Covid-19 Bullshit Exposed in 5 Simple Graphics
Covid-19 Bullshit Exposed in 5 Simple Graphics
Must choose my words carefully here in describing several, um, untenable untruths circulating from the top down in my beloved country amid a stomach-turning pandemic that’s taken more than 225,000 lives before the viral high season even kicks in to an expected overdrive. Turning to Merriam-Webster for some help:
trope: a common or overused theme or device
tripe: something poor, worthless, or offensive
bullshit: foolish insolent talk
Eh, I can’t decide. So… you’ve likely heard the five bits of viral tripe-trope bullshit below. Words don’t seem to be eradicating them fully, so I offer data and imagery. Before you call me a “fear-mongering, no-nothing socialist,” which I’ve heard a lot lately and respectfully disagree with, please see the included links that offer additional data and science references on each item.
1. Covid-19 is like the flu
As coronavirus infections exploded across the country in recent days, portending an eventual doubling of the pandemic death toll even by conservative projections, a grim milestone slipped by largely unnoticed: Covid-19, known to be five times as deadly as the flu for those who end up in the hospital with it, has now killed more Americans than any flu season since 1918–19 even on a per capita basis. Though a few months ago it seemed unfathomable, it’s fair to say now that if something doesn’t change, we’ll likely challenge the raw total of the flu pandemic of 1918–19, back when we knew a whole lot less about virus protection than we do today.
2. Cases are rising because testing is increasing
President Donald Trump told rally-goers on October 26 that the pandemic “is ending,” and he’s recently said we’re “rounding the corner,” and he’s repeatedly claimed for months that U.S. Covid cases are up just because testing is up. Statistics beg to differ. Were any of those claims true, the rates of Covid hospitalizations would not be soaring, as they are now. Across the United States, Covid-19 hospitalizations are up 45% in the past month. As I’ve written before: People don’t go to the hospital for the fun of it. Meanwhile, Covid deaths are rising, too, and that data makes for an ugly chart that has a frightening amount of upside potential given that a) deaths follow case counts by a few weeks and b) the national plan is to wait for a vaccine, which experts say won’t be available on a widespread basis until at least early spring.
3. Hospitals are inflating the Covid-19 case counts and the death toll
This is an infuriating claim for scientists and healthcare professionals, only partly because it’s not true, but especially if you’re a doctor or nurse watching more than 1,000 of your U.S. colleagues die from the disease while you work your ass off trying to save people — some of whom believe in Covid-19 misinformation and conspiracy theories like this and refuse to wear masks or otherwise take the disease seriously. Anyway, here’s the debunking data, revealed in not just one recent study but two: Through Oct. 3 this year, there were nearly 300,000 excess deaths compared to the relatively stable YTD average from 2015 to 2019. Only about 200,000 of those excess deaths were officially chalked up to Covid-19. The rest? A mix of Covid deaths that weren’t counted as such and deaths from other causes owing, in large part, to people not seeking or receiving proper medical care and succumbing to heart attacks, cancers and other ills that could have been prevented in non-pandemic times.
4. We can protect the most vulnerable
More than 40% of the U.S. population is in the “vulnerable” category for Covid-19, more susceptible to severe outcomes or death because they’re older or have one of several underlying, complicating health conditions, including heart disease or diabetes, according to the CDC. Tell them they’ll be protected. Anyway, if we could protect the vulnerable, nursing home cases would not be on the rise again.
5. We can’t control the pandemic
A coordinated national plan could have brought the pandemic under control, countless infectious-disease experts have said for months and continue to say. Instead, the White House underplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus from the get-go. Now the administration has raised the white flag and is counting on treatments and a vaccine to control the pandemic.
Any scientist who has seriously studied the transmission of infectious diseases, is honest with the American people, and has a heart and a soul will tell you that defeating a virus this crafty and deadly requires a layered approach to mitigation, from a national mask mandate and serious respect for social distancing to better ventilation and air filtration and well…
This last graphic, created by Ian M. Mackay, PhD, a professor of virology at the University of Queensland in Australia and republished here with his permission, has been vetted and praised by several of the leading infectious-disease and virus-transmission experts. I could explain it in a thousand words, as I’ve done many times over in the links above,