Coronavirus Update XI — Robbing The Cemeteries To Pad Death Totals

Coronavirus Update XI — Robbing The Cemeteries To Pad Death Totals

All the good stuff, caveats, code, data sources and explanations are linked, some in Update III, and the most important in Update II, Update IV, Update V, Update VI, Update VII, Update VIII, Update IX, Update X, Bayes Theorem & Coronavirus, and the Sanity Check Perspective, so go to them first before asking what-about-this-and-that. Skip to the bottom for the latest model. Thanks to everybody emailing me sources, including Ted Poppke, Jeff Jorgensen, Jim Fedako, Joe Bastardi, Philip Pilkington, John Buckner, Harry Goff, John Goetz, Warren McGee. Sorry I’m slow answering emails.

My friends, this is a long one. I wish I had time to write a shorter one. But it is a good one. I suggest reading in pieces. Start at the global model, then go to USA! Then the Super Juice, its companion and then H1N1 update. End at the top.


  • There are many new things in this week’s update.
  • As I predicted, they’re mining history to dig up old deaths. Now the forecasts won’t look as bad.
  • The man in charge of Pennsylvania’s health system got caught juicing coronavirus death numbers. How embarrassing.
  • America’s reported case ratio is 32% of world total. America’s reported death ratio is 24% of world total. In best medical system. Either we’re dying off fast, or our numbers are being juiced.
  • We have shown for weeks true infection rate must be higher; here’s why.
  • Estimated true cases about 20 to 40 million, worldwide.
  • Estimated true cases about 5 to 10 million, US.
  • Testing therefore can and will be used to drag this all out, by making it appear virus is spreading.
  • An interesting H1N1 comparison.
  • All-dead stats in comparison with other years is not in here. But it’s coming.

In no way do I want anybody to go away thinking I said coronavirus is nothing and does not kill. It is something; it kills. C’est la vie et la mort. Did you think you wouldn’t die?

I do want you to go away thinking the response in many places was asinine.

Haughty Hubris

Headline: Virginia government elites to people: Screw you.

Maybe that’s not the exact wording. But there was something about an elite saying “state lockdown could be ‘two-year affair'”.

Two years.

Two years.

How many non-elites could last two years? Don’t answer that. It’s rhetorical. We know the answer. The elites, not all being corona-addled flea-brained progressive over-credentialed midwits, well, they must know it, too.

And they don’t give a bat’s rathole about the answer. What’s the difference to them if a few of you have to hungry, or get tossed from your homes, or end shriveled up in some gutter? Whatcha gonna do, vote for the other guy who’s just the same as the first, only with a different party label?Go on, sucker. If one elite gets voted out, the elite that was elected in his place will hire the first into some government sinecure or corporate boardroom. He’ll want the same favor some day, too.

Pardon my sputtering and insensitivity. There’s only so much of this idiocy one can take without lashing out.

Incidentally, when I say elite, I mean to impugn with sarcasm those who would be our leaders. I do not mean superior, which used to be a rough synonym.

The government flack in the story is Virginia’s Health Commissioner. Which means you’d expect to know the difference between a zit and a donut. You’d be wrong, though. Because this “top health official in Virginia said the state could be in lockdown for the next two years.”

Look, it doesn’t matter that this prediction was walked back. He still made it. This must mean that he is monumentally ignorant, which means his boss is incompetent or evil, or that he knows what he said, and doesn’t care. In which case he is evil, or a coward.

This one over-promoted bureaucrat is not the point. It’s that we’re surrounded with such clueless, uncaring, condescending, selfish, brutal elites. Not superiors: elites.

And, no, I do not forget our bishops looked out upon the world and said, “Be afraid. But please keep sending in your donations.”

Super Juice

Month or so back I predicted coronavirus models would be treated like global warming models. In them, the modelers are always “discovering” new lower temperatures in the past (to make our times hotter). In the same way, and in order not to admit model failure, they’d have to make up the corona body deficit. Models said around median 175 thousand dead in the US even with full lockdowns.

I’ll repeat that: even with full lockdowns.

When it became clear we weren’t coming anywhere near the original huge numbers, Fauci first modified the forecast. Like a proctologist discovering his missing pen, he pulled “60,000” out of his…stethoscope. Nobody questioned him on how he arrived at that figure.

Even that number began to look doubtful, though, as we saw. That’s when they switched from “dying form” to “dying with”. When that wasn’t enough, we heard of “dying with suspicion”. Remember that NYC “discovered” a few thousand deaths they called coronavirus, but which were never measured? Or did we already forget?

Even NYC’s “discovery” wasn’t enough. I predicted that since you can’t make up dead bodies, like you can with Chicago voters, for total all-death counts, they’d have to reclassify some older deaths as COVID.

They’re doing it!

Headline: U.S. deaths soared in early weeks of pandemic, far exceeding number attributed to covid-19 (long quote)

In the early weeks of the coronavirus epidemic, the United States recorded an estimated 15,400 excess deaths, nearly two times as many as were publicly attributed to covid-19 at the time, according to an analysis of federal data conducted for The Washington Post by a research team led by the Yale School of Public Health.

The excess deaths – the number beyond what would normally be expected for that time of year – occurred during March and through April 4, a time when 8,128 coronavirus deaths were reported.

The excess deaths are not necessarily attributable directly to covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. They could include people who died because of the epidemic but not from the disease, such as those who were afraid to seek medical treatment for unrelated illnesses, as well as some number of deaths that are part of the ordinary variation in the death rate. The count is also affected by increases or decreases in other categories of deaths, such as suicides, homicides and motor vehicle accidents.

But in any pandemic, higher-than-normal mortality is a starting point for scientists seeking to understand the full impact of the disease.

The Yale analysis for the first time estimates excess deaths, both nationally and in each state, in those five weeks. Relying on data that the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) released Friday, the analysis paints a picture of unusually high mortality that will come into sharper view as more data becomes available.

The analysis calculates excess deaths by using a model to estimate how many people probably would have died absent the pandemic, and then subtracting that number from the overall deaths reported by the NCHS.

The analysis suggests that the deaths announced in the weeks leading up to April 4, based on reports from state public health departments, failed to capture the full impact of the pandemic. Those incomplete numbers were widely cited at a time when many states were making critical decisions about closing businesses and taking other actions to stem the spread of the virus.

The analysis also suggests that the death toll from the pandemic is significantly higher than has been reported, said Daniel Weinberger, a Yale professor of epidemiology and the leader of the research team. As of Sunday, more than 54,000 people had been killed by the novel coronavirus, according to numbers reported by state health departments and compiled by The Washington Post.

They did stick a caveat in there. Why not? It will be forgotten instantly. “The excess deaths are not necessarily attributable directly to covid-19”. Yep. They could have been caused by, oh I don’t known, flu, as is usual. But no one will remember this clarification. Only the higher death “toll” will be quoted.

Now “excess deaths” are calculated via statistical modeling, as we saw. These are statistical deaths. Not verified deaths. Yes, it’s “usual practice”. But it does not follow that usual practice equates to good practice. See, e.g., p-values. There is never proof in these models the peaks we see every fall are all caused by flu, that’s just an assumption. It’s usually not a terrible assumption. The assumption is now the peak was coronavirus. This is less justified, for all the reasons we’ve discussed over the past six weeks.

I believe, however, that if you add the flu numbers, which before CDC had reported around 24 thousand for the season, and which they stopped reporting on the main flu page, to the juiced numbers we have, we’ll make the 60,000, and we might even be somewhat closer to the face-saving 100,000, the original lower bound.

This must be done! Can you imagine modelers stepping up the mic and saying “Oops. Sorry for the multiple trillions lost and millions of lives ruined and worse. We forgot to divide by 2.”

Besides embarrassment, is there another reason for the “discovery” of extra deaths? You bet!

Here’s that reason: ‘”The national tally also shapes the public’s perception of how serious the disease is, and therefore how necessary it is to continue social distancing despite economic disruption.”

How it’s NECESSARY to stay locked down. Because people died in the past.

Before we leave this topic, note that that newly “discovered” deaths are not yet included in the official totals. Those are still just “dying with suspicion.” Be interesting to guess if and when this move will be made. To do that, we’ll wait until the US model below.

Leaky Navel

As our homeboy The Real Spark would say: Hold up. Wait a minute. Some’un ain’t right! It seems that others recognize that numbers can be juiced.

It’s true that in many cases deaths are under-reported on a daily basis. I’ve warned us dozens of times medical data is noisy, and reporting is a human process. So daily numbers bounce around a lot. It’s possible some deaths really caused by COVID-19 will be classed as caused by something else because of reporting inefficiencies. It’s not at all likely, given the evidence adduced, that this will happen at any important level.

Much more likely is that we’ll see more of the Keystone Cops.

Pennsylvania tried to juice some county-level deaths, but got busted. The state’s Health Secretary is a man named Levine. He’s confused about his own sex, so it’s not surprising he got mixed up over coronavirus death totals. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Twice in the last week, Pennsylvania’s official COVID-19 death count spiked.

Then, on Thursday, the number plummeted.

Officials from the state Department of Health provided several justifications for the fluctuations, citing technical issues, lengthy investigations, and the addition of “probable” deaths — those considered to be caused by the coronavirus but without confirmation from a test.

But facing mounting questions about the accuracy of the count, officials on Thursday removed more than 200 probable deaths from the tally, further complicating the state’s accounting of the pandemic.

Levine said “We realize that this category can be confusing, since it does change over time.”

…[T]he state’s coroners — tasked with investigating suspicious deaths — have grown increasingly frustrated by the Health Department’s reluctance to seek their help.

Some have said the department’s numbers did not match what coroners were seeing. Those concerns caught the attention of State Sen. Judy Ward (R., Blair), who is advocating for a bill that would give coroners a bigger role in the crisis.

“There’s a discrepancy in the numbers,” Charles E. Kiessling Jr., president of the Pennsylvania Coroners Association and coroner in Lycoming County, said Thursday. “I’m not saying there’s something going on…. I’m not a conspiracy theory guy. But accuracy is important” [ellipsis original].

Not every conspiracy is a theory. Is this one?

The confusion began Sunday, when Pennsylvania raised its coronavirus death toll to 1,112 — an increase of 276 overnight. On Tuesday, the department reported another spike, from 1,204 to 1,564 deaths.

This man Levine said “the surges reflected deaths that occurred days, even weeks, in the past.” Which can happen. But he first tried to blame the surge on “a computer glitch.” Where’s Bill Gates when you need him. Selling birth prevention products to Africa and vaccine-tracking systems to the West? Never mind.

Eventually the discrepancy was “explained as a ‘reconciliation’ of multiple reporting systems and the ‘culmination of that data-validating effort.'” Yes. Bureaucracy-speak is always convincing, ever comforting.

Stay with me here. This is the proof about numbers juicing, which we predicted would happen.

On Tuesday, Levine reported 300 probable deaths in the day’s count but appeared to indicate the situation was new…

That same day, department spokesperson Nate Wardle told Spotlight PA some probable deaths had been included in the count for at least a week or maybe longer.

Then, on Wednesday, Wardle backtracked, saying that although probable deaths had been added to the reporting systems as of April 13, the day before federal guidance changed, they weren’t included in the state’s official count until Tuesday [my emphasis].

Wardle added that despite Levine’s public comments, none of the deaths reported Sunday were considered probable, meaning the first surge was due almost entirely to lags in reporting.

Remember how we said the new guidance would lead to numbers juicing? We saw it in the numbers almost immediately. We see it here in the paperwork. Or maybe it’s all “lags in reporting”?

Despite coroners’ claims that they are well equipped to manage probable cases and legally obligated to be notified of suspected COVID-19 deaths, the Health Department hasn’t budged, insisting the majority of deaths caused by the virus do not need to be reported to a coroner…

If the dispute had been resolved a month ago, with coroners included in the department’s COVID-19 investigations, Kiessling said, the public trust in the state’s numbers would be stronger…

Jeffrey Conner, the coroner in Franklin County, said he was blindsided by the department’s news on Tuesday that 10 people had died of COVID-19 in the county. As of Wednesday afternoon, he said, he was aware of only one death.

“Coroners are frustrated,” Conner said. “There is a lack of leadership from the Department of Health and a lack of definitive answers.”

On Thursday, the state’s revised data reported just one death for the county.

Oops. Busted. Not reporting lags after all. Just juicing.

“Briggs, this is only a couple of numbers. Big deal. You don’t know it’s happening anywhere else.”

I don’t. Or didn’t. But Justin Hart does.

Follow this fine gentleman. As he says “As we’ve pointed out ad nauseam… there are a treasure trove of unreported bad data reporting, misreporting and straight up scandals that reporters could uncover if they wanted to… but I get the sense that they’re much more comfortable with an increase in deaths daily.”


How about these two docs? Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi. Video, which I don’t like because they take too long. But this one hour is worth it.

Better watch it fast. YouTube is purging it everywhere it appears.

“Millions of cases. Small amount of death.” We see that below, too, and prove it a different (opposite) way. Their numbers are better than mine, as you’ll see, because I went with a much higher (x10) case fatality rate.

They do, but we haven’t done the chance of dying since the Bayes post. Not much has changed. It’s very low.

“We do thousands of flu tests every year, but we don’t report every one. Because flu is ubiquitous.”

Juicing the numbers talk because at 31 min.

Doctor Erickson: “We aren’t pressured to test for flu. But ER doctors now, my friends that I talk to, say, ‘You know, it’s interesting. When I’m writing up my death report. I’m being pressured to add COVID.’ Why is that? Why are we being pressured to add COVID? To maybe increase the numbers and make a little worse than it is? I think so.”

An annoying off-camera reporter asked about “physicians being pressured to make the number look worse than the are.”

Doctor answered, “They’re being pressured to add it to their diagnostic list.”

Reporter: “Where is that pressure coming from?”

Doc (paraphrasing, as reporter kept interrupting “…probably coming from the Hospital Administration…They said, ‘We’re being pressured in house to add COVID to the diagnostic list when we think it has nothing to do with the actual cause of death.'”

“The actual cause of death was not COVID, but it’s being reported as one of the disease procesess and being added to the death list. They died from COPD. They had COVID. COVID didn’t kill them. Twenty five years of tobacco use killed them.”


Somebody asked me to answer a comment I didn’t see. Seems some commenter had himself an AHA! moment because last week I forgot to include Swine flu comparisons. I have 2 to 4,000 words in each of these updates; they are always too long. And besides, the comparisons haven’t changed.

Worldwide estimates of H1N1 were ~152-575 thousand, with 375,000 being the median. We have 211,000 (inflated, juiced) deaths now. And we’re on down slope. Which will put us almost exactly in middle of H1N1. Below, the updated global model predicts 245,000 in total.

In the US, the old estimates (which weren’t political, and also came from “excess death” models) were around 18,000. But there was no public forecast goal to meet with that one. Certainly, reported COVID deaths already beat that 18.

Here’s a comparison our friend forgot. Suppose everything about Swine flu and our numbers are now right. I mean, the death toll really was 18 thou for Swine flu, and will be, oh, 75 thou for coronavirus.

There were no lockdowns in Swine flu, and we had (we’re assuming) 18 thousand dead, with a worldwide total similar to our current one. There are massive punitive idiotic life-killing lockdowns now in the US, and we have triple, quadruple the body count.

Compare that.

Our Global Model

I’ve said it a hundred times, and we’re sick of hearing it, but our naive model is a model of reported numbers, not actual cases and deaths. Nobody knows what the actual cases and deaths are. I have presented evidence that actual cases must be higher (and will again below) and actual deaths lower (as above). But I make to no claim to know the right totals.

My global data source succumbed to the virus the middle of last week (they have had same “[we] will be back soon” message for several days). So I had to switch to Worldometer. There are differences in the counts between the two sites, as there are between all sites. I’ve told you a hundred times that medical data is messy. My US source remains the same, and even their numbers differ from everybody else’s, which also differ from everybody else’s. As expected.

Global reported totals:

New total reported cases 3.3 million; new total reported deaths 242 thousand. Last week: “New total reported cases 2.8 million; new reported deaths 218 thousand.” The cases are not of direct interest, but the deaths are. They’re still inching up. Give this trend (in the model under-predictions), it’s not out of the question we will reach that 375 Swine flu median.

Here, before the global deaths, are why we know (1) the reported cases massively under-count the actual cases, and (2) deaths are over-ascribed.

This is the reported deaths divided by reported cases. Recall that I said all along we’d know this crisis was ending when the plot stopped increased and leveled off. It has.

That 7% naive case fatality rate is proof of our contention of the actual numbers being far different than the reported numbers. If you’re going to pass anything around, pass this one. There is no way this disease is killing 7% of everybody it infects.

Now one big reason for the leveling off is the increase in testing. Increased testing can make it seem (as I said) that the virus is spreading, leading to IT’S-WORSE-THAN-WE-THOUGHT headlines. When, in fact, the virus is already been there, done that, and we’re now just measuring it. Proof?

Reported daily cases:

Ignore the model, look at the data. It’s plain where the increased testing, reported everywhere, started. I’m guessing we’ll see that “plateau” continue for a week or so. It must, if testing increases. Deaths, they can make up. But you can only record a new case if it’s measured. (Well…)

Incidentally, it would be of interest to do a crude, don’t-quote-me back-of-the-envelope calculation of true case number. If deaths are exactly as reported, which I don’t believe, and if the disease kills x% of those it infects (on average), then there are at least 211,000/x cases (where x is as a rate).

If x = 0.01, then actual cases are at least 21 million. It is x = 0.005, then actual cases are at least 42 million. It’s “at least” because not everybody who has it and will die has died, so our numerator is too small.

Anyway, 20 to 40 million is close enough. If testing goes on at the same rate, they can make it seem this crisis is lasting at least another 6 months as new cases are “discovered”. Not that they’d do this! Our leaders are as anxious for this to end as we are! Oh yes!

Reported daily deaths:

Not much to say here that wasn’t already said above. Looks like ~1 May the data GOES EXPONENTIAL! Downwardly exponential, that is.

Of course, there could be a boost to this if they decide to include the newly “discovered” deaths from times long since in the totals. As to when that might happen, if it happens, we can guess using the US model.


Reported totals:

New total reported cases 1.1 million; new total reported deaths 57 thousand. Last week: “Total cases 850 thousand; total deaths 45 thousand.”

Close readers will have noticed the proportion of American counts to total worldwide. The best medical system in the world is contributing the most to the worst. If the numbers are right.

Right now, per sources listed above, America’s reported case ratio is 32% of world total. America’s reported death ratio is 24% of world total. At the end, per our naive model, 36% of reported cases, and 24% of deaths.

USA is 4% of the world’s population.

China is lying, which goes without saying, and we never would, which goes with saying.

No. The problem is the same. The reported numbers aren’t the same as the actual numbers. Reported deaths by reported cases again:

There you are: same problem as above. Obviously, the virus is not killing over 5% of those it infects in the US. So we’re way low on cases, and too high on deaths.

We can do the same trick and guess the actual cases, assuming the reported deaths are actual. We get 5 to 10 million, assuming the virus actually kills 0.5% to 1% of those it infects. Again, with only 1 million cases reported, and between 4 and 9 lurking waiting to be discovered, they—our elites—can drag this out for months more if they want.

Naturally—and you mathematically inclined readers already know this—if the virus kills at even lower rates, the actual cases numbers are much, much higher.

Our leaders will read these numbers and realize it’s time to end the panic. Right? Right?

That is, if they’re not enjoying their few found dictatorial powers. Gavin Newsome doesn’t want Californians to be on the germicidal beaches because he worries about jellyfish stings. Not because he wants to show them who the boss is.

Reported daily cases:

There it is. The same testing plateau. Well, given US is a third of all global numbers, the signal had to be there. Seems to be a slight downward trend to it. It will keep up, too, for at least a week, if not three or four.

Reported daily deaths:

Seems we’ll hit the GOING EXPONENTIAL in a day or two. They can add the new discoveries any time, though.

If they do, I’d doubt they’d put them all at once. They’d probably spread the around. If so, the shape of the curve wouldn’t change, but of course the totals would rise.

On the other hand, as I’ve often warned us, report spikes are common, even in the good ol’ USA.

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  1. HarryG

    The problem is as I see it is that the media and the political elite have conspired to scare the living daylights out of the populous and now they have to provide the numbers to justify the scare.
    Damn them all I say

  2. Dave

    How is you, a PhD statistician, endorsing the death rate analysis in the Urgent Care doctor’s video? Their inference on the death rate is insane. Starting after the 5 minute mark, they claim in CA that 12% tested for covid were positive, and they extrapolate that to the entire state to come up with a CFR of 0.03%. As if those who were tested were a random sample. It’s not at all a random sample. People (almost entirely) get tested when they are feeling sick. I can believe their point that other patients are forgoing other needed (and even unneeded) treatments.

    Re: H1N1
    Briggs continues to ignore the time element. That’s why he perpetually compares covid after just a few months to final totals of other diseases:

    Even in this post, he ignores the time element. He writes:
    “Worldwide estimates of H1N1 were ~152-575 thousand, with 375,000 being the median. We have 211,000 (inflated, juiced) deaths now. And we’re on down slope. Which will put us almost exactly in middle of H1N1. Below, the updated global model predicts 245,000 in total.”

    The H1N1 pandemic lasted from April 2009 to August 2010. Covid is still only about 4 months old. Time matters. This is killing people much more quickly. The point I made in my previous comment was that, at the time, the CDC believed H1N1 had killed “~3,900” 6 months into it ( That’s *much* lower than the 2-3 month total in the US with covid. Pace matters. Of course Americans are more concerned about this. It’s killing them at a much faster pace. That’s rational. Also, we’re on a downward slope because of distancing. There are plenty of examples of countries, particularly in Asia, where the infection rates started to climb again.

    Here, Briggs gets desperate on the point:
    “There were no lockdowns in Swine flu, and we had (we’re assuming) 18 thousand dead, with a worldwide total similar to our current one. There are massive punitive idiotic life-killing lockdowns now in the US, and we have triple, quadruple the body count.

    Compare that.”

    If you don’t understand how distancing slows the spread of a virus, then you don’t understand the basics of how viruses are transmitted (hint: if an infected person is not near uninfected people, he or she cannot infect them). What’s your estimate on how many people “lockdowns” has killed?

    Regarding excess deaths, you can see trends by country and city here:

    I just don’t feel that poor or misleading analyses need to be used to make a case to ease lock downs in most places. There are plenty of good arguments to ease restrictions in many or even most places, but mixing in shoddy analysis doesn’t help that case, and reflects poorly on your abilities and/or sincerity.

  3. Sheri

    “In no way do I want anybody to go away thinking I said coronavirus is nothing and does not kill. It is something; it kills.”
    So does flu, car accidents, etc. Yet no shut down for those things. This is NOT about a virus, it’s about the destruction of most of the world and the owning thereof by communists and dictators (aka Governors in many places). It never, ever was about a virus. As with global warming, this is about an INVISIBLE, UNVERIFIABLE TO LAYMEN enemy. Covid just had the courtesy to kill quickly in large numbers where newspeople go. So it worked where global warming failed. Since the goals of both Covid and AGW are the same, it mattered not which worked to achieve the goal.

    A two-year lockdown, destruction of social interaction, creation of crippling fear in young, stupid people (college kids are out buying binkies by the millions), etc. Yes, both parties are identical. The republicans PAID MILLIONS TO SIT HOME AND NOT WORK because they earn more sitting at home, just to get along with the democrats. Then they voted for money (a loan, I believe) to pay the wages of workers who now don’t want to work because Chuck Schumer pays so much better than their employer. Massive stupidity. A complete doublethink example in one bill. So it does not matter who you vote for—you’re toast.

    Psychology: Predict a two-year lockdown, walk it back and the one year looks far more reasonable. In the past, people would have tattooed STUPID on the foreheads of these idiots, but monetized collective IQ currently won’t even pay for a latte, assuming you could even buy one.

    Come on, no one has used “real numbers” in decades, since at least the Viet Nam war. They make up whatever they want. It’s why there is no science, no math, and very few smart enough to see what’s going on. Anyone who believes the numbers produced by bureaucrats deserves to be out of TP, meat and stuck in their home for two years, dead broke and miserable.

  4. Darin

    So frustrating. The good doctor extrapolates positive tests from among those tested to estimate the infection rate for entire populations. He does this over and over.

    I’m on his side directionally — we’re over-reacting — but come on, man.

  5. Chad Jessup

    Dave, if you want to know how counterproductive lock downs are, just compare Japan and Taiwan to us, such as 3/M and .3/M respectively to our 172 deaths/M!!!

    Most of our deaths occur in 5% of the country. So why in the Hell is the remaining 95% suffering these unconstitutional measures?

    I am a card-carrying old fogie, and I cannot understand why the younger generations are being made to suffer for our alleged benefit, as we incur over 90% of the deaths. It is just plain stupid.

  6. Martinian

    RE: Erickson/Messihi

    The main argument against these guys seems to be: “You can’t extrapolate from biased (i.e., non-random) samples. If you do that, you lose all scientific credibility.” I’m mainly seen this argument given with a heavy ladle of shame, which is always a red flag in science.

    I see and agree with that point in the abstract, but here are my questions:

    i) Do we have prevalence data that *is* based on Random Samples?

    ii) If so, what do those numbers tell us? (and just as importantly, why aren’t they being brought forward to dispute Erickson/Messihi? Why is “shame!” the go-to response rather than “here’s better data”…?)

    iii) Moreover, to what extent can we practically rely on Random Sample data to give us an accurate picture in light of the False Positive problem and the asymptomatic problem and all the other rampant uncertainties about this novel virus? Or put a different way: What are the relative values between low-volume uncertain random testing vs. high-volume cumulative non-random testing?

    iv) If, however, we *don’t* have Random Sample prevalence data, then doesn’t that mean that all the models up until now are likewise open to the same fundamental objections leveled against Erickson/Messihi? (“biased!”, “cherry-picked!”, “unscientific!”)

    v) Dr. Erickson seems much more careful in his language than his detractors claim. He constantly says that the 12% is the number that is “materializing”, in other words, as more and more people are tested, that number seems to be staying constant. He also talks about his extrapolations as “possible”. He says “if” a lot. In other words, I don’t see him making rigid claims — at least not any more rigid than those over which we’ve shut down the entire economy.


    okay…but I ask again: Do we have Random Sample data or not? If we do, then that’s the silver bullet against Erickson/Messihi, not screaming and shaming.

    The more I look at this, the more it seems like another mote-and-beam case, i.e., pointing out that someone else is wrong doesn’t necessarily make you right. The doctors in question may be wrong, but it’s not clear to me how they’re MORE wrong than previous arguments? The data they’re using to make their predictions and policy recommendations may be imperfect, but it’s not clear to me how it’s MORE imperfect than the data that has already been used to make much more drastic predictions and much farther-reaching policy mandates.

  7. Ken

    Sweden does some precautionary measures, but did not crash its economy so severely, but its death rate is on the high side of the ranges observed. Probably worth the trade off.

    About the trade off & death tally:

    Covid-19 deaths in the US appear to be approaching the annual # of US deaths from abortion (tallied as “abortions” – in terms of the procedure vs result). Should verify the overall numbers.

    Abortion is for convenience, usually.

    So, why not preserve much more of the economy at a comparable death rate? The economy is far more valuable to society than just convenience.

    The conversation needs to include some objective comparisons for basing trade off decisions between safety and quality of life.

  8. Fredo

    You’re exactly right Sheri this is The Green New Deal by other means.
    It will be interesting to see who winds up with controlling interest
    in domestic oil and airlines stock my money, what little is left of it, is
    on ‘Black Rock’ or some subsidiary thereof.

    Great post Briggs and thanks for the E.R. Doc’s video lays out what
    many suspected all along. The funny thing is if you go back and look at the
    Wuhan numbers, early on before pimping, they’re right in line with annual
    flu death rates though at the time nobody believed them. This has been
    so much fun you can rest assured we’ll do it again!

  9. Grima Squeakersen

    @Martinian re: unbiased samples
    “i) Do we have prevalence data that *is* based on Random Samples?”
    No, apparently not. If those do exist, they must be the best guarded State secrets in quite some time.
    Regarding your other outlined points – exactly correct. But don’t expect any acknowledgement, or even reasoned refutations, from the Statists. They are winning, they know it, and they are just barely clever enough to know that when winning, the best tactic is to keep one’s mouth shut…

  10. Cousin Drew

    Can anybody provide a link to CDC all-cause mortality – I’m kinda curious to see how that evolves. I’m sure its easy to figure out, but I’m not good at it (apparently).


  11. Fredo

    A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses
    shows potential for human emergence

    1Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. 2Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University
    of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. 3National Center for Toxicological Research, Food and Drug Administration, Jefferson, Arkansas,
    USA. 4Key Laboratory of Special Pathogens and Biosafety, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, China. 5Department of Cell Biology and
    Physiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. 6Cystic Fibrosis Center, Marsico Lung Institute, University of North Carolina
    at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. 7Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Bellinzona Institute of Microbiology, Zurich, Switzerland. 8Department of
    Cancer Immunology and AIDS, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. 9Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical
    School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Correspondence should be addressed to R.S.B. ( or V.D.M. (
    Received 12 June; accepted 8 October; published online 9 November 2015; corrected online 20 November 2015 (details online); doi:10.1038/nm.3985

  12. Joy

    This is politics, so say so:

    What this Dr and his friend are saying are not new.
    The rates and figures are not out of line with what was known weeks ago; Late Jan early Feb, once initial data from China was made available our CMO clearly stated to a select committee that the death rate is really low. The point is that health systems can’t cope due to it’s contingency. He is wrong about it being less severe than flu, just wrong.
    So it is not clear what “models” this man is referring to…maybe internet ones.

    As for hundreds of thousands of deaths, that is WITH social distancing and braking the chain of transmission.

    Chris Witty said the same thing a long time ago so this chap misses the point in his keenest to add to the political talking points. (bad enough with the left doing that).

    The point was (in Europe and in the UK) to keep the health system from literally breaking and causing indirect deaths. ThAT is the plan. Has been stated many times He is comparing this to the flu and that is not quite right as symptoms are very different. As a Dr he KNOWs this which makes me suspicious.

    There is no cure, only management as everybody I hope now understands. So the idea is to slow the flow of cases to a summer long shower rather than a spring flood. The flood option would in this country cause massive death beyond covid, and probably serious outbreak of criminality, rioting, luting and so on.
    So his stuck record, “millions of cases, very small death’ iOS known. He’s not saying anything surprising or new.
    What society has decided to do is to take care of the elderly and infirm, the vulnerable and the middle aged male population. Sone things come at a price and saving lives is one of them.

    For all this man’s “making this his life’s work” he hasn’t said anything original. He hasn’t been listening to the original discussions on this matter.

    Discussions on indirect death such as problems with domestic abuse, increases in child molestation, reduction in general health and immune system. All of those are factored in the modelling. He perhaps would do well to listen to the scientists who HAVE come to the conclusion that breaking the chain of transmission is the method used when infection is out of control.
    It’s all about control/management. The c sure and treatment comes later.
    That is the business of government or policy makers. Medicine is the business of medics.
    This virus brings forth all the usual discussion points regarding freedom and responsibility, regarding fairness, the haves and the have nots.

    Isolating the healthy is a temporary measure until countries get their ducks in a row to manage overflow and protect the most vulnerable…trace the carriers.

    In other words to correctly identify where the virus is active.

    So this man has just caught up with the programme.

  13. Joy

    Not “contingency”, “contagion”.
    Healthcare is expensive. Nobody wants to be honest about it.
    Who’;s pays the bill?
    Staff do. They are not paid what they are worth, they are just paid enough…

    Covid can take the life of otherwise healthy people in a way that flu does not, generally.
    When respiratory distress happens it is very sudden.
    This is where the stay at home message has gone wrong, in my view.
    Men, in particular, need frog matching to go anywhere near a Dr or medic at the best of times. Tell them and the elderly to stay at home to take pressure off the health service and they will inevitably leave it too late as many of them have done.

    I would now be admitting ALL patients who test positive to the overflow hospitals and isolating them. Sort them into severity of symptoms and observe them all closely for onset of shortness of breath and dangerously high fever and so on.

    Hospitals have the space to do this now more than ever and this will enable everybody else to go about their day blissfully unaware as they usually are.

  14. Joy

    …and finally, the number everybody is waiting for is that of “excess deaths.”
    Those we believe were directly or indirectly for better or worse management, due to the corona epidemic.

  15. Dean Ericson

    Joy writes,

    ”to go about their day blissfully unaware as they usually are.”

    Heh. Where you been, Joy? – missed you.

  16. Sylvain Allard

    “Millions of cases. Small amount of death.”

    How many death will it takes for you moron to stop believing the earth is flat.

    The USA has 2000 new death per day, and these are horrible death where the patient slowly drown in his own infections.

    More and more younger people without any co-morbidity are dying of this things.

    Anyone who goes through the disease describes how horrible it is.

  17. Tom Walsh

    To Sylvain Allard
    “More and more younger people without any co-morbidity are dying of this things.”
    How about a few links to actual cases?

  18. “More and more younger people without any co-morbidity are dying of this things.”

    What a horrible fantasy world you must inhabit, tucked away in your girlfriend’s millionaire’s lair, filled with confused hatred.

    Your assertion is easily refuted by facts.

    In the USA, in the C19 hot spot of New York City, which hosts masses of diseased immigrants living on top of each other, here are the actual numbers:

    47% of C19 deaths are 75 years old, or older. (3,263 raw number.)
    70% of the deaths in the 75+ demographic have other deadly conditions. (2,289 raw number. )

    0.04% are under 17 years old. (Raw number: 3.)
    0.00% of those children had other deadly conditions. (Raw number: 0.)

    The rations are the same all across the USA, camarade citoyen.

    First, the C19 numbers are pitifully low (for a “global pandemic”). Second, the vast majority of victims are elderly–60+. And the majority of those elderly victims suffer from other deadly conditions.

    School-age children, while evidently susceptible to infection, generally show no symptoms, and suffer virtually no deaths.

  19. Uncle Mike

    Dear Joy,

    Your “frog matching” comment hit a nerve. I get frog matched all the time. It’s harsh in the marsh.

    Re “luting” please see

    …one little archer of exquisite skill…

  20. Sylvain Allard

    Kent Clizbe,

    The youngest adult death in the USA I heard of was a 21 years old college student with no other known conditions. In Canada, a woman about 26 year old died in Alberta. In Quebec, a caretaker died 2 days ago, she had no other known conditions and was 31 years old.

    Recently a 20 something man in Michigan was discharged after spending 5 weeks on a ventilator.

    When you have the flu you are sick for 7-10 days max. With this thing people are sick for a full month. There is no fear of lacking ventilators with the flu.

    Coved-19, has been declared a pandemic for only maybe 3 months and the USA have already reach the number of death for a fuel year of flu.

    And this happens while there are millions of people in quarantine. Try to imagine if there were no quarantine.

    This virus is a nightmare that spread easily and gets people very sick.

  21. Tom Walsh

    To Sylvain Allard
    “More and more younger people without any co-morbidity are dying of this things.”

    Links, links,links???

  22. Joy

    Dean Ericson, I’ve been in Kent, Epping and North Landind, (Flamborough) Not quite the Icelandic coast but nearly and Cold, just a few yards from the sea, to be precise.

    Uncle Mike,
    Luting is prettier. Lovely song! Sharp as ever.

    Ducks must be in a row and all frogs must match, all men must be frog matched if they know what’s good for them.

    Luting is when those who aren’t adequately frog matched take to the streets and doorsteps to sing the frog chorus.

    Take Boris, he didn’t go to hospital in time. He’s still short of breath on exertion today, you can hear it when he started speaking.
    Our prayers were answered, I stayed up all night, he made it.

    So don’t you go touching things or being breathed on by strangers.
    Same to DAV, wherever he is.
    Stay well everybody.

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