It is increasingly clear that a lot of supposedly bright people are making major decisions based on highly questionable data. One of the problems is that no one really trusts the data from China where this all started. The Chinese government is telling us what they want us to know. There are reports of people who are ill, who appear to have the virus, who are not tested and are not being admitted to the hospital. That would explain why China is reporting no new cases. If you don’t test anyone, no one tests positive. Most people, not working for CNN, understand this.
Another is that the tests used in China are highly suspect. For example the free tests sent from China to Europe weren’t actually free and the error rate may approach 80%. It is important to note that the U.S. would not accept tests from any other country because they questioned the validity of the tests. The U.S. tests are verified, so the most accurate information we have now is from right here.
Finally, the U.S. health care system is the best in the world and that is becoming increasingly obvious.
Perhaps the best real data we had is from the Diamond Princess Cruise ship where everyone was tested. There were 3,711 passengers and crew on board and 542 people tested positive. That is about 14.5%. Nearly half of them had no symptoms. So far, there is no place in the world where the spread seems to be higher than this.
The U.S. is reporting more cases than anyone else, because we are testing more than anyone else, but it is still about .03% of our population. New York is reporting 55,000 cases. There are about 8.5 million people in New York, so that is about .65%, significantly higher than the rest of the country, but lower than the rest of the world.
The number of cases in New York may skyrocket, but they may level off. Even New York Governor Cuomo hinted at that. One thing is certain, New York is a lot more crowded than the rest of the country. The rest of us travel in private passenger cars, not subways and taxi cabs. It is stupid to predict that the rest of the country will experience the same results as New York.
Yet some are predicting exactly that. California Gov. Gavin Newsom predicts that 50% of people in California will get the virus. That appears to be based on a study done in the UK which predicted 2 million deaths. The author who did that study recently admitted his prediction model was off and lowered his estimate to 20,000 deaths.
Trump has more information that you, me or anyone in the media. This includes the very best experts in the world. He clearly thinks this is about to peak and things will rapidly improve. He also knows the truth about hydroxychloroquine. There are numerous reports that its works. I have seen no reports that it is hurting anyone. The couple in Arizona who drank fish tank cleaner has nothing to do with the actual drug hydroxychloroquine. Trump said today there were 10,000 doses of it being administered. That means this drug is being tested, results are starting to come in already and next week they will flood in. If Trump was getting any hint of a problem he would have started walking this back. He isn’t doing that, if anything he is doubling down.
If this, or any other drug, starts curing the disease within a few days instead of weeks that will change everything overnight. We will soon know. The only thing certain right now is that Trump is acting more optimistic and his critics are backing down.
One side note. It is clear that Democrats know Joe Biden is in serious trouble and has zero chance of defeating Trump. But, they may still want him on the ticket; because they know Trump is going to win regardless of his opponent. They don’t want to throw good money after bad or a good candidate in an effort destined for failure. They would rather have Biden get hosed and then they could blame everything on him. When defeat is inevitable, people start looking around for the best candidate to throw under the bus. Joe Biden appears to fit all the criteria for that honor.
This reminds me of Winston Churchill’s speech after the defeat of Rommel at El Alamein:
“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
I think we are at that point with regard to coronavirus. It is not over yet, but we have come a long way from where we started.