Why the Coronavirus Hype is Overblown

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Previously, I pointed out why I thought the Wuhan Coronavirus (AKA Winnie the Flu, oh, all right CoViD19) would not prove anywhere near as much of a crisis as people are portraying.  And yet, people keep talking about it in terms that make it to be the plague of the 21st century.  The question immediately arises is where all these claims come from.  Well, they come from several places.

First thing you need to understand is that China lies. They lie to “save face”. They lie to influence foreign and domestic policy. They lie just because they can. They lie when the truth would serve. To say that what China says about the early progress and spread cannot be trusted is to say that Helium Three is “a little chilly.”

The rise in number of cases follows amount of testing done. You test ten times as many people and you get ten times as many positives. That doesn’t mean that the amount in the population has grown ten times as much. Basic statistics.

Then we have cases like the Grand Princess Cruise Liner (other people have cited Diamond Princess–when I went searching, only remembering “something princess” I came up with Grand Princess…so I used that in the previous post and continue to use it here), To say that there attempted isolation once they realized they had infected folk on board was porous was really overstating the reality. While passengers were confined to cabins (mostly), crew dined together and interacted with the passengers. Basically, everybody on that ship was exposed. 290 were tested. Others declined the test believing that if they agreed to be tested they’d have to wait even longer to be released from quarantine. 290 tests. 21 positive. One died. Now, I could count all the folk who weren’t tested who did not get sick, but let’s be strict. That means that out of 290 people exposed to the virus less than 10% (7.2% to be relatively precise) were infected. The one who died could lead one to infer a 5% mortality rate except that runs into the problem of small numbers in statistics. Since you don’t get fractional deaths, the jump is from “0” to “5%” with nothing in between.

The mortality rate is highly inflated for several reasons. One is selection bias. Folk generally weren’t tested unless seriously ill. Folk with mild or no symptoms (Norway recently did widespread testing and found that half of the folk with active infections had no symptoms) weren’t counted. Also, tests so far have only been for active infections. Folk who had a mild case (as most are) and recovered back in December or January (remember a “cold” characterized by a persistent cough that could last for a couple of weeks running around back then? I do.) won’t be counted. Another one is what’s counted as a “Coronavirus death.” All too often (the Italy results that get bandied about so much are guilty of this) if someone has Winnie the Flu and dies for. any. reason. that’s counted as a “coronavirus death.” Heart attack while ill (with pre-existing heart condition)? Coronavirus. Liver failure (cirrosis from years of drinking your meals)? Coronavirus death. Get hit by a bus while infected with Coronavirus? Coronavirus death. (Okay, maybe not that last one, but I’m not so sure.)

In addition, it’s becoming unavoidably clear that the current Coronavirus strain emerged months before China admitted it existed, let alone took any steps to contain it. It has been out “in the wild” for months.

We didn’t even notice–just a somewhat worse than typical, but far from unprecedented, flu season.

To that point, there have been some folk reporting persistent coughs and cold/flu symptoms that weren’t flu and lasted a couple of weeks (I had one and my doctor said, “yeah, that’s going around.”) And, yes, there were anecdotally some deaths, as there always are (people die; it’s part of life). What there wasn’t was any “oh, no,” concern that we were having a lot more seriously sick people than otherwise. The 2019-2020 flu season has been a bit more serious than most, although not as big as some (including the 2017-2018 season).   There was no “this is bad; what’s going on?”

Wash your hands (which you should do anyway). If you’re sick or think you’re sick, stay home to avoid infecting other people (which you should do anyway). That’s really all that’s justified by the actual risk. But to certain people “never let a crisis (even if you have to invent one) go to waste.”

The simple fact is, the mortality numbers are being inflated. They’re being deliberately inflated in order to create just the kind of crisis the Left (and entirely too many on the Right) use to ram through more of their favored restrictions on individual liberty.

And entirely too many people are swallowing it hook, line, sinker, bobber, pole, and reel.

4 thoughts on “Why the Coronavirus Hype is Overblown”

  1. …if someone has Winnie the Flu and dies for. any. reason. that’s counted as a “coronavirus death.”

    Years ago, in graduate school, one of my professors told the class that if a cancer patient dies for any reason, the death is counted as a cancer death. (Well, except for things like being hit by a bus. I asked.)
    Now the focus is on coronavirus, and the same thing is happening.

    Liked by 1 person

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