most governors and their advisors. This is truly a confederacy of dunces.

    1. The medical experts are dunces. The reality TV guy with the orange makeup is the real professional.

      1. Which medical experts? Only the ones that agree with your blind assertions?

      2. Fauci has been wrong at every turn and admitted lying to us his only solution was the ultimate solution that he wanted to make those with aids do and was denied by the courts. Now he has the ear of the nation and that power hungry ass wants to lock down the whole nation under his ruling. The buracracy made him more powerful than the president and he is just boiling to use that power and he is mader than hell that we stopped listening to that little shit

        1. Trump is the biggest victim.

          1. Interestingly, only two posts in this sub-thread have anything to do with Trump, and they’re both yours. Have you had this man-crush on him for long, or is it a recent development?

            1. Trump must’ve grabbed Tony by the pussy

      3. They could all be dunces. Of course the Orange Man WAS listening to the medical experts in January and February…

      4. Trump is a ridiculous clown. That doesn’t mean the people he picks on are right.

    2. It’s been evident from the start that the lockdowns only delayed and prolonged suffering… since that was what it said on the tin in the first place. That is the *definition* of flattening the curve… to delay some of the cases, hospitalizations, and deaths without changing the overall number of any of them. The delay of the deaths and hospitalizations was the *only* goal. Saving lives was never a part of it (other than those that may be lost if the hospitals became overrun and people died for want of healthcare), because that’s an impossible goal without herd immunity.

      The petty tyrants got a taste of dictatorial power and they LIKED it. Then the goalposts were moved to “saving lives,” which is not possible, unless you consider a life saved if you added a couple of months before the person died of COVID anyway. So now we have mask mandates to “slow the spread,” which (1) they don’t, and (2) is not a desirable goal if the hospitals in the area are not running out of surge capacity. Slowing the spread only slows the end of this thing and prolongs the suffering.

      The best strategy would be to advise the most vulnerable to stay at home and avoid contact as much as possible, and to use N95s and face shields or goggles when going out, if their respiratory capacity is up to the challenge. This would be optional… they have the option of taking chances if they wish.

      The rest of us should have been permitted to go out, socialize, hang out, work, and do everything else, letting the disease run its course. Those who were more afraid could self isolate, and the rest would go out there and take the hit for those who would not survive it, getting to a state of herd immunity more rapidly, which would be the only thing that would allow the vulnerable to be relatively safe.

      The way we did it, sequestering the younger, working age individuals who were (1) driving the economy and (2) not likely to die from the disease alongside the older ones, we accomplished nothing. We bent down the death rate by exactly the same amount that we bent down the herd immunity acquisition rate. We protected no one, and just kicked the can down the road.

      Now that we’re somewhat reopened, we’ve got this mask fantasy giving people a false sense of security. People who have bought into the idea that masks protect others may go out to places now even though they are vulnerable, thinking it’s safe now that everyone has a mask.

      1. A+ post. Agree with it all.

        In WA, we don’t WANT to flatten our curve. We want this to be over before flu season. Yet we stay locked up and masked “or else this lasts longer”, in some of the most idiotic “logic” I’ve ever heard.

  19. Ron: “President Donald Trump has been trying to peddle his own version of fake reality, if not fake news, by repeatedly claiming that the recent rise in COVID-19 cases is only due to more testing.

    Also Ron: “However, the folks over at STAT have crunched the numbers and show that the spread of the virus, far more than testing, explains the soaring increase in the number of cases in a majority of the states.”

    Trump and his spokespeople have mentioned other factors for the rising numbers. So far, there’s been no single cause blamed by them.

  20. you don’t know if someone has it without testing, its the only way to prove if you have it so yes increased testing is why. BTW even with symptoms you have to test to prove it is covid.

  21. Increased testing cannot account for increased hospitalizations, which are mainly driven by need for oxygen support .

    Since the disease has a low mortality rate, the only real issue is preventing hospitals from getting overrun . Hospitals will get overrun if admissions from COVID continue to outnumber discharges of COVID patients . To prevent overrun, hospitals need to reach a steady state where number admitted with COVID = number discharged . THis can be achieved by decreasing admission through use of social distancing and isolating vulnerable populations, and by increasing discharges which is mainly a function of how many are already admitted with Covid ( i.e by increasing hospital COVID capacity ) .

    I think Texas where I live is close to reaching that steady state with a combination of mask mandates, closure of bars and similar high risk businesses, and overall voluntary distancing by the public. I get that feeling from looking at my local hospital census via the EMR . At that hospital, COVID ICU bed counts are still rising, but floor bed counts appear to be stable or even declining. Unfortunately my county stopped reporting number of patients hospitalized with COVID about 1 month ago. WHich is a shame because that is the only number that truly matters. How many got tested and how many positives there were is a lot less relevant to what we need to do.

    1. Finally someone who makes sense! Thank you!

  22. Being a retired computer software designer and with a couple degrees in mathematics, this article and some of the comments make my head hurt. Counting is hard but telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth of which you are aware is easy if one is ethical.

  23. Shall I note that TX has gone from counting only Positive test kits to 17 versions of “Presumed positive” — including the family dog… yes the dog.

    The manipulation of the data by medical “Professionals” boggles the mind.

  24. Cases per 1,000 tests are rising in the majority of states.

    a couple of questions:

    is that NUMBER OF TESTS resulting in positives?

    Or is that numbers of NEW PEOPLE who are testing positive?

    HUGE difference. Some are tested daily, others every three ,and some weekly. Does this tally track those repeats and list them as one INDIVIDUAL or do they just chalk up one more notch for each positive test?

    SECOND, are POSITIVE TESTS for ANTIBODIES (people who have had it, have recovered, and are now forever imune AND cannot spread it) still being added to the numbers of positive virus tests?

    And THIRD is there any attempt at listing presence and/or dergee of SYMPTOMS?

    There are now FOUR categories of decptions:

    LIES,
    DAMNED LIES,
    STATISTICS, and
    COVID STATISTICS

  25. In just seven states—Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin—

    Hmm, strangely that isn’t what this data set shows for Wisconsin.

    Now you can say that reinforces your thesis that more tests aren’t the cause but a higher positive rate. But the fact that you and they claimed something that is incorrect certainly doesn’t bode well for the confidence in the rest of the analysis.

    1. Unreason is lying to save the Democrat Party.

  26. unreason now lies daily in at least one article.

    kungflu:
    Death rates under 1%
    Infection rates under 10%
    Hospitalization rates under 20%
    Symptomatic infected cases less than 10%

    See JHU Sick Map.

    1. You know Lefty plans are not working with propaganda and trying to nuke the US economy. Massive layoffs at Lefty propaganda outlets and Americans still engaging in business.

  27. Stat “crunched the numbers” to show that *specific states* were on the rise in true cases, not that true cases were at a record high in the aggregate, which is the graph presented. *sigh*

    Deaths per week in the U.S. have declined more than 3x. It’s entirely plausible that that the curve has already been flattened and that true new cases have fallen below their April peak. I’ve heard anecdotally about a younger demographic of infection to partially explain this drop, but seen no concrete stats on this shifting distribution, nor does it seem plausible enough to explain a 3x drop.

    Editor-in-chief, please keep an eye on the goalpost-shifting Mr. Bailey. He’s in no position to be calling foul on “alternative facts”, even on easy targets such as Trump.

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  29. A greater percentage of positive tests does not imply that the increase is from disease spreading. There are at least two variables in play… the positive test rate and the selection criteria of whom gets tested.

    The ability of people to self-select for testing is relatively new. If people knew they had done something risky, like spending hours every night at a BLM protest, they may want to go get a test and find out if they did indeed get a positive result. They have that option now, without having to get permission first.

    It used to be, not long ago at all, that testing was done however some government bureaucrat wanted to do it, which (if you were trying to find positives) would be less effective than letting people who knew they were at risk select themselves for testing. Different bureaucrats in different areas had varying criteria for whom they would allow to have a test, and that alone makes the positive rate incomparable from one testing jurisdiction to the next.

    Unless these tests (and I mean all of them) were done in a “throw the darts at the dartboard” random manner, picking people out of the public for testing purely at random, you _cannot_ conclude that there is an increase of the disease on the basis of the ratio of positive tests to all tests, no matter what the folks at STAT say, whatever the hell that is. Without keeping the test selection criteria constant over time, there is no way to know how much of a result is from a change in actual cases and how much is from a changing sample set.

    We _are_ doing far more testing than ever before, and the number that is being reported as the “you should panic!!1!!1!” trigger this time, as reflected by the chart you showed, is the raw number of positive cases. This number is most definitely strongly related to greater testing, which you noted yourself, right after you accused Trump of creating fake news and attempting to lie to the public.

    (Do you think the mainstream media is going to give you brownie points for dissing Trump or something? They’re not. Lemme clear that right up for ya.)

    Not all of that greater testing is reliable, like the 300 some odd test sites in Florida that reported a 100% positive rate. Do other sites in FL and other states that use the same test have a false positive rate that is more subtle, leaving it to go undetected?

    The petty tyrants across the country don’t want this to end. They want to keep their dictatorial powers, and if they can do that while blaming the continued pandemic on Trump or people who realize it’s all infection control theater, they’ll do it. We know the death numbers are exaggerated beyond all rationality, and it would not surprise me if that was the major factor behind the reported surge in deaths. I don’t know whether that is or is not the case, but I do know that I trust the media, Fauci, and the CDC about as much as I do the ChiComs.

    1. Does anyone know where to find a graph of new cases relative to testing – correcting for repeat testing of course 🙂 I would also like to see it broken down by age demographics or some other risk based criteria – seems like it would be a much better predictive tool for likely hospitalizations that way. It feels like this information is only being used for political purposes now, so it intentionally leaves out anything that doesn’t serve whichever narrative one is supporting.

      1. Nobody has that data.

        The best data you might look at is the daily confirmed deaths, which have largely flattened out over the past month.

        https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/daily-covid-deaths-3-day-average

        It’s not clear why you would care anyway. As long as the numbers stay below what the healthcare system can handle, there is nothing to be done.

  30. More lies and distortions from your trusted comrades at reason.

  31. A new case does not require a test. Interesting! Do they just guess?

  32. But the number of cases per thousand, which is independent of the number of tests, has skyrocketed.

    That’s reported positive tests divided by reported tests; it tells you little about the disease prevalence or spread in the population. Negative tests often don’t get reported, positive tests for the same person get reported multiple times, etc.

    The only statistic that gives you some information at this point is COVID deaths per day per million. That’s been pretty flat for a month. Even that overcounts deaths in the US and undercounts them elsewhere.

  33. These are anecdotal evidence (some already mentioned in this thread) but according to some twitter allegations –

    *People who leave testing sites after waiting hours to be tested get notices that they tested positive.

    *A single person accounts for multiple positive cases.

    *Labs reporting 100% positivity rate.

    *Anyone who has a non covid coronavirus is counted as covid positive.

    *CDC is lumping backlogged earlier testing results to current counts.

    Of course as far spreading the epidemic goes, a huge assist goes to BLM.

  34. That being said, the president is not wrong…

    MAGA.

  35. You do not know if someone has it without testing, its the only way to prove if you have it so yes increased testing is why. BTW even with symptoms you have to test to prove it is covid.
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  36. I posted over 12 hours ago, but my comment is awaiting moderation?
    I am sure it is because I linked three sites,
    lew rockwell, a well known site.
    the gateway pundit another well known site
    also libertariannews, an aggregator site that USED TO INCLUDE REASON, but is now highly critical of Reason.
    Reason allows spam, liberal trolls, name calling and all kind of other BS, but not links to other conservative and libertarian sites?
    Is this moderation, or censorship? I can get censorship at the HuffPo, Vox, Business Insider, GQ, Esquire, National Review, USA Today, Bloomberg, and The Independent! Why would I need Reason?

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