The Coronavirus Hysteria

Meanwhile in Florida…

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued four executive orders Friday designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, shutting down restaurants except for takeout or delivery, banning non-urgent medical procedures and surgeries, closing most businesses in Palm Beach and Broward counties where people congregate and allowing local governments to meet via telephone or video conferences.

…and just like that, Florida was in an economic depression. And; in the name of one-upsmanship…

Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried issued a statement on Friday asking Governor Ron DeSantis to consider implementing a statewide “stay-at-home” order.

This is being repeated all over the country as States, cities, and local municipalities try to outdo each other in how quickly they can shut down all economic activity in their area.  The nation’s economy has gone from roaring 20’s to Great Depression in a few weeks, and because it’s under the guise of a healthcare emergency, everyone seems to think that once this has died down, the economy will spring back to normal.

I really hope so.

But I don’t have much experience with this sort of economic downturn, in which the fundamentals of the economy were fine and then, on a dime businesses all over the country were ordered shut down by government fiat. When one thinks of the number of businesses that are afloat on a thin margin, even in good times, it seems clear that many of those businesses won’t be coming back.

Of course a health care emergency, if big enough and threatening enough could make it worth the damage that we’ve willingly inflicted on ourselves.

I just don’t think this is it.

Since the beginning of this “crisis” I’ve been skeptic of the idea that this was some new Spanish Flu, or do we have to call it the Latinx Flu now?  I don’t even know this flu’s pronouns!  My initial skepticism was based on not being able to believe a lying media which has been in a state of constant phony hysteria for the past couple of years.  Why would this hysteria be any different?  But whatever “Operation Get Trump Part XXII” this may have started as, the hysteria has swollen well past mere partisanship.  This is now the real thing; real hysteria.  People like me who seem a bit sanguine about the “crisis” are so few that we’re treated as oddball curiosities. And the bipartisan coming together of left and right into unhinged hatred of skeptics asking reasonable questions is something that, like so much of the past few years, is new; beyond my experience.  But I’m starting to see how witches get burned at the stake and people get lynched.

I’ve been tracking the numbers of new cases and deaths based on the past couple of days, and although I acknowledge that there is a testing bias involved in these numbers (there are no doubt far more cases than are being shown in the available statistics) the numbers don’t seem very frightening to me.

Source:          https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Of course I’m comparing it to a fairly comparable similar example in history, the “Swine Flu” pandemic.  From the CDC:

From April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (range: 195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (range: 8868-18,306) in the United States due to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus.

We suffered 12,469 deaths from H1N1 and we didn’t shut down a single restaurant. In fact, I don’t even recall a demand to do that, let alone shut down the entire economy, and establish curfews.

As for the annual flu, the 2017-2018 flu Season:

CDC estimates that the burden of illness during the 2017–2018 season was high with an estimated 45 million people getting sick with influenza, 21 million people going to a health care provider, 810,000 hospitalizations, and 61,000 deaths from influenza (Table 1). The number of cases of influenza-associated illness that occurred during 2017-2018 was the highest since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, when an estimated 60 million people were sick with influenza.

So we had 61,000 dead Americans just last year, and again, no call to shut down the entire country.  People went to work, kids went to school, and thousands died.

So what makes this year different?

After this season winds down and cooler heads begin to prevail, I expect to be reading some think pieces on “Why did we overreact?” or “Why did Trump overreact?”  In any case I’ll be curious as to the theories of why my immune system seemed to resist the wave of hysteria while so many others succumbed.  That’s one view of it.

The other view of course, is that I’m totally off base.  Every bit of hysteria is totally justified and I’m the crazy one, I’m this guy…

Is this me?

…totally oblivious to the real danger I’m in, either through drunkenness or stupidity.  I have to consider the possibility, when so many people whose opinions I respect are foaming at the mouth in fear, that I’m too dumb to be afraid of something I very much should be afraid of.

It’s possible.

We’ll know one way or the other.  If Covid-19 deaths fail to exceed annual flu deaths, than I was right, the hysteria was overblown, and I can return to my usual state of smugness.  Of course if they way exceed that amount by hundreds of thousands, then we’ll know I was a fool.

Can’t wait to find out!

26 thoughts on “The Coronavirus Hysteria

  1. I totally concur! I think all conservatives, and Christians and Christian conservatives should all go out and have a giant party!! Celebrate non-fear! Hug, shake hands, kiss, share drinks! Oh, and Trump rallies! Yes! Many large Trump rallies! This is all a hoax! Don’t believe any of the hype.

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  2. You’re not alone Mike. I think the country has gone nuts. Lion of the Blogosphere, for example, has completely wigged out over this, and I wouldn’t have expected him to based on his prior writings about statistics, etc.You’d think that when they order a shutdown they would be able to point to some statistics as the basis for their decision. What data are they looking at? What assumptions are being made? Why are we approaching this differently from how we approached H1N1? I haven’t seen any solid analysis. It seems they are just acting according to the worst-case scenario, and that basically means no cost is too high, no action is unwarranted.

    I’ve grown an appreciation for Bill Mitchell on Twitter. He is out there, still comparing to the flu, and getting waves of hate for it. I don’t agree with him on everything, but he’s pretty brave.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As far as the Lion of the Blogosphere goes, this strikes me as totally bizarre behavior. I don’t recall him ever locking out comments before. On the other hand, he does live in New York City, the epicenter of infections in the United States. If this truly is a worst case scenario, the proper response would be to nuke the city from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

      But other than nuking NYC, the nation has reacted as if this is really a worst case scenario, without demonstrating that we’re anywhere near that. We’re pretending that we’re living though the Blitz, and patting ourselves on the back for surviving these trying times. We think we’re sacrificing by sitting home and watching TV when really we’re just scaring ourselves silly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lion is a bit of a weirdo. Remember his ardent support and sympathy for Epstein? Errrgghhh. We should have regrouped then but he’s such a control freak I didn’t know how to go about it.

        I’m with you mike.While I admit this is more serious than I initially felt, the reaction has been terribly overblown, and the financial devastation will produce death and misery to dwarf covid.

        All I can think is that the press caught whiff of something that might finally bring down trump- since nothing else seems to stick- and they ran with it. And I’ve spoken to multiple dems who openly HOPE the economy collapses, to hurt trump. To me this is all political. We could have taken measures to protect the vulnerable without torching society.

        Hopefully some commenters from LOTB come over here. At least you won’t throw temper tantrums like he does.

        Do you have anyone’s email address? I have gothamette, that’s it.

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      • Gothamette has posted here recently but I think her current interests may lie elsewhere. As for Lion, I suspect he’ll be back. He is not going to throw away his regular readership over this. At least I don’t think so.

        Liked by 1 person

    • That article makes the same observation about testing bias that I mentioned in my post.

      I think as time goes on you’ll see more and more articles like this that are trying to look at the situation more clear eyed than we’re generally getting now.

      My guess is that a few months from now the the death rate percentage will drop substantially as we get more testing and expand our small data set of cases.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Case in point, staten island supposedly has the highest corona rate in the city despite have the lowest population density (by far) of all the five boroughs. It’s probably just that more people are being tested here as we had the first drive through testing site and given the lower density it is easier to obtain a test.

        My guess is lion is in an at risk group (pretty sure he is older than he presents himself as) so he’s in panic mode. It’s easy to get emotional about health issues. Because as your other commenter mentioned, he is being reactive and not approaching the data with his trademark skepticism and objectivity. Ie running with Italy’s numbers while ignoring SK, ignoring what is likely a massive underestimate of those infected, etc..

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  3. Hmmm Shithead downplayed it completely and said it was a hoax… hmmm… But never mind all that now, let’s focus on the POSITIVE. Not positive as in the many, many people testing positive, this positive: First the bad news – the U.S. has 66,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 900 deaths. … BUT Mexico has only 405 cases and 5 deaths. TRUMP’S WALL IS WORKING. Be proud America!

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  4. Hello MikeSS, Hello Toomanyspiders

    I think I might be one of the “morons” who pushed Lion off the edge, causing him to write his last (angry) post. The very last comment posted on his site was mine before he shut off comments. Nice to see you guys here, it’s like talking to other kids when the teachers stepped out, feels naughty. Funny thing is last year Lion locked me off the board briefly, because I think I wrote something he perceived as anti-Semitic, amazing really because I’ve always considered myself straight up philo-Semitic. Btw what did exactly happen to Gothamette? Why did she suddenly disappear, was it her choice or was she banished?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roli, if you are in fact patient zero, and are the “moron’ that shut down the comments section, I suppose you can wear that as a badge of honor. Or maybe we all can, unless events prove Lion right and that all of us really are morons! I think we should be allowed to discuss it regardless. The bizarre hatred and intolerance over this issue, considering the multiplicity of issues out there, is puzzling.

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    • Lion is very thin skinned and solipsistic. Particularly when it comes to certain issues, like anti semitism (even though he by all appearances despises judaism) and I guess covid19. He can also be hilarious and terribly endearing. Sigh. We’re like battered wives!

      My guess is gothamette finally had enough of his changeability and twerpiness. She was a devoted commenter and reader, and on more than one occasion he treated her like sh*t. And a lot of us were universally disgusted by his commentary on the Epstein saga. I was trying to be kind when I kept saying ‘lion must be trolling.’ But sadly, I don’t think he was.

      I’m serious we need to regroup somewhere (here?). Should we start a kik group? Reddit sub? We should reach out to everyone we know from the comments and ask them to do the same.

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      • Well first, I think that this will blow over, and Lion will re-open his blog. Or at least that’s a hope. I do enjoy the commentors and interacting with them. Obviously at the moment, Lion doesn’t feel the same.

        Secondly, it’s difficult for commentors and posters to move in mass to another site when there are specific things about the blog or blogger that attracted them in the first place. I personally know of that happening once, but I doubt it’s common. My site isn’t the same as Lion’s site. We don’t cover the same issues and topics, although there is a Venn diagram of similarity for many of them.

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      • In the case of lion’s blog, the comments are often stronger than the blog material and are, I’m betting, the main drive of his readership. Well… hopefully some find their way here.

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    • With regard to Gothamette,

      She’s posting over at Cochran’s site, West Hunter, and he seems to like her so perhaps she just moved up the HBD social ladder. I think she expected Lion, as a Jew, to revile Sailer the way she does and to banish Sailer’s acolytes. He didn’t, so she fled to hang out with an Irishman (I presume).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Mike, this site strikes me as the best graphic/info display of the virus by nation and by states in USA.

    http://91-divoc.com/pages/covid-visualization/

    It is fascinating to look at Germany vs Italy. Germany’s case load seems to be growing at the same rate as Italy’s, but its death rate and recovery rate are far better — in fact its recovery rate is almost a 90 degree line on a logarithmic axis!!

    You ought to write about this data, your insights would be interesting.

    I’m with you totally when it comes to the data — and that the data we have right now is not very revealing about the true nature of the virus. I’ve commented from time to time on Cochran’s site, and he is cocksure that if we went about things normally we’d have the next coming of the bubonic plague. Same for Ron Unz. I guess we’ll see — or not.

    Everyone is all a flutter about the scientific gravitas of Anthony Fauci — hey, he’s a smart guy, no doubt, but still.

    Here’s what Fauci and his colleagues wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine.in late February.

    “If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.”

    https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe2002387?query=RP

    That was then, but Fauci told Congress a couple of weeks ago that the Wuhan flu’s “case fatality rate” (CFR) is 10 times the seasonal flu’s — 1% instead of 0.1%.

    Well, which is it? MAYBE it’s less than 1%? Or is it ACTUALLY 1%?

    Frankly, Fauci doesn’t really know, which means nobody knows. Wuhan is not South Korea is not Northern Italy is not the United States. Every place, every place’s resources, every demography in each place is different.

    So we’re making huge — and very broad — consequential economic and social decisions, decisions that may have be a speed bump, or may cripple us permanently. But all of us, and especially the experts, need to show some fucking humility. Trump excepted, of course, he HAS to be the perpetual optimist–he has no other choice.

    But out here, we have no illusions, and certainly we don’t have the illusion of certainty, unless your Greg Cochran.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the links to those sites. I’ll have to examine them in a bit of detail.

      Fauci’s change of tune could be new and better data, or…he’s in a position in which there are no rewards for caution and every reason to stake out the most extreme position. That seems to be playing out among the nation’s governors, where unless they don’t do EVERYTHING, they’ll be responsible for every COVID-19 death…next election.

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