Did you see the eruption of scare headlines earlier this week, alleging there were a million new Covid cases in the US on Monday? Here is one of the more staid claims, via Reuters.
The only problem with the claim? It was and is wrong. The source, Johns Hopkins, made it clear in their note that it probably included some cases from the weekend as well. Some people misunderstood the difference between “cases per million” and total cases, making the confusion even greater (but not slowing down their rush to repeat the error). If you compared the Johns Hopkins one day “over a million” claim with their count for the entirety of the previous week, and then subtracted the days for which the counts were already fairly accurately known, it was immediately obvious that nothing like a million new cases happened on Monday.
But that’s not a truth you’ll see in any mainstream media. Only here. It has suited everyone’s purpose, whether they be pro or anti any of the divisive Covid related issues, to magnify the numbers. If you’re pro-vaccination, that shows all the more reason to be vaccinated, again and again. If you’re anti-vaccination, that shows how the vaccines are abjectly failing. The number can also be used to justify the opposite views on social distancing and closures, mask wearing, and pretty much anything else you choose.
The real count? It seems like it was right around 520,000 (see https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/ ). So the “over a million” claim was almost twice the truth.
There is also a third interpretation of the numbers – either the real numbers or the imaginary ones. Maybe they’re actually not bad at all. Maybe they’re good. That’s an interpretation I’ve been wondering about for several weeks now, and the data is becoming clearer to support the earlier hope that Omicron was not as deadly as the earlier Covid strains. In South Africa, it seems death rates have tripled, or thereabouts, compared to matching new case rates that have increased 20 – 50 times. Some more conservative sources are suggesting Omicron is “only” half as deadly as its predecessors, but a 50% reduction (on a number that is already very low – only about 1.5%) is very impactful.
Clearly, Omicron is still of concern, particularly for the very elderly and those with other “comorbidities”, but for pretty much everyone below 50, and most people below 70, it seems relatively benign, while (this is not yet confirmed but seems almost certain) conveying valuable post-infection immunity that will protect against most other strains of Covid too, at least as well as vaccines, and perhaps for longer than vaccines. Here’s an optimistic article.
Plus the accelerated spread of Omicron might bring us out of this terrible pandemic sooner. The sooner we’ve all been through a Covid encounter, the sooner our lives can truly start to return back to some semblance of normalcy.
Meanwhile, there’s another new and again greatly changed variant appearing in France. However, this new variant isn’t spreading much – Omicron seems to continue to dominate. So not a lot is known about it (other than it being thought to be still more vaccine resistant than previous strains), although one has to wonder what will happen once Omicron starts to fade.
The CDC is now in full loony mode. After being criticized loudly and by almost everyone for its new isolation and testing guidelines, which were astonishing for not requiring people to prove they were free of the virus before exiting their self-imposed and now much shorter five day quarantine, the CDC has responded. A test prior to leaving quarantine is now optional.
Optional????? What on earth does that mean????? You either need a test or you don’t. Describing it as optional is just the CDC saying “we’re not going to admit we screwed up, and neither are we going to admit there aren’t enough tests out there, either”.
Also in beyond-full-loony mode is NY’s activist and ambitious attorney general. She is threatening doctors, even doctors in other states, with prosecution if they dare to prescribe ivermectin to their patients. This is a threat that is not supported by any type of legal ban, any type of medical ban, any type of danger, or anything else at all. There’s an ocean of difference between the FDA “not recommending” ivermectin, and the FDA demanding it be banned. The FDA’s position is the former, not the latter, and because they’ve already approved IVM for other treatments, it is perfectly legal, in all 50 states, for a doctor to prescribe it for any ailment at all if he believes it might be beneficial.
Why the conspicuous hate – other than as a headline grabbing action by a woman who loves the headlines, and as a very visible action to endear her to deep pocketed backers? How many New Yorkers will die because of her threats, which, while baseless, are scaring doctors away from prescribing the drug. Sure, a doctor might win the lawsuit against him, but at what cost? Hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and expert witness fees, for sure. The AG can afford those costs. Normal people can not.
This article pulls apart the nonsense of her actions, and this second article goes further into why her gratuitous attempt at getting between doctors and their patients makes no sense.
A group of over 500 doctors, scientists, and health care practitioners in Canada published this article pointing out weaknesses in Pfizer’s claims about its vaccine. Please note this is not a group of 500 “crackpots”. It is also not one or two well-meaning but mistaken doctors. This is a group of 500 well-credentialed experts from a broad range of scientific and medical backgrounds.
Their concerns deserve consideration and response. But, currently, questioning the value of vaccines is a sure-fire way to get you banned from Twitter and probably other social media too, so few people dare to do so.
Here’s another medical professional daring to risk his career and reputation by pointing out some of the problems with how the medical profession is en masse responding to Covid.
Do you remember all the happy promises we were being given a year ago. Get vaccinated then throw away your masks and enjoy a return to normal life. I linked to a compilation of video clips from the “experts” making those claims. Now, of course, the truth has totally changed, but we’re still inexplicably being told to consider the vaccines a great success, and the US government is showing a conspicuous lack of interest in fast-tracking better vaccines the same way it did for Pfizer and Moderna.
The latest example of moving the goal posts is the wonderful Dr Fauci, who now says he prefers to use the term “up to date shots” rather than “fully vaccinated”, because, of course, “up to date” is a meaningless phrase that can be changed to mean fewer and fewer months between shots, whenever Dr F and others choose.
There were quite a few changes in the minor country list, although the top four places remain unchanged. Similarly, some changes in the bottom half of the major country list as well.
The death list saw some changes. Both Poland and the US rose one place, while Argentina dropped two, and Italy replaced Mexico at the bottom of the list.
The usual swings in the most active case rates last week table. All the entries have much greater rates than a week ago, or ever before, and Australia has made its appearance on the list for the first time.
In Europe, Romania is climbing up the case rate numbers again, with a 236% increase, week on week. Serbia rose 205%, Austria is up 128%, and Greece, Italy, Finland, Belgium, Bulgaria and Albania all had greater than 100% increases too. At the other end, Slovakia had a 7% drop and Ukraine a 5% drop. The UK had a 30% rise, Germany had a 36% rise, and France had a 70% rise. Europe as a whole saw a 49% increase.
In North America, Canada went up another 50%, while Mexico soared 218%. The US rose 72%. If Dr Fauci considers that an almost vertical line (see commentary, below), I wonder how he’d describe Mexico, or any of the other much more severely rising countries.
South Africa continues to be an enigma, with another drop in cases, down 20% week on week. Africa as a whole rose 5%. The world reported a 65% rise.
Top Case Rates Minor Countries (cases per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Andorra (298,541)||Andorra (326,512)|
|3||Gibraltar (253,385)||Gibraltar (280,883)|
|10||Aruba (183,530)||Lithuania (199,945)|
Top Case Rates Major Countries (cases per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Czech Republic (230,005)||Czech Republic (233,801)|
|2||UK (186,324)||UK (204,822)|
|3||Netherlands (181,254)||Netherlands (188,916)|
|4||Belgium (177,950)||Belgium (186,844)|
|5||USA (165,476)||USA (178,368)|
|6||France (148,736)||France (170,747)|
|12||Turkey (110,179)||Italy (115,627)|
Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Peru (6,021)||Peru (6,027)|
|2||Czech Rep (3,358)||Czech Rep (3,394)|
|3||Romania (3,083)||Romania (3,095)|
|4||Brazil (2,882)||Brazil (2,885)|
|6||Poland (2,552)||USA (2,563)|
|7||USA (2,533)||Argentina (2,562)|
|8||Colombia (2,513)||Colombia (2,518)|
|10||Mexico (2,285)||Italy (2,295)|
Top Rates in New Cases Reported in the Last Week (new cases per million) for Countries over one million population
|Rank||One Week Ago||Today|
|1||Denmark 17,968||Ireland 27,979|
|11||USA 7,294||USA 12,790|
|12||Croatia 5,676||Australia 12,407|
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Items below include a flight in which 125 of 160 passengers turned out to have Covid infections upon arrival, “proof” that Omicron is a minor variant and nothing to worry about, the CDC moves the goalposts yet again, Dr Fauci has apparently never encountered geometric growth of an infection before, and Australia shows how politicians are equally bad, everywhere in the world.
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Please stay happy and healthy; all going well, I’ll be back again on Sunday.