Statistics

An Egregious Statistical Horror Story — Reprint Of George Gilder Column

Used with permission from the original American Institute for Economic Research article. Regular readers: No Doom tomorrow.

With the latest reports of plummeting death rates from all causes, this crisis is over. The pandemic of doom erupted as a panic of pols and is now a comedy of Mash-minded med admins and stooges, covering their ifs ands and butts with ever more morbid and distorted statistics.

The crisis now will hit the politicians and political Doctor Faucis who gullibly accepted and trumpeted what statistician William Briggs calls “the most colossal and costly blown forecast of all time.”

An egregious statistical horror story of millions of projected deaths, suffused with incense and lugubrious accents from Imperial College of London to Harvard School of Public Health, prompted the pols to impose a vandalistic lockdown on the economy. It would have been an outrage even if the assumptions were not wildly astronomically wrong.

Flattening the curve was always a fool’s errand that widened the damage.

President Trump had better take notice. He will soon own this gigantic botch of policy and leadership. No one will notice that his opponents urged even more panicky blunders.

The latest figures on overall death rates from all causes show no increase at all. Deaths are lower than in 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2015, slightly higher than in 2016. Any upward bias is imparted by population growth.

Now writing a book on the crisis with bestselling author Jay Richards, Briggs concludes: “Since pneumonia deaths are up, yet all deaths are down, it must mean people are being recorded as dying from other things at smaller rates than usual.” Deaths from other causes are simply being ascribed to the coronavirus.

As usual every year, deaths began trending downward in January. It’s an annual pattern. Look it up. Since the lockdown began in mid-March, the politicians cannot claim that their policies had anything to do with the declining death rate.

A global study published in Israel by Professor Isaac Ben-Israel, chairman of the Israeli Space Agency and Council on Research and Development, shows that “the spread of the coronavirus declines to almost zero after 70 days—no matter where it strikes, and no matter what measures governments impose to try to thwart it.”

In fact, by impeding herd immunity, particularly among students and other non-susceptible young people, the lockdown in the U.S. has prolonged and exacerbated the medical problem. As Briggs concludes, “People need to get out into virus-killing sunshine and germicidal air.”

This flu like all previous viral flues will give way only to herd immunity, whether through natural propagation of an extremely infectious pathogen, or through the success of one of the hundreds of vaccine projects.

No evidence indicates that this flu was exceptionally dangerous. On March 20th, the French published a major controlled study that shows no excess mortality at all from coronavirus compared to other flues. SARS and Mers were both much more lethal and did not occasion what Briggs’ reader “Uncle Dave” described as “taking a hammer and sickle to the economy.”

We now know that the crisis was a comedy of errors. The Chinese let it get going in the raw bat markets of Wuhan. But together with the Koreans, the Chinese dithered and demurred and allowed six weeks of rampant propagation to create herd immunity before they began locking everyone up. Therefore, the Chinese and Koreans were among the first to recover.

The Italians scared everybody with their haphazard health system and smoking fogies. Crammed together in subways and tenements, the New Yorkers registered a brief blip of extreme cases. Intubations and ventilators turned out not to help (80 percent died). This sowed fear and frustration among medical personnel slow to see that the problem was impaired hemogloblin in the blood rather than lung damage.

The New York media piled on with panic, with bogus reports of rising deaths. “Coronavirus deaths” soared by assuming that people dying with the virus were dying from it and then by ascribing to the coronavirus other deaths among people with symptoms of pulmonary distress, even without being tested.

Now jacking up the case rate will be further pointless testing. As Briggs points out,

“Fauci is calling for ‘tripling’ of testing, which can only boost these dailies [case totals]. And make it seem like there’s a genuine increase occurring. Oh my! The daily reported cases are up! It must mean the disease is spreading!

“No. It could also mean, and probably does given all the other evidence we now have from sampling, that the disease was already there, and we just now have measured it.”

The death rate rises with further reclassification of pneumonia and other pulmonary deaths. When we reach herd immunity, and nearly everyone has the antigen, nearly all deaths can be chalked up to COVID19. Hey, it will be Quod Erat Demonstrandum for the panic mongers.
In a fascinating open letter to German Prime Minister Angela Merkel, epidemiologist Mihai Grigoriu concludes that with the French study, corroborated by findings from a Stanford antibody seroprevalence study in Santa Clara county, “the case for extreme measures collapses like a house of cards.” Grigoriu says that since the virus has already spread widely in the general population, efforts to stop further spread are both futile and destructive.

So let’s stop pretending that our policies have been rational and need to be phased out, as if they once had a purpose. They should be reversed summarily and acknowledged to be a mistake, perpetrated by statisticians with erroneous computer models.

Perhaps then we can learn from this experience with the flaws of expertise not to shut down the economy again for the totally bogus “crisis” of climate change.

Categories: Statistics

31 replies »

  1. Ignore “our betters”. They have proven that they know not what they do.
    The “experts” were wrong on every single count. They are still doubling down on stupid.

  2. “They should be reversed summarily and acknowledged to be a mistake, perpetrated by statisticians with erroneous computer models.”

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA

    If we were ruled by honorable men, then sure, but we’re ruled by politicians and none of them are interested in admitting to a career-ending blunder.

    This is why you get ambitious young pols like Whitmer and Newsom and Pritzker even (relatively speaking) Cuomo and all of their underlings frantically engaging in CYA actions and still touting the threat: they still have political careers ahead of them and the good news is that all they need to do to continue those careers is convince the gullible 50% of the population that it was all for their own good.

    Some have said that the past 6 weeks have shown the “need” for socialism, but really what it has done as shown the uselessness of politicians with excessive power.

  3. This was the “Last Best Hope” of the Democrats, and they knew it and acted accordingly. Obama’s hurricane moment times 100. A gift-wrapped late Christmas gift from the Almighty…..if they believed in Him.

    The good news? We have enough TP stocked up to last a lifetime.

  4. Nice shout out from Gilder, Briggs. Blown forecast is a nice subcategory of reliance upon experts without understanding anything about what they are doing combined especially when it goes against common sense. One of my all time faves in that vein is the Catholic Church hierarchy’s claim that they were listening to experts saying that pedo’s could be “cured”. Now they have fallen for it a second time in shutting the churches. Science may destroy the church but not in the way the scientists intend.

  5. CORRECTION: The name of the German epidemiologist who wrote the Open Letter to Merkel is Sucharit Bhakdi. Grigoriu was the YouTube poster of his statement.

    George Gilder

  6. Let’s stop pretending? Well, yes; but let’s also stop pretending that this fully-achieved, near-simultaneous, unopposed global totalitarian takeover was in response to a ‘panic’.

    It was always all-about the coup, never about the virus.

    If it hadn’t been the virus, it probably would have been about the climate ’emergency’ – indeed, it probably will become about the climate, anyway; since They are not about to let go of power, having so effortlessly achieved it – having been, indeed, begged by the Godless cowardly masses to take-over everything, with no time limit, only ‘save our skins’.

    The virus panic will subside, although They will continue do everything to sustain it, in phases. The UK is apparently about to withdraw all ‘minority’ medical and nursing staff from the ‘frontline’, which (since they constitute apparently more than 1/3 of the work force) should cause quite the crisis…

    But the inexorable dwindling of the virus won’t make any significant difference; because it never was about the virus. We will soon have plenty to worry us when the system collapses irrevocably, and enough of everything runs short, then runs out.

    Happy May Day!

  7. It is interesting to hear/read the real experts in virology, immunology, microbiology, etc. with PhD’s behind their names label the mass media consultants as so-called experts.

  8. As I mentioned in a comment to this blog previously, it would be a very good idea to collate evidence (which I am certain exists) NOW to refute any forthcoming claim that the reason there were no additional deaths was that the lock-down restrictions saved the number of lives that COVID-19 took. In other words, a claim that reduced deaths from auto accident, and as a result of hazards in the workplace and in other activities that were curtailed, approximately offset the additional deaths from COVID-19. I am completely convinced that will be one of the primary defenses on offer should the politicians and their so-called experts be forced to acknowledge that the overall death total was not out of the ordinary, and, of course, their media lackeys will back them up on that claim.

  9. A short factual story about what happened in response to the Covid-19 pandemic would (will?) fit right in as an article in America’s Finest News Source, The Onion.

    ‘Course, The Onion probably won’t publish it because it would be factual.

    Maybe add it as an update to Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds….

    ‘Extraordinary Popular Delusions,’ by the way, Briggs, is likely good fodder for benchmarks suitable for the writing you mentioned in work about the response to this pandemic.

  10. It’s Uncle Mike for Pete’s sake! The hammer and sickle to the economy remark was mine! I never get any credit. Just ask my wife.

  11. Gilder’s article is very good, and right on point, with one glaring exception”
    “The Chinese let it get going in the raw bat markets of Wuhan”
    There are no “raw bat markets” in Wuhan. There are legal markets for what are nominally wild species of animals that are predominantly raised on farms, the same way there are restaurants in the US that serve white-tail deer and other exotic fare. Bat is not one of those approved species. Furthermore, there is no no evidence of raw bat consumption, and very, very little of bat consumption of any kind. Kung Fu Flu Patient Zero more than likely came through that market, but most likely was infected by fluids from a live animal intermediary other than a bat. It is a small point in an otherwise excellent article, but a careless, repeated, misstatement of that kind serves only to support those who would dismiss it out of hand.

  12. What has been refreshing is to hear the actual experts, the modellers, who have been working on the data from China and elsewhere as it emerges, is the frankness and careful English they use, qualifying everything as they go. No sweeping exaggerations, no alarmism in what they say, full disclosure of what is not certain, which was almost everything! Not even a bit like the on line discussions regarding climate models. I have a very strong sense that themas think the same guys are behind the climage, have been doing dark magic with the covid numbers are one and the same in mentality, are sadly going to be proved not just wrong but completely the other way around. I just don’t want to blow their cover! The Media’s already on to that and they ain’t gonna like it when they find out. That would be the leftwing MSM as liberal seems to have gone out of fashion for the spring. CNN isn’t anything but an arm of the Demo rat party.

    Again, how can it be that I see things so very differently when looking at apparently the same information?
    Answer? Not everybody is party to the same information. The others are lying or wrong.
    The advice given by economic ‘experts’ i.e. the bank of England manager, office of budget responsibility and others was that now is not a time to be squeamish about fiscal rules. The idea here is to build a bridge over the black hole to make the transition as smoothe as is possible with as little loss of life as possible. Doing nothing was not an option. Ponchous pilot or however he spells his name, is not well liked over here.

  13. bcg:
    A near perfect summary all you’ve got to do is look at Fauci’s continued
    funding of the illegal research into enhanced viral function at the Wuhan
    lab to find the nexus of this criminal charade. The whole operation was
    coordinated at the level of international health bodies with China playing
    it’s assigned roll showcasing the lock downs. The lock downs that so
    shocked the west and were adopted without pause for rational debate
    or discussion. Everyone asks what is the motive? It’s the same eugenicist
    motive first articulated by Malthus and carried forward over time
    by various global environmental & eugenicist organizations right up to
    the exhortations of the Gates Foundation of imminent doom due to
    overpopulation. This world is not enough some one wants a planetary
    playground stripped of vaccine infected humans all to themselves.
    Vaccines full of viruses grown in dead animal tissue. Imagine injecting
    a vaccine riddled with toxins grown in the dead brain tissue of mice
    which incorporated even more unknown viruses. A real devils brew
    but I could be completely wrong.

    The Green movement’s efforts to curtail human development to save the
    planet through voluntary austerity measures has failed. Implicit in all
    of their publications is the identification of over population as the
    principal cause of the imaginary environmental Apocalypse that like the
    pandemic is but make believe fiction. Behind all of these movements are
    the same cast of characters that inter-generational clique of old and new
    money moving through time from genocide to genocide generation to
    generation. Going on for seven thousand years now the same tools of
    mass deception and the regular winnowing of humanity with economic
    depression and war. Nothing has changed some people like to play God,
    but I could be completely wrong.

    Tens of millions in the third world already impacted by a locust plague
    of biblical proportions will be further devastated by the inability of
    developed economies to help. Hundreds of millions will perish and go
    largely unnoticed in the western press which will be in full cover
    mode for this entirely man made planned-demic. From bat soup to
    nuts like Fauci and Gates it’s been a resounding success and where it goes
    from here is anyone’s guess. Hopefully enough people wake up to put an
    end to this anti-human Luciferian ploy which is now in full focus, but I
    could be completely wrong.

    Of course I could be completely wrong though if one follows the arc of
    the Green movement the banning of DDT and the subsequent deaths
    and disability of hundreds of millions from malaria you have to wonder.
    Then there is the sequestration of millions of acres of land in the third
    world people forced from their homes at gunpoint by corrupt governments
    for the creation of carbon sinks and for profit mono culture crops. What
    was once a rare event the out break of Ebola in Africa, with the P-4 level
    labs set up by western governments to ‘fight’ Ebola, is becoming a regular
    event. And then there’s Bill Gates sprinkling his special brand of fairy dust
    all over the continent. What a lab…and I really do hope that I am completely
    wrong but what if I’m not?

  14. Sure, patterns of deaths vary around the world. It’s covidious to cite spikes here and there as evidence of a unique and universal menace justifying a viral new mania. Compared to our 2.8 M per year COVID is part of the noise.

  15. Uncle Mike – I saw that “Uncle Dave” and knew right off he meant Mike. There is a “Dave” sometimes posting here but he never says witty stuff like “taking a hammer and sickle to the economy”. That’s funny.

    I’m seeing the pandemic is being called a “Dempanic” — that’s funny too.

    Great article, Mr. Gilder, a fun read, I like your style; Italian “smoking fogies” – ha!

  16. I wonder what would have happened if the .gov had done nothing?

    If millions had died would you all be silent? Or seething just the same.

    For this and many other outlets and unfortunately many I have called friends, I don’t think it’s about the virus, it’s just about a need to bitch.

    I personally know nurses and docs who were stacking bodies in trucks.

    Quit worrying about Trump the God.

    Be GLAD millions did not

  17. Why pretend to be surprised? This is, after all, how the tribe rolls. And they run the Media. They learned well from their Messiahs – Lenin and Stalin!!!

  18. Finger Rat – CNN did nothing to help the situation. It was becoming clear about two weeks into the panicdemic (that would be back in February) that we were being told lies. Everyting after that is nothing but government power grabs. “It’s for the children.” (None of whom have died due to this particular illness.)

  19. Dear Mr. Gilder,

    Thank you for your fine report.

    I note that you are from the American Institute for Economic Research. In your opinion and/or the opinion of your institute, what will be the long-term effects on the Economy of this fiasco?

    Will we be plunged into a Depression or merely a short-term recession. How long will it take for the economy to recover?

    The sp500 is down 15-20%. The 2Q GDP is alleged to have fallen 40%. The Debt has increased another 5-10 $trillion. The US Debt/GDP ratio is now what? Europe and the rest of the world are plunging economically and may drag us with them regardless.

    What is your outlook on all of this? What will the ultimate $$ cost be? Please feel free to prepare a report on the economic effects, and I’m sure Dr. Briggs will link to it and possibly post it here (with your permission).

  20. Hi blactaculus,

    I would like to address you comment about the Financial Times page at
    https://www.ft.com/coronavirus-latest

    In my opinion, the Financial Times is sensationalizing the data. They don’t disclose their methodology for their excess deaths numbers, but I assume they are using weekly mortality data and calculating the area between the current peak and an average of one or more past seasons.

    One thing to note is that, if COVID-19 had occurred in early January, the Financial Times’ methodology would have yielded “no excess deaths” at all for many countries.

    Additionally, some of their data is suspect, for example Italy which they currently show as having 21,500 excess deaths. Why don’t they show the lines for any past seasons for Italy? Italy is known for having a high number of influenza-related deaths. From a published paper:

    Season Influenza_Attributable_Excess_Deaths_Italy
    2013-14 7,027
    2014-15 20,259
    2015-16 15,801
    2016-17 24,981

    The FT’s graphing of past seasons for France, Spain, and other countries looks rather fishy too.

    Regards

  21. People die every single day. Even children die. (They die all too often from so many different things.) So far in this panicdemic, 500 families have been ruined by the loss of a job for every life lost. 50% of those lives lost were people over 80. 75% were people over 70. 95% were people over 50.

    A society cannot survive by sacrificing the young on the alter of the old.

  22. Re Rationale for all the various restrictive measures in the UK:
    42nd minute. A long time back when questioned directly, It was stated on video by Chris Whitty that what the WHO advised or said would make no real difference in our response since we would be acting on our own as usual with respect to International best medical practice. That is always our approach/aim.

    Policy decisions were made in good faith in the UK, of that I am sure.
    What China’s up to is for them to know and everybody to find out in the fullness of time.
    China and the globalists, the greenies all have a similar mentality with differing motives for wanting maximum control and regulation of everything.
    Chinese official data was always treated with the necessary uncertainty one might expect.

    Here are some of the facts about Corona Virus IDentified as number nineteen:
    clinical, biological, numerical, historical, facts. Also, a list of what is not yet known about the new virus: Simple and easy, calm listening. Bare it in mind when you’re making silly claims about a conspiracy of your own government being involved in a public OR secret commie take-over! On the other hand: as if they were so gullible as to be fooled by the very people they’ve been battling for so many years.

    https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/covid-19

  23. Can’t bear bare bear error?
    sorry. “bear” really should be reserved for the fluffy ones, if you can bear something should be spelled “bare”.
    It seems better.

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