Some Random Unscientific Observations About Covid

The press is in full ramp up mode to sell ads and clicks with the new and improved delta variant of the commie crud (copyright Sgt. Mom on that term). Many localities are making people bring out the masks again. Here in beautiful Dane County, Wisconsin we have as of yesterday a “recommendation” that everyone wear a mask in a public place. Naturally, this is the first step to a new mandate. Same thing in Chicago and IL.

While cases are up here, hospitalizations, the key metric to me, are flat. From the Dane County commie crud dashboard, you can see that hospitalizations (as of this writing) sit at 23 people. It has been around there for many months now – sometimes under 20, sometimes it gets up to around 25. I check every day.

We have had one death due to covid in Dane county in the last two months. For those number geeks like me, that is eighteen ten thousandths of the population of Dane County that have died due to covid this Summer (so far).

If people aren’t in the hospital, why is everyone getting tested and causing the positivity rate to move up? All of the local big testing centers closed long ago. The only thing I can imagine is that people who are in for other things like a physical, or a knee replacement or something else are getting covid tested and coming up positive. And that would prove that most people, as many have been saying all along, are going to be just fine, even if they get the commie crud.

I decided to look at some stats for Los Angeles county to see what all the hubbub was about. Around eight hundred as of this writing are hospitalized with commie crud. Sounds like a lot, but still below the 14 day average. And far below January when there were 8,000 people in the hospital. Four people died yesterday, which is one one millionth of one percent of the population. I’m fairly certain that covid accounted for fewer deaths than traffic, crime, overdose, or any of a number of other ways to die in LA. So this is the deadly delta variant? Color me unimpressed.

And remember that a lot of these stats are probably wrongly recorded, as the old saying goes people dying with covid vs. from covid. But the data is the data. And still, (even with the cooked books) the number of people, for all of the yelling and screaming, that seem to be affected seems ridiculously low.

Keep calm and carry on.

38 thoughts on “Some Random Unscientific Observations About Covid”

  1. re: Fauci: I’d love to hear how anyone who still takes him seriously can defend this idiocy from this morning:
    “We have about 400 deaths among children right now with Covid-19. So we shouldn’t make the false assumption that it’s okay for kids to get infected. … We need to protect the children.”

    This entire last 18 months the idea has been that kids need to be prevented from spreading the virus to those who are actually at risk, i.e., their grandmas, etc. This new line that the kids themselves need to be protected is a sick joke.

  2. One of the PCR tests has been discontinued because it was unable to differentiate between SARS-2 (the commie crud) and influenza.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged labs this week to stock clinics with kits that can test for both the coronavirus and the flu as the “influenza season” draws near.

    The CDC said Wednesday it will withdrawal its request for the “Emergency Use Authorization” of real-time diagnostic testing kits, which were used starting in February 2020 to detect signs of the coronavirus, by the end of the year.

    “CDC is providing this advance notice for clinical laboratories to have adequate time to select and implement one of the many FDA-authorized alternatives,” the agency said.

    The U.S. has reported more than 34.4 million cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began in 2020 and more than 610,000 deaths.

    But while cases of COVID-19 soared nationwide, hospitalizations and deaths caused by influenza dropped.

    According to data released by the CDC earlier this month, influenza mortality rates were significantly lower throughout 2020 than previous years.

    It is my opinion that as much as half of the SARS-2 cases reported last year were actually influenza.

  3. They are never going to take our shackles off.
    The brits didn’t want to in the 1770’s.
    Why would our modern feudal lords want to, today?
    When have feudal lords ever answered in the affirmative a plea of their peasants to set them free?
    Why would they?
    When did feudal lords ever get together and went “OK . . . we have exploited our peasants enough, now . . . time to educate them and recognize their inalienable individual rights and renounce our powers of brute force and mysticism over them and set them free”?
    They are having a blast.
    They are so close to becoming emperors like in the ancient times.
    They are so close to bringing about and end to individual freedoms and the noxious (for them) notion of the inalienable rights of the individual that they can taste it.
    Why would the Gates and the Schwabs and the Rotschilds decide to let go when they are so close to the feudalism they crave and have been working for, for so long?
    They are playing with us like Attila and the Witch-“Doctor” were playing with the peasants in the Dark Ages and for the very same reason.
    Of course they are going to bring out new gargoyles as the previous ones lose their potency for fear.
    The “variants” are such an obvious con job it is amazing they are not being laughed out of town.
    “Look!! . . . It’s the same as before!! . . . But better!! . . . OOoooohhhhh!! . . . AAAaaaaahhhhhh!! . . . UUUuuuuuhhhh!! . . . Ooga Booga!! . . .”
    But then the covidiocy has been a con job since its beginnings.
    And it worked like a charm. EXACTLY like a charm. It was all an act of magic like any road side fair charlatan could have ever brought on the gullible.
    Foolish, mystic fear is their stock in trade.
    Theirs is a religion.
    They are bringing us back to the medieval.
    And we are letting them.
    2020 and 2021 are going to go down in history as inexplicable outside of sheer medieval evil and stupidity.

  4. Permit me to dispute that your observations are “unscientific”. They are perfectly scientific in that you access and interpret data to move toward a hypothesis, although you don’t formally present one in your post. This process is the essence of “scientific”, despite our current cultural obsession with the idea that only “scientists” can do something “scientific” and that only “experts” can use critical reasoning to view information and draw up hypotheses and conclusions.

  5. @Anime, the missing hypothesis was the point in saying that it was unscientific – nice observation. I suppose one could conclude that my hypothesis would be that because of this data idgaf about the commie crud, and they would be right (although that’s not really verifiable from an outside source, so maybe not too scientific), but that’s my fault for not putting it in the OP.

  6. I find the “science” in much of the discussion about COVID to be equal parts bullshit and wishful thinking. There’s very little “real science” going on with this pandemic, whose case fatality rate is well below that of just about every other major pandemic of the last century. I shudder to think what these morons would have done with the Hong Kong Flu epidemic or any of the other ones.

    It’s also very interesting to see some folks who’ve looked back at the Spanish Influenza Epidemic and noted that most of the ill effect from that stemmed from really piss-poor public health decision-making, along with massive overdosing of the then-new “wonder drug”, aspirin.

    I don’t trust any of these idiots, especially after watching them deal with the AIDS epidemic, wherein they bent over backwards to avoid offending a vocal minority and outright lied about almost everything surrounding the entire situation. The fact that Fauci still had a job with the public health organizations of this country after that decades-long fiasco is a continuing source of wonder to me. Not to mention, prima facie evidence that nothing these morons tell me is likely to be either truthful or at all useful.

  7. I continue to be more disappointed by the journalists than the scientists.

    How hard is it to put together an “infographic” comparing seasonal flu, the 2020 Covid, and the 2021 sequel? Normalize to some common theoretical population of 100,000, in one month. How many will take/have taken the vaccine for flu, (for any winter month in an average year) for Covid (in Jan through March), now for Delta (A “month” since mid-July)? How many vax’d and unvax’d (both!) present symptoms and test positive (both!) for flu, Covid, Delta? How many of the symptomatic for each require hospitalization? How many of those hospitalized for each remain over a week? How many of those hospitalized for each, die?

    Can it be established that going to the hospital (or a nursing home, or a Pentecostal Revival Tent, or Cruise Ship, or anywhere else) makes any difference in the length of symptomatic discomfort or likelihood of death? If so,
    what number of patients are a hospital actually treating with what technique? HCQ or Iverectin? Oxygen tents? Watch-and-Wait?

    This whole year-and-a-half has been an exercise in epidemiological statistics and the journalists supposedly informing us of what the experts know, and how they know, are not even able to formulate a question, much less structure the answers.

  8. @ Mike K – except that we have had 750,000 excess deaths, and there is no credible explanation for those other than Covid. That’s a hard number. The increase in drug ODs is about 21,000, or 3%. Not that many die from influenza, ever. We have undercounted Covid, not overcounted it. People write at length with complaints and theories about why Covid numbers might be wrong, but I have yet to read anyone get around that solid wall.

    It’s like telling the detective at the crime scene “He was fine this morning, and I can’t think of anything or anyone that would kill him.” Doesn’t matter. He’s dead now.

  9. AVI — Serious question: what is the source for that 750,000 Excess deaths?

    CDC’s website does not seem to have got beyond 2019 in reporting total deaths. However, CDC does state that: “The COVID-19 pandemic caused approximately 375,000 deaths in the United States during 2020.”

    In the UK, which seems surprisingly to be more open with its statistics, there were higher total deaths in 2020 — but not out of line with previous bad flu years. And there have been various analyses that ascribe part of the “excess deaths” to the Lock Downs rather than to the Covid virus — delayed treatments for cardiac conditions, cancer, etc.

  10. AVI,
    That 750,000 will be forever commingled with however many died from the “lock downs” as well. These include causes ranging from drug overdoses to untreated/late treated heart attacks. Other thousands were provably victims of government mismanagement.

    The question is one of utility. How many lives, if any, did these draconian restrictions save and at what cost? We could all but eliminate hiway fatalities and injuries by limiting vehicles to 30 MPH. Excess deaths from starvation would quickly dwarf these savings.

    Where is the evidence that any lives were saved? Once the commie crud was loose in the population, people were bound to get it and some were bound to die. Where’s the evidence that it would have been worse under some less restrictive regime or none at all?

    We see Australia locked down once again for a trivial number of cases.

  11. “except that we have had 750,000 excess deaths,”

    Why should I believe any number you bandy about without a source? You covidiots are insane.

  12. It is my opinion that as much as half of the SARS-2 cases reported last year were actually influenza.

    We’ve lost 625,000 Americans to Covid. The worst seasonal flu season on record — when measured the same way Covid deaths are measured (by counting death certificates) — had 15,560 deaths. That makes Covid 40 times as bad as the worst flu season on record. There is no way that Covid is just the flu.

  13. The issue of this post isn’t the number of people killed (not that we agree on that anyway) but the number, if any, and the cost of lives that were preserved by by the unprecedented and, at least here, almost certainly illegal government diktats as well as the number that were, are and will be killed more or less directly by that government action. This in the face of deliberate government efforts to obfuscate the evidence many places.

    There is already evidence that a significant number of the “excess death” were actually accelerated by a few months with present gross mortality numbers actually below those expected. Here, the evidence of fewer deaths is no better than the evidence than the evidence of excess deaths. This is a subtle distinction of timing since total mortality is inevitably 100%.

    The real question is what cost and is the cost something we can bear. The answer will take a while yet to become clear. The economic cost is already being multiplied by using the epidemic as a cover for washing away all the preexisting government screw ups in areas such as pension entitlements with a flood of “free” money.

    Remember that it was only about a third of us that had the luxury of sitting out the action and even fewer with the luxury of full pay. The rest of us had to just keep going with all the uncertainties so we all didn’t starve to death in the dark. After a year and a half of that, whats happening now isn’t worth getting excited about.

  14. The biggest and nastiest surprise of Covid has been its persistence. The best analog SARS-1 popped up its ugly head, caused appropriate concern, then vanished. Covid has “legs”, mostly real, partly due to unprecedented testing. This has made well intentioned early measures look foolish in retrospect and dubious current proposed measures look even worse.

    You simply cannot effectively prevent a persisting, highly transmissible respiratory virus with masks. Oh, very short term, sure. Mask up when you visit grandma in the nursing home. But a room full of squirmy kindergarteners whose default behaviour involves fingers and noses? Who then go home to harried, over stressed families? The virus will get around, unless you are willing to live a secluded, monk like existence devoid of human interaction. And if that’s your thing, go for it. Just don’t ask others to adopt your weird Anchorite cultism.

    The only thing that makes a difference is vaccine. Oh, and acquired immunity but that’s a bit of a dice roll.

    You’d really like to have better, honest data on this. Because viruses mutate. It’s delta today, and epsilon, gamma, kappa in succession right on up to the 2024 election.

    I’ll grudgingly put on a mask if it is required for me to keep coaching the school robotics team. But if for instances schools shut down for another year, they may as well start plans for going into receivership and selling off assets. There will be no public education system left. The best will leave and those without options won’t be educated.


  15. “But a room full of squirmy kindergarteners whose default behaviour involves fingers and noses?”
    Is there any evidence from anywhere that schools are a major source of transmission? Anything at all? You can scroll back through our archives and see I was screaming and yelling to shut down schools last February, but that was precautionary. We held our 3rd grader out of school before they shut down, wanting to be extra cautious (I’ve also said repeatedly that by last September I thought that schools should be completely open, since none of the scary possibilities had come true). But it’s 18 months later, why are we still having these conversations, with absolutely no evidence to answer any of these questions?

  16. Brian

    Given the long track record of children and respiratory viruses, including other corona virus infections, spread in schools is likely. It’s hard to rigorously test as most parents don’t want swabs up their tot’s nostrils.

    My take, and I once worked in this world, is that there are plenty of mild or asymptomatic infections in children. Serious illness in tykes without underlying health issues is probably rare, but not unheard of. This could also be said about other viral infections over which collective knickers are unknotted.

    Requiring vaccines is a touchy area and I respect various points of view. Would I be happy if a vacc denier was caring for my elderly parent. I would not. Should teachers be able to take that risk with their own health? Harder call, and I honestly mean that. Perhaps some should use their down time to reflect on their life and career priorities.

    And yes, the lack of useful data is appalling.


  17. Dane County hospitalizations down to 17 but all I hear and see in the media is talk about cases. That is just scare mongering and a complete disservice to everyone. Instead of “covid hospitalizations down thirty percent” we are hearing about transmission of covid from vaccinated to unvaccinated. These hospitalization numbers are so trivial it makes my head hurt.

  18. US and UK, which I consider our closest analog, have basically complete decoupling between increase in cases and what we had earlier seen, increase in deaths two or so weeks later. Nada. Russia on the other hand it getting clobbered in the prior pattern.

    But I don’t know why. Does anyone? Maybe their vaunted Sputnik vaccine is crap.


  19. “Would I be happy if a vacc denier was caring for my elderly parent”
    FYI, in case you care, calling people who don’t want to get this one particular shot “vacc denier”, “anti-vaxx”, etc., is a sure way to make them uninterested in listening to anything you have to say.
    I actually don’t have a problem with health-care professionals being required to get vaccinated (for the general public, or for school kids, absolutely no way, no how), but good luck getting that past their unions. I actually think that politicians are happy to have unions stop these mandates. That way they can announce them, get some people to decide they need to go ahead and get them, but not have to deal with actually enforcing it.

  20. If you research similar past pandemics you will find that they tend to burn themselves out in about 2 years. That is the time it takes for the infection to spread, do its damage, and for herd immunity of the surviving population to reduce new infections below the point where it will spread unchecked. That doesn’t mean the disease has been “defeated” at that point, but it is no longer a pandemic. It can no longer spread rapidly through a non-resistant population. A highly contagious disease (perhaps similar to the Delta version of COVID) should burn itself out quicker.

    So, even if governments did nothing this pandemic would follow a similar course. Lockdown measures slowed down the process a bit. The initial reason for these policies was sound. The greatest danger comes from existing health care facilities being overwhelmed with new cases during the period when the pandemic is growing exponentially. This also is when little is known about the new disease and what treatments would be effective for it.

    But there is no problem that government and bureaucracy cannot make worse. The goal shifted swiftly from slowing down COVID to preventing it. This meant it is not enough that COVID cases decline, they must decline to some particular level, to be determined by whoever is making the rules. The resurgence due to Delta is entirely because it is more infectious. This also implies that the boom-and-bust period will be fast. I think this is how COVID-19 ends. It has taken a form which will distribute itself more efficiently, and herd immunity will be achieved that much more quickly, vaccine or no vaccine.

  21. Brian

    I actually do care and agree that badgering people is counterproductive. Refusing to take a vaccine when you are in a direct health care situation with vulnerable people does warrant a stronger word than I would generally employ.

    In the case of influenza there has been in recent years a trend towards, get vaccinated or get another job in this scenario.

    That being said I have friends, co-workers and people I respect who are declining to be vaccinated based on what I consider to be a rational risk/benefit analysis. I’m cool with that.


  22. I see a couple of comments asserting that I wrote something I didn’t. The “excess deaths” may well have been an acceleration of deaths among elderly nursing home patents. If so, we may see a reduction in death rate this year, In a “normal” year we see 2.5 million deaths in the US.

    The aspirin link to 1918 flu deaths is interesting,. Those were massive overdoses of aspirin described. One factor well known in medical circles, at least medical history circles, is the role of empyema. Empyema is infection and a collection of pus or infected fluid in the chest between lung and chest wall. The treatment is to drain the fluid but one must understand the physiology of the lung. Hippocrates recognized that, if the pus was thick (typical staph infection) the pus could be drained the patient would survive, If the pus was thin and bloody (typical strep), they would not survive drainage, What happened was that thin fluid (strep empyema) did not cause the lung to adhere to the chest wall and the lung collapsed when open drainage was done. This usually caused death. After the war, an Empyema Commission was appointed and learned that open drainage of empyema was usually fatal. It required what is called “water seal” to prevent lung collapse. The tube is inserted into the pleural space and the fluid allowed to drain but the end of the tube is placed under water in a bottle to prevent air from entering and collapsing the lung. I don’t know what percent of flu deaths was from this cause but it was a lot. This lesson also allowed lung surgery to become successful and common.

    One reason SARS-1 quickly burned out is its mortality rate of 23%. That is a bad parasite, killing off hosts too quickly. Ebola is similar. The “Delta Variant” may persist like the common cold because it is infectious and benign.

  23. Mike K: “In a “normal” year we see 2.5 million deaths in the US.”

    Seems short by about 350,000 deaths per year.
    2019 US deaths – 2.85 Million.
    2018 US deaths – 2.84 Million.
    2017 US deaths – 2.81 Million.

    It is strange how difficult it is to find uncontested numbers for total deaths in the US — compared with the apparent complete openness in the UK (not a place we would normally expect to be more open than the US).

    Even without the Usual Suspects introducing politics into health care, diagnosis is difficult. Especially when most of the people listed as dying with/from Covid are in their 80s and generally not in good health. The most reliable measure of the impact of Covid is total deaths compared to prior years — and ideally adjusted for trends like the aging of the population. Yet that is the very data which is hard to find in the US. That has to raise a certain level of puzzlement in any reasonable person.

  24. Australia has less than 1000 deaths from covid, in a year and a half.
    Also, Australia:
    “COVID-19: Military called in to enforce Sydney lockdown as Delta variant fuels record one-day rise in coronavirus cases”

    In Italy:
    Italy has decided to impose various restrictions on all unvaccinated persons that do not hold the country’s “Green Pass”, which is an extension of the EU Digital #COVID19 Certificate.

    If you were shown these headlines two years ago, you’d first dismiss them as deranged ravings of paranoiacs, and if assured they were real, you’d assume we were in the middle of a Black Death scale event.

    The world’s gone completely mad.

  25. Brian: “As has been pointed out many times before, this is actually one area where the CDC seems to mostly have its act together:”

    Yes, the CDC is happy to tell us their estimate of “excess deaths”. What assumptions are built into that?

    What we need to see is actual total annual deaths — then we can understand where the oh-so-trustworthy CDC’s estimate of “excess deaths” comes from.

  26. A reminder that if you think it’s bad here, you could be in Canada. We have been working on buying a piece of equipment from a not inconsequential Canadian enterprise for some time. I am informed that the present hold up is while they decide if their Covid “protocols” will allow the UPS driver to make the pick up.

  27. Gavin, that plot is of actual deaths. As well as a model to determine “excess” numbers, with references that presumably include the algorithm details. Why don’t you go ahead and read it and tell us what it say if you’re so interested, instead of repeatedly misrepresenting the data situation?

  28. Brian: “Why don’t you go ahead and read it”

    Brian, I have spent a ridiculous number of hours sweating through the CDC’s 200+MB files, and getting thoroughly exasperated.

    Let’s just pick on one simple example. The CDC shows a nice line for “upper bound threshold for excess deaths” — they don’t actually mean that; they mean upper bound threshold for normal deaths. That does not tell us what their estimate of expected normal deaths would be, or how large the statistical deviation is. By restricting their analysis to the last 5 years, CDC avoids addressing some of the larger fluctuations in the historical record, which would necessarily have to figure into their statistics.

    Look — everyone agrees that 2020 had higher deaths than recent years. Some deaths caused by Covid, some by the “dry tinder” of people who had been spared by the mild flu seasons in preceding years, some by the Lock Downs deferring essential medical treatments. The one thing that is indisputable is that there was no pandemic, nothing similar to genuine pandemics of the past.

    However, the Aficionados of Doom assert that we would have seen a genuine pandemic increase in deaths if it had not been for the Lock Downs. Perhaps they are right — just don’t spoil their day by mentioning Sweden.

  29. Sometime last summer I made a comment that I wasn’t that worried about “lockdowns”, etc., because people wouldn’t tolerate them going on for too long. That was the wrongest thing I’ve ever said.
    It sounds like we’re about a week from literally living in two different countries. By all accounts the federal government and “blue” states are going to try to shut things down again. It seems clear that the timing is to do it before schools start. And most if not all “red” states will completely ignore them.
    Honestly, I’m giving up hope on elections saving us not because they’re rigged by the Dems, but because a majority of the American people really do want absolutely stupid and awful things.

  30. Commie Crud – I like that. Think I will use it too! Went into a restaurant and they started demanding use of a mask again. The worst thing about this was giving this power to politicians,

  31. Question of the day: why is China claiming to have an outbreak now, after well over a year of preposterously claiming it was eradicated? Trying to provide more encouragement for Western lockdowns and other serious responses? Giving themselves an excuse to shut down exports and further damage Western manufacturing? Some other reason?

  32. “why is China claiming to have an outbreak now, after well over a year of preposterously claiming it was eradicated?”

    You are exactly right that this is about giving power-mad Western politicians cover for extending the Lock Downs.

    The ability of the Chinese Communist Party to manipulate the Western Political Class, including the bought-and-paid-for media, is really quite astounding. Especially now, when we know that the CommieCrud in reality shortens the lives of only maybe 1 or 2 people out of 1,000 — and usually not by much. The huge long-term damage is being done by the Lock Downs — definitely a case of the cure being worse than the disease.

    But the CCP is not pulling out all the stops yet. Still no cell phone videos of working-age people collapsing in the street. Maybe that comes next?

  33. Yeah, the Chinese stock market crashes, and they start locking down cities again, just when the West is starting to impose “vaccine passports” and to crush any opposition to lockdowns, etc. Crazy times we’re living in…

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