Coronanoia by the Numbers
I will attempt to explain why you can use basic math to show how things are in the present and past, but you cannot use basic math, or even very complex math, to show how things will unfold with a virus.
I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of hate over the past couple of weeks, so don’t think there’s anything you might say to me that will phase me. It won’t, because I know when you tell me what an awful person I am, that it is an emotional reaction. Given the emotion on both sides of Coronanoia, I will do my best to explain things as logically as possible, and in simple terms. Please read with an open and calm mind.
Something I’ve always said, that I believe to be very true of human nature; is that people will stick to a situation they are in because, one of the most difficult things a person can ever face, is that their motivations were completely in the wrong. Therefore democrats remain democrats, regardless of any evidence we present them with. How horrible it must be to for someone who has supported abortion their entire life to finally reason; “there is a heartbeat there, and I have supporting the killing of innocent human life.” That thought, that reasoning, the changing of one’s intellect in that direction—how can that not make a person’s heart too heavy to bear, or their mind so riddled with guilt that they no longer like who they are? This is why people fight change, even when it’s the best thing for them; it is a frightening thought that you will have to acknowledge your wrongs and live with guilt. Denial is a much easier path to follow.
I used to design medical software and one application I created was used to track heart surgeries, so hospitals could collect data for their use, and take part in a program called Society of Thoracic Surgery (STS) with Duke University. Duke had several very complex mathematical models which took into account hundreds of pieces of information regarding a patient’s history, risk factors, and surgical outcomes. I was the first computer programmer in the country to successfully encode all of Duke’s risk algorithms into an application. It was a lot of crazy math, but when all was said and done, it gave hospitals a valuable tool by which they could compare their results to hundreds of other facilities and know if they were doing good by their patients or not.
Don’t feel bad at all if you have a difficult time grasping the concept I’m trying to explain, because you’d be in good company. I constantly had hospital personal, to include heart surgeons and other doctors get irritated because we wouldn’t let the program show them what someone’s odds of survival was prior to surgery, so it could help them decide whether or not to operate. Did you notice the part in the previous paragraph that the mathematical models included “surgical outcomes?” There was data collected during the procedure which factored in, because we couldn’t possibly know what would happen with a patient and how their body reacted before it events unfolded. The math was strictly for after-the-fact analysis. There were way too many variables to make a prediction of what “might” happen—it just isn’t something which is remotely possible to be accurate with.
When all the numbers were in, if one hospital consistently had a higher rate of mortality, that didn’t mean that all heart patients across the country were suddenly at higher risk. It meant that something was different in that one hospital – that there were outlying factors that needed to be examined in that one facility.
With the Coronavirus. If you take the numbers we know in the present, you can make a present mathematical statement about what we know at the moment, but you cannot use this info to accurately predict the future because there are way too many unknown variables (which will hit in a minute). Here is a chart I noticed being shared heavily across social media, and each time, is was accompanied with information trying to scare people that the worst was coming.
Let’s take the total number of cases in China, which has a population of 1.4 billion people. What this actually demonstrates is that 99.995% of their people didn’t even get the virus, which has now leveled out in China. Similar population-to-actual-contraction ratios exist in other countries, with perhaps Italy being the exception. So why do we believe that everyone will get it here, when that hasn’t been happening?
The chart shows the United States at nearly half the cases of Italy, but with Italy having 15 times the rate of death. I know there will be some who will state that our people just got it and haven’t had the chance to die from it yet. Fair enough, but how many of those in Italy also haven’t had the chance to die from it? Highly unlikely our rate of mortality can ever catch theirs.
Just as you can’t say that one hospital’s performance in heart surgery will equal another’s, you can’t say the same about countries. Italy had several outlying factors that aren’t present here. One was their “Hug and Asian” program.
“Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella has suggested residents hug Chinese people to encourage them in the fight against the novel coronavirus.”
Italy also has full-blown socialized medicine where, like every other country with free healthcare, they determine the value someone has left in their life, largely based on age. Italy treated the young, who were likely to survive anyway, and sent the elderly home to die.
The other thing we have to take into account is that, regardless of the source, there are no accurate numbers and may never be. We don’t know how many people who have had this and never sought treatment. We can only know how many were tested. We can never have a true mortality rate, so no matter what rate we can calculate with available data, the actual rate of mortality will always be MUCH lower.
Then there is no shortage of mathematical models showing how this virus will multiply. We know this virus is highly contagious, but these linear models are grossly inaccurate because there are too many factors that no one might know. I saw one model on Facebook, created by a nurse, which just kept doubling the virus every couple of days. Such models are strictly a tool to instill fear and are otherwise worthless for public consumption.
We know that a primary risk factor is age combined with smoking. We already know that Italy turned the elderly away from hospitals. According the CDC, an estimated 14% of Americans smoke. For the same period, Italy was approximately 24%. And where Italy has been declining, they also have a much higher percentage of previous smokers and it’s unlikely that we have any real way of knowing or tracking the prolonged effect that could have had on this situation.
In my cardiac software example, I mentioned the mathematical calculations were depended on several categories of information, to include history and risk factors. People will often think things like; my dad died of a heart attack when he was 72, so I have a family history of heart problems. That’s wrong. If your dad died at 35 of heart disease, then you need to have regular check-ups. The way it is generally viewed; if you have family that had heart problems prior to 50 then it is likely attributed to genetics, but for over 50, it is likely attributed to lifestyle. You don’t genetically inherit your parent’s smoking habits or bad diets—they made choices that affected them, but not necessarily you. Makes sense, right?
Since we know that elderly smokers are more at risk, we know to protect (quarantine) those folks. How can we possibly know the future demographics of people who will get infected with this virus? We don’t. It’s impossible to predict and with proper awareness and insulating high-risk people in assisted living and other places, then we are greatly reducing contractions among who would be at a higher risk of fatality. Since we don’t know what demographics will actually be infected, we cannot predict how this virus will expand or the potential fatalities.
We know that viruses mutate. They can mutate in two directions; become stronger or become weaker. Did you know that where a stronger virus has more potential to be deadly, it is also spread at a much slower rate. People go down harder and faster with less time to spread, where with a weaker virus, the host remains up and about much longer, giving far more time and opportunity to spread. Since we have no way of knowing if most of the mutations will be stronger or weaker, we cannot predict expansion or fatalities.
Did you know that heat affects the virus? This is why the flu typically disappears in the Spring. We’ve hit Spring in the South (mostly) so our risk of transmission has already diminished. Yes, it can still be transmitted with close contact, but again, there is nothing which can be clearly calculated based on the different temperatures/humidity, type of contact people have, etc, to even remotely predict expansion or fatalities.
Does it make any sense how people are “expertly” predicting things which are grossly unpredictable? Now, based on previous flu patterns, you can use some very sophisticated mathematic modeling to make some predictions (like Imperial College London), but it’s just that; a prediction, a guess. Just like the mathematic modeling we used at Duke for cardiac outcomes, there was never an intention to accurately predict mortality because we couldn’t take it that far. It’s more like trying to predict the weather where certain things repeat often enough that meteorologists can get close (even though they are often wrong with the weather too). Except that hosts and viruses are far more unpredictable in their actions than weather. How will the virus mutate and how often? What will be the demographics of hosts infected? How will the hosts behave with travel and self-quarentine? And then tossing in the often unpredictable weather, on top of everything else, as something which affects longevity of a virus.
And WHO just released these as I was writing this. From their location, they are time-stamped 03/25/2020 1:21AM.
The US is the only country listed above with **, which according to WHO means: **includes presumptive cases. Let it sink in how, not only does “presumptions” make it impossible to predict expansion or fatalities, but we can’t even get an accurate snapshot of what is currently, mathematically accurate for the US.
Assuming it is correct for our argument;
Italy has seen an increase of 10,349 cases in the past few days, while the US has seen an increase of 16,836.
Italy has seen an increase in death by 1252 souls, while the US has seen an increase of 209.
Italy has seen an increase of overall fatality from 9% to 9.5% of those infected.
The US is holding at a 1.2% fatality rate of those infected—and remember, we only know that total deaths, not the actual total of contractions, so the true mortality rate will be lower.
By the math we can do on what we actually know; you have way less than a half a percent chance of catching the virus in our country, and should you contract it, you have at least a 98.8% chance of survival.
For these odds; we have terminated the employment (livelihood) of more than a third of our country. Ever hear the expression “tossing the baby out with the bath water?”
Another fact in all this. We KNOW the mainstream media (MSM) lies to us. If you don’t understand this, then buy my book and it’ll lay it out for you.
Every election the MSM feeds us poll information in an attempt to persuade us in a particular direction, politically. They feed us bogus global warming information to instill fear. There is a new pandemic every two years, just in time for election cycles. It’s just that this one has taken a firm root of fear in the minds of too many people this time. Much of it is because of Facebook, which has become an echo chamber of fear.
The real victims of the Corona virus:
- 33%+ of Americans who have lost their jobs.
- Those who already had chronic illnesses and are having a difficult time find supplies they rely on because of hoarding and getting medical services they need because of shutdowns and redirection of services.
- Those who have infants and can’t get baby wipes and other things they need to care for their children, because of hoarding.
- People who already have serious anxiety issues. The extra stress of this “crisis” will lead to an increase in heart attacks and strokes.
- People who suffer severe depression. For people like myself, who have had their only coping mechanism eliminated because of this “crisis” and this will lead to an increase in suicide. In 2009, we saw an increase of 5,000 suicides because of unemployment, and that was nothing compared to the staggering unemployment we’re facing now.
- People who own restaurants and other small businesses who will suffer financial devastation.
- And everyone who continues to be duped by the mainstream media and the Facebook echo chamber of fear.
Now, there are those on the other side of this who see this whole thing brining our democracy to its knees shredding the Bill of Rights and ending our country as we know it. Those people have been ripped to shreds over and over on social media. These are the “thinkers” being torn apart by the “feelers”—the same typical problem we have with right versus left. Everything I wrote above will never impact the “feelers” of the left, but for those on the right who have fallen into the mind trap of fear, then I’m hopeful it will awake them. For the thinkers; you are both right and wrong all at the same time.
About 13 days ago, I was told a 15 day nationwide shutdown was coming. I couldn’t imagine anything like that happening. I couldn’t imagine that anything like that could be pulled off, but I watched, learned and listened, as one piece went into place after another. No one ever dropped a hammer (boom) and said the US is now closed. Nope, it has been a very systematic process where enough of the people were literally scared enough that they were asking for the government to please take over their lives. Restaurants closed, then other service businesses. Driving people home. Then public places, like parks and beaches, closed. Given the nature of the virus and the fact that not only does heat kill it, but having vitamin D infused into our skin is one of the best remedies, it is arguable that our southern beaches were literally best place to be (as long as you minded what you shared/touched with others). Cities closed with curfews, and people obeyed. Eventually states closed, and before we knew it, our country was shut down based on fewer deaths than most every other tragedy in my lifetime.
At first, I didn’t believe President Trump would allow this to happen. I believe that MAGA really is much more than a campaign slogan to him. I believe he believes in what makes this country great. So why would he allow things to go down this path? I’m confident he would only do such if he thought it really was good for the country, but the math on all of this is far from persuasive and it really must be clear to him that the devastation we will incur shutting everything down is a cure far worse than the disease, so why? Then it hit me… the devastation will be far worse, almost catastrophic is some areas; the large cities, the democrat strongholds. This will take socialism so the Nth degree in those areas. These places could, quite literally, collapse, where the rest of us will bounce back. The left, and those who support the left, will be disproportionately affected by this shutdown. Add to that; the democrats are more worried about political gains during this tragedy than their own people and they will be turned on just for that. Then there’s the $1,000 checks (which I don’t believe in). The Democrats are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they support the checks going out, then their supporters will be getting $1,000 checks from Trump and many will come to love him just for the free money. But, if the democrats keep standing in the way, then their constituents will see them as the reason they didn’t get their $1,000 checks.
Where the “thinkers” are right—we are giving the left a blueprint for how to take over the country rapidly next time they are in full control, and usher in socialism without firing a shot. That damage, the providing of this blueprint, has now happened, and there is no putting that genie back in the bottle. I hope that this takes the left so far out of power that it won’t matter.
Where I believe this entire virus crisis has been blown way out of proportion by the left to wield against Trump in an election year, Trump will outsmart them (again) and this could very well put the final nails in the Democrat Party’s coffin, putting them out of commission for a decade or longer.
Another way to look at this: America was no longer operating the way she was meant to, so we are effectively shutting her down so we can reboot. Let’s just hope she comes back online…