Now, I don’t want to get into the whole college campus “triggering” and “safe space” kind of thing, but in deference to the curious reader whose parents clearly dropped him on his head at a very young age, there will be some opinion involved going forward. But not nearly as much as you might expect from your average opinion columnist because my conclusions are always based on fact.
That said, I can’t tell you how delightful it’s been to see so many of you add news stories to these reports that clearly demonstrate you’ve been enjoying some critical thinking yourselves! Many more of you have noticed the possibilities we’ve been discussing for some time are starting to come to pass.
To wit, New York’s Governor made a fascinating comment at a Thursday press conference. Having tested 3,000 random grocery store shopping New Yorkers, they discovered that 14 percent of these never-sick folks had coronavirus antibodies. To quote Andrew Cuomo, “Extrapolating the data, it’s likely 2.7 million people in the state have been infected, with a death rate of 0.5 percent.”
And he can “extrapolate the data” because 3,000 is a statistically significant sample size.
So, if you add the asymptomatic and mild cases into the mix as New York just did, with the exception of its effect on senior citizens, COVID-19 is only marginally worse than the annual flu.
Then, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin made me watch Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker’s 2:30 Thursday press conference, which begs the question, aside from getting him elected, what did I ever do to him? Though I will say that J. B. and his minions finally discussed many of the continuing collaborative topics featured here.
He noted the New York study, he said the Illinois curve and mortality rate were flattening, and he admitted that coronavirus casualties primarily consisted of the elderly. But then he inexplicably extended the patently unconstitutional shelter-in-place order – with slight modifications – for another month!
If we know the disease isn’t that deadly, and we know exactly who it kills, It’s beyond baffling that he could come to any other conclusion than to move to protect the elderly, and, within the bounds of reason, reopen the state.
And if we were smart enough to implement the kind of social services required to keep our senior citizens safe, some not-so-simple math says the already fewer than expected hospitalizations would further drop by half, completely sparing our medical professionals.
But no! Pritzker’s listening to his always fearful “experts” who use overly complex worst-case computer models while they can’t see that nearby tree, much less the entire forest. It reminds me of the story about the guy with the hammer who saw everything as a nail.
Then something else dawned on me during a discussion with one of the smartest attorneys I know. Borne of a bizarre messiah complex, these elected officials and epidemiologists have utterly fallen in love with their new power. They so desperately want to play the hero that they’re willing to destroy the state to “save” it.
It reminds of a lifeguard I encountered at Morse Avenue Beach in my youth. During that record heat summer, I’d take my border collie down to a breakwater to cool off. But one day, a lifeguard sprinted over 400 yards of vacant rocky sand just to tell me that dogs weren’t allowed on the beach.
The moral of that story is, if we cede our power to people who’ve never had real power, they will use it without any consideration of the consequences.
The truth is, people die every day! As I explained to Mayor Irvin, the CDC reports an astounding 99,000 Americans die of secondary hospital infections like MRSA EVERY BLEEPIN’ YEAR. But where’s all the fear and loathing? Where are the demands that hospitals be shut down – or at least be forced to clean up their act?
Meanwhile the U.S. COVID-19 toll likely won’t even reach that lofty annual number.
Yes! Almost 800 people under 50 have died of the virus, but 3,000 of that age group died from last year’s flu. Yet, the Courier-News is morbidly counting down every single Elgin coronavirus death, while completely ignoring the three citizens that die of other causes every single day.
To put this in perspective, most of us completely ignore the 1 in 6 chance of dying of obesity or 1 in 7 chance of dying of cancer, but we’re freaking out about a 1 in 200 possibility of dying of COVID-19?
Comedian Bill Maher called it “panic porn” and the media, and particularly newspapers, should be ashamed of themselves for so shamelessly preying on peoples’ fear in an effort to regain a relevancy they’ve long since lost.
When the COVID-19 smoke finally clears – and it will – a lot of elected officials are going to lose their jobs over an inexcusable exaggeration they’ve applied to feed their insatiable need for power and control.
With all that out of the way, let’s get back to the numbers:
Date Cases % Increase N Cases N Tested Prevalence Deaths
4/10 17,887 8.7 1,445 6,670 1 in 4.6 596
4/11 19,180 7.2 1,293 5,252 1 in 4.1 677
4/12 20,852 8.7 1,672 7,956 1 in 4.75 720
4/13 22,025 5.6 1,173 5,033 1 in 4.3 794
4/14 23,247 5.5 1,222 4,848 1 in 4 868
4/15 24,593 5.7 1,346 6,313 1 in 4.7 948
4/16 25,733 4.8 1,180 5,660 1 in 4.8 1,072
4/17 27,575 7.1 1,842 7,574 1 in 4.1 1,134
4/18 29,160 5.7 1,585 7,241 1 in 4.5 1,259
4/19 30,357 4.1 1,197 5,914 1 in 5 1,290
4/20 31,508 3.8 1,151 5,040 1 in 4.4 1,349
4/21 33,059 4.7 1,551 6,639 1 in 4.3 1,468
4/22 35,108 6.1 2,049 9,350 1 in 4.6 1,565
4/23 36,934 5.2 1,826 8,969 1 in 4.9 1,688
Illinois has tested 173,316, the prevalence is doing its tight range thing, we’re still in sixth place nationally, and our other indicators are lining up exactly as we’d expect them to.
But the best new news is our second-best testing day led to just our third highest new case day. Those are the kinds of disconnects we’d expect to see as we approach the disease’s downside.
The next best measure is the still-flat mortality rate. We did tick up to 4.5 percent yesterday, but that fits right in with the last eight data points; 4.5, 4.4, 4.4, 4.3, 4.3, 4.3, 4.1, 4.2. Put more simply, it’s not popping up nearly as much as it once did.
The daily new case 5.2 percentage increase tells us, once again that, despite our recent record case numbers, the disease is not accelerating. Given that testing surge, I’d really like to know how many cases are mild to asymptomatic, but that data ain’t available.
But before we go, I want to remind that the “experts” and their essentially useless computer models called for 26 million California cases in eight short weeks, 40,000 acute Chicago hospitalization in “a few weeks,” and New York City said they’d need 58,000 hospital beds, but then it turned out to be just 14,500.
Again, it’s called critical thinking, and my core readers and I would love to see a whole lot more of you give it a shot!
Tomorrow, we’ll discuss how the shutdown toll will be far worse than any havoc a virus might wreak!