We should all keep challenging questionable corona figures and statistics:
The old saying about “lies, damned lies and statistics” is always relevant, especially at a time like this. With governments, politicians and various ‘experts’ throwing around all sorts of statistics and numbers – often that conflict with one another – we need to keep a close eye on things, and keep asking questions.
And one key question worth asking is this: Just how long will the lockdown last? It was both Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan who used phrases like the following: “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program”. With those words in mind, let me repeat some facts that we have known about for a while now concerning the corona crisis in Australia (including the latest figures):
Others have been running with the following figures:
-Death rate: 0.98 per cent.
-Mild cases: 97 per cent of total detected.
-ICU beds in use: 1.1 per cent.
But STILL the government is offering us no sunset clause. STILL we have no word as to when this lockdown will end! That is becoming as problematic as the virus itself. Let me repeat one important figure here: thus far a grand total of 63 Australians have died in this country because of COVID-19.
Sure, it is always sad when anyone dies for any reason. But the over-hyped numbers and fearmongering that so many of our experts and leaders have been running with have simply not come to pass. We now clearly need an exit plan instead of more lockdowns.
But for saying things like this I have had countless critics. So let me deal with some of their oft-repeated criticisms. One is that our low numbers prove how right our governments were to take these strict measures. But as I said 10 days ago:
When this crisis passes, Australia may – at current rates – have had well under 10,000 cases of the virus, and perhaps 100 deaths. Time will tell. But if this is more or less how things will pan out, there will be at least two views on this:
-The government will say, “See, we told you these draconian lockdown and shutdown measures were needed – it worked!”
-Others will say, “See, it was nowhere near as bad, so all these draconian lockdown and shutdown measures really were not needed.”
The truth may never be fully known, but might lie somewhere between the two. However, as we seek to be wise about proper health and safety measures, we also need to be wise – very wise – about Statism and Big Brother in action.
Another common criticism I keep hearing is that all these severe lockdown measures are fully justifiable, because if even one life is saved, it will have been worth it. I have already dealt with this silliness, but let me bring in another recent American statistic:
“U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams … offered some perspective on the death toll: ‘And more people will die, even in the worst projections, from cigarette smoking in this country than are going to die from coronavirus this year’.” https://www.cnsnews.com/article/national/susan-jones/surgeon-general-more-people-will-die-cigarette-smoking-coronavirus
So will the corona alarmists who keep repeating the “if it saves just one life…” mantra now be demanding that all cigarettes be banned – permanently? And with draconian fines and arrests for any infringements? If not, why not? Why the selective moral outrage? Why the selective use of government strongarm tactics?
Then I had one gal quite angry with my recent articles say this: “Obviously Australia has not yet been affected by the coronavirus as some other places have. I do not believe the numbers of cases and fatalities have been inflated, and to make this claim is to ignore the pain and suffering of the victims and their families. No matter how low the percentage of people who suffer and die, it is 100 percent to the victims.”
Um no, I am not ignoring anything. And it is government officials themselves who are telling us the numbers are being inflated! I wish these folks would read the facts instead of just emoting. I have already quoted from leading American health officials who told us how they are dealing with the numbers. As I said in a piece from last week:
Many countries are involved in a rather misleading use of statistics when it comes to corona-related deaths. In the US the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines are contributing to this. As one report says, “Issued March 24, the guidance tells hospitals to list COVID-19 as a cause of death regardless of whether or not there’s actual testing to confirm that’s the case. Instead, even if the coronavirus was just a contributing factor or if it’s ‘assumed to have caused or contributed to death,’ it can be listed as the primary cause.” …
A leading public face of official government policy during this health crisis has said the same: “The federal government is classifying the deaths of patients infected with the coronavirus as COVID-19 deaths, regardless of any underlying health issues that could have contributed to the loss of someone’s life. Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, said the federal government is continuing to count the suspected COVID-19 deaths, despite other nations doing the opposite.” https://billmuehlenberg.com/2020/04/10/corona-the-numbers-and-some-hard-questions/
And then we just had a massive jump in deaths in New York City. Why?
New York City is adding people who did not test positive for the coronavirus to its count of those who died from COVID-19. On Tuesday, the city decided to add people who never tested positive but are presumed to have died from the virus, helping to raise the death toll by 3,700 in one day, according to The New York Times.
When The Times did the math, it said the new figures increased the total death tally in the United States by 17 percent in a day. Although the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center and the city calculate numbers differently, the center says that more than 26,000 Americans have died of the disease, including more than 7,900 in New York City. The new figures released by the city would push the number of dead in New York City to over 10,000. https://www.westernjournal.com/nyc-adds-thousands-people-never-tested-positive-coronavirus-death-count/
Then I had another guy coming up with this lulu of a comment: “Some 775,000 Australians would get the Chinese virus of whom 15,500 would die if no isolation measures were taken.” Good grief! He did the very thing I had just warned about in a previous article: pull numbers out of a hat and basically make things up as you go along, based on dodgy projections and guesses.
If, as the latest actual numbers are telling us, the percentage of people who have COVID-19 who will die from it is less than one per cent, then that is the bottom line we must run with – not unhelpful guestimates, projections and unreliable modelling.
Of course the prize for the most alarmist, sensationalist nonsense goes to the guy who actually told me (presumably with a straight face) that we might end up with one million Australians dying because of corona! Good grief! And the truth is no one knows the exact number of deaths because of corona. One commentator takes a long hard look at the numbers and concludes as follows:
The COVID-19 death tallies we’re seeing are really death certificate tallies and we’ve no reason to trust them. But we’ve every reason to think they’ve got to be significantly exaggerating the real number of people the virus is killing. And there are enough hospital deaths from other causes every day that the directives and financial incentives encouraging false diagnoses only have to cause the virus to appear on a small percentage of ordinarily occurring death certificates to account for most of the deaths currently attributed to COVID-19. In fact, as hard as it may be to fathom, it would be more likely that no one has died of COVID-19 than that the numbers we’re getting don’t significantly over-represent those who have. Exactly how much COVID-19 deaths are being exaggerated, though, is anyone’s guess. https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/04/literally_no_one_has_any_idea_how_many_people_covid19_has_killed.html
In light of all the fudged figures and guessing going on here, I return to my earlier question: When will this lockdown end? We still have leaders speaking of another six months at least, although one news headline should shock every single one of you: “Coronavirus distancing may need to continue until 2022, say experts”. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/14/coronavirus-distancing-continue-until-2022-lockdown-pandemic
Wow! Thankfully there are some calmer heads out there. One law professor has been sounding the alarm on all this for a while now. As Augusto Zimmermann writes in a recent article:
Why this needs to take precisely six months? On what medical-scientific evidence are the government mouthpieces basing this “six months” timeline? A six month lockdown of the country will cause massive damage to the economy and at the cost of countless Australian lives and livelihoods. On the other hand, the Prime Minister keeps telling us that his government is doing what a panel of scientists are telling them to do.
First of all, good leaders do not hide behind a few medical “experts”. An expert is only an expert in one field and this current crisis is not solely a medical issue. It therefore requires a holistic approach and the balancing of multiple considerations. These medical advisers to the Morrison government have no holistic understanding of the problem. They have no expertise in the other relevant fields of sociology, economics and constitutional law. Besides, there are a number of medical practitioners who strongly oppose these draconian measures on solely health grounds. For instance, a rural GP has recently explained:
“The government should open up the economy for people under 65 to get back to socialising and working and those of us who are older to play it safe with continued social distancing and voluntary isolation. It appears our medical system will be able to cope with the much lower rates of hospitalisation and mortality becoming evident from the available data especially if we continue to protect the elderly. What can’t be coped with is the social and economic cost of this.” https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/qed/2020/04/in-the-state-you-will-trust/
Quite right. Consider just one shocking indication of how harmful these shutdowns have been – this from the US:
In Wisconsin and Ohio, farmers are dumping thousands of gallons of fresh milk into lagoons and manure pits. An Idaho farmer has dug huge ditches to bury 1 million pounds of onions. And in South Florida, a region that supplies much of the Eastern half of the United States with produce, tractors are crisscrossing bean and cabbage fields, plowing perfectly ripe vegetables back into the soil.
After weeks of concern about shortages in grocery stores and mad scrambles to find the last box of pasta or toilet paper roll, many of the nation’s largest farms are struggling with another ghastly effect of the pandemic. They are being forced to destroy tens of millions of pounds of fresh food that they can no longer sell. The closing of restaurants, hotels and schools has left some farmers with no buyers for more than half their crops. https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-nw-nyt-coronavirus-food-waste-20200413-x5n6sbmrh5an3cilo6hxozrkj4-story.html
This is just one of countless alarming outcomes of these statist lockdowns. As I have said so often before, yes, some restrictions of freedom and some cases of government intervention may well be needed in a time of crisis. But as I also keep saying, the cure should not be worse than the disease.
Thus we must continue to ask hard questions, And that includes taking a hard look at the dodgy use of statistics.