Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > COVID-19 Pandemic has Bared Intellectual Bankruptcy of LIEbrals: 2

COVID-19 Pandemic has Bared Intellectual Bankruptcy of LIEbrals: 2

In the previous part, I wrote about how the especially disastrous response to COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the intellectual bankruptcy of LIEbrals. To summarize the gist of that post, the most ardent supporters of LIEbralism in west come in two main flavors- the very rich (billionaires and multi-millionaires) and their professional managerial class (PMC) lackeys. Sure.. more than a few partisan followers of these two groups do also self-identify as LIEbrals- but are largely irrelevant since they have little real power. I also promised to talk about how LIEbral mental shortcomings can explain their disastrous response to this pandemic. These include, in no particular order, the LIEbral obsession with ineffective lock-downs which have far more to maintaining the appearance of action than making a real difference. As you will, later on in this series, the shortcomings are a result of the peculiar mental gymnastics necessary to maintain belief in LIEbralism.

But before we go that far, let us talk about the most obvious but deliberately ignored question- namely, is the response to this pandemic justified by its mortality rate? If you have watched any of the fake corporate “news” outlets, you might have seen what can be best described as a ‘death clock’ which shows how many people have allegedly died of the pandemic to date. Oddly enough, those bullshit counters do not show you the age distribution of those who have been diagnosed with that infection vs those who with very adverse outcomes such as ending up in the ICU and death. But why does that matter and what does it have to with LIEbral intellectual bankruptcy? As it turns out.. a whole fucking lot! See.. much of the statistics these LIEbrals are peddling on corporate media have no basis in reality. To understand what I am talking about, let us quickly go over a few basic concepts in statistics as it applies to epidemiology.

Infectious diseases come in two flavors- one in which almost every successful infection results in a clinically evident illness and another in which most infections result in an asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic disease. Examples in the first category include diseases such as smallpox, chickenpox, measles, herpes, influenza, ebola etc. Examples in second category include diseases such as polio (especially in children under 8), meningococcal meningitis (surprisingly!) and infectious mononucleosis (another surprise) etc. Infections which cause an asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic disease do so in people who were not previously immune. A superficially similar but mechanistically different phenomena known as mild self-limiting infections occurs if you are immune to a closely related strain of the offending virus and is the basis of vaccines for rotavirus infections and genital warts. With that out of the way, let us talk about COVID-19..

Everything we know thus far about COVID-19 suggests that it clearly falls in the second category. And here is where it is important to understand which type of epidemiological data allows you to make what sort of conclusions. See.. calculating the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) for any disease with a high percentage of asymptomatic cases requires different criteria from one in which almost every successful infection causes an symptomatic illness. In the later, we can assume that total number of cases = total number of people with specific set of symptoms. For the former, we cannot make that assumption and this has huge consequences for calculating the IFR. In the case of COVID-19, the number of positive PCR-tests from areas with high rates of positive test suggest that not enough testing has been done. So places with 30-50% positive tests such as NYC, Detroit, Northern Italy at beginning of epidemic etc are totally useless for calculating IFR.

To make a long story short, even the most basic calculation of a disease with a known high rate of asymptomatic illness requires test positive rates of below 10%, preferably less than 5%. Luckily there are certain areas of the world where the positive test rates have seldom exceeded 10% and are usually around 5%. These include the western provinces of Canada, Germany and South Korea. We also know that these jurisdictions have done a decent amount of testing since the majority of positive cases are between 20-60 years of age. Based on data from these three well-tested populations we can make a determination of the upper limit of IFR by age group. It is as follows: 0-10 = 0.0%, 10-20 = 0%, 20-30 = 0.1%, 30-40 = 0.1%, 40-50 =0.1%, 50-60 = 0.2%, 60-70 = 0.3-0.5%, 70-80 = 3-5%, 80+ = 5-20% (more in institutionalized people).

In other words, death rate for anybody between 0-50 years of age with COVID-19 is less than 0.1% or 1 in 1000. For those between 50-60, it is less than 0.2% or 1 in 500, and upto 1 in 200 for people between 70-80 who are not institutionalized. And remember.. these are the maximum rates. What we know from serological tests done around the world suggest that there are 10-50x undiagnosed and spontaneously cured infections for everyone caught in the act by PCR-based tests. Even if we take a conservative 5X multiplier, the IFR of COVID-19 now becomes less than 0.02% (1 in 5,000) for those between 0-50, 0.04% or (1 in 2,500) for those between 50-60, and a maximum of 0.1% (i in 1,000) for those between 70-80 who are not institutionalized.

In other words, we can readily identify those at greatest risk from bad outcomes based on age, general health status and certain pre-existing conditions (poorly controlled type II diabetes, serious obesity, COPD, recent treatment for cancer etc). Some of you might say.. but what about our hospitals getting overwhelmed? Well.. as it turns out the risk of hospitalization for each age group, based on PCR-test only, is as follows: 0-50 = less than 2%, 50-60 = 3-5%, 60-70 = ~ 5-10%, 70-80 = ~ 20%. If we use the serological test 5x multiplier, only those above 60 have a hospitalization rate than exceeds 1%. But what about rates of ICU use? Well.. once again using the PCR-only data, only 0.2-0.5% (1 in 500 to 1 in 200) of patients below 50 end up in the ICU- and most of them have serious pre-existing illnesses. For those between 50-70, it is about 1-2% (1 in 100 to 1 in 50)- again mostly with serious pre-existing conditions.

It is only once you get in the 70-80 group, that ICU use starts reaching 10%. And remember.. this is based on PCR-positive cases. You can divide those numbers by 5 to get an estimate based on serological tests. To put in another way, for anybody below 50, COVID-19 poses a lower risk than yearly Influenza A epidemics. For those between 50-70, the risk is about what you might expect in a bad influenza season. It is only once you reach the 80+ age cohort, especially those in very poor general health that the mortality due to COVID-19 starts looking gnarly. But, you see, there is a much easier way to protect that group and others with high-risk co-morbidities. We could provide them good protection by staffing nursing homes adequately, testing the staff who work there frequently, maybe give free face masks and hand sanitizers to everybody over 65. Perhaps we could give free restaurant and grocery delivery to those over 65.

My point is that there are many ways to protect the most vulnerable in our society without shutting down the economy, causing 30-40% unemployment rates and all its attendant socio-economic and political sequelae. But the problem, you see, is that LIEbrals are incapable of objective analysis and rational response, because they do not fit the fashionable “consensus”. It does not take a genius to figure out within next few weeks to months, it will be obvious to most people that COVID-19 is no more lethal than Influenza for those below 65. It is at that time, and with unemployment north of 30%, many will start asking whether all these interminable lock-downs, massive job losses, career-ruining turns and social distancing bullshit was worth it. I don’t think LIEberals have thought that far, because they are intellectually bankrupt. But the 30-40% of those without jobs or a future won’t stop asking them and it won’t be a pretty sight.

In the next part, I will go into why the LIEbral opposition to use of Hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 was such an incredibly bad and stupid idea. Will go into why the promotion by Remdesivir by that stupid conman.. I mean Fauci.. is going to haunt them. Hope to also discuss antibody tests- specifically their specificity and sensitivity for detection antibodies to COVID-19.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. doldrom
    May 16, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    S U S C E P T I B I L I T Y
    I have a question, which I don’t see addressed by anything I read about infections, epidemiology, spreading rates, etc. They all assume that in a naive population (new disease, no immunity) everybody will be infected up to a certain limit (depending on virulence). But even with the bubonic plague or ebola, not everybody who is exposed actually contracts the disease — which could be chalked up to quick immune response. But I would think it more likely that a certain part of the population is simply/genetically non susceptible to certain pathogens. I do not see this possibility addressed anywhere.

    • P Ray
      May 17, 2020 at 1:22 am

      Don’t forget that a lot of science, especially around medicine, is predicated on the assumption “we already know everything so we won’t note down things that defy our explanations.”

      Which is already a problem in itself as biological systems change and therefore the predictions and assumptions don’t stay true forever.

      Plus thinking that you know everything is also a sure sign that something nasty will bite you in the ass in future about those types of situation:
      Remember, New Zealand got their first case of CoViD-19 because they were so busy looking at Chinese travellers, that an Iranian grandpa (case 1) and a White woman (case 2) managed to put one up the duff.

  2. bonzo
    May 17, 2020 at 6:32 am

    Most damning evidence is at https://www.euromomo.eu/graphs-and-maps
    Euromomo is an early warning system for epidemics like seasonal flu or this new covid-19. It shows excess death rates, meaning deaths per week above average, without regard for cause of death, so eliminates controversial issue of allegedly misclassified causes of death. Scroll down and compare graphs for Spain and Sweden, so with and without lockdown. In both cases, sharp peak as covid-19 comes in fast and furious and kills off the sickly elderly, then the peak subsides once all the sickly elderly are dead.

    In Sweden, the process of culling is being allowed to go to completion, so there will be no second wave. Whereas the Spanish lockdown interrupted the culling process. As the lockdown is released, the process will resume, so expect a second peak. If the Spanish reinstate lockdown because of a second peak, they lose their tourist economy, and will face riots given the number of low wage workers in that sector. Or they can put all these workers on welfare and then face national bankruptcy.

    Countries like Greece which avoided the first wave of deaths are now ripe for the second wave, which will occur right during tourist season, worst possible timing.

    It is worth noting that over 1% of the population of countries like Spain and Italy have been dying each year for over a decade, simply because these are aged populations. So like 500,000 deaths/year (41000/month) in Spain would be normal. Compare with about 28000 so far attributed to covid-19, almost all of which are either elderly or morbidly obese if under age 50.

    All this was obvious on March 19, when United Kingdom Public Health removed covid-19 from the list of high consequence infectious diseases, because mortality rate was low: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/high-consequence-infectious-diseases-hcid#status-of-covid-19

  3. MikeCA
    May 17, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    “To put in another way, for anybody below 50, COVID-19 poses a lower risk than yearly Influenza A epidemics. For those between 50-70, the risk is about what you might expect in a bad influenza season.”

    There are lots of people trying to promote this idea, but I simply do not believe it. I have never heard of anyone of any age dying from seasonal influenza. It does happen, especially to old people, but it is much rarer than the standard statistics would indicate. I saw a blog post from and ER doctor saying in his entire career he has only had one influenza patient that died. He says the number of influenza deaths where the patient had a positive flue test is much smaller than the number quoted for a typical flue season. The CDC arrives at those numbers buy using a statistical model to reassign some percentage of pneumonia deaths to influenza.

    Most people do not die of Influenza in hospitals. They do so in nursing homes, extended care facilities and hospices. Having said that, a death rate of less than 1 in 1000/ year is less than mortality from all causes in the 0-50 age group. If we use the more realistic number of 1 in 5000, it is within the levels seen in normal influenza seasons for that age group (especially once you adjust for number of cases). And ya.. I know the CDC numbers are mostly made up.

    I have never heard of anyone under 50 ever being hospitalized for influenza. I’m sure there are cases where people have compromised immune systems, but I think this is exceeding rare.

    I am guessing you do not know anybody with severe asthma, obesity, type I diabetes etc.

    At this point I question the results of a lot of serological tests. These tests are very new and we really do understand how reliable they are. The methodology of some of the researchers who used them have been very bad.

    Serological tests have been used to diagnose infectious illnesses and monitor response to vaccines since the early 1900s. We know a lot about how they work, their limitations and why they can fail- either way. Long story short, the factors which would cause test failure are absent from COVID-19 (not antigenically similar to another common pathogen, no cross reactivity with auto-antibodies to tissue proteins etc). Sure, some test kits could be shoddy, but we are seeing the same patterns all around world with kits from different manufacturers that have been independently validated before use.

    The famous Stanford study in Santa Clara county was seriously flawed. They used face book ads to recruit people who thought they might have had it earlier. In spite of that in the raw data they only found about 1.5% of the people had anti-bodies, which means most of these people had the seasonal flue, not Covid-19. On top of that the serological test they used has been reported to give up to 1.7% false positives, meaning it is possible, but unlikely, that all the positives detected were false. The true error bars on the results of this survey make the results completely meaningless. In spite of that lots of reopen it all up now people used a preprint of this paper before all the flaws were taken into consideration.

    Actually, it wasn’t. There is no cross-reactivity between Influenza A and COVID-19. The test had a false positive rate of less than 0.5%. So anything over 1% is real- especially with a large enough sample size. Similar and far more dramatic results with different test kits have been seen in Northern Italy, Spain. Netherlands and Germany.

    We have to find a way to reopen the parts of the economy we can open in a safe manner, but we need to realize that there are parts of the economy that will come back very slowly. I think things like department stores, shopping malls and most other shops should not be a serious risk to reopen if precautions are used. On the other hand, bars, night clubs, restaurants and gyms are problematic. I have been reading up on Sweden where they have kept everything open with some restrictions. Bars are open, but customers are not allowed to stand and drink.

    Best of luck handling a country with prolonged unemployment rates of over 30%, and no social safety net worth its name.

    They must be seated and the number of seats has been reduced to spread them out more. Restaurants seem to have had their tables cut in half to reduce density. While they are open, business has clearly been negatively impacted. In spite of all the precautions, Sweden has a fairly high Covid-19 infection and death rate and the GDP decline in Sweden is expected to be similar to other European countries.

    Ya.. and they are going to break even with those stupid and useless rules. There is a reason I keep saying that COVID-19 pandemic has broken the LIEbral mind more the election of Trump in 2016.

    I think some parts of the economy like tourism will take years to get back to the level pre-Covid. I saw a Wall Street analyst who was saying he expected a few hotels in Las Vegas to start opening in June, but most would remain shut. He was not expecting business to get back near previous levels until 2023. This is especially bad for Las Vegas because a lot of their regulars are in the 65+ age group.

    If this state of affairs prevails, there might not be a recognizable country by 2021- let alone 2023.

    • plus d'un cafard
      May 22, 2020 at 9:30 am

      Some level of confinement long-term might be arguable if it was accompanied by UBI. I don’t see that coming from your side, however.

      Every solution aired in the media is retardedly extreme; nuanced pragmatism is nonexistent in the public discourse. At this point, I believe, contrary to AD, that this must be by design. The West is being set up for a revolution.

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