Two protestors are marching down main street with the crowd, really enjoying themselves. They’ve blocked traffic, called a bunch of people nasty names, spray painted a police car, broken some windows, set fire to a dumpster, knocked over some statues, and made all the local businesses shut down. It’s been a really good day. Then one of them turns to the other one, and asks, “So what are we protesting for today?” The other one answers, “$23.15 an hour and all the bail money you can use.”

(I know. It’s not that funny. It’s actually a shame.)

“If you look at what happens in the wake of the wonderful sounding policies, you find disaster after disaster.” – Thomas Sowell

Earlier posts and statements have received pushback for implying that the level of government controls and media coverage of COVID-19 were unwarranted. Obviously, COVID-19 is dangerous and should be taken seriously. But is this “pandemic” at the catastrophic levels that require a shutdown of the economy and a suspension of our civil rights? I suggest you look at the numbers, as they have been reported*, and decide for yourself.

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), there have been 1,787,680 cases of COVID-19 in the US with 104,396 deaths. (The total population of the US is approx. 330,843,400.) This is, of course, tragic.

These numbers, however, include both confirmed and probable cases and deaths, according to the CDC website. The CDC defines “probable case” as meeting certain criteria without laboratory testing or simply “meeting vital records criteria.” This latter is set by the states/counties and varies widely by jurisdiction. In most cases, vital recording of death does not require an autopsy. So the CDC numbers may not be accurate.

Regardless, the CDC’s own data can be used to compare the reporting of this outbreak with past “pandemics” and other causes of illness and death. The CDC provides records for Past Flu (Influenza) Seasons here. What you’ll notice is that in the past 10 years, the infection numbers for Flu have been much higher than COVID-19, although the numbers of deaths have been lower. For example, in 2017-18, about 45,000,000 people had the flu, and 50,000-95,000 died from it. (The CDC gives ranges for Influenza because of unknown factors. They currently do NOT allow for unknown factors in their COVID numbers.) Influenza is much more prevalent outside of the US with a much higher death rate, probably due to lack of reliable vaccines and lower quality healthcare. Also, “bad” flu years almost always involve a “new” strain of influenza not addressed by vaccines.

Of course, neither the flu nor COVID-19 are the most common causes of illness or death in this country. The CDC tracks “Deaths and Mortality” so we can again do a comparison. In 2017 (the most recent data set), 2,813,503 people died in the US. About 650,000 died of heart disease. About 600,000 died of cancer. About 170,000 died in accidents. There were several other non-infectious causes of death above 100,000 that year, and several more that approached 100,000.

We haven’t shut down the roads to stop traffic accident deaths. We haven’t closed down fast food restaurants and mandated diet/exercise programs for everyone with hypertension or diabetes. We haven’t banned all smoking. (In fact, many places have expanded it to include cannabis products.) Yet, for COVID-19, we’ve basically allowed ourselves to be placed under house arrest.

Again, none of this means we shouldn’t take COVID-19 seriously. There are several very disturbing trends if you take the CDC numbers as accurate.

First, a very large number of deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in nursing/care homes for seniors, more than 38,000 or over a 1/3 of total deaths. (Source: https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/health/info-2020/coronavirus-nursing-home-cases-deaths.html) Obviously, these victims followed the mandated “stay at home” protocol, and these organizations follow regimented hygiene and medical procedure. Masks and gloves are in use. But the disease still spread.

Second, the number of reported deaths in the US seems disproportionate to deaths in the rest of the world. Worldwide, there have been 6,327,781 cases of COVID-19 with 375,911 deaths. (Source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/). This means a third of reported COVID-19 deaths have been in the US. Given our high quality of healthcare, and our fairly draconian “lock down” approach to control, this makes little sense. Either the rest of the world, especially China, have been radically underreporting deaths, or the US has been radically overreporting deaths, or what we are doing in the US to protect citizens has failed miserably. (Some combination is, of course, also possible.)

Readers will need to decide for themselves whether our leaders have acted truthfully and responsibly. Readers will need to decide if media has reported accurately and without hype. And citizens will have to decide if economic chaos and the risk of losing civil liberties is worth the apparently ineffective controls that have been placed upon us.

In two states, Oregon and Wisconsin, lower courts have ruled that governors have overstepped their Constitutional authority by issuing restrictions on public and private gatherings.   The Oregon case was specifically challenging the state’s authority to close churches.  (Huh.  The government can’t restrict religious freedom.  Who knew?)  The penalty in Oregon for violating the “Stay at Home” orders was jail or incurring fines up to $1,250. Of course, both decisions have been appealed by the governors.

Interestingly, in the Oregon county where the court made its ruling, there has been exactly  one (1!) confirmed case of Covid-19.

 

 

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