BAD SCIENCE, WORSE MATH!

DSome people in government appear desperate to continue controlling our lives. The method of choice is requiring people to wear masks, non-medical grade, proven to be ineffective, even for people who have been vaccinated. So how do they get people to continuing doing things that don’t work and border on ridiculous. The answer is to scare them. You scare them with the “science.

There is no science showing that wearing a non-medical mask in an uncontrolled environment accomplishes anything. There are studies showing that if people sneeze, violently, while wearing a mask, it travels a shorter distance. But studies comparing places with strict mask mandates and places with no mask mandates show very little difference. The only way to truly test something like this is to use a carefully conducted scientific study that compares results with two similar groups with the only difference being who wears masks all the time and who doesn’t. Real scientific studies require special controls, usually a double blind study, and careful measurement of results. No one has come close to doing that regarding masks. I personally think the only thing masks accomplished was to have people stay home and avoid mingling with other people at all. That is a good way to prevent getting any communicable disease, like a cold, but it is impossible for society to function this way for very long without extreme economic effects. You know, like what is happening now. Then, when people finally do mingle, the disease just starts spreading again. That is exactly what happened with the Spanish Flu, but those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.  Delaying the spread of COVID, until we had a vaccine, arguably worked, but now that we have a vaccine, it is time to return to normal.

Some people want everyone to continue wearing masks, all the time, even if vaccinated. The facts do not support this. Fewer people are getting hospitalized from COVID and fewer are dying, so they must focus on something else.  Oh, how about the percent of positive tests. Then this number is extrapolated to produce really scary numbers. That is where the bad math comes in.

Let me explain. I will use the COVID 19 dashboard for California.

https://covid19.ca.gov/state-dashboard/

As of today, there have been 3,748,365 total cases with 63,598 deaths. There have been 71,458,534 tests with 130,709 tests. There have been 42,782,508 vaccines administered.  If you do simple math, you see that the total positivity rate is 5.25%, for the entire population, and at worst that is now 3.6%  (The website says 3.7%). Then this is used to justify desperate things, like LA county making everyone wear masks again, even if vaccinated. The problem is that these numbers are very misleading. The only question is whether this is deliberate distortion or mere incompetence. There is obviously a big difference regarding the number of people being tested, who is being tested and why they are being tested. For example, they did 130,709 tests today.  Earlier this year, they were testing over 400,000 people per day. The number of people being tested has dropped significantly, for a good reason. They used to require tests of almost everyone. For example, if you had to get a medical procedure, you got a test, if you had to travel you got a test, etc. Put another way, earlier this year they were testing over 800 people per 100,000 people.  Everyone knows this. There used to be test sites all over the place. Now, not so much.

There is a reason fewer people are being tested. It is because they now mostly test people who are unvaccinated or who have symptoms. Also because hospitalizations and deaths, are thankfully way down. Even unvaccinated people are tested less often.

So, let’s look at that math. As recently as March we were still testing about 450 people per 100,000 or about 300,000 tests. Now we are testing between about 200 people per 100k or about 120,000 per day.  So, if the positivity rate is 3.7%, let’s use the state estimate, that means there were about 125,702 people tested and 4,651 of them tested positive. But, if they had tested at the same level they were doing in March, they would have tested about 300,000 people yet the results would probably be about the same or say a little higher, about 5,000.  That would be a positivity rate of about 1.7%, assuming you were testing the same way you did in March. Put another way, we were testing 450 per 100k but now are testing only about 200 people per 100,000. In order to determine the positivity rate per 100,000, you should take that into consideration. This means the positivity rate per 100k is not rising, it is falling. Instead of 5.4 cases per 100k it should be 5.4 cases per 200k, which would be 2.7 per 100k.  Oops, crisis over.

This is verified by the more important data, hospitalized patients, and deaths.  The number of hospitalized patients was about 20,000 in February, today it is about 2,077 or about 10 percent of that.  And this number has not changed much since April. There were 46 more patients today and this is an increase of about 2.3%.  The number of new cases is increasing very slightly, 0.1% and the number of deaths is increasing very slightly by about 0.1% per day.  The point being that the numbers with the least credibility are being used to scare people into taking action proven to be ineffective.

It is extremely critical during an emergency, that people can trust the information provided by our government officials. In this case the information being presented is highly misleading and it ignores other data that paints a very different picture. I am not sure which is worse; if this is done intentionally or if this is mere incompetence. The only thing certain is that it is extremely misleading and it is dangerous. The problem is that the next time there is a crisis, people simply may not trust the government.

The MSM should wake up to this and start spending a couple of minutes studying the data. I am not a scientist or a doctor. These numbers are beyond obvious, and they are readily available. It doesn’t take a genius to at least ask pointed questions. That is particularly true when the lockdowns and mask mandates have been so economically devastating. In addition, there are other tests showing that for some people wearing a mask is actually dangerous. That is particularly true if people keep wearing the same mask, without ever cleaning it. People have avoided getting crucial medical tests because of unnecessary lockdowns. I still think more people may die from COVID restrictions than from COVID itself.  At a minimum, if this disease is going to control our lives, people ought to be asking serious questions and demanding honest and serious answers.  Instead, anyone who even pretends to challenge the status quo is quickly silenced. Today the White House admitted asking Facebook to stop anyone from spreading misinformation. Misinformation is anyone who disagrees with them. That is remarkable when much of the information coming from this White House regarding COVID has been discredited.

It is long past time to stop making decisions on bad science and worse math.

TDM

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