Inflated Numbers

According to Dr Birx – whom I see no reason to disbelieve – anybody in this country who dies of anything while being COVID-positive is counted as a COVID death.

I don’t know how anybody can interpret this as anything other than inflating numbers. We will spend the next 5 months persisting in the same mistake and justifying the trashing of the economy while further trashing it.

The only rational thing to do would be to say right now, without waiting any longer, “this virus is bad but it’s become clear that it’s nowhere as bad as some of us thought.” Let’s see if anybody finds the courage to do it.

18 thoughts on “Inflated Numbers”

  1. “The only rational thing to do would be to say right now, without waiting any longer, “this virus is bad but it’s become clear that it’s nowhere as bad as some of us thought.” Let’s see if anybody finds the courage to do it.”

    Well, I’ve been saying this for a couple of weeks, but since I have no actual power, it does not matter. Until we the people can make clear to our elected officials that the pain they will feel from the harm they’re causing by destroying the economy will be worse than the pain they will feel for allowing people to get back to work and possibly being accused of “allowing people to die”.

    But honestly, the thing we need most is to absolutely nail politicians and media for their irresponsible, inaccurate, fear-mongering, meaningless numbers reporting. Nothing even actually informative is even being reported. “______ people died today” means nothing unless we’re comparing to something else. What is our country’s # of deaths/day compared to this point in time last year?

    And yes, we’ve seen multiple instances of people already on the brink of death from cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, etc. listed as COVID19 deaths, even in places where they were never tested or treated for it and simply had a positive death post-Morten. I understand why the media inflates the numbers. I sort of understand why the politicians do (I assume to justify the shut down). I don’t get why the doctors do it, though.

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  2. “anybody in this country who dies of anything while being COVID-positive is counted as a COVID death”

    And, countless numbers of these COVID deaths fall at the feet of thousands of MAGA-hatted doctors stuffing chloroquine down the throats of the Covid-afflicted at the direct behest of Orange Man Bad.

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    1. People are losing it completely. Yesterday Twitter was ablaze with some convoluted conspiracy theory about how Trump is talking up cloroquine because he stands to make hundreds of dollars if it gets prescribed massively. Because apparently that motivates him more than his desire to win the election.

      The collapse of the Russia collusion narrative has taught people nothing.

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      1. Trying to lock away chloroquine from COVID-19 patients isn’t just a U.S. phenomena related to its partisan politics. In the UK, it is said that National Health Service doctors are only allowed to prescribe paracetamol (Tylenol) and in severe cases, oxygen because no other drugs have been double-blind tested as being an effective treatment for COVID. In France, a days-old online petition organized by several doctors including Philippe Douste-Blazy, a cardiologist and former French health minister, has gathered 400,000 signatures urging French officials to let more doctors prescribe chloroquine for coronavirus patients as they have been doing in Italy and Spain.

        Decades ago, I took chloroquine for two years on a weekly basis as a malaria prophylactic when I was living in the tropics. Everyone I worked with did the same as have hundreds of millions of other people for over half a century. Complications with this cheap generic drug are exceedingly rare.

        Either chloroquine helps or it doesn’t, it’s that easy because it is absolutely not dangerous. The determined, organized resistance to its use has to be rooted in Big Pharma $$$ and the sclerotic power of the medical bureaucracy. And, then there’s the TDS, always the TDS.

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      2. Trying to lock away chloroquine from COVID-19 patients isn’t just a U.S. phenomena related to its partisan politics. In the UK, it is being said that National Health Service doctors are only allowed to prescribe paracetamol (Tylenol) and in severe cases, oxygen because no other drugs have been double-blind tested as being an effective treatment for this flu. In France, a days-old online petition organized by several doctors including Philippe Douste-Blazy, a cardiologist and former French health minister, has gathered 400,000 signatures urging French officials to let more doctors prescribe chloroquine for coronavirus patients as has been done in Italy and Spain.

        Decades ago, I took chloroquine on a weekly basis for two years as a malaria prophylactic when I was living in the tropics. Everyone I worked with did exactly the same as have hundreds of millions of other people for over half a century. Complications with this cheap generic drug are exceedingly rare.

        Either chloroquine helps or it doesn’t, it’s that easy because it is absolutely not dangerous. The stubborn resistance to its use has to be based in Big Pharma $$$ and the sclerotic power of medical bureaucracts. And, then there’s the TDS, always the TDS.

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        1. Peter over at Hyperlipid has some interesting notes on this:

          “You can see that the drug chloroquine a) might work and b) might be very toxic in overdose.”
          (he has a more detailed explanation of why this might be the case here, if you don’t go completely brain-mush trying to parse the stuff about pH and lysosomes (I’m not so good at that, but I try hard!):
          https://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2020/03/from-yeasts-to-chloroquine.html

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          1. “might be very toxic in overdose”

            The health scares of the anti-chloroquine lobby are ridiculous. An acetaminophen overdose “might be very toxic,” for goodness sakes, as might be an overdose of Smarties. Remember, chloroquine is a very old drug that has been taken in the billions of doses over several decades – like acetaminophen. The dosage being prescribed for COVID treatment is nowhere near an overdose – nowhere near.

            Now whether chloroquine helps COVID patients a lot, or a little, or not at all, is a more open question. Still, there are very good reasons for optimism. And, lacking alternative medications, one has to wonder about the real motivations of the naysayers – $$$, power, or partisan politics seem the most likely candidates.

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            1. Oh, absolutely. The link was in case you were interested in the sciencey part 😉 There’s reason to believe that the people chloroquine might help most are particularly those with metabolic problems, but that decades of US dietary recommendations regarding saturated/polyunsaturated fats may really screw with people on the potential toxicity front, as well as vulnerability to ARDS (the cytokine storm thing).

              But I’m crap at explaining it. Thus the link.

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              1. “But I’m crap at explaining it”

                And, I’m crap at understanding it — we’re perfectly matched!!

                But I’d like to think that I’m rather good at seeing nonsense and the nonsense of locking away a potentially helpful drug when it’s cheap, abundant, and proven to be pretty much as safe as Smarties is the kind of nonsense that demands an explanation.

                One reads that lots of front line medical workers are taking chloroquine as a COVID prophylactic. It is also being said that there is a very low rate of infection amongst lupus and other regular users of the drug. What if it turns out to be a fairly effective prophylactic that could be mass produced in sufficient quantities to end the lockdown and make a vaccine irrelevant because in the natural course of things the disease would burn itself out in 2-3 years — Big Pharma $$$ NOT happy and that’s putting it mildly.

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    1. For starters, we could open up the parks, the bookstores, the libraries, and other places that don’t attract crowds. Ask the elderly to stay home but gradually start reopening the spaces where the elderly and the sick don’t tend to go.

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    2. For instance,why are golf courses closed? The whole point of a golf course is to never meet anybody. We have beautiful golf clubs in the area where people were going for nature walks during the first week of the quarantine. And then it was all locked down.

      All of the benches at the local park are wrapped in yellow tape. Why? There’s no reason for that. The spaces between these benches are huge.

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  3. The numbers may be slightly inflated, but the virus is killing people who don’t have anything wrong with them. I found out recently that an old friend from undergrad days has died from the virus. He was 49 and didn’t have any health issues that would have made him high risk. He’s definitely a real person and he’s definitely dead.

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  4. The numbers available are so vague! What do you compare them to? A normal flu year? Where’s my side-by-side chart? Deeply frustrating…

    What I haven’t seen yet, and I really want to see, is some up-to-date all-cause mortality stats, that can be compared with previous years. As far as I can tell, the CDC only has them through 2018. I have seen some suggestions that all-cause mortality has plummeted over the last couple weeks, because of quarantine. So even though a lot of folks are dying of COVID, far fewer folks are dying in car wrecks, drownings, dumb accidents, and with everyone social-distancing, I expect the regular round of late-winter illnesses is doing less spreading than usual. But I don’t know where they’re getting their data or if it’s reliable. Some are claiming that there has been no increase at all in all-cause mortality in Italy over the course of the pandemic, but I have no idea if they are trustworthy, or just internet cranks with axes to grind. If true, it strongly suggests the majority of people dying are people so sick they would have died fairly soon anyway. But is it true?

    Is that counter-balanced at all by the likely uptick in isolation-aggravated domestic violence and suicide? What about all the people who have ordinary ailments (heart attack, stroke, gallbladder attack…) who are not going to the hospital right now because of The Plague? There’s some discussion of that here, by one of my favorite heretics:

    https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2020/04/06/covid-with-of-or-because-of/

    NY is saying that, actually, their numbers are probably much lower than reality, because they’re only counting people who die in the hospital, and they think they’ve got around 180 or 190 people a day dying at home, probably from COVID, whom they are not testing, because they’re already dead and they’ve got other priorities right now. Could they be inflating their numbers and still breaking even? Are they just blowing smoke? Hospitals could be motivated to inflate numbers by availability of public funds for treating COVID, but there’s no such advantage for diagnosing people who die at home, so… perverse incentives?

    I would love to know what is actually going on. Haven’t a clue, though. Sigh.

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    1. I have seen an all-cause mortality statistics in Switzerland, and yes, the overall mortality, both for under and over-65 year old is increased compared to the average of the last years at the same time of the year. This despite us being on lockdown since March 13 and despite the fact that we are much less seriously affected than Italy. So the claim that there is no increase in all-cause mortality in Italy does not seem convincing to me at all.

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      1. Thanks! I wish I could find a similar dataset for the US, or even for individual states here. We are notoriously bad about keeping morbidity and mortality statistics 😦

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