The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

A ‘Surge’ of Media-Hyped Fear

Posted on | July 27, 2021 | Comments Off on A ‘Surge’ of Media-Hyped Fear

Two graphics, courtesy of the New York Times. The first shows U.S. COVID-19 deaths dating back to the beginning of the pandemic:

The second graph shows COVID-19 deaths during the past month:

Notice that I’m showing you COVID-19 deaths, not “cases.” Because officials treat a positive test as a “case,” regardless of whether the person has symptoms (let alone severe symptoms requiring hospitalization), the reported number of COVID-19 “cases” is an unreliable barometer of the actual prevalence of the disease. By contrast, dead is dead.

Furthermore, treatment protocols for COVID-19 have advanced considerably over the past 18 months, so that if someone does become infected, doctors are better able to prevent their case from reaching a serious and potentially deadly stage, especially when the patient seeks help early. And, it should be obvious, those most vulnerable to disease were killed in the first year of the pandemic. All of these factors go into explaining why, despite constant hype from the media, we actually are not experiencing a “surge” of COVID-19 deaths.

What the media are doing now is selectively focusing on reports of localized “surges” — Miami, for example — in an effort to convince Americans that (a) there is a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” and therefore (b) we need to return to lockdowns and mandatory masks.

Why? On the one hand, the virus is real and vaccination should be encouraged. But on the other hand, the media hype is unscientific. The current 7-day average of daily COVID-19 deaths (275) is 92% below what it was six months ago, at the peak of the pandemic. Even if there has been a rise in the number of “cases” (defined as positive test results) in the past six weeks, this has not translated to a spike in COVID-19 deaths.

Senior citizens are most at risk for serious complications or death from the coronavirus, but the vast majority of those 65 and older are vaccinated. Most of the COVID-19 “cases” being reported now are among younger patients, very few of whom are likely to die from the disease. You see anecdotal reports in the media about younger people dying of COVID-19, but such cases are not part of a statistically significant trend.

My hunch — and it is only a hunch — is that this “surge” hype is really being driven by the teachers unions, who want to keep schools closed, and are exerting pressure on the Democratic Party who, in turn, are pumping out “surge” propaganda via their media allies. Part of this message is about scapegoating Republicans as responsible for vaccine “resistance,” even though the lowest vaccination rates are among blacks and Hispanics, both of whom are key Democratic Party constituencies.

None of this, of course, is intended as an argument against vaccination. I’m not at high risk, and therefore haven’t gotten the shot yet, and actually suspect that I might have already had a mild case that would make me immune. Furthermore, some friends and family members who have gotten the vaccine tell me the side-effects can make you feel crappy for a day or two. So I’ve avoided getting vaccinated thus far, but I’ve gotten so tired of the incessant nagging from the media that I’m now thinking I should go get the shot because SHUT UP!



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