“Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.” – Ronald Reagan
I know, I know! This column was supposed to be another of The First Ward’s legendary election recaps, but tackling the absurdly abject fear and stupidity surrounding our lessening plague is so much more important right now that we’ll have to delay that political endeavor.
Once again, let’s commence with a review of the applicable truths we’ve previously discussed!
The first one is, though herd thinning pandemics are an evolutionary safeguard against a genetic weakening of a species, a contagion that kills its generally healthy hosts is an evolutionary maladaptation.
I hope that no further explanation of that axiom is required, but if it is, please stop reading here and promise me that you won’t reproduce.
Next! Our former 1 in 25 prevalence tumbling to a current 1 in 10 can only be the result of one, or a combination, of these four possibilities:
- A higher percent of people with symptoms are getting tested
- The new rapid tests are generating a higher number of false positives
- Positive results are being counted more than once
- COVID-19 has mutated into something more contagious
And as it turns out, numbers 2, 3, and particularly 4, are, indeed, vastly contributing to what’s now being referred to as a coronavirus spike.
Per our last Coronavirus Report, Abbott’s new 15-minute rapid tests are quite accurate for those who have COVID symptoms, but they generate too many false positives for those who don’t. Add that hospitals and schools don’t have the capacity to report all negative rapid test results and you get a major shift in the prevalence.
Again, the “prevalence” is the number of tests it takes to get one positive result.
We also covered how one negative test result can be counted as many as four separate times, and how COVID sufferers tend to get a second test to confirm an initial positive, which is counted as two separate infections.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better! A reader encouraged me to investigate the statistically unsound proposition that, if a potential testee leaves the line because it ain’t moving fast enough, it’s tallied as a positive result. I almost laughed and told her she was nuts, but then I remembered we live in Illinois. And sure enough, that’s exactly what the State is doing.
How many times have I told you that truth is far stranger than fiction?
But the biggest factor this prevalence shift, by far, is, just as the Italian and French doctors told us back in mid-May, the disease has evolved into something much more contagious, but far less lethal. And every last flippin’ number in our vast statistical arsenal backs that up.
Here’s how that evolutionary dynamic, or what epidemiologists call “mutational drift” works. Given their simplicity, single cell pathogens are far more prone to random mutations. Most of these slightly shifted bugs can’t compete with the original disease and quickly die out.
But since a less deadly disease with a higher R-Naught (fancy term for more contagious) is a natural selection bonus, it overwhelms the parent iteration and rapidly becomes the new normal. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing right now.
If you doubt me, and I know those progressive nanny-staters will, please take a look at the Illinois mortality rate which is dropping faster than Trump’s chances of winning a second term. Not only has that number dropped from 4.8 percent on July 4 to an astounding 2.0 percent yesterday, but it’s plummeted from 2.4 percent to 2.0 percent in just the last ten days!
There are also innumerable studies published on the Web supporting this more contagious COVID mutational drift. This Houston Chronicle story is the best example of what I speak.
And if any of you bleeps try to tell me it’s a result of better COVID care, I’m gonna show up at your front door, and trust me, you really don’t want that. Short of an outright cure, that precipitous decline cannot possibly be attributed to “better treatment.” If that were the case, medical professionals would be splattering that adjustment all over the press.
I’m gonna say it again, take out Illinois’ 5,100 nursing home deaths and those with serious co-morbidity factors and the mortality rate rests somewhere around .002 percent – far less than that of the annual flu.
Furthermore, back on April 30, Illinois hit a record 1,289 COVID occupied ICU beds when the seven-day average case number was a mere 2,283. Meanwhile, our current seven-day average case number is a record 10,772, or 4.7 times what it was in April, yet the number of COVID occupied ICU beds sits at 857, well below the April high.
Despite Governor Pointless’ dire declarations, COVID patients account for just 22 percent of our total ICU beds. Could this more contagious plague version potentially tax our health care system? Yes! But that rests squarely on our Governor, who knew this second wave was coming, but dismantled our overflow facilities like McCormick Place anyway.
So, why should we and our local bars and restaurants have to suffer for his stupidity and shortsightedness?
But what really frost my German chocolate cake is, why am I the only m**********r, reporting this statistically incontrovertible evidence? I may joke about my readers regularly referring to my dismal, but my more than reasonable IQ and capacity to connect numbers and events is by no means unique.
And now Governor Pointless is talking about a second full state shutdown which, when you consider that this pandemic is primarily spreading in private homes, will only make the situation so much worse.
We’ll cover that and more in part 2 on Thursday.