The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020


To paraphrase a random tweet I noticed recently:
"Last week EVERYTHING was racist, this week EVERYONE'S gonna die [from CVID-19]."
In their never-ending effort to destabilize society, the Democrats' trained hamsters in the media have become pseudo-schizophrenic as they bounce from one hysterical and overblown narrative to the next. First, it was the coming COVID-19 apocalypse—a specter of millions dead demanding that we completely shut down the country, wrecking the economy and the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions. Then it was the "systemic racist" protests—the virus was instantaneously forgotten while thousands mingled in the streets. As people tired on 'protest porn,' the media did a quick pivot back to 'pandemic porn,' but a few challenges remained. Because the COVID-19 death rates were dropping like a stone, the hamsters had to find something else to use to convince the nation that the apocalypse was still the thing. So ... Covid cases!!!!

The hamsters' public health oracle, Dr. Anthony Fauci, gave them plenty of ammunition when he stated recently that we'll likely see "100,000 virus cases a day." Team Apocalypse could barely contain its glee. Shut it all down, they declared. No school, that's for certain, they predicted. Close all bars and beaches, they intoned. 

No matter that the great Fauci has been wrong at least as much as he's been on target. No matter that 100,000 case per day (on average) is about the low end of the 2009 swine flu H1N1 pandemic for which the CDC estimated that between 30 and 60 million people in the U.S. were infected, and and NOTHING was closed down—not schools, or beaches, or bars, or stores, or government facilities—NOTHING!

But Team Apocalypse will not be deterred. Their stated goal is "to save lives—even though the fatality rate for COVID-19 is around 0.36 percent, where the majority of deaths occur among those over 70. That's a statistic they hope no one will consider or that innumerate people won't understand that for every 1000 people who have clinical COVID-19 symptoms (never mind that another 350 to 500 have no symptoms at all), only about 4 will die and of those four, 3 will be 70+ years old. How about keeping things open, and focus our protective energies on the 70 and 80-somethings?  

But the real intent of Team Apocalypse is far more cynical and dangerous: To be certain that a feeling of chaos and discomfort pervades the land, while fervently hoping that will translate into a November vote that rids the country of a demonic Donald Trump. Of course, his replacement will be Joe Biden—a cognitively disabled swamp denizen who has assiduously avoided taking a position or making any substantive extemporaneous comment on just about anything that is of importance to the American people. Joe tells use he would handle the virus more effectively, but is kinda short on details. According to the Dems, epidemiology is all about feelings and tone anyway. But whatever.

So this week, as the media breathlessly tells us that COVID-19 cases are "surging," or "soaring" or "rocketing upward" or whatever term will amplify fear the most, they conveniently forget to tell us that: 
  • the average age of infection has dropped precipitously, and that as the age drops, so does the severity of symptoms and in the extreme, the likelihood of death (now at between 3-4 per 1000 confirmed clinical cases); 
  • the simple reality that early shelter-in-place/shutdown measures never claimed to eradicate the spread of the virus, only to slow its spread while hospitals prepared;
  • places with the most severe shut-down orders have still, even with the "surging" number of current cases, seen the most deaths (think: New York), the most hospitalizations (think: MA) and the most bad outcomes (think: the tri-state area in the northeast), and
  • deaths due to the virus are dropping precipitously nationally and even in places where cases are going up. 
Instead, Team Apocalypse keeps producing pieces like this one, published in WaPo. The article, characterized as "a seminal piece of COVID-19 hysteria" by Alex Berenson, one of the most thorough and honest journalists reporting on COVID-19 today, describes the travails of a 43-year old mother (note that the examples always use youngish people in an effort to frighten that demographic) who "recounted in a recent interview, [that] captures how even a mild case of Covid-19 can still be a harrowing ordeal."  Here's a brief snippet of the article, written by a "reporter" with the skills of a first-year intern at a high school newspaper: 
"The COVID-19 test was really scary. It was pouring rain, and there was this person approaching the car wearing full PPE. It really hit me in that moment: This is what a global pandemic is. There are sick people, this woman is testing covid-positive people all day long, and she's putting herself at risk. On every level, it suddenly felt really real. They give you this piece of paper when you leave the test that says, "Based on your history, we suspect that you are covid-positive."

"After the test, I pulled over, and I just started hysterically crying. I was so scared. How did this happen?"
Cutting to the chase, our heroine never had any serious or long-lasting symptoms, was never hospitalized, did have antibodies, and her husband tested negative. She never bothered to use Google or the CDC website to understand that in her age cohort, the chances of dying from the virus are just a little higher than the chances of getting hit by lightning. Lots of drama and catastrophist sharing of feelings, but a 'nothingburger.'

When you read the WaPo article, you begin to realize that Team Apocalypse is winning. There are LOTS of people out there like the 43-year old mother—sheltering in place and exhibiting signs of borderline hysteria—who won't emerge to live their lives until Team Apocalypse tells them it's okay to do so. 

And one thing is certain—at the very least, that won't be until after November 3rd. 

Because virtually all Democrats and their hard-left base are card-carrying members of Team Apocalypse, things like innocuous PPE masks and actions like social distancing have morphed into political symbols that allow the Dems to virtue signal in ways that we might characterize as unhinged a short 4 months ago. A very blue female acquaintance posted a picture of herself and three friends in an outdoor restaurant. Because they were about to eat, they had removed their masks and were smiling for the photo. Upon posting the photo to social media, they were inundated with hate comments from other very blue acquaintances who criticized them harshly for their public health crime. She removed the photo. 

I don't do social media, thinking it to be a toxic blend of unhinged posturing of questionable merit. But if I had posted the pic and gotten similar haters' condemnation, here's what I would have written in response:
I'm saddened that those of you who have exhibiting a near-hysterical response to COVID-19 have decided to try to dictate how I live my life. The obvious fact that you're living in abject fear of the virus, have decided to hide inside your homes, and furthermore cut off all face-to-face human contact is your decision, NOT mine. It's offensive to suggest that enjoying myself in an OUTDOOR setting with friends is somehow a public health 'crime.' And please, spare me the tired narrative that I'm endangering others. That's patent nonsense, and any person with even a shred of statistical or scientific knowledge would agree. The decision to cower in fear is up to you, but how dare you suggest that I've got to follow your unhinged example.
I would hope that responses like this will become more and more common as the months pass. But the Team Apocalypse narrative is powerful. David Harsanyi comments:
To this point, 71 percent more Americans have died in New York nursing homes than have died in the entire state of Florida, which not only has a larger population but a population that skews older. To this point, New York’s death rate has been ten times larger than Florida’s. So, naturally, American liberals are busy concocting a narrative that holds that the failures of the American response to coronavirus have been the fault of Trumpian nihilists in the Red States.

The “toxic imbecility” of Republicans is getting people killed, writes Max Boot. “Trumpism, not polarization, drives America’s disastrous coronavirus politics” says Ezra Klein. Some pundits who push this myth, Paul Krugman in particular, had even had the temerity to suggest that the country look to New York State for advice.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but today it’s clear that NYC has been the key spreader of the infection nationally, and clear, too, that NYC was unable to flatten the curve.

Deaths per million:

New Jersey: 1,708.7
New York: 1,651.6
Connecticut: 1,212.2
Georgia: 264.2
Florida: 163.2
Texas: 86.1

There are numerous factors beyond our control that created this reality — perhaps the weather, or the population density, or centralized nature of the city, or whatever else researchers will uncover one day. There’s a reason why San Francisco recorded fewer than 50 coronavirus deaths and New York City has about 18,000, and it’s probably not the ideology of its mayors. But that works both ways around. There is simply no way that an open-minded person can arrive at the conclusion that red states bear some unique responsibility for this tragedy.
Nor can any rational person suggest that because Donald Trump refuses to wear a mask, he is somehow responsible for the current "surge" in cases. And yet, the trained hamsters insist that TX and FL are somehow the bad guys, even though deep blue states like NY, NJ, and CT have had about 10x the number of deaths from COVID-19.

The hamsters are quick to compare the U.S. to Europe, smugly suggesting that somehow we dropped the ball. Harsanyi blows up that narrative as well:
Deaths per million:
Belgium: 854.0
UK: 657.7
Spain: 606.9
Italy: 575.3
Sweden: 523.7
France: 445.5
U.S.: 397.8
At best, the narrative developed by Team Apocalypse is based on half-truths, but more often on outright lies created through omission of key context and data. Their contention that red states are the "spreader" is NOT supported by the data, nor is it supported by facts on the ground. But the haters who criticize a person for having a fun lunch at an outdoor restaurant believe it all—hook, line and sinker. What idiots!