NO SWEAT!

Donald Trump is embarrassing the Washington D.C. press corps. If you doubt that, check out the rant by Chris Cuomo during a radio interview this morning. He still hates Trump, but he hates the environment at CNN even more. He said he doesn’t “value indulging irrationality, hyper-partisanship” or spend his time “trafficking in things I think are ridiculous.” This does not mean Chris Cuomo is a secret Trump supporter. He clearly hates Trump. He just realizes that the way CNN reports on him only destroys their own credibility making Chris question whether “he can really change anything.

It is about time some smart reporters figured this out. If they let Trump get under their skin they are the ones who lose. One of the most common quotes I use when teaching associates how to handle difficult people is the following:

“The size of the person is directly proportional to the size of the person or thing that makes them angry.”

If you allow someone you consider to be small to influence your behavior, they have won. You have only lowered yourself to their level. The only way to beat them is to never allow them to influence your behavior, either way. Do the right thing, without regard to what they say or do. Neither give them something they don’t deserve nor deny them something they do deserve because of their behavior. Let the facts and only the facts determine what you do. Any other response gives them unnecessary control over you.

I often say that this person or thing is too small to warrant getting me upset. For example, if someone cuts me off on the freeway, my usual response is to laugh and say: “they had a greater need.”

Trump dominates the media in every encounter. The angrier they become with him, the more he impacts them. If you look closely at these encounters, the reporter looks and acts furious. President Trump, on the other hand, is probably smiling. That does not stop him from challenging them and in a case like yesterday humiliating them. But if you look closely, he is not the one who is upset. If anything, he appears to enjoy this.

Some have wondered how Trump, or any other president, could possibly deal with the daily onslaught of negative press. The answer, quite simply, is he doesn’t sweat the small stuff. His enemies, on the other hand, bathe in sweat.

TDM

NO LESS, NO MORE

If you have ever been to Tombstone, Arizona you can find the grave of Lester Moore:

“HERE LIES, Lester Moore, FOUR SLUGS FROM A 44, NO LES, NO MORE”

A lot of people know about his grave marker, but few know anything else about Lester Moore. It is unlikely he was even killed in Tombstone. The story is that he worked in a Wells Fargo office in Naco, Arizona. Hank Dunston arrived one day to claim a package. He was angry because the package was damaged, so he shot Lester Moore four times. Les was hit four times in the chest, but he still managed to shoot and kill Hank Dunston. Les Moore’s body was moved to Tombstone for burial. No one seems to know where Hank Dunston ended up.

Actually there are no records verifying any of this. They are not even sure Lester Moore even existed. There is no record of a Wells Fargo employee named Lester Moore. There was a Lewis Moore who lived in Tombstone but no one seems to know what happened to him. No one even knows who wrote the epitaph on that famous tombstone in Tombstone or when it was written.

The following article explains all this.  I love the final sentence:

http://www.americancowboychronicles.com/2017/06/lester-moore-no-less-no-more.html

“I can’t help but wonder if it’s true, that there was no Moore?”

I now predict that people will remember more about the national shutdown of the economy because of the panic fueled by the fake news than they will the virus itself. That is because not that many people will die and contrary to the hysterical ranting on CNN and other channels, if it comes back it will not be a serious problem.

Granted, some people in CNN will try. They will warn that if we move too fast, this will come back even worse. But, that is absurd. If it does come back, we are far better prepared to deal with it. We now can test in a matter of minutes. Precautions will be taken to protect those most vulnerable. Treatments, including hydroxychloroquine will be readily available. Doctors already have learned how this virus works and how to fight back. It will be nothing like what we experienced over the past month or so.

We have an oversupply of ventilators, personal protective equipment and temporary hospitals. A significant portion of this will be shipped overseas with the rest put into emergency stockpiles.

The coronavirus is so over. All of the trends, both in New York and the rest of the country are rapidly trending down. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Delaware all said they are working together to reopen the region’s economies and other elements. Once that happens the rate of reopening will go faster than the speed at which things shut down. Trump is right about that. There is a pent up demand in this country to get back to normal and only a fool would get in the way of that.

Democrats have made a monumental error. Not all of them, but the CNN wing of the party still dreams that this will be Trump’s Katrina. The problem is that the U.S. handled this better than anywhere else and that is increasingly obvious. Now Trump is going to be leading the way on getting things reopened.

What is CNN going to do? Tell everyone to wait for Fauci? Few will put up with that. None of the worst case scenarios came close to being true. Was this because of the shutdown? We will never know for sure. What we do know is that this was a case study in what our future will look like if Democrats take control. It allowed all of us to realize how vulnerable we are to an out of control government that wants to micro-manage every detail of our lives. They came, we saw and none of us will be as willing to play the game next time. While CNN is slamming Trump for not doing more, a lot of people are going to be far more focused on whether or not this was all necessary.

Another huge problem for Democrats is they can’t blame Trump, for over-reacting, when they have been criticizing him for not doing more. Even the hard core liberal left will have trouble buying that.

There has been one other significant change. People finally came to grips with how much of our economy was outsourced to China. We now know the cost of being dependent on people who are not dependable. The cheap goods were great, but cheap came at a very high cost. A lot of people are going to take an ABC approach, anywhere but China. That is going to hurt a lot of people, including some that will surprise you. Big business, like the NBA, Google, Apple and others went all in on China. A lot of people went all in on China. The day of reckoning is at hand.

This is a period of time we will all remember. We will remember having all sporting events cancelled. We will recall social distancing and the run on toilet paper. But we won’t remember much about COVID 19, because when you think about it, it just didn’t impact that many people. Granted, 22,000 deaths is a lot, but it is less than what happens during a normal flu season. Perhaps people will just say thank God we dodged a bullet. At least some people will do that. Few will want to even consider the alternative, that none of this was really necessary. Ultimately, I don’t think anyone will end up with a lot of blame. But no one wants to go through this again.

Like the tombstone, one has to wonder whether, once again, less might be more. One thing is certain, few of us have any interest in repeating the bizarre world we live in today where cities are deserted and the primary social activity is going to Walmart on a toilet paper hunt.

TDM

VISIONS OF VENEZUELA

Venezuela was a very different place in 1998. The company was very prosperous. Then, Hugo Chavez was elected. It sounded great. He established Bolivarian missions designed to provide public services to improve economic, cultural and social conditions. It seemed to work, for a while. Poverty was cut by about 20% between 1998 and 2008. But Chavez was also taking total control of everything. He was spending money he did not have and artificially suppressing inflation with price controls.

When  oil prices dropped in 2010, Chavez, who had caused many of the problem with his mismanagement declared economic war. That took an economic crisis and made it worse. The economic war started by Chavez has been continued by Nicolas Madura to this day. The result is that in less than 20 years Venezuela went from a highly prosperous country to a complete disaster. Today, in Venezuela, toilet paper is valued more than gold.

We can be sure that many people living in Venezuela in 1998 never dreamed that things could deteriorate so quickly. For the first 10 years, it didn’t seem that bad. Now, everyone knows it is bad, but changing things now will come only at a great cost. Once socialists gain power, they take steps to keep power at all costs. It is a reminder that the government who can give you everything, can take everything away.  The people in Venezuela understand that very well.

Think back to early March. While there were rumors of this coronavirus no one gave it much thought. Even those who predicted widespread contagion did not predict the shutdown of the U.S. Economy. Today, roughly one month later, the government has totally taken over. In Kentucky if you dare to attend church, your license number will be recorded by the State Police and you will be required to quarantine for 14 days. Ninety percent of the country has been shut down. Many of you are forbidden, by law, from going to work. You are absolutely forbidden from operating certain businesses, like a restaurant. The impact on this country is stunning, particularly when this happened so rapidly.

The liberal left and the MSM is demanding that every decision, every where is based solely on fighting COVID 19. They have seized the day. You have more government control of everything today than you imagined possible earlier this year. Every news broadcast is dominated by COVID 19. We are subjected to a daily drumbeat of terrifying reports designed to scare us into submission.

We do not know if the risk was real, but the actions taken as a result of panic are beyond obvious. We live in a different country today and if something does not change soon, the change will become permanent. Quite simply if we do not reverse course, sooner rather than later, we have a genuine risk of looking a lot like Venezuela.

The good news is that there are signs that public opinion is changing. While the MSM still talks about the rising death toll, in hushed tones, the reality is that as of today there have only been 20,061 deaths. Before we had COVID 19, there was an average of 7,452 deaths each day, from a lot of our causes. It is far from certain that all the COVID 19 deaths were caused by COVID 19. There are at least some cases of people already in hospice care who are being included in the COVID 19 statistics. But, by every estimate, the rate of new deaths appears to have peaked and it will start trending down. The number of new hospitalizations is already trending down. The number of people transferred to intensive care is down. The number of people being put on ventilators is down. In the meantime, if you have any other illness, you have been moved to the back of the line. All that matters is COVID 19, because only COVID 19 lets the government take total control of your life. Incredibly some are demanding that Trump expand orders to order the entire country to shut down. That is the problem with this environment. Things that would be considered totally unacceptable a month ago are increasingly part of the new normal.

The good news is that in addition to COVID 19 peaking, the tolerance of the American people is also peaking. Even better news is that our president is Donald Trump, who is focused on opening the country back up and reducing the impact of state and federal government on your lives. Things will change more in the next 30 days than they did in the last 30 days. By the first of June, the country will be largely back on track. Regardless of what the liberal left wants or needs, the COVID 19 crisis is going to end, no matter what anyone does. The ability to scare people into submission will leave as fast as the virus itself.

The question is whether enough people learn from this. We have had an important lesson here. We are more vulnerable than we thought. If we put the wrong people in charge, the next crisis will result in permanent change, the wrong kind of change. We already have people screaming that the funding to deal with this crisis must be re-directed toward illegal aliens. We have demands for widespread, unregulated vote by mail that will guarantee results very similar to Venezuela.

This crisis has given us all a vision of Venezuela. If we do not learn from this, that vision will morph from a nightmare into reality.

TDM

BAD MATH

Many of you have wondered the same thing. Was all this necessary? Was this disease so deadly that we needed to destroy our economy? Did we really need to let the government take control of everything? Sadly, the answer is no. This is all the result of bad math. Or perhaps I should say legitimate math lacking any element of common sense.

The first assumption that was wrong was that 4% of people who get COVID 19 will die. The actual number is closer to 1.8% and in the end by some estimate it may be as low as .066%. Even at 4% about 65 million people would have to be infected to make that happen. The following simple chart shows how this works:

% OF INFECTED PEOPLE WHO DIE      4%           1.8%       .066%

NUMBER OF DEATHS                       2,600,000    2,600,000    2,600,000

# OF PEOPLE INFECTED                 65,000,000 144,444,444  EVERYONE

% OF POPULATION INFECTED             18.57%       41.27%     EVERYONE

 

Let’s assume that every infected person can infect another five people. The following chart shows that it would only take about 13 days before almost everyone is infected.

EVERYONE INFECTS FIVE OTHER PEOPLE
DAY 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
# INFECTED 1 5 25 125 625 3,125 15,625 78,125 390,625 1,953,125 9,765,625 48,828,125 244,140,625

 

That obviously did not happen. But what if one person only infected one other person. This would grow more slowly, but after 29 days if the pattern continued without interruption virtually everyone would be infected.

That also did not happen. Now we aren’t testing everyone, but as of today 459,121 people have tested positive 16,676 died. That means 3.6% of people who tested positive died, which is already less than 4%. There are 1,605,548 people who tested positively world-wide with 95,808 deaths. That would be a death rate of 5.6%.

Let’s assume that only 15% of the people infected are getting tested. That means there are about 3 million people infected in the entire country. The death toll from that, at 4% would be about 122,000 people. Even the CDC now admits that is too high and they are down to about 60,000. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, adds up.

It is far from certain that we will even get to 60,000 deaths. In any event, there was never any chance we would get to the 2.6 million deaths that inspired such drastic action.

It gets worse. This is easy to understand, if you add just a little common sense. We don’t live in a world where everyone connects with everyone else. Instead we live in circles and most of the people we contact are within that circle. Every scientist knows this, which is why we have quarantines. If you isolate all the infected people, the disease doesn’t spread. In addition, in those circles where people have been isolated, not everyone gets infected. For example, on a cruise ship where virtually everyone was tested, about 15% appear to have been infected.

Think of it this way. Imagine yourself at a party with 100 people. They play a game. Everyone is given 1 dollar. One person is selected to be the spy. The spy is authorized to take one dollar from five people. Each of the five people he selects are then authorized to get one dollar from five more people. In theory, if you just rely on math, in about five minutes, everyone’s dollar would be gone. That is because (1 x 5) x 5 is 5, (5 x 5) =25, and (5 x 25) is over 125 or more people then are at the party. In real life it is easy for the first spy to get 5 dollars. It is much harder for the next 5 people selected to be spies to get their 5 dollars because they are competing with other spies and some people no longer have their dollar. It is impossible for the 5 people each of these spies selects to get 5 dollars.  This explains why multi-level marketing strategies and Ponzi schemes are doomed to failure.

The same principle applies to the spread of disease. You can’t infect someone who is already infected. When you add in the fact that people who get it once become immune, there is a hard ceiling to the number of people who can get infected, no matter what you do. The only exception is when you do something stupid like let people travel from circle to circle setting off another cycle of infections. That is why the Trump travel ban was the most important decision made by anyone.

Like I said, bad math. There was never any risk of 2.6 million deaths, yet a lot of people were expecting exactly that. The Governor of the Nation State of California really believed that 50% of the people living in California would get infected. Of course, many of these geniuses believe in global warming predictions based on the same type of modeling accompanied by circular reasoning.

The question is how long we are going to put up with people who make stupid decisions based on bad math that are doing more harm than if they had done nothing at all. The travel bans were necessary. Beefing up the hospitals and ventilators to treat the sick was very necessary, shutting down the entire economy not so much.

TDM

 

 

DELAY OF GAME

A lot of people want to delay getting the country back open. That is increasingly clear.  The question is why? Some of them may legitimately fear that returning to work too soon will risk this happening again. Others may feel they gain from the status quo. Regardless of the reason, we are being exposed to extremely misleading data.

Perhaps the most misleading statistic is the most important statistic, the number of COVID 19 deaths. A death can be reported as the result of COVID 19 even if the person was never tested. This has been documented from numerous sources.

The result is that we are inundated with two daily counts, the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Both may be highly inflated. Testing results have accelerated rapidly and there is no longer a backlog. In addition, the number of people being tested has skyrocketed. Obviously, the more tests you do, the more positive results.

We have already described how the number of deaths is being exaggerated. But there are statistics that you no longer see and those may really matter. One is the number of new hospital admissions. Another is the number of new patients transferred to ICU and the number of people put on ventilators. The CDC stopped reporting those numbers. Where they are reported, as in New York, they are dropping rapidly.

In addition, a lot of people currently on ventilators are being withdrawn. Some of them will die. That also increases the death count, but it does not necessarily mean more people are becoming seriously ill.

That begs the question why? Who benefits from this delay and who is harmed?

First the long list of people who benefit from delay of game.

Congress, particularly Democratic members of congress, benefit. They view this pandemic as the opportunity of a lifetime to spend money on pet projects they could never get approved in normal times. Some of them openly admit this.

Big business benefits, because they are hoping for new stimulus programs aimed at helping them more than people laid off from work.

The MSM benefits because this news story is driving up ratings.

Opponents of Donald Trump benefit because it increases the potential for this to have a negative impact on him.

Manufacturers making a fortune making masks and ventilators benefit. That will all stop immediately once the country re-opens.

The experts on TV, the leaders in the CDC etc. all benefit because today they are powerful and influential people who are constantly in demand. That will all end along with the pandemic.

Joe Biden probably gains the most, because when you are way behind, ending the game is the worst-case scenario. Just ask Bernie Sanders about that.

Now the list of people who are harmed.

All those people who lost their jobs.

All those small business owners who were put out of business.

The American taxpayer who, at some point and in some way is going to have to pay for all this.

The good news is that the while the delay of game tactics are still working as of now, the end is near. Ultimately one can only delay the obvious for a limited period. With each passing day, it is becoming more obvious that further delay has already reached the point where the risk far exceeds any potential reward.

Easter Sunday will be a big day. It may be the biggest day for COVID 19 deaths, or it may be the day when people start celebrating the resurrection of the U.S. economy. Either way remember that tomorrow, Good Friday, is the darkest day on the Christian calendar. It marks the day Christ was crucified. But less than three days later, with the resurrection, everything changed. We just may see something very similar this weekend. We will certainly see something similar sooner than you can even imagine.

He is Risen! Any Christian knows that the pain of Good Friday only lasted for a short while, but the joy of the resurrection lasts forever.

Happy Easter

 

TDM

WHAT SCIENCE?

Democrats and the MSM chorus constantly hammers Republicans and particularly Trump and Pence for failing to believe in science. This is similar to the way many agnostics assume anyone with faith is naïve and relies on fairy tales rather than science. The reality is exactly the opposite. It is atheists and agnostics who believe things that are mathematically impossible.

The scientific experts the MSM demanded make every important decision got almost everything wrong. Here are the real facts and they are devastating for those who think they follow the science while believing in things that are absurd. Following are just some of the major things reported by the MSM that are being proven wrong.

Ventilators are essential.

There are many reports, from various sources, that ventilators may do more harm than good. Doctors routinely put people with COVID 19 on ventilators assuming this would help with breathing. But these patients were not actually gasping for air or showing other signs of lung impairment. Doctors have learned that non-invasive breathing aids may work better and reduce the risk of death or permanent cognitive and respiratory damage.

These reports have been coming in from all over the world. They are just now being recognized here in the U.S. The following report from Yahoo News is an example, but there are many other similar reports out there:

https://sports.yahoo.com/doctors-think-ventilators-more-harm-162500782.html

“Dr. Scott Weingart, a critical care physician in New York, said he thinks patients do “much, much worse” on ventilators than non-invasive devices. “I would do everything in my power to avoid intubating patients,

Hydroxychloroquine is worthless and extremely high risk.

Many doctors say it is unproven whether or not it cures Covid 19. That may be the wrong question. A better question is whether it helps people recover from COVID 19 and whether the risk is greater than the reward. This drug has been used since the 1950s. I was given this drug while I was in Vietnam. There are side effects, as with any drug, but they are well known because of clinical trials taking place over many years. Trump is exactly right when he says we know the downsides and we can live with them and it just might work. There are reports from all over the world that it does work. It doesn’t cure COVID 19, but it helps stop the damage to the body and speeds the recovery. There are more and more reports from the U.S. that it works. A black female Democratic politician from Michigan says she was seriously ill until she learned about hydroxychloroquine from, gasp, Donald Trump. She had to beg her doctor to use it, because the Governor of Michigan tried to ban it. She finally got the drug, almost immediately started to feel better and has now recovered.

The only way to stop this disease is to allow government to micromanage our economy.

The government has been very successful at destroying our economy. Now they are trying to make up for it by spending money they don’t have. Democrats are trying desperately to turn this into a redistribution of wealth, failing to understand that the people they forced to stay home are the ones who should be the first and possibly only ones in line for relief.

It is far from certain that this worked. It is clear that the disease spread very rapidly, in predictable areas like New York. The shelter in place guidelines may have been very important in places like New York. It is less certain that shutting down 90% of the economy was necessary or effective. If you listen only to the doctors, none of us would ever do anything. That would reduce the risk of some disease but increase the risk of dying from boredom.

Trump failed to realize the danger and warn everyone.

This is frankly absurd. In a blatant attempt to blame everything on Trump the MSM has only exposed its own ignorance. Nothing would have been gained if Trump had told people we were about to be invaded by a virus that could kill millions of people. In addition we now know that this prediction was way off.  If he had said this was coming, we can’t stop it and millions will die the only thing that would have done is caused panic. Trump did exactly what he should have done. He did not over-react with his public statements and privately behind the scenes he got the entire federal government in action.

Trump cut funding for the CDC n and disbanded critical agencies.

He did do some restructuring, but the same people were still in charge with the same responsibilities and authorities. If anything his mistake was not replacing Obama and Bush holdovers. It is clear that the CDC was totally incapable of handling the testing. They told Trump they would handle the testing and they weren’t actually capable of doing that at all. Trump actually showed great leadership by letting the governors handle their own states and putting the federal government in a position to facilitate without trying to micromanage. That is why so much was done in such a short period of time.

Trump ignored warnings from doctors and scientists.

The famous memo was from Peter Navarro the top White House trade adviser. He is not a doctor. People like Dr. Fauci were not predicting this. In addition, what Navarro wanted was a travel ban on travel from China and Trump did exactly that.

We are very close to the point where everyone will realize the truth. If Trump had taken advice from people like the idiots on CNN or even the CDC, things would be even worse. It is increasingly obvious that the number of deaths will be far less than these people predicted, as recently as one week ago. If Trump lets them make decisions now the country will be lucky to reopen for Christmas. We should all rely on science, but we should also recognize the difference between scientific facts and scientific models. For example, every global warming model has been proven to be wildly inaccurate. If the forecasts by brilliant scientists like Al Gore were accurate the people in New York would be pleading for canoes to paddle to the hospital ship. There also would be a worldwide shortage of boats and sunscreen because of all the people bathing in those warm arctic waters.

TDM

WHETHER WARNING!

The only thing certain right now is that the IMHE forecasts were all wrong by significant margins. That is actually good news. If people actually listened to the daily briefings by the White House, we were told these were worst-case scenarios and we hoped to do much better. We are doing much better.

The percent of new cases across the country is starting to trend down. That does not mean there are no new cases, it just means the rate of growth is lower. When you combine that with a massive increase in testing, this is very good news.

The rate of new deaths in New York has changed significantly. It appears to have leveled off and it is likely to start trending down. This same trend is happening nationally. Although there are places where things is going to get worse before they get better, New York is so much larger than every where else that when New York improves, everything improves.

Following are the actual charts. As always, todays numbers will increase significantly.

NEW CASES NEW CASES (PERCENT) DEATHS DEATH (PERCENT)
DATE US NEW YORK OTHER NEW YORK OTHER US NEW YORK OTHER NEW YORK OTHER
6-Apr 347,384 130,689 216,695 37.62% 62.38% 10,282 4,758 5,524 46.28% 53.72%
5-Apr 336,537 122,031 214,506 36.26% 63.74% 9,611 4,159 5,452 43.27% 56.73%
4-Apr 308,812 113,704 195,108 36.82% 63.18% 8,401 3,565 4,836 42.44% 57.56%
3-Apr 276,508 102,863 173,645 37.20% 62.80% 7,381 2,935 4,446 39.76% 60.24%
2-Apr 243,229 92,472 150,757 38.02% 61.98% 5,794 2,373 3,421 40.96% 59.04%
1-Apr 207,637 83,712 123,925 40.32% 59.68% 4,601 1,941 2,660 42.19% 57.81%
31-Mar 186,633 75,795 110,838 40.61% 59.39% 3,833 1,550 2,283 40.44% 59.56%
30-Mar 163,131 68,369 94,762 41.91% 58.09% 3,146 1,224 1,922 38.91% 61.09%
29-Mar 141,125 59,513 81,612 42.17% 57.83% 2,458 965 1,493 39.26% 60.74%
28-Mar 123,311 52,318 70,993 42.43% 57.57% 2,211 728 1,483 32.93% 67.07%
27-Mar 100,390 44,635 55,755 44.46% 55.54% 1,543 519 1,024 33.64% 66.36%
26-Mar 83,545 37,258 46,287 44.60% 55.40% 1,201 385 816 32.06% 67.94%

 

DEATH RATE ANALYSIS
TOTAL DEATHS NEW DEATHS  (PERCENT OF CHANGE)
DATE US NEW YORK OTHER US NEW YORK OTHER US NEW YORK OTHER
6-Apr 10,282 4,758 5,524 671 599 72 6.98% 14.40% 1.32%
5-Apr 9,611 4,159 5,452 1,210 594 616 14.40% 16.66% 12.74%
4-Apr 8,401 3,565 4,836 1,020 630 390 13.82% 21.47% 8.77%
3-Apr 7,381 2,935 4,446 1,587 562 1,025 27.39% 23.68% 29.96%
2-Apr 5,794 2,373 3,421 1,193 432 761 25.93% 22.26% 28.61%
1-Apr 4,601 1,941 2,660 768 391 377 20.04% 25.23% 16.51%
31-Mar 3,833 1,550 2,283 687 326 361 21.84% 26.63% 18.78%
30-Mar 3,146 1,224 1,922 688 259 429 27.99% 26.84% 28.73%
29-Mar 2,458 965 1,493 247 237 10 11.17% 32.55% 0.67%
28-Mar 2,211 728 1,483 668 209 459 43.29% 40.27% 44.82%
27-Mar 1,543 519 1,024 342 134 208 28.48% 34.81% 25.49%

 

The MSM continues to distort data and make things seem worse. For example, headlines scream that the U.S. is now the epicenter of the pandemic. Actually, the U.S. is indisputably handling this better than anywhere else. We just have more people and more testing so our results are higher. But if one looks at the per-capita rates, particularly the per-capita death rates, we are doing very well.

There has been a lot of concern regarding the rate of testing. But, there is no indication that this had any significant impact on the mortality rate. There was one media report of a woman who died waiting for her test result. They just failed to add that she tested negative for COVID 19 when the results were produced.

This reminds me of Hurricane Katrina. After the storm moved on, thousands of people were stranded in New Orleans which had waited too long to evacuate. Many were literally stranded on roof tops. The U.S. Air National Guard and the Coast Guard launched the greatest rescue operation in world history. They set up an emergency operation center at the Super Dome. New crews filmed the devastation but they failed to notice all the helicopters flying right over them. While there were numerous complaints about shortages of food and water in reality no one died because of this. There was plenty of food and water pre-positioned in New Orleans including at the Super Dome and the Convention Center. The media failed to tell you that too. Instead, even today, they pretend that George W.Bush botched Katrina. In reality, the opposite was true. The Federal response literally saved the day.

This time the federal government produced results that are nothing short of miraculous. Even Governor Cuomo admitted today that the temporary hospital built by the federal government and the hospital ship in New York harbor were essential to helping New York cope. Ventilators were sent to those who needed them and re-routed from those who were hoarding for a day that never came. I have seen no verified reports of any patients who died because of lack of access to a ventilator. That is remarkable when one considers the size of this country and the scope of the problem.

Now, we move to the next stage. This is “whether” or not to re-open the country. The pandemic is not over yet, but the end is definitely in sight. It is time to start planning on getting this country back to work. There will be great resistance to any date set by Trump, because everything proposed by Trump is resisted. But his critics would be wise to note that Trump is far better at feeling the nation’s pulse than the talking heads who live in the New York or Washington, D.C. bubbles.

Here is something everyone needs to understand. We have all be pretty much self-isolated since March 17. That means even if you, or anyone else had COVID 19 or got COVID 19 before March 22, you are now immune. The standard quarantine period is 14 days, you and almost everyone else have been quarantined for close to three weeks. The primary people who may have been exposed to COVID 19 during that period have been first responders and health care workers. They are being tested all the time and anyone tested positive is being quarantined. This was the whole point of the mitigation strategy announced by the White House. The President’s 14 day plan was announced on March 17th. Now, we are seeing signs it worked. Remember, most of the statistics you see today came from people exposed to the virus two weeks ago. When the country does go back to work, it will be a remarkably safer place than it was on March 17th.

One final comment. On March 18th, the Washington Post reported that there were 62,000 ventilators in the U.S. They estimated we would need 500,000. Fortunately, that prediction was way off. In the meantime, we have been producing and purchasing ventilators. That of course does not stop the usual suspects from screaming that there are not enough ventilators. Keep in mind that the people purchasing or requesting ventilators sometimes show the same degree of logic and common sense displayed by people hoarding toilet paper. This is what President Trump meant when he said a major challenge was to get ventilators to the people who really need them, not necessarily ventilators to everyone who is afraid they might need them in the future.

Everything will look better by the end of the week. The rain appears to be over. The sun is coming out. It is going to warm up rapidly. It is also going to warm up politically. One of the big fights will be whether or not it is safe to go back to work. It may just be the most important fight of all. This is your “whether warning.”

TDM

IMHE

After I wrote my blog this morning, I did some more research.  My observations were so at odds with what is being reported that I was concerned. Well to my surprise I just discovered this article which basically reached the same conclusions:

IMHE Coronavirus Model the White House is Relying on is GARBAGE – It Predicted 121,000 Americans Hospitalized by Yesterday; Actual Number?… 31,142

I did not address the hospitalization prediction, but if this is accurate, and it looks accurate, then the hospitalization rate is about 1/4th of what was predicted. This is consistent with what Gov. Cuomo was saying today. It is at least nice to learn that I am not the only one who reached this conclusion.

TDM

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

Things are obviously bad in New York. That does not mean it is going to get bad everywhere. While Governor Cuomo says this is coming to a neighborhood near you, that seems unlikely. It is obvious that New York skews every statistic.  Let me show you exactly what I mean.

NEW CASES NEW CASES (PERCENT) DEATHS DEATH (PERCENT)
DATE US NEW YORK OTHER NEW YORK OTHER US NEW YORK OTHER NEW YORK OTHER
1-Apr 225,998 92,381 133,617 40.88% 59.12% 5,311 2,373 2,938 44.68% 55.32%
1-Apr 207,637 83,712 123,925 40.32% 59.68% 4,601 1,941 2,660 42.19% 57.81%
31-Mar 186,633 75,795 110,838 40.61% 59.39% 3,833 1,550 2,283 40.44% 59.56%
30-Mar 163,131 68,369 94,762 41.91% 58.09% 3,146 1,224 1,922 38.91% 61.09%
29-Mar 141,125 59,513 81,612 42.17% 57.83% 2,458 965 1,493 39.26% 60.74%
28-Mar 123,311 52,318 70,993 42.43% 57.57% 2,211 728 1,483 32.93% 67.07%
27-Mar 100,390 44,635 55,755 44.46% 55.54% 1,543 519 1,024 33.64% 66.36%
26-Mar 83,545 37,258 46,287 44.60% 55.40% 1,201 385 816 32.06% 67.94%

 

Since March 26th.New York is responsible for about 40% of the cases, which doesn’t appear to have changed very much. Since we are increasing testing all over the country, one would expect the number of new claims from outside New York to become a bigger percentage of the total. That is not happening. If anything, the opposite is happening.

While Governor Cuomo says the rest of the country will look like New York, the rest of the country is actually looking better than New York and the difference is increasing, not decreasing. This caused me to look again at New York and a map of where the cases are located. Almost all of the activity is coming from major metropolitan areas like Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany and the New York area. The more rural parts of New York are reporting results similar to the rest of the country.

The death rate in New York is also skewing results for the entire country. This is actually good news, because it may mean that all the projections are off:

DEATH RATE ANALYSIS
TOTAL DEATHS NEW DEATHS  (PERCENT OF CHANGE)
DATE US NEW YORK OTHER US NEW YORK OTHER US NEW YORK OTHER
2-Apr 5,311 2,373 2,938 710 432 278 15.43% 22.26% 10.45%
1-Apr 4,601 1,941 2,660 768 391 377 20.04% 25.23% 16.51%
31-Mar 3,833 1,550 2,283 687 326 361 21.84% 26.63% 18.78%
30-Mar 3,146 1,224 1,922 688 259 429 27.99% 26.84% 28.73%
29-Mar 2,458 965 1,493 247 237 10 11.17% 32.55% 0.67%
28-Mar 2,211 728 1,483 668 209 459 43.29% 40.27% 44.82%
27-Mar 1,543 519 1,024 342 134 208 28.48% 34.81% 25.49%

 

These numbers are as of right now; they will probably be higher by end of day.

Today Governor Cuomo said he expected New York to peak in 7 days. Previously he was saying it would peak in 30 days. He admitted that the number of discharges from hospitals in New York is higher than the number of new admissions. New York appears to be leveling off and may even have already peaked.

It appears that all of the dire predictions are from a model developed by Bill Gates. It is a truly frightening model, but it is only a model. While we should not assume that happy days are here again, we can see that the worst-case scenarios being trumped in the press and elsewhere are far from certain. Dr. Fauci went from predicting millions of deaths, to 200,000 to maybe 100,000 if things don’t go well. In order words, he really doesn’t know because no one has enough data to evaluate.

There are a lot of people saying we are expected to trend like Italy. New York is trending like Italy. But New York, while arrogant enough to think they represent the entire country, is still just New York.

We are doing a ton of tests and so we should expect more positive results. There are wide-spread reports of doctors prescribing hydroxychloroquine and getting great results. If that is true, it should be showing up in a declining number of new deaths.

At least some people have a vested interested in making the COVID 19 virus look worse rather than better. Some sadly want this to get worse so they can blame Trump. Others may even be making money off the situation. In addition there are politicians who are getting a lot of free air time that will go away when this is over.

This reminds me of when I visited a lab that produced insect repellent. One of the top executives for that company was excited to report that because of weather conditions they predicted a lot more mosquitoes to hatch during the coming year. They gleefully expected a banner year for insect repellent sales. To him, that was great news. The rest of us, not so much. There are winners and loser for every situation good and bad.

We will know a lot more by next week. We can expect deteriorating results from places like Detroit, but that may be offset by improving numbers in New York. We will soon know. Remember that ultimately the number of positive tests matters, but not nearly as much as the number of deaths.

TDM

Y 2K

Do you remember Y 2k? That was when the world, or at least the computer driven portion of the world, was scheduled to end. The problem was that a lot of computer programs had been written with the assumption that all years started with 19. That was true from 1901 to 1999, but suddenly around 1995 people realized, with a gasp, that the year after 1999 was 2000. Virtually everyone predicted disaster. The company I worked for set up an entire Y 2k computer task force, gave them a huge budget and set them up in a special conference room. That task force worked full speed from 1997 through the end of 1999. No one thought it was enough. People were certain that New Years Day 2000 would be a disaster.

None of us knew what would happen. Some of the predictions were truly catastrophic. I was assigned to manage our risk management response and had our entire claim department on standby to handle developments. We started by watching the New Years Celebration in Sydney Australia. Nothing happened, other than the usual mistakes made by people who celebrated a little too hard. Then we watched New Years travel across the globe. We were very interested in what happened in London. Again, nothing. Finally, New Year’s Day arrived in New York City. Still Nothing. Chicago, nothing. Denver, nothing. By this time, it was obvious to everyone that Y 2k was a big dud. Now perhaps all the planning to prevent disaster really worked, or more likely the problem was a bit over-hyped in the first place. Regardless of why, the what was more than obvious by the time 2000 approached San Francisco. I thanked all the staff that had waiting so patiently to deal with disaster, and we all went down to the waterfront and watched the fireworks over San Francisco Bay.

Perhaps I am wrong, but this is starting to feel like Y 2k all over again. Oh, the virus is here, and a lot of people are getting sick, but, at least in the U.S., this is starting to look a lot less scary. So, I started looked at some facts, ignored by most of the media.

FACT Number one.  Not that many people have the virus.

Here in the U.S. the testing was slow, so the only people being tested were seriously ill or considered at risk. Yet, many reports show that 85% of these people were testing negative. About 36% of people tested in New York turned up positive, but New York is New York. No place else tested anywhere near this number.

A lot of people assumed and some still assume that there are all these people out there who have the virus with no symptoms. We don’t know that, of course, because they aren’t being tested. Some people think South Korea tested everyone, but that isn’t close to true. South Korea has over 50 million people. It tested 250,000. They ended up with 9,786 people testing positive. That is about 4%.

The Diamond Princess tested everyone and 15% tested positive. If there is any place on this planet where a virus is likely to spread rapidly, it is a cruise ship.

Here is California, we are only testing people who are ill and who are considered to be at risk. So far, about 8% of people are testing positive.

FACT Number Two.  We are just now starting to get real test data.

We have done over 1,000,000 tests and we have about 150,000 positive results. That looks like 15% but remember that about half of them are from New York which skews the results. In addition, the test results were coming in slow. It often took 6 or 7 days to get a result. Now we have a lot of tests that return results in 45 minutes and some new tests give results almost instantly. Less than 5 minutes to test positive, 15 minutes to prove negative.

Fact Number Three. There really aren’t that many deaths, anywhere, other than places like Spain and Italy.

Let’s face it. Even if the spread of the disease became just as bad here as it did in Italy, we would be unlikely to lose any many people. Our death rate is 9 per million. In Italy it is 192 per million. Of course, they have socialized medicine which is obviously so superior to our health care system.

As of now, we have had about 3,000 deaths. While this is likely to grow, it just seems like the predicted 100,000 deaths is a bit of a reach.

Fact Number Four. There are already signs the spread is slowing down.

Even in New York the rate of hospitalization is dropping rapidly. On Sunday it was estimated to double every 2 days. Now it is expected to double every 4 days.  A lot of people are predicting our hospitals will be overwhelmed, but so far that hasn’t happened. That is why ABC had to show video of a hospital in Italy, it couldn’t find good enough video in the U.S.

No one knows, but a couple of things seem beyond obvious. If only 15% of people who have serious symptoms test positive, why on earth would anyone expect a high percentage of people who have no symptoms to test positive. There is no evidence of that happening anywhere in the world. South Korea appears to have tested more than anyone and a whopping 4% are positive. Here is California, although we only test people with serious symptoms, only 8% are positive. Do we really believe that there is this large mass of people out there who really have this virus and don’t know it? I am not sure I buy that.

Our response is moving at the speed of light. In early March no one would have predicted the entire country would shut down like this. Yet, here we are. We already have vaccines; we have found several drugs that appear to be working and more are on the way. Do we really think none of this had an impact?

I went back and looked at the early studies and all had one thing in common. They assumed that huge percentage of the population would get the virus and that the death rate was about 4%. If both those assumptions were true, we would get about 2 million deaths. But are they true? Do you see any evidence of that? Does anyone have any evidence of that?

We will soon know. Like I said, feels like Y 2k in a lot of ways.

TDM