Coronavirus

Trump and Biden Are Both Misleading Us About COVID-19

The president claims success based on a completely implausible worst-case scenario, while his opponent projects more than 3,700 deaths a day.

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During last night's presidential debate, President Donald Trump implied that his response to the COVID-19 pandemic saved 2 million or so lives. "As you know, 2.2 million people, modeled out, were expected to die," he said. "We closed up the greatest economy in the world in order to fight this horrible disease." Trump also mentioned "what we've done in terms of goggles and masks and gowns and everything else, and in particular ventilators." Thanks to these policies, he said, "we're rounding the corner," and "it's going away."

The recent rise in newly identified COVID-19 cases—which exceeded 74,000 nationwide yesterday, according to Worldometer's count—suggests the virus is not in fact "going away." And given the Trump administration's disastrous handling of the virus tests that were crucial to curtailing the epidemic in its early stages, the notion that the president deserves any credit for reducing COVID-19's impact—let alone for saving "millions" of lives, as Republicans claim—is debatable, to say the least. So is the idea that he was responsible for the lockdowns that all but a few states imposed last spring. Even if you think those lockdowns had an important impact on COVID-19 mortality, the decision to impose them was made by governors, not by Trump.

Still, there is a big difference between the current tally of 223,000 deaths and the 2.2 million that Trump says were "expected." Doesn't that contrast suggest he did something right? Only if you think that worst-case scenario was at all plausible to begin with, which it wasn't.

That projection, which Trump embraced at the end of March, was based on a counterfactual "no intervention" scenario that assumed Americans would carry on as usual in the face of the epidemic. That was demonstrably not true, since individuals and businesses were already responding to the threat posed by the virus through voluntary precautions such as limiting travel, avoiding crowds, reducing social interaction, working at home, and canceling events. The projection also assumed an infection fatality rate higher than the current "best estimate" from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Both of those assumptions were clearly dubious at the time. But projecting millions of COVID-19 deaths in the United States—which would make the disease as lethal as the Spanish flu of 1918, even after taking population growth into account—had two advantages. It scared Americans into accepting sweeping restrictions on social and economic activity with no precedent in U.S. history, and it allowed politicians like Trump to take credit for the difference between reality and the fantasy that was "modeled out."

Democratic nominee Joe Biden, even while presenting himself as a sober, scientifically informed alternative to a feckless, irrationally optimistic president, engaged in similar scare tactics last night. "The expectation is we'll have another 200,000 Americans dead between now and the end of the year," he said. "If we just wore these masks, the president's own advisers have told him, we can save 100,000 lives."

The current U.S. death toll, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, is about 223,000. Hence Biden, who made a similar claim during his first debate with Trump, is predicting that the number will nearly double by January 1. Is that plausible?

While the seven-day average of newly confirmed cases in the United States has been rising since mid-September, daily deaths so far have risen only slightly. Given the lag between laboratory confirmation and death, we can expect to see a bigger increase in fatalities during the next few weeks. But judging from the experience with this summer's COVID-19 spike, the increase in deaths will not be nearly as large as the increase in cases.

Between June 1 and late July, according to Worldometer's numbers, the seven-day average of daily new cases more than tripled. That was followed by a doubling in the seven-day average of daily deaths between early July and early August, after which the average dropped by 37 percent as of September 8.

The CDC's "ensemble forecast," based on projections from "45 modeling groups," puts the death toll at 235,000 to 247,000 by November 14. Assuming that estimate is in the right ballpark, Biden is projecting at least another 176,000 deaths over six weeks, or more than 3,700 a day, more than four and half times the current seven-day average and two-thirds higher than the peak in April.

That prediction is even less believable than the wildly wrong projection that The New York Times embraced in May, which said daily deaths would exceed 3,000 by June 1. The actual number was about 700.

Biden left himself some wiggle room by suggesting that mask wearing could cut the number of additional deaths by the end of the year in half. But while the weight of the evidence indicates that wearing a mask is a sensible precaution, trying to quantify the impact of that practice is an even more dubious exercise than trying to project COVID-19 deaths. It is not even clear what threshold of mask wearing Biden has in mind, or how he would know whether it had been reached.

Given Trump's record of self-contradiction, equivocation, bizarre medical suggestions, and excessive optimism, I would not trust anything he says about COVID-19. But I do not trust Biden either, since he seems equally willing to treat science as a tool to score political points and promote policies he already supports.

NEXT: Biden and Trump Offer Competing Tax Proposals, but Both Ignore Economic Reality

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  2. “The president claims success based on a completely implausible worst-case scenario.”

    No, no, no.

    You do not get to play this game.

    Fuck that.

    If it was plausible enough for a nationwide shutdown, it is plausible now.

    Trump deserves the credit.

    1. Correction, it was plausible enough for a worldwide shutdown.

      1. The most infuriating part of the entire debacle is that the media cooked up doomsday by the sheer force of collective propaganda and irrational fear mongering, blamed Trump for ushering in the apocalypse, and then when it all turned out to be bullshit, started blaming Trump for destroying the economy and taking them seriously in the first place (all the while still blaming him for not having done enough).

        Heads on pikes would not be cruel enough for these fucking “maggots,” if I may be so bold as to quote Mr. Olbermann. It really would not. These people are despicable.

        1. I get sick of Sullum. The President is correct. The cure is worse than the disease! Sullum says, “masks are a sensible precaution..” Then masks and plexiglass dividers are even better for school kids who have near zero chance of being harmed by Covid. Right?

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      2. It wasn’t even the worst case being pushed.

        Lying leftist journalists including a number of writers here push a narrative of millions of deaths to demand economic suicide. Then whine Trump is lying when he uses their benchmarks as a measure of success. Fuck them.

    2. Moreover;

      But while the weight of the evidence indicates that wearing a mask is a sensible precaution

      Fuck you, Sullum for conflating the *fear* of the virus going away and the *virus* going away by using the rising number of cases and then turning around and saying widespread use of masks is effective at preventing the spread.

      Just because you shit all over both sides of the sandwich doesn’t mean we have to eat it.

      1. The weight of evidence does not support this as a sensible precaution the evidence is completely inconclusive. The only thing that supports it is surface level common sense and as a placebo device that gives religious/superstitious people some sense of control over something they really don’t have any control over.

        1. Exactly this.

        2. I suspect that masks are actually counterproductive, by giving people a false sense of security.

          1. I’m not entirely clear on how you’d disentangle that from the plain old lies that have been propagated about their use.

            If I tell you that masks are effective at preventing radiation poisoning and you waltz into a hot zone and develop radiation poisoning, did the false sense of security kill you? If I hand you a mask and then say that everywhere you go is hot enough to kill you, keep your mask on, and you subsequently only take your mask off when eating at home with your family, did your false sense of security kill you?

        3. It may give them a false sense of control and therefore they lessen physical distancing with others. Mask mandates have been in our county since March and yet the hospitals are nearing capacity with Covid patients.

          1. “the hospitals are nearing capacity with Covid patients.”

            No, they’re not.

            1. Good catch. Not the whole hospital, just the area reserved for Covid.

              —————————————————–
              Dr. Dale Patterson, vice president of medical affairs at Memorial, told the Indianapolis Star this week, “We have more COVID positive patients than we have had here at any time. We’re feeling very stretched right now with our ability to do more. If the number of patients goes up, it’s going to be very difficult to find enough room for everybody.”

          2. It may give them a false sense of control and therefore they lessen physical distancing with others.

            If you look at and actually think about the CDC’s data, the mask and social distancing mandates only work within a narrow scope. Their most recent study showed that 71% of the positive cases “Always” wore a mask and 14% “About half/Mostly” wore a mask. Across multiple categories, mask wearers were the highest proportion.

            It’s what I and others have said before, if you work in the kind of places where you scrub in for procedures, wearing a mask for the few hours that you’re in the same room with someone you know to have COVID offers some protection. If you go home or to a bar or a restaurant and and take the mask off to eat, The other 20-24 hrs. of the day that you wore a mask are meaningless. Masks and social distancing mandates only make sense if you assume everyone’s relationship, everywhere is the same as the relationship they have with their postman.

    3. I love reason is now pretending that this magazine didn’t mostly completely freak out and trust the experts from the begining.

      1. I love reason is now pretending that this magazine didn’t mostly forego all reasoning and mostly completely freak out and trust the experts from the begining.

        Here we have Sullum saying that, with the unprecedented numbers of people wearing masks and social distancing, we can tell how effective they are because the cases are rising again.

        *drink*

    4. This.

      The that horrible model was barometer they used to shut down the economy, the strongest the world had ever seen, then it’s just fine to use it as the barometer for the difference between the models and reality, and fine to give credit for that difference.

      They want it both ways. To deny credit to Trump because the models are garbage, yet to give credit to governors because their shutdowns “saved lives.”

      1. I cannot believe this shit Is being typed right now.

        Dude. If we didn’t see millions of deaths that were predicted if we did nothing, then, um, DOING SOMETHING WORKED.

        That “something” was not Trump preening around like a goddamn orange retard peacock from hell or whatever it was he was doing at the time.

        1. Yada yada anti-tiger rock, don’t see any tigers yada yada…

          Alternative hypothesis: the virus was nowhere near as dangerous as the broken models suggested, and all the lockdowns accomplished nothing, or close to it.

          1. So Trump saved millions of lives from a non-deadly virus.

            1. “So Trump saved millions of lives from a non-deadly virus.”

              Possibly, but his refers to your 1:18AM post, pointing out that it is nothing but bullshit, shitstain.

            2. No, I think Trump is opportunistically lying. But he’s lying using the numbers that were created by people like Dr. Neil Ferguson at Imperial College and breathlessly promoted by the MSM. Any media outlet that pushed the 2.2 million figure as accurate has no business calling him out until they first admit that they contributed to an irrational hysteria by promoting nonsense numbers from broken models, and that our trust in epidemiological modeling needs reevaluation.

              1. Irrational hysteria or not, that response could by the difference between the outcome (still, a terrible outcome) and the worst-case scenario. That’s what would happen if some sort of actual plan were put into effect. You are the ones advocating for the millions of deaths. You are the ones advocating doing nothing.

                1. ‘that response could by the difference between the outcome (still, a terrible outcome) ‘
                  Maybe. Depends if we could get a realistic count, and from the fact that the next level of fear mongering is to call the flu season the FLU-DEMIC I am not encouraged that anyone knows how to respond in a realistic fashion…

    5. I don’t remember Sullum ever thinking it was plausible, so he’s not playing games. Plenty of Democrats might be.

    6. Exactly what I thought! I found that assertion perfect! Either Trump saved millions of lives OR we closed down our economy over a fraudulent model.

      Own it, hacks.

    7. “Trump deserves the credit.”

      He is getting all the credit he deserves for his covid response.

      Whatever it is you’re bitching about, it happened on his watch.

      1. “…Either Trump saved millions of lives OR we closed down our economy over a fraudulent model…”

        Pick one, shitstain.

        1. Trump promoted conspiracy theories, stole PPE from states, eschewed wearing a mask, and held large gatherings where people got infected. History will not remember him kindly.

    8. Jacob is delusional progressive shill.

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    10. What credit?

      The mortality rate per capita in Canada is 26.23 per 100k. In the US, it is 67.14 per 100k.

      That means that Trumpy Wumpy is responsible for approximately 131,000 excess deaths in the US relative to Canada.

      More than twice as many people as who died in the Vietnam war.

      South Korea has had 0.85 per 100k, two *orders of magnitude* less than the US. We’re talking a few thousand deaths, rather than a few hundred thousand deaths.

      And had Trump actually been competent, the death toll could have been lower still by shutting down all international travel to and from China back in December. The US pushing for it could have led to strong international restrictions which would have greatly diminished international transmission.

    1. jfc that’s annoying. Fuck the mask zealots I refuse to bow to the alter of science.

      1. Poe’s Law?

      2. Out of morbid curiosity, what authority do you consult instead? Since as you’ve just stated you think science is fake.

        1. Didn’t all the scientists say masks were useless until the media demanded everyone wear one?

          1. Nope. How about learning something about what you’re talking about before talking about it next time?

        2. The Russian bot speaks!

    2. lol! “I think you’ve got a choice, snowflake.”

      1. Best line.

  3. Biden left himself some wiggle room by suggesting that mask wearing could cut the number of additional deaths by the end of the year in half.

    You all need to be wearing masks, like black men do when they’re robbing liquor stores! Trump’s a racist!

    I’m Joe Biden, and I approve this message.

    1. You know who else left himself some wiggle room?

      1. Milton Berle?

  4. No white coat needed; (band name?)
    The Communist Chinese Virus is a virus.
    As with all viruses, some people will catch it, most will not.
    As with all viruses, of those who catch it, some will die, most will not.
    As with all viruses, saying away from the known infected is a good idea.
    As with all viruses, washing your hands and covering coughs and sneezes with a handkerchief is a good idea.
    As with all viruses, if you are already sick, you should be even more careful than the average citizen.
    There is nothing about this virus so dramatically different from all viruses that a total shutdown of any economy is necessary.

    1. Oh, I forgot

      P.S. Joe Biden is a crook

    2. It is a communist virus. That much we know.

      The triplet codon. CCA means Communist Committee Asia. Or proline whatever.

    3. Tell that to Gavn Newsom.

      The State of CA has been reacting to Covid 19 as if there’d never been a recorded instance of viral infection in human history and that people are essentially immortal unless they’re killed by violence or some kind of severe physical trauma.

      The criteria for a full re-opening (back to living as people did 12 months ago) seems to be based on having definitive proof that every microorganism in the state (with the possible exceptions of brewing/winemaking yeast, yogurt cultures and probiotic flora/fauna) has been eradicated and there’s some confidence in the expectation that nobody anywhere will ever die at any age and from any cause in the foreseeable future.

  5. Total fatality rate is low stop pimping the democrat talking points.

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  7. So both sides are “spinning” the numbers. How very unsurprising.

    1. If one side gets to beat the dead horse, the other side should be able to ride it when they’re done.

  8. Epstein didn’t kill himself.

  9. Here in Columbus, people are wearing masks everywhere, as mandated. Yet, somehow cases continue to rise. If people are wearing masks, how can cases rise?

    1. Because, c’mon man. You know, he didn’t wear a mask, at the event, to superspread. That event turned to a superspreader. It was because of him. He handled it that way. We need a mandate so everyone wears one. Lockdown if we need to. C’mon man. I’m no fracking around.
      -Sleepy

      1. Well done.

    2. Delayed superspreading from Sturgis? They’re still looking for 249000 of the predicted 250k cases to materialize somewhere.

    3. Following the “science”. Everyone must be “safe”. All we can do is “flatten the curve”.

    4. Because not everyone is wearing masks, especially in social gatherings, while eating lunch at work, while doing stuff in various smaller businesses, ect.

      Moreover, as the weather gets colder, people spend more time indoors, and the virus lasts longer with less sunshine.

      On top of that, people are engaging in more gatherings period. People are doing school sports. The pro teams are running events. The list goes on.

      Masks lower the transmission rate, but there are other coutnervailing factors.

      Not to mention the fact that mask compliance is nowhere near what it should be, and in some cases, it’s very hard for mask compliance to exist.

      For instance, colder weather means you can’t go outside to eat meals during break. This forces people into breakrooms. You can’t eat while wearing a mask. This exposes people to the virus in difficult to avoid ways, as people do need to eat food and drink at work, and it is problematic to do so outside when it is freezing.

  10. Trump has lied every step of the way in this pandemic, telling Woodward in a January and February how bad it was, and telling the public it was contained, overblown, and just like the flu.

    Biden is just referring to studies who suggest how bad it can get. You have no idea that it won’t. It might be close.

    Here’s another recent study:

    “Projections of current non-pharmaceutical intervention strategies by state—with social distancing mandates reinstated when a threshold of 8 deaths per million population is exceeded (reference scenario)—suggest that, cumulatively, 511,373 (469,578–578,347) lives could be lost to COVID-19 across the United States by 28 February 2021. We find that achieving universal mask use (95% mask use in public) could be sufficient to ameliorate the worst effects of epidemic resurgences in many states. Universal mask use could save an additional 129,574 (85,284–170,867) lives from September 22, 2020 through the end of February 2021, or an additional 95,814 (60,731–133,077) lives assuming a lesser adoption of mask wearing (85%), when compared to the reference scenario.”

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-1132-9

    Your track record on this, Sullum, doesn’t suggest you’d be the guy with anything to offer.

    1. There seems to be a disconnect with this and what I’ve read elsewhere. I’ve read from other sources (CDC I think, my county’s health site, plus others) that most important is distancing, and masks are for when distancing isn’t possible.

      So the Nature article emphasis masks, but the part you quote doesn’t mention distancing. This is Biden’s message and so many others. Wear a mask. But distancing is either not mentioned or more as an afterthought.

      So everybody wears a mask and then acts like it protects them from everybody else and distancing isn’t practiced much. This is my observation when I’m out and about.

      So do the Nature numbers take into account less social distancing? Do they consider masks superior to physical distancing?

      1. Actually the Nature part you quote does mentions distancing in the first sentence. Although it still only refers to masks in its numbers.

        1. At the end of the day, they’re all projections. It really isn’t important that they get it exactly right. If they predict the trend, and it’s close, that’s what is important. For Sullum to criticize Biden when he says that it’ll be at 400K by the end of the year is beyond ridiculous. Does that mean if it’s 300k we’re good? Of course not.

          We’ve been warned where this is going . The data tells us. Sullum does his best to say it’s all good. That both candidates are just as bad. You know who’s worse? Sullum.

          1. “…We’ve been warned where this is going …”

            Yep, just like we’ve been warned about ‘climate change’; every non-trivial prediction is wrong.
            This spring, the predictions were ‘millions dead’, and yielding to chicken-littles like you, Newsom, et al, knee-capped the strongest economy in the world, ignoring any collateral damage (Great Barrington Declaration: COVID Lockdowns Unnecessary https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/view/great-barrington-declaration-covid-lockdowns-were-unnecessary)
            All so lefty shits like you can hope another crises provides an excuse to control others now that your watermelon campaign is relegated to ‘yawn’ status.
            Do you have a magic incantation for this one, jackass?
            Fuck off and die a slow and painful death you dishonest piece of lefty shit.

            1. ‘If we would all just wear our masks’ is where it is now.

  11. Every indicator is bad, not just 70,000 new cases in one day.

    “More than 41,000 people were hospitalized across the country, according to the Covid Tracking Project. This is the highest level of nationwide hospitalizations since Aug 20.
    The number of people hospitalized has increased by 33% since the beginning of October, the CTP says.
    Deaths are also creeping upward, with 856 on Thursday, Johns Hopkins says.”

    Deaths are a lagging indicator.

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/23/health/us-coronavirus-friday/index.html

    1. “Deaths are a lagging indicator.”

      No great surprise: Bullshit.
      Compare Daily New Cases and Daily Deaths charts.
      Jackass is full of shit.

      1. Reason does not like Worldometers; look up ‘US Covid Data’

      2. Let’s try:
        https://www.worldometers. info/coronavirus/country/us/
        (take the two spaces out)

  12. If you think covid is bad, look up the Spanish flu. There was no technology back then, people just died until it finally subsided. Now we think technology can solve everything, it cannot. These shutdowns are delaying not stopping the inevitable. After every shutdown their will be another spike until the virus wears itself out. we have a vaccination or herd immunity.

    1. We can certainly do better than we are doing right now. Say, with Biden’s targeted monitoring and responding plan.

      Pretty soon you anti-rational psychopaths will be arguing that because it means we’re closer to herd immunity, the more deaths the better.

      Until, I suspect, the president happens to have a (D) after his name.

      1. We are already doing more than that.

        The next step isn’t “more testing”. We are already past that. That was 7 months ago.

        If you want to do more – as in “stop people from catching it” more, you have to go to levels that the US is not prepared to go. You have to aggressively quarantine people who have been exposed. And you have to stop the movement of people from areas with circulating virus.

        China is able to do that. The US is not.

        Even if we had responded this way in the beginning (which, had anyone known that we’d have been cutting a check for 8 trillion dollars, we might well have been able to get the funding to do it), we would still only be delaying the inevitable. Because the US is too big and too interconnected and the virus is too ubiquitous around the world. You could conceivably close the borders for a few weeks. Or even a few months. But this approach requires shutting things down for ….. well, until the vaccine is distributed and administered. That was never going to happen.

        With the exception of the nursing homes in places like NY and Michigan, we have successfully achieved the objective of slowing the spread and keeping hospitals below capacity.

        We have not done this in the most efficient way possible. The cost has been very high for the results achieved. But we hit the target we were aiming for.

        1. The increase in testing is a reason for the increase in cases. Watching PBS Newshour last night and there was a segment on the Corona Virus. JackandAce is right, there are about 70,000 new cases this week. How that compares to the number of tests given this week as opposed to last, and how many are false positive in the testing are never mentioned. What was mentioned, and what I suspect will be the next level of talking point for the left, is the segment ended with the good news, the mortality rate for the virus was decreasing. Hmmm. Sounds like the behaviour of a typical virus. I suspect that will be the next shift, following the election if Sleepy Joe gets the nod. Mortality rate is shifting down, it is okay to open up. Except in CA…

      2. ‘We can certainly do better than we are doing right now. Say, with Biden’s bullshit plan.’

        Fixed.

  13. I’m not clear how 3,700 deaths a day is even possible, since the US is an empty wasteland already, 150 million having died from gun violence, and 210 million from Covid 19. That accounts for all of us, doesn’t it?

  14. So last week, Sullum, I said we’d be at 70,000 cases by the end of this week. It turns out 80,000.

    You’ve been lost on this from the beginning. Just like your man Trump.

    1. “So last week, Sullum, I said we’d be at 70,000 cases by the end of this week. It turns out 80,000.”

      So what, jackass?

  15. Here’s the canary in the coal mine, Sullum.

    “Utah recorded an incredible 1,960 new COVID-19 cases on Friday — shattering the daily record that was set just a day earlier of 1,543.
    The seven-day average for new cases stands at 1,355, with the average positive test rate at 15.8%. Hospitalizations also continued to rise in the Beehive State, with a total of 313 patients being treated in hospitals on Friday — 12 more than were hospitalized the previous day. Officials with the University of Utah Health announced Friday its ICUs are at 99% capacity.”

    When I told everyone here that a local hospital of 150 beds once had 140 Covid patients, I was told that was NY, not the heartland. Won’t happen here.

    Last I looked, Utah is fairly far from NY.

    https://www.deseret.com/utah/2020/10/23/21530444/coronavirus-covid19-new-cases-hospitalizations-deaths-salt-lake-city-university-of-utah-hospital

    1. Keep picking them cherries, jackass.

    2. Need mommy? Hug from Sullum?

    3. “Cases”, just means “the test was positive”. It doesn’t mean anybody is particularly sick, let alone in a life threatening way. And the problem with “case” numbers is that too much of the variation can be driven by how many tests you do, and how you select who gets tested.

      If we really wanted valid “case” numbers, we’d be testing people at random. Testing people who show up to get a test? That’s like an internet poll, a joke in terms of finding out what’s really going on.

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  17. “The president claims success based on a completely implausible worst-case scenario, while his opponent projects more than 3,700 deaths a day.”

    You mean the one that every democrat pundit was using all spring? That one? The “most reliable model”, the one that was “scientific consensus? The one that I’ll bet was used on the very pages of Reason as the one and only true basis for any action going forward last spring? That one?

    That’s not how predictions work. You don’t get to predict how bad it might be now and interject that number into the past.

    Things are going exactly as you would expect if you were attempting to “flatten the curve”.

    Anyone who claims that “success” is measured by anything other than “flatten the curve” is lying. Nobody at CDC said “hey, let’s make sure nobody catches it.” That was never on the table past the first few moments. Florida and Washington state seemed to be working toward that sort of solution when there were just tens of cases – they were tracking, testing and quarantining. But when other places (like the northeast) did not take that approach – that was the end of that.

    The entire US has been operating to “slow the spread”, keeping the peak below hospital capacity. Because the US is so big an there is such a large small town and rural population, the virus has spread at different rates to different areas. The fact that it is finally spreading to areas of the country that have not yet been greatly impacted is not due to some failure of leadership, any more than the slowing of new infections in areas that have already been hard hit is due to the fantastic leadership in those areas. “Flatten the curve” has always been the only measure of success, given that “flatten the curve” is the only thing we attempted to do, and the only thing that could reasonably be attempted once a substantial and widespread pandemic was underway.

    That is the science. That is what Fauci has consistently said from the beginning. Where anyone got the idea that wearing masks and social distancing was going to “stop covid 19” is beyond me. That was never possible, and the epidemiologists never claimed it was.

    1. Exactly. And if you look at the states that initially screwed up big time, and peaked the curve instead of flattening it, they’re basically past the pandemic, single digits per day death rates. The pandemic has move on to the places that didn’t screw up.

      It looks to me like, barring a near term roll out of a vaccine, all states are going to converge on something like 100 deaths per 100k, and then watch the pandemic fade away. A few states that used the virus as a way to reduce their nursing home populations hit 150 per 100k or higher, but 100 seems to be about the natural limit of this virus. One person in a thousand dying.

      Put in context, roughly one person in 70-80 dies every year from all causes combined. Covid 19 isn’t even the Spanish Flu, let alone the Black Death.

  18. Politicians lie, that’s what they do. Hence the old joke, how do you know a politician is lying? Their lips are moving.
    That really doesn’t bother me that much, what bothers me is the news media lying. I expect a free and independent press, and all we have left in the United States is the propaganda organs of the two parties, That is the real threat. Politicians will come an go, but those news outlet\propaganda organs will go on and on.

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  20. The actual research on masking suggests it doesn’t really have a measurable benefit even in clinical settings where they are properly worn (Don’t believe it? Do your own research—the burden of proof is on mask proponents to demonstrate efficacy and effectiveness, as they are the ones proposing an intervention).

    Setting aside general efficacy, the effectiveness (different from efficacy, look it up) is almost certainly worse than zero. How so?

    1. The second someone touches the mask they’re wearing and doesn’t replace it with an uncontaminated one, it is more likely to do harm than good. Masks gather particulate matter from the wearer’s exhalations as well as particulate matter from the air when the wearer inhales. Touching it, even once, sheds whatever it has caught onto the hands of the wearer and into the wearer’s general environment.

    So even if masks did manage to catch some virons (setting aside that it’s questionable the degree to which they can meaningfully do so), they are likely to be shed onto wearer’s hands and into the environment wherever the wearer is at the time.

    2. Add to that the fact that the larger “droplets” of exhaled vapor will, as all water-based fluids do when exposed to the atmosphere, evaporate. So after enough time passes, any virons caught in larger droplets will be released as evaporation runs its course.

    This means that under the prevailing theory about why masks might be beneficial, unless they are replaced frequently they rapidly will become vectors themselves.

    Conclusions:

    People are actually replacing the things after touching them once (watch in the grocery store as masks are constantly fiddled with), or if they manage not to do so (though I’ve yet to see someone refrain for more than a few minutes), replacing them after wearing for no longer than an hour. I suspect a ton of people are just rewearing the same one for the sake of avoiding conflict in the face of aggressive social pressure. I know I have.

    Bottom line? Masks would likely be making things worse if we weren’t in a casedemic. Thankfully the threat of the virus is on the downtrend or we’d be seeing some serious death spikes from the outset of mask mandates—which were typically imposed only after hospitalizations and deaths were well into a trend of decline.

    Considering the negative social impact (facial cues matter to human social cohesion in a big, non-trivial way!) and the divisiveness arguing over them incites, it seems to me that the mandates are nothing but trouble for a net negative benefit. I for one am sick of them and will be resisting their continued imposition whenever and wherever possible.

    Karen’s favorite bullying tool needs to go.

    1. *People aren’t actually replacing

    2. Especially for children. Or next level is having a generation of bubble children that haven’t built any immunity and whose oxygen levels are lower than normal from sucking Co2 back into their lungs for eight to ten hours a day over the next year(s).

      1. In case you thought the nut allergy, gluten intolerance generation wasn’t enough of an issue.

  21. The backlash against the shutdowns is building. Case counts are going up because more people are testing now with tests more readily available. Many of those who test positive wouldn’t have gotten a test earlier in the year, and wouldn’t have known they were positive. Death counts have been falling since August.

    Calif. Gov. Gavin/Karen Newsom/Tiresome just advised families to celebrate Thanksgiving outside (like the Pilgrims?), six feet apart, with masks when not eating, and absolutely no singing (is singing on Thanksgiving a thing? It’s not camping out, oh wait, maybe it is this year.)

    He’s lucky he’s not on the ballot this November.

  22. More both sides from the ‘science’ guy.

    Wow, must be a day ending in -day.

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  24. The present death toll is actually about 100k deaths over the official total, because a lot of deaths have been undercounted (we had 300k excess deaths when the total death toll in the US was 200k).

    We’re on track for having 400k excess deaths total by the end of the year.

    So no, Biden is probably actually correct about the total death numbers. You’re just wrong about how many deaths have occurred thus far.

    When you only need another 80k deaths, that’s only 1,212 deaths a day, which isn’t implausible.

    Also, claiming both are equally wrong is just flat-out false equivalence. Biden being off by 20% is very different from Trump being completely wrong.

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