September 11, 2020

When Trump said "I wanted to always play it down" and not "create a panic," did he believe that 11 million Americans were going to die?

11 million is what I believed, when I did my own math in early March. Multiply the U.S. population — 330 million — times the predicted death rate — 5% — and imagine an infection rate of 70%. You get 11.5 million!

Now, I'm looking at the transcript of Trump talking to Bob Woodward on February 7th, and Trump — comparing the coronavirus to the flu — says: "This is more deadly. This is 5% versus 1%, and less than 1%. So this is deadly stuff."

He believed the death rate was 5%! Fortunately, that turned out to be wrong, but Trump had to speak and act using the imperfect information he had, and — if he spoke truthfully to Woodward — he believed 5% of those who get infected would die. He envisioned a far worse dying off of Americans! I don't know what percent of Americans he thought would become infected, but he was using the same 5% death rate that I'd used to get to 11 million. Even if you go down to 30%, you still end up with a shocking number: 5 million!

Here we are today, thinking that approaching 200,000 is horrible, but back when Trump was talking to Woodward, I believe he was thinking that millions of Americans would die. The health care services would be overrun, and we would be dying without access to any care. Would health workers even continue to show up for work? How could the food supply chain continue? We would starve and, before that, panic about the prospect of starving. Americans would soon be at war with each other. There would be civil disorder — far beyond the Black Lives Matter riots — and the disease would spread even more quickly, with nothing to stop it.

In that light, consider what Trump said to Woodward on March 19th (in the same transcript), "Well, I think Bob, really, to be honest with you... I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic."

If the real prediction of death — 5 to 11 million — had been stressed in early February, how would we have behaved? Would we have flattened the curve and preserved access to medical care the way we did? There's a lot of trashing of Trump right now over how he handled the crisis, but the criticism of his effort to suppress panic is — in my view — completely wrong.

140 comments:

Unknown said...

Word

Freder Frederson said...

Except Trump thrives on creating panic. His entire campaign has been based on creating fear of looters and rioters and low income housing invading the suburbs.

And if it was that serious, then his neglect and downplaying the threat is even more egregious, not less.

Marshall Rose said...

Right or wrong doesn't matter, only power and hooray for my side.

Man With a Spoon said...

>There's a lot of trashing of Trump right now over...

Literally everything. Things he did and said. Things he didn't do, or say. Things that have been completely fabricated. Things that under no circumstances could ever possibly be true.

And it's not just "right now." It has been thus for four straight years.

Carry on. Nothing to see here.

Lyssa said...

I do not think I ever believed the death rate was anywhere near 5%. I think I heard that bantered around once or twice, but never that it was the prevailing understanding. That’s a much higher number then the actual rate! I’m pretty certain I’ve alway understood this to be worse then the flu, but still in the same general neighborhood.

Gunner said...

Why did Trump think he could charm wacko conservative haters like Woody? Kellyanne or Don Jr. should have leaked it so conservatives would have demanded that Trump stop talking to him.

Mike Sylwester said...

If Trump had acted just one week earlier, then 40,000 American lives would have been saved (according to Science).

Unknown said...

I almost never post comments, but am shocked that you (or anyone) would have thought it was possible anywhere near 11 million people in this country could die from COVID-19. It was pretty clear from what was happening in Italy before things ramped up in the US that the vast majority of deaths were concentrated among those 80 years old and above, and even then, among those in poor health.

exhelodrvr1 said...

I'm still waiting for someone to give a list of what should have been done differently, taking into consideration what was known at the time.
The "experts" were completely wrong, and Trump went against their advice, and took steps that in hindsight were the best things to do. For which he has received virtually no credit.

J Lee said...

The same media people railing at Trump were defending Fauci and others four months ago for saying masks didn't help, because they were saying it in order to avoid creating panic and having the public create a shortage of masks for medical personnel, when every city was expected to face the same type of hospital deluge of COVID cases as the NY metro area did. There were even images all over the place of health care workers using things like trash bags as protective facial coverings to show the severity of the shortage and the need for the deception at the time.

Just as with the Democrats' comments in February and early March downplaying the severity of COVID being flushed down the memory hole, the idea that Trump and others would say things to try and avoid panic is now painted as a vice, where the media was all-in on explaining the justification for Fauci to do the same thing back in the spring (which Fauci knows, and likely explains why he's been defending Trump against the Woodward book's allegations.)

Ann Althouse said...

"Except Trump thrives on creating panic. His entire campaign has been based on creating fear of looters and rioters and low income housing invading the suburbs. And if it was that serious, then his neglect and downplaying the threat is even more egregious, not less."

So suppressing panic is not generally his style, but he understood well enough that suppressing panic was incredibly important and he tried to do it. That's to his credit, you should concede! He realized he needed to go in a direction that isn't his immediate instinct and he tried to do what he saw was important. Why won't you ever credit him? It hurts YOUR credibility.

Limited blogger said...

Give Trump all the Nobel prizes

Brian said...

So suppressing panic is not generally his style, but he understood well enough that suppressing panic was incredibly important and he tried to do it.

Some people would call that being a "very stable genius".



Sebastian said...

"Multiply the U.S. population — 330 million — times the predicted death rate — 5% — and imagine an infection rate of 70%. You get 11.5 million!"

Ah, the "predicted" death rate.

"Here we are today, thinking that approaching 200,000 is horrible"

Do we? Quick, no googling, forget about life years, assume all 200K are excess and strictly "due to" WuFlu: how much excess mortality does that represent, expressed in months of ordinary morality?

Of course, I think we could have done better by more strictly isolating the actual people actually at risk, protecting grandma in her New York nursing home and the overweight diabetic down the street. The panicked assumptions about universal susceptibility, 70% infection, and 5% mortality--on which many people, experts and laymen alike, called BS from the outset--inspired the costly sledgehammer approach that proved utterly useless but itself stirred further panic.

Michael K said...

Freder ignores the videos of the rioting. The evidence is there but the left tries to ignore it. People like Freder would never ever give Trump credit for anything.

Also, this virus is related to SARS-1 which had a mortality rate of 23%.

Chuck said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dave Begley said...

Excellent analysis by Ann Althouse. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Rush Limbaugh used this today. ("Ann Althouse is from Wisconsin. She's got a blog. Has had it for a long time.")

I hate second guessers. Probably because I second guess myself too much. The key thing that Ann notes here is what Trump knew at the time and that his information was imperfect. Ergo, he used extremely good judgement to play it down as a larger panic could well have resulted.

And the Dems and Fake News think Trump is a dope. He's an extremely stable genius. Funny guy too.

Owen said...

Coulda woulda shoulda. The Progs know how to play that game perfectly. Whatever Trump did or said was wrong, and whatever he didn't do or say can be attributed to him if convenient to the project of destroying him.

This ia not news; it's a time-worn game, and is played extra hard around election time. Looking for intellectual honesty or fair debate is a fool's errand.

What strikes me about the game is how the good players blur Time. It's important, when using 2020 hindsight (an old phrase with new meaning in this year of troubles), that you flatten the timeline, switching dates of events, imputing knowledge to people that they did not then possess, mind-reading in general. Once you do that, it is much easier to shape the Narrative and get the mob properly worked up.

Trump, like any target in this game, is in an impossible situation. Whatever he says is wrong today, and will be even more wrong tomorrow. Kafka Trap. But at least Trump knows that the situation is impossible, and doesn't make himself crazy about it. Instead he calls bullshit on the game. He knows that if he doesn't take an interview with a superannuated presstitute like Woodward, Woodward will write his filthy book anyway, decorating it with "sources say" and a lovely tapestry of innuendo. So Trump pre-empts that, gets his own words onto the tape.

And IMHO does a pretty good job. Meanwhile, of course, he's not just jousting with passive-aggressive jerks like Woodward, he's trying to *solve the problem in the real world.*

Freder Frederson said...

Why won't you ever credit him? It hurts YOUR credibility.

I could turn that around and ask why you never criticize him. It hurts YOUR credibility.

You have taken upon yourself to defend Trump at every turn. And you didn't even vote for him.

Achilles said...

Freder Frederson said...
Except Trump thrives on creating panic. His entire campaign has been based on creating fear of looters and rioters and low income housing invading the suburbs.

And if it was that serious, then his neglect and downplaying the threat is even more egregious, not less.

The
There is no reconciliation with these people.

They will also demand that every mail in ballot be counted knowing they are a sham.

They will do anything and tell any lie to gain power.

We will have to defeat them if we want a republic and they have proven they will not accept losing the election.

Remember Freder still believes Trump should be impeached for what Biden is on video doing and still believes Trump is a Russian spy.

MountainMan said...

For comparison, data from the 1957--58 Asian flu pandemic, adjusted to current US population (~ 330 million):

Infections: 82 million
Deaths: 218,000

Reading newspaper articles from that time I never saw any mention of the name "Eisenhower" associated with the pandemic. No editorializing or finger-pointing. Just factual articles following the old principle of who, what, when, where, how. Some articles focused on what you needed to do.

No panic. No lockdowns. No daily press conferences. Busy doctor's offices, busy hospitals, lots of school absences, shortages of OTC remedies at the pharmacies. Everyone just toughed it out and eventually it was over. This was in the early days of flu vaccines, one eventually became available, but like the 1968-69 and 2009-2010 flu pandemics it was really too late to have much impact.

I remember having this and it was the sickest I ever was growing up. Only the measles I had 2 years later was in the same league. I was the second student in my class to get the measles and when I came back to class 2 1/2 weeks later half the class was out. School never closed.

J Melcher said...

Dr Fauci testified before Congress that, "yes" he lied about masks early on because, he later swore truthfully, there was at that time a "paucity" of medical grade PPE and he (a medical doctor) was trying to ensure HIS team (of other medical professionals) would have claim on the limited supply. He protected his team with lies, and endangered everybody else. At the same time, he tried to prevent panic by saying that the lack of masks, among the general public, would not add to the danger. Lie. Protect his team. Prevent general panic. That's what the expert was saying contemporaneously with the president. And now the expert says that the president was telling the public exactly what the expert was telling the president. No daylight between them.

Okay, so maybe it was evil. Maybe, possibly, this was the right thing to do.

But I don't see how we can say (A) It was evil and (B) presidents MUST "listen to the experts and do what they say". Ideally, wouldn't a good president reject evil advice?

Leland said...

I disagreed with your numbers then, but I understand the hypothetical in which you use them now. I suspect Trump said what his advisors were telling him in terms of percentages, but that he didn't believe them. That seems to be a method Trump uses to hedge; he points out what he was told by his advisors, says "that's what they tell me", and then acts on his own judgement of the situation.

I disagreed then, because I was looking at the population sets from other areas and nothing seemed to add up to millions of deaths. But 500,000, just to throw out a large and plausible number, is a lot of deaths and nothing to joke about. I think he was right to downplay to limit panic, and I do think that was the limit of his downplay. We could just as easily had violent protests and looting as our supply chain collapsed due to illness and fear.

TreeJoe said...

February 7TH. FEBRUARY 7TH.

That was TWO WEEKS after the first confirmed US case in Washington state....after Trump's travel ban and while democrats were promoting people to act like normal including Pelosi's famous promotion of visits to SF chinatown.

It would be weeks (Maybe a full month?) further before US health officials would be creating projections saying there was a realistic scenario of 2 million americans dying.

This is the problem with goal posts constantly moving. You have to measure against the goal posts set at the time. By that measure, Trump was the most reasonable - taking actions and treating it seriously but not creating panic - while democrat leadership were the ones promoting regular life and activities and deriding Trump's early actions. Then they froze in late February and early March.

Many, many things to fault Trump on. Downplaying fear in early February isn't one of them.

Amexpat said...

Suppressing panic is an admirable goal. But I disagree that necessitates not being straight with the US public. Best to give a matter of fact description of the problem with the information available and a good plan for dealing with it. Add some inspiring rhetoric and the public will rise to the challenge.

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Lucien said...

The Case Fatality Rate was running about 6% at the start, driven by people in nursing homes. The Infection Fatality Rate was always much lower. It’s by confusing the two that you start thinking about deaths in the millions. The CFR is now somewhere under 3% for the USA, but if you look at it for the period after about June, it’s much less, because elderly victims are no longer dominant.

Rocketeer said...

Was it more, or less egregious for Trump to downplay the potential seriousness of COVID-19 to avoid risking panic than it was for Fauci to lie (contemporaneously) about the efficacy of masks when he already knew better to prevent a "run" on PPC?

I'm Not Sure said...

"His entire campaign has been based on creating fear of looters and rioters..."

Either people were okay with looters and rioters until Donald Trump created that fear or the fear was there regardless of what Trump did.

Pick one.

Matt Sablan said...

"Except Trump thrives on creating panic."

-- Remember when Trump so thrived on creating panic he... canceled his rally in 2016 rather than hold it when threatened with riots if he showed up. Or when he thrived on creating panic so he... agreed that the officer who killed Floyd should be charged.

Like, what alternate reality are you living in where you say Trump -- who wants an end to riots and to move to a more normalized economy not on the verge of lockdown and shutdown at every slight increase in infection -- thrives on panic?

Matt Sablan said...

"I do not think I ever believed the death rate was anywhere near 5%."

-- I said that if that was the case, people would be *acting like it.* People acted like it would be an inconvenient snowstorm by stocking up on essentials and working from home, as opposed to preparing for *millions of people to die.* No one, even the people peddling the "millions dead by the end of March/April" really believed it.

Freder Frederson said...

So suppressing panic is not generally his style, but he understood well enough that suppressing panic was incredibly important and he tried to do it.

But, if he truly thought it was that deadly then his lack of action and downplaying the threat is indeed egregious. Two days after telling Woodward how deadly the disease was he was comparing the 15 corona virus cases to the 50,000 flu deaths. More than two weeks later he was claiming the 15 cases would still go down to zero. He wasn't trying to prevent a panic, he was lying about how serious a threat it was.

Tom T. said...

Feeder, I think you ought to start wrestling with the fact that you think telling the truth about what your side is doing would create a panic.

wendybar said...

Mike Sylwester said...
If Trump had acted just one week earlier, then 40,000 American lives would have been saved (according to Science).

9/11/20, 8:23 AM

And since Joe Biden called him a Xenophobe when he did stop China from coming, it goes to show thousands if not millions more would have died under a Biden Presidency.

Hey Skipper said...

"Except Trump thrives on creating panic. His entire campaign has been based on creating fear of looters and rioters and low income housing invading the suburbs.”

Because, after all, there are no reasons whatsoever to fear looters, rioters, and low income housing.

Readering said...

Good luck with that.

rehajm said...

His entire campaign has been based on creating fear of looters and rioters and low income housing invading the suburb

I'd bet good money Americans came to fear those things all on their own.

Drago said...

Field Marshall and Bundy/McCloskey Cases Liar Freder has no credibility, so its impossible for him to "hurt his credibility".

Incoherent Freder: ZOMG!! Trump ALWAYS keeps people in a panic...except for all the times he doesn't!!...which only proves my point!! (somehow, magically)

stevew said...

By suppressing panic Trump acted against his type, why? Because he loves America and Americans and so acted to protect it and us. What would have happened had he publicly bought in to the worst case numbers being bandied about? We don't know but have a good idea that panic would have happened. Essential workers would stop showing up to work, and there is a good chance a lot more people would have died, not from the virus but from neglect, starvation, suicide, etc.

Even Fauci has criticized the critique of Trump "down playing" the threat.

mandrewa said...

"11 million is what I believed, when I did my own math in early March. Multiply the U.S. population — 330 million — times the predicted death rate — 5% — and imagine an infection rate of 70%. You get 11.5 million!"

Thanks for being honest about that. I suspect many people believed a similar thing back then, but through some amazing process most people that believed such a thing was plausible probably now believe they didn't believe that.

But I really did not believe any such thing. I wasn't getting my news from the mainstream media but I was seeking out information on what was happening in Wuhan and, in particular, I read the Chinese definitions of infection and mortality and I knew it was absurd. The way they had defined the disease, you only had it if you were in a hospital and very seriously ill. If you define it that way of course you are going to get a very high mortality rate. If we did that for influenza it would be the same thing.

But of course I was worried. The Chinese were acting like they had let loose a bio-weapon and were trying to cover it up.

It's only when the Diamond Princess cruise ship data came out in late March that I knew that the fear was probably a huge overreaction. To repeat it again: 14 people out of 3711 died and half that population was quite elderly on the Diamond Princess. If we assume everybody on the ship was exposed, which we don't know for certainty but it is a pretty reasonable assumption, then that is a mortality rate of 0.38%. That compares to about 0.1% for a normal flu season. And 0.38% is an overestimate because half the US population isn't over 65 and we already knew that the disease disproportionately affected the elderly.

And we already knew this by the end of March.

Of course it isn't quite the simple. Most of the population have been exposed to the flu as children and they had significantly immunity, which radically reduces the yearly death toll from influenza. And since Covid-19 was assumed to be something completely new, we might have seen half a million people dying in some scenarios for the United States.

Except the Diamond Princess data contradicted that since something like 80% of the people on that ship did not get infected which suggests many people already had partial immunity to the "new" virus.

But anyway, most people don't understand this kind of reasoning. That's one thing this crisis has made blindingly obvious.

I'm not saying that Covid-19 is not a problem. After all something like 196,000 people in the United States have supposedly died from it. But how is that different from a big flu epidemic?

Virgil Hilts said...

I remember Trump and company when they started in press conferences saying 200,000 dead is what we could be expecting; hoping to do much better. I can't tell you what week he started saying that, but I always assumed he really expected 100,000 and wanted people to be prepared for something worse than that. I do think deaths have been exaggerated by some degree but we're probably north of 150,000.

Amexpat said...

Here we are today, thinking that approaching 200,000 is horrible, but back when Trump was talking to Woodward, I believe he was thinking that millions of Americans would die. The health care services would be overrun, and we would be dying without access to any care. Would health workers even continue to show up for work? How could the food supply chain continue? We would starve and, before that, panic about the prospect of starving. Americans would soon be at war with each other.

That didn't happen in other countries where governments presented the information they were getting from their experts and didn't feel the need to deceive the public as to the severity of the problem. And in terms of flattening the curve, there were some helpful and relatively painless measures that should have been stressed from the onset such as social distancing, washing hands often, dropping handshakes, etc.

Transparency is best in the long wrong. Politicians deceiving the public leads to cynicism and a belief in conspiracy theories. Trump is no better or worse than the Dems on this.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

whatever Trump said to Woodward- will be spun spun spun as BAD.

If Trump said the opposite, it would be BAD!

btw- why agree to taped talks with some guy named WOODWARD? creepy.

Pettifogger said...

Anything Trump might have done would have been spun negatively. The critics' point is to cast a negative light on Trump, regardless. I'm sure Trump's made many mistakes, but the incessant carping has stopped me from listening to any of it.

Fernandinande said...

I'm sticking with my March prediction of about 50 to 60K US deaths caused by the Invisible China Virus in a year, because CDC says:

"For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death." (Updated: September 9, 2020)

Maybe 50-60K will turn out to be too high since 6% of 200,000 is only 12,000...although 200K/3.6(causes) = 55,555 deaths per cause: right on the money. (Can you do that?)

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

This is the first time in my lifetime that the media has worked to gin up panic, continue the panic, scare people and refuse to report calming news like the super-low infection rate. They deliberately conflate the terms “positive test” and “case” to imply every + indicates certain death when 95% of the time it means mild or no symptoms at all. Reporting on how these + tests actually mean we’re closer to herd immunity would ease fears but the media is 100% invested in fear-mongering now. Sad. The “pandemic” part of it ended already. Move on.

MayBee said...

How did they get the 5% so wrong? If we had known 200,000 would we still have shut down? Were the shut downs a good idea?
Was it worth shutting down colleges for? Giving Governors all encompassing powers?
Colleges are kicking students out for not social distancing, and not refunding their tuition. Is it worth it?

Matt Sablan said...

"I could turn that around and ask why you never criticize him. It hurts YOUR credibility."

-- Again: What alternate reality are you living in where Althouse never criticizes Trump?

Jupiter said...

"11 million is what I believed, when I did my own math in early March. Multiply the U.S. population — 330 million — times the predicted death rate — 5% — and imagine an infection rate of 70%. You get 11.5 million!"

Not following where you got these numbers. The predicted infection rate was 100%, since supposedly, no one was immune. But the best available evidence in the early days was the experience of the Diamond Princess, where 7 people had died out of 3700, which is a population death rate of 0.2%, not 5% (5 more have died since then). But most people had no symptoms, even though they were locked up in tight quarters with recirculated air, which makes it pretty clear that they had some form of immunity.

hombre said...

The actual timelines of Trump’s response to the virus, given the inadequacies of the bureaucracy he was dealing with, looks as good as could be expected. Remember when Newsome and Killer Cuomo praised him? The media misinformation has been astonishing.

We could all sleep better if it wasn’t clear that the Democrats and the mediaswine are tearing down the country in the hope of putting Biden in charge of the ruins.

rehajm said...

Suppressing panic is an admirable goal. But I disagree that necessitates not being straight with the US public.

Yes, so much of the 'strategy' from the 'experts' has been about the manipulation of the public rather than being direct with the public with facts.

The situation called for a daily Giuliani-style daily press briefing and instead we got manipulative 'nudges' from science-y policy makers in way over their heads...

exhelodrvr1 said...

Lack of action? Put down the crack pipe, Freder. He took the best steps that could be taken, even though virtually everyone else disagreed.

steve uhr said...

The worse the prognosis the more lying is the right approach. I hope my doctor doesn’t subscribe to that philosophy. So the reason he tweeted “liberate Minnesota “ and made mask wearing a political issue was to save lives. Pathetic analysis Ann.

Mike Sylwester said...

Chuck at 8:35 AM
he tried to posture himself so as to be able to blame individual state governments. Setting himself up as the guy saying that it really shouldn’t be too bad at all.

You don't like it when other comments here attribute bad intentions to you.

Keep that in mind when you attribute bad intentions to President Trump.

Jupiter said...

"Except Trump thrives on creating panic. His entire campaign has been based on creating fear of looters and rioters and low income housing invading the suburbs."

Freder, I can understand, that you think living around people like you is no big deal. You can't really imagine how much bettor your life would be if you did not live around people like you. Hell, you probably like living around people like you. That's why you have so much trouble understanding sane people, who "panic" at the idea of having to live around animals like you. Bad enough we have to support you.

Nonapod said...

He wasn't trying to prevent a panic, he was lying about how serious a threat it was.

So you believe that Trump truly believed that millions of people were most likely going to die and so Trump decided to purposely downplay the threat because... why exactly? Are you arguing that Trump wanted millions of people to die? That Trump would delight in the death of millions of Americans? In all of Trump's well know history, what would possibly lead you to beleive that he was some sort of secret genicidal mainiac?

Big Mike said...

Freder thinks Althouse never criticizes Trump.

Freder is a fool.

Howard said...

Only cunts justify Trump here.

Pookie Number 2 said...

I could turn that around and ask why you never criticize him. It hurts YOUR credibility.

So essentially an acknowledgement of the Trump haters’ lack of integrity. We see it in every Chuck, adSs, and Freder comment, but it’s nice to see if made explicit.

Michael K said...

ucien said...
The Case Fatality Rate was running about 6% at the start, driven by people in nursing homes.


Yes, that fed the early panic. What cannot be explained is Cuomo sending infected patients back to nursing homes. Again, remember the SARS virus had a 23% fatality rate. That made it burn out quickly but fed the hysteria early on.

Michael K said...

Freder is on a roll here. Soon he will be telling us his epidemiologists credentials.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Left Bank of the Charles said...

If Trump believed that 11 million Americans were otherwise gong to die, he should have closed the borders with all countries, not just with China. And he should have convinced leaders in other countries to do that too. If he’d kept the U.S. per capita death rate down to the level of, say, Germany or Oregon, a gift of what we have seen, that would be to his credit. Sure, those who thought 11 million were going to die might think Trump has done a great job. But those of us who thought 50 to 70 thousand were likely to die just don’t share that perspective.

Wince said...

They should have handed the microphone to Trump at Altamont.

mandrewa said...

"11 million is what I believed, when I did my own math in early March. Multiply the U.S. population — 330 million — times the predicted death rate — 5% — and imagine an infection rate of 70%. You get 11.5 million!"

Thanks for being honest about that. I suspect many people believed a similar thing back then, but through some amazing process most people that believed such a thing was plausible probably now believe they didn't believe that.

But I did not believe any such thing. I wasn't getting my news from the mainstream media but I was seeking out information on what was happening in Wuhan and, in particular, I read the Chinese definitions of infection and mortality and I knew it was absurd. The way they had defined the disease, you only had it if you were in a hospital. If you define it that way of course you are going to get a very high mortality rate. And if we did that for influenza it would be the same thing.

But of course I was worried. The Chinese were acting like they had let loose a bio-weapon and were trying to cover it up.

It's only when the Diamond Princess cruise ship data came out in late March that I knew that the fear was probably a huge overreaction. To repeat it again: 14 people out of 3711 died on the Diamond Princess. If we assume everybody on the ship was exposed, which we don't for a certainty but it is a pretty reasonable assumption, then that is a mortality rate of 0.38%. That compares to about 0.1% for a normal flu season. And 0.38% is an overestimate because half the US population isn't over 65 and we already knew at that point that the disease disproportionately affects the elderly.

We knew all of this by the end of March.

Of course it isn't quite the simple. Most of the population have been exposed to the flu as children and they had significantly immunity, which radically reduces the yearly death toll from influenza. And since Covid-19 was assumed to be something completely new, we might have seen half a million people dying in some scenarios for the United States.

Except the Diamond Princess data contradicted that since something like 80% of the people on that ship did not get infected which suggests many people already had partial immunity to the "new" virus.

But anyway, most people don't understand this kind of reasoning. That's one thing this crisis has made blindingly obvious.

I'm not saying that Covid-19 is not a problem. After all something like 196,000 people in the United States have supposedly died from this. But how is that different from a big flu epidemic?

Owen said...

Freder @ 8:46: "He wasn't trying to prevent a panic he was lying about how serious a threat it was." I congratulate you on your ability to read minds, over great spans of time and space. And of course, if you were President facing a growing problem with *high inherent uncertainty* about how bad it was, how bad it would become, what options might be least bad, and you were facing this conundrum with *everybody in the world watching 24/7 to see if your eyelash even quivered* and you knew that *at least half of everybody in the world wanted you to fail in the worst way* --given all that, you would do a far, far better job.

Excuse me while I disagree.

Leadership is about leading. Even when things are a complete and unknowable mess. ESPECIALLY then.

steve uhr said...

Why does Ann even believe that trump believed that 5% was the right number? Maybe he really thought the right number was 1%. How would anyone know. The nice thing about lying all the time and regularly contradicting yourself is you create plenty of material for your followers to use in support.

Obviously if he believed it was 5 and was highly transmittable, the best way to minimize death is to make sure people and society do whatever will help. Ie earlier and more severe lockdowns. Downplaying the risk doesn’t benefit anyone other than perhaps the stock market but even there it is only a delay before the inevitable crash if many millions die.

mandrewa said...

Is China manipulating the US through social media and pushing us to do self-destructive things?

And more specifically, was China trying to create a worldwide panic about Covid-19, and
push for lockdowns, back in March of 2020?

Paul Mozur wrote an article, China Twitter Disinformation
for the New York Times that was published on June 8th.

Michael P Senger wrote a series of tweets
back in July that I've copied below because I think he does a good job of putting together
the evidence.

According to the article [Paul Mozur], the CCP launched a massive social media campaign in Italy to advertise its coronavirus lockdown measures in early March. The fact that CCP’s disinformation campaign focused on Italy is crucial. Italy was the first country outside China to lock down. The rest of the world followed Italy’s lead.

But CCP's campaign wasn't limited to Italy. The article states that this Tweet advertising China's lockdown policy to the world is fake. It has 142,000 likes. Tweets like this prove CCP was actively selling the world on Wuhan-style lockdowns in early March.

Next, if you search for the URL of that fake Tweet (https://twitter.com/manisha_kataki/status/1238007207700180992), you'll find it retweeted by many accts around the world.

Each account is suspicious — they Tweet incessantly about COVID until Floyd's death, then solely BLM.

The sheer scale of this operation and the number of accounts involved, and its influence around the world, is really remarkable.

Thousands of accounts tweeting incessantly about COVID hysteria, then pivoting to incessant BLM and anti-police propaganda, in every country.

The day after @paulmozur's NYT article was published, @Twitter suspended over 170,000 fake Chinese accounts.

But none of the fake accounts involved in the ring described above were suspended. This problem is much larger than Twitter acknowledges.

mandrewa said...

Continued:

More than 50 NIH scientists fired due to China ties. Hundreds more under investigation.

By co-opting scientists and academics while aggressively promoting lockdowns through social media propaganda, China made lockdown pseudoscience seem sound.

Though CCP's influence operations in media, politics, and academia were surreptitious, its stance in support of global adoption of COVID lockdowns was explicit. Here is China's foreign spokesperson promoting strict social distancing among children:

In speech this morning at @HudsonInstitute, @FBI director Chris Wray says CCP specifically approached local politicians to endorse its COVID lockdowns.

"in fact, we have heard from federal, state, and even local officials that Chinese diplomats are aggressively urging support for China’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. Yes, this is happening at both the federal and state levels."

This collage is a tiny sample of the fake accounts CCP used to popularize COVID lockdowns.

In these Tweets, CCP sends its regards to the world by denigrating every other government in the world, using many dialects, and contrasting them with its authoritarian "success."

These Tweets were easily identified using leads in @paulmozur's NYT article. Here, hundreds of fake accounts whine about "washing their hands" while China locks down. Nearly identical Tweets are made in many languages.

Twitter responded the following day by saying they'd removed the 170,000 accounts in this campaign. But Twitter lied. These fake CCP accounts, and presumably hundreds of thousands of others, are still doing CCP's bidding.

fake French Tweets:

In cooperation with FBI, National Science Foundation reports between 14-18 cases of undisclosed China financial ties.

This is in addition to the 175 cases of undisclosed China financial ties earlier reported by the NIH, a much larger organization.

“Sweden—partly due to its own COVID-19 response—has been a prime target of a Chinese campaign portraying Western democracies as weak against the threat. Sweden is one of few countries that ordered no lockdown and put its faith in herd immunity.”

mandrewa said...

Continued:

The fall that shut down the world.

This video of a Wuhan man “falling dead” from COVID went viral in January. Farcical, in hindsight.

In CCP interview, Editor-in-Chief of Lancet praises CCP’s lockdowns:

"not only the right thing to do, but it also showed other countries how they should respond in the face of such an acute threat. So, I think we have a great deal to thank China for"


WHO was instrumental in pushing world leaders to adopt China's lockdowns and insisting lockdowns not be lifted until strict tracing criteria were met.

Bruce Aylward is the same WHO leader who disconnected a live interview when asked about Taiwan.

South Dakota Governor @govkristinoem famously refused to issue a state lockdown.

Her decision didn't sit well with Beijing. CCP's army of fake accounts began filling her Twitter feed with abuse to punish her disobedience and pressure her to shut down her state.

By contrast, the accounts heap praise on governors who tighten lockdowns, like Dan Andrews, gov of Victoria, AUS.

Andrews' long-time staffer attended a high-level CCP academy. An MP leading Andrews' Belt & Road negotiations with Beijing lauded China's handling of COVID.

BorisJohnson initially opted for herd immunity. But on Mar 13, four days after Italy's lockdown, CCP began storming his feed, likening his plan to genocide. These words almost never appear in his feed before Mar 12.

Tragically, the abuse worked, and UK locked down Mar 23.

The bold-faced lie of lockdowns is "China controlled the virus." It's an obvious lie—China's data is manifestly forged. But CCP normalizes this Orwellian lie by demanding every elite publication and journal repeat it, transforming the snake oil of lockdowns into "science."

Physicist Yaneer Bar-Yam has spent months uncritically cheerleading China's lockdowns—including CCP's genocidal lockdown in Xinjiang—and promoting China's obviously-fraudulent data.

In February, Bar-Yam launched a website recommending strict lockdowns in 18 languages.

Hard to think of any place more ill-suited to a total lockdown than Africa, but that's exactly what CCP's fake accounts demanded of South African President @CyrilRamaphosa on March 22. The next day, they got what they wanted, and Ramaphosa announced a total lockdown.

India is a key rival of China, so CCP disinformation there is especially nasty.

On March 23, CCP's army of fake accounts implored PM @PMOIndia to lock down India and order the army to "shoot on sight" to enforce it. The next day, Modi announced a destructive lockdown.

On Dec 30, Li Wenliang warned friends of a new SARS-like illness in a message that went viral, causing widespread anger at CCP in China.

On Jan 7, Xi informed his innermost circle that the situation in Wuhan would require their
personal supervision.

Two weeks later, the CCP locked down Wuhan based on Xi's philosophy of 'fangkong,' the same
hybrid of health and security policy that inspired the mass 'quarantine' of over one million Uyghurs 'infected with extremism' in reeducation camps.

International COVID hysteria began two days later with a viral tweet by Eric Ding calling the coronavirus R0 'thermonuclear,' the first of many dubious tweets by the previously-unknown Ding, prompting a prominent colleague to call him a 'charlatan.'

The Politburo co-opted Li Wenliang’s fame for their own ends, declaring him a national martyr and ensuring the haunting image of Li on a ventilator—which are now known to be counterproductive—was carried by every major news outlet and seared into the world's memory.

It seems CCP didn't need to buy Bill Gates. In Gates' words:

"China, on the other hand, 'did a very good job of suppressing the virus,' thanks, in part, to the 'typical, fairly authoritarian' approach and the 'individual rights that were violated.'"

John henry said...

Here we are sitting at about 10m usdeaths from Chinese flu.

Per the cdc recently.

And President Trump didn't do enough to protect us?

We do a lot of testing but 90% of the people who get positive results are not.

The test results can be made to come out however the lab wants. Need more cases? Set the machine to 40 cycles. Want to show it going away? Set it to 30 cycles.

Want something realistic? Naaaah. Where's the benefit in that.

I think that if anything, since April, certainly since May, pdjt has been over playing this. Though nowhere near as much as many other politicians.

Several other people have alluded to age in deaths. Week before last the median age of people dying with/of kung flue was 93.

Half of all deaths over 93.

They said median but I would not trust a presstitute to know the difference between median mean and average.

John Henry

jaydub said...

"It hurts YOUR credibility."

It is impossible to hurt Fredo's credibility.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Left Bank of the Charles said...
Sure, those who thought 11 million were going to die might think Trump has done a great job. But those of us who thought 50 to 70 thousand were likely to die just don’t share that perspective.

Really, Leftie?

Please point us to where you were saying, back in March / April, that less than 100k would die, and that therefore all these shutdowns were totally unjustified.

Please, enlighten us

Owen said...

mandrewa @ 9:01: "...But anyway, most people don't understand this kind of reasoning. That's one thing this crisis has made blindingly obvious..."

Well said. (And, yes, the Diamond Princess was an incredible early "natural experiment" giving insight into how this disease operates in a confined community of ostensibly vulnerable subjects. But only some people knew how to think clearly about the experiment; or wanted to.)

Owen said...

Left Bank of the Charles @ 9:37: "...But those of us who thought 50 to 70 thousand were likely to die just don’t share that perspective."

And I'd like a pony for Christmas, too.

JAORE said...

So the Democrats would have struck FDR's words, "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself" and replaced them with with, "Holy shite, we're F'ed!"

John henry said...

Virtually all men who live to be 70 will get prostate cancer.

Virtually none of them will die of it (though they will die with it)

If we counted prostate cancer like we do kung flu, we'd be claiming millions of men are killed by prostate cancer annually.


Fuck the pink kammen breast cancer ribbon

Where's the brown prostate cancer ribbon?

John Henry

Mark O said...

History teaches the greatest or the worst misrepresentation of fact to quell panic were these words: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

Greg The Class Traitor said...

11 million is what I believed, when I did my own math in early March. Multiply the U.S. population — 330 million — times the predicted death rate — 5% — and imagine an infection rate of 70%. You get 11.5 million!

You were a victim of people confusing the "case fatality rate" (CFR) and the "infection fatality rate" (IFR). There's a good discussion of this here: https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2020/09/04/covid-why-terminology-really-matters/

tl;dr: In the traditional terminology, "catching the bug" is an "infection".
"Going to the hospital because you have a serious infection" is a "case"

If 1% of infected people get hospitalized, and 5% of those "cases" die, then the number becomes 330 million x 70% x 1% x 5% = 115 thousand dead, not 11.5 million. Make it 2%, and it 230 thousand

A lot of the stupidity that was inflicted on us was by people mixing up CFR & IFR

Yancey Ward said...

Trump's only real mistake was in not fully following through on his instincts in March- he only partially followed through (this is what allowed most of the country to reopen in May). His instincts were telling him to not lock down the healthy. I think the main problem was that his advisors just gave him terrible advice about what policies to follow. I pointed out in these threads at the time that the main policy should have been to protect the people in hospitals and nursing homes- and you do that by isolating the really sick COVID patients in their very own dedicated hospitals- you don't mix them in with people really sick with other ailments, and you don't waste testing resources on people who don't work with such people.

There really isn't an excuse for the experts here- we knew enough in early March that the fatality rate wouldn't be over 1%, and likely wouldn't be over 0.5%. We also knew the risk profiles at the time.

Yes, Trump could have done better, but his failures aren't the ones his detractors claim. Had Trump listened to those people, unemployment right now would be 50%+ and the grocery stores would be bare right now. In my opinion, Trumped saved the economy by not caving into the panic-mongers and continuing the shutdowns to the present time.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Freder Frederson said...
Except Trump thrives on creating panic. His entire campaign has been based on creating fear of looters and rioters and low income housing invading the suburbs.

So all those BLM and Antifa people threatening to come to teh suburbs, they're all working for Trump?

You sure do have a rich fantasy life, Freder

MountainMan said...

"His entire campaign has been based on creating fear of looters and rioters and low income housing invading the suburbs."F

I didn't need Trump to give me that impression. When BLM came to my suburban Atlanta county and had a rally on the courthouse steps accompanied by a unformed squad of New Black Panthers armed to the teeth with AR-15s and ammo belts what impression am I supposed to have?

When a black acquaintance who lives down in Atlanta makes a post on Facebook describing my community as inherently racist and all that person's black friends make comments in agreement that the white people in the north suburbs will eventually have to be "dealt with" what should we expect?

Matt Sablan said...

"What cannot be explained is Cuomo sending infected patients back to nursing homes"

-- I'm convinced that it was just incompetence and stubbornness. He probably thought, "No way in Hell I'm using the hospital ships or aid that Trump has sent; my side is already angry I said anything nice about his COVID response. What could go wrong?"

A lot of people died. That's what went wrong, but hey, he blamed it on Trump, so, win-win for him.

Drago said...

Howard: "Only c**** justify Trump here."

Howard is losing it.

JAORE said...

What cannot be explained is Cuomo sending infected patients back to nursing homes.

Never happened. Cuomo is the only true leader/hero of the pandemic. Besides Trump ordered Cuomo to put them in nursing homes. - MSNBC viewers everywhere.

Drago said...

Comment made in February 2020, Regarding ChiCom flu: "it’s not a time to panic about coronavirus.”
---Joe Biden

But don't worry democraticals. Joe doesn't even remember saying that....and like a certain LLR-lefty FakeCon from MI, he'll FIGHT YOU!

LOL

Drago said...

Left Bank: "And he should have convinced leaders in other countries to do that too. If he’d kept the U.S. per capita death rate down to the level of, say, Germany or Oregon, a gift of what we have seen, that would be to his credit"

Trump was unable to stop the democratical governors from murdering their elderly in nursing homes in massive numbers.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

That didn't happen in other countries where governments presented the information they were getting from their experts and didn't feel the need to deceive the public as to the severity of the problem. And in terms of flattening the curve, there were some helpful and relatively painless measures that should have been stressed from the onset such as social distancing, washing hands often, dropping handshakes, etc.

What a tiresome load of crap. I traveled coast to coast in FEB and people were already socially distancing, limiting hand shakes, offering Purel to customers, washing their hands. The advice was out there from the CDC and we all knew about it. In March the world was horrified by the appalling conditions in Italy. Some worried we might be hit that hard. We weren’t except for NY and NJ, and it isn’t really clear why the virus did so much damage there compared to elsewhere in the USA. The information from Trump’s task force was chest and fairly consistent but the media ranged wildly from promoting outright panic to pretending this virus was a nothingburger. We should have been reassured all was well once we passed the peak. Instead media continue to pretend there is danger RIGHT NOW to all of us even children although evidence says kids are more immune to it. Your Euro friends are still dealing with a second wave and we’re not.

rcocean said...

Another a non-story who's only purpose is to attack Trump. No one, I repeat no one, was demanding a lock-down before early March. Not the "experts" not Dr. Fauci, no one. IRC, the CDC was AGAINST wearing masks until May and none of the Governors (mostly D's) were locking things down.

Go read the Democrat Debates which went on all the way through mid-March. Almost no questions on it about CV-19, and those questions were mostly about Trump's "racism" for stopping flights to China and Europe.

rcocean said...

The media was accusing Trump of trying to "distract" the country by stopping flights to China and Europe during the Impeachment. All that Talk of CV-19 by trump? just trying to change the subject - per the MSM.

h said...

It is unclear to me what Trump meant. He certainly can not have meant that 1% of the population typically dies from flu (Trump — comparing the coronavirus to the flu — says: "This is more deadly. This is 5% versus 1%, and less than 1%.") 1% of 330 million is 3 million. One tenth of 1% of 330 m is 300,000. Typical annual deaths from flu are closer to 30,000. You can say that about 0.1% of people who get the flu die (2015-16 to pick a year where the math is easy to see: flu illnesses 24 million, flu deaths 23,000.) I remember clearly Fauci saying this could be 10 times worse -- meaning a death rate of 1% of all people with the virus. Today's figures show 6.3m cases, and 190K deaths. But the case count is low because it excludes a lot of asymptomatic cases, so it could be 12 m, meaning the death rate is 190,000/12m = 1.6% (and that number is declining every day). Where Althouse's 11 million calculation went wrong is in two places: 70% of the population did not in fact catch the virus, and the death rate among people with the virus is not close to 5%. So far, US cases are less than 2% of population (not 70%). One might think that they only stayed that low because the US aggressively shut down and socially distanced. But in Sweden (which did not act aggressively) the cases are less than 1% of the population.

Matt Sablan said...

". Ie earlier and more severe lockdowns."

-- In what world are you living in that if Trump had tried to initiate lockdowns in January/February, would the governors have listened? They barely were willing to listen to "hey, don't put sick people in nursing homes," and some of them didn't listen, even when Trump had hospital ships sitting on their coast to help.

No one was going to listen to Trump if he said to quarantine that early; he was ridiculed for even thinking we should slow down people coming from infected countries at the time.

It is pure nonsense to think that the left would have cooperated with anything Trump proposed.

Matt Sablan said...

"We weren’t except for NY and NJ, and it isn’t really clear why the virus did so much damage there compared to elsewhere in the USA. "

-- We know why the virus did so much damage there. Because the incompetent governors put populations known to be at high risk and mixed them with known sick individuals.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Chuck said...
So given the catastrophic scenario that you are envisioning, Althouse — one that you suspect that Trump himself thought was a probability — what did Trump DO about it?
Answer; he tried to posture himself so as to be able to blame individual state governments. Setting himself up as the guy saying that it really shouldn’t be too bad at all.


What did Trump do? Well, he honored the US Constitution that he swore an oath to protect, took care of the Federal side of things (stopping people coming from China. Later stopping people coming from Europe), and let teh voters get the benefit of the State and Local governments that they voted for.

So in SF and NYC, you got local politicians encouraging people to go down to Chinatown, and celebrate the Chinese New Year. Which didn't seem to hurt SF too badly, but really screwed over NYC.

in the NE, Democrat Governors forced long term care facilities (nursing homes) to take in people infected with Covid, because Cuomo needed to pay off the Hospital execs who funded his 2018 Dem Primary victory. This lead to a lot of dead people.

In Florida, they got good Republican governance, that focused on the LTCFs first, so they got a lot fewer deaths.

It seems, Chuck, that what has you so upset is that Trump let people get what they voted for. Now, I wonder why that is?

Greg The Class Traitor said...

What cannot be explained is Cuomo sending infected patients back to nursing homes.

Actually, that's easy to explain:

Old people in hospitals means the hospitals only get the Medicare reimbursement rate for their stay. The MRR for someone recovering from teh flu doesn't really cover the hospital's expenses.

SO the hospital execs pushed Cuomo to get those people out of there. Those same hospital execs had made a large donation to Cuomo's 2018 Dem Primary campaign, letting him buy the ads that put him over the top.

Cuomo owed his job to the hospital execs. The hospital execs didn't want low reimbursement old people taking up their beds. So Cuomo sent them away to kill a lot of other people.

John henry said...

Left bank, are Germany and US death rates comparable?

In the US we include anyone who died with any trace of kung flu, regardless of cause of death eg gunshot, motorcycle accident as a kung flu death.

I believe Germany is picker about attribution.

Re Oregon, same thing goes on but to a lesser degree between states. Assuming they are comparable, a month ago ny an NJ had 177 & 168. CT & MA 124 & 123

No other state over 100

Outside the top 10, none over 55 PA. Oregon west Virginia and pr had 6

NY & NJ probably account for 75%of all us deaths with/from kung flu.

Why do you think this is?

What do you think think pdjt has to do with this huge disparity within the us?

John Henry



John said...

If he thought 11 million would die then he it was understandable that he might try not to create panic in the public. But he should have been moving heaven and Earth to mobilize the government, PPE industry, etc. He was not. He could have actually banned flights from China rather than his pretend ban. He could have done the same with travel from Europe. He could not have tweeted Liberate Michigan.

Come on Ann - I know you thrive on being a contrarian but even you must have your limits.

John said...

stopping people coming from China. Later stopping people coming from Europe

Both of those statements are lies. Flights full of passengers continued to arrive from Europe and China after this supposed ban.

jaydub said...

The Diamond Princess told us about 85% of what we needed to know:

Of the 3700 or so people on that ship a total of 13 died, all elderly and all with comorbities.

Of the 2666 or so passengers, average age 69, and 1045 crewmembers, average age 36, only about 750 were listed as "cases."

Of the identified cases, the crew accounted for 145, many asymptomatic and none died or became seriously ill.

The passengers (the vulnerable population) were essentially quarantined from each other after a period and thereafter the infection rate among the passengers dropped to almost nil.

The crew who continued to support the passengers and were not quarantined from each other continued to experience infections right up until the passengers were all removed from the ship; however, many of them were asymptomatic or had mild cases.

Anyone who did a reasoned analysis of the Diamond Princess data would have come to the conclusion that isolating the vulnerable, particularly the elderly with existing health issues, and allowing the rest of the population to go about their business or schooling while practicing some type of social distancing would have been the approach that was the least harmful to society as a whole. Locking down people under 50 and school children is both stupid and evil, and those who advocated it deserved to be scorned.

AllenS said...

How many Americans will die of the Chinese Kung Flu? How many Americans are elderly and in some what bad health? That's how many.

pacwest said...

He wasn't trying to prevent a panic, he was lying about how serious a threat it was.

11 million dead was the prediction. If the threat was that serious it means he saved over 10 million lives! If the threat wasn't that serious he wasn't lying. Which is it? Savior or truth teller? You pick. Simplistic choices for simplistic people.

Or maybe he was faced with more complicated choices. Anyway, after subtracting the murders of elderly nursing home residents by governors the death toll is less than 100K. Savior and truth teller! It's the second coming I tell you.

You people are pathetic. But on to the next scandal. What is the next scandal? Gun running? Weaponizing the federal government against the American people? Inflaming racial hatred? Russian something?

Freder vote for who you want. It's your choice to make, no one is trying to deny you that, but at least base your reasons on something grounded in reality. And don't panic!

Bruce Hayden said...

“Yes, that fed the early panic. What cannot be explained is Cuomo sending infected patients back to nursing homes. Again, remember the SARS virus had a 23% fatality rate. That made it burn out quickly but fed the hysteria early on.”

The best explanation I have heard is that Medicaid reimbursement rates drove it. The hospitals couldn’t afford to keep the infected old people they had. They needed (or thought that they needed) the beds. Besides, importantly for these governors, the cost to the states, through Medicaid, is much lower for nursing home beds, than for hospital beds. So, what to do? The obvious answer was to send them to nursing homes. But not just any nursing homes, but the ones where much of their funding comes from Medicaid. The ones where they make ends meet by scrimping on care, where the staff are underskilled, underpaid, and overworked. Of course, it turns out the hospital beds were never even close to needed. UNS Comfort sat almost completely empty in the harbor and, if I remember correctly the Javitts Center was turned into a COVID-19 hospital, and again, wasn’t used.

What they should have done was what some Red State governors did - which was to create COVID-19 only nursing homes. FL was esp aggressive there, using much of its meager early testing capabilities to test people in nursing homes who were showing symptoms, and moving them out as fast as they could, into these COVID-19 only facilities if they tested positive. What I will never fully understand is why Democrats so pride themselves on how much smarter they are than Republicans, while in cases like for the very vulnerable nursing home population, they did almost the worst thing that they possibly could. Brain dead is probably overly generous. Indeed, I would suggest that the geniuses elected as Democrats made far, far, more idiotic decisions dealing with the pandemic than their supposedly much less intelligent Republican counterparts.

Enlighten-NewJerse said...

Looking at the Case Fatality Rate for COVID-19 as of September 7 the United States result looks pretty good in comparison to many other nations with a CFR of 3.0%. The originator of the virus China CFR is 5.3%.

Comparing against our North American neighbors – CFR %
Mexico: 10.7%
Canada: 6.9%
USA: 3.0%

Comparing against European Countries – CFR %
Italy: 12.8%
UK: 11.9%
Belgium: 11.2%
France: 8.8%
Netherlands: 8.3%
Sweden: 6.9%
Ireland: 6.0%
Spain: 5.9%
Switzerland: 4.7%
Finland: 4.1%
Germany: 3.7%
Denmark:3.5%
Portugal: 3.1%
USA: 3.0%
Austria:2.6%
Norway:2.4%
Russia: 1.7%

Comparing Against the Lands Down Under:
New Zealand: 1.2%
Australia:2.6%
USA: 3.0%

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

I never thought I would get Wuhan Flu, as it was known back then.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Matt even 10,000 excess deaths in nursing homes doesn’t account for the huge late spike in cases in NY/NJ. There’s a lot we know about COVID and a lot we don’t.

Amadeus 48 said...

Sorry, Althouse. Your buying that 5% number put me off you as a person with sound perspective for a while. Those of us who lived through the Hong Kong flu in 1968-69 (which includes you) should have had an idea where this was going. The crazy behavior of Andrew Cuomo and his Atlantic seaboard peers made it really bad in NY, NJ, RI, CT, and MA, but the rest of the country has handled it better. The crazy way deaths associated with Covid19 are counted has made it look worse than it is.

Trump talked to Woodward and he gets the Woodward treatment. No surprise there. What did he think would happen?

Michael K said...

It seems, Chuck, that what has you so upset is that Trump let people get what they voted for. Now, I wonder why that is?

We all know. Chuck must be getting paid to post this nonsense.

h said...

Other commenters make the excellent point that policymakers at all levels failed to base their recommendations on the Princess cruise ship experience. And that occurred in February, and we had excellent data by March. THe virus is much harder than thought to pass from person to person (except apparently for a small number of superspreaders who have a version of the virus that is more easily spread). So the 70% number should have been known to be wrong, and known early. Deaths among those who have the virus and who are not old is lower than thought. And the fact that policy makers should have focussed on the elderly should have been obvious by early March.

Michael K said...

The nice thing about lying all the time and regularly contradicting yourself is you create plenty of material for your followers to use in support.

Biden/Harris campaign strategy. Thanks, steve

Bob said...

Chuck said, "...what did Trump DO about it?"

Well, I suppose he might have stood on a Manhattan street corner handing out condoms. Yeah, that would have done the trick.

Bruce Hayden said...

“What did Trump do? Well, he honored the US Constitution that he swore an oath to protect, took care of the Federal side of things (stopping people coming from China. Later stopping people coming from Europe), and let teh voters get the benefit of the State and Local governments that they voted for.”

Something else that Trump provided- a massive increase in testing, as well as in the production of PPEs. When the pandemic struck, they found that the country’s PPE reserve had been mostly exhausted during the Obama/Biden Administration, with little attempt to replenish it. And, yes, it was never a priority during Trump’s first three years either. I blame that mostly on the federal medical bureaucrats who were more interested in Muslim and transgender outreach than in any future pandemics. And much of the production of PPEs had been sent overseas - mostly to the same country that gave us the Wuhan Coronavirus (and faced the pandemic first, as a result). Testing too had been taken over, in its entirety, by the federal medical bureaucracies, then allowed it to languish. In March, they were capable of a thousand or so tests a day, and many of their test results turned out to be wrong. What Trump did to address all of these issues was to cut through bureaucratic red tape, and to build public/private partnerships at a rate not seen in this country since WW II. Thanks to Trump, states like MT have been able to test almost a quarter million people, almost 1/4 of the entire population of the state. Everyone and their grandmothers have been making masks as fast as they could, significant booze making capacity was cut over to hand sanitizer production, and most of the testing labs in the country are now also providing for COVID-19 testing. THIS WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED IN A DEM ADMINISTRATION, because it required crossing the federal medical bureaucracy, taking power away from the federal government’s medical experts.

stlcdr said...

I believe this is one of those [scott Adams] Two Movie instances. Those predisposed to hate trump will take it at face value and see trump as an evil killer. Those who are more rational will look back at what was happening at the time, and see the comments trump makes as those of a quite reasonable person in a tough spot.

I don’t think it changes anyone’s mind - unless you erase history. But it does put the media and the trump haters in a horrible light for ignoring history at that point: the government had just come out of a shutdown (caused by those in the House and their leaders), impeachment proceedings against trump by the House, which was a failure, trump already putting measures in place to prevent the virus from rapidly spreading across the US, wholly opposed by most politicians and all democrats.

Michael K said...

Left Bank of the Charles said...
If Trump believed that 11 million Americans were otherwise gong to die, he should have closed the borders with all countries, not just with China.


The second guessers are out today. No, he didn't believe it. Nobody knew but the cruise ship experience was a suggestion that the CDC estimates were wildly off on the high side. Remember half the deaths were the nursing home cases.

Michael K said...

Left Bank of the Charles said...
If Trump believed that 11 million Americans were otherwise gong to die, he should have closed the borders with all countries, not just with China.


The second guessers are out today. No, he didn't believe it. Nobody knew but the cruise ship experience was a suggestion that the CDC estimates were wildly off on the high side. Remember half the deaths were the nursing home cases.

Jeff Brokaw said...

It is completely wrong, on that you are completely right.

This is not a hard call. Leadership is about calming people in times of crisis, not freaking them out, and sometimes you must withhold the worst kind of news in those situations.

So it's no surprise that tons of journalists and pundits -- all of whom know dick about leadership -- are jumping all over this. They think they're piling on Trump, but in fact they're self-identifying as clueless lemmings.

They would panic the *most* and yet they are criticizing Trump for not making them panic! LOL

WarrenPeese said...

Ms. Althouse is either innumerate or not being honest.
Trump also said to Woodward that CV19 is five times more lethal than flu (the WSJ had it at 5 to 10 times more deadly). The mortality rate for common flu is 0.1%, not 1%, so Trump got the percentages jumbled.
Althouse cherry-picked the jumbled and ignored “five times”.

Chris of Rights said...

On December 8, 1941, do you think FDR was right to say the following?
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God.


Or, should he have said, "My fellow Americans, we are so f**ked. Half our Pacific fleet is in ruins. I have advisors telling me that the Japanese could mount on assault on the west coast whenever they're ready. I don't know how we're going to get through this."

Leaders lead. And leaders lead by lifting spirits. FDR could have caused a panic. Nothing I put up there is an untrue statement. Now, it is probably questionable whether or not Japan could have really done much to the West Coast other than probably San Diego. But certainly people were telling him that. Do you want a leader that says "We're in deep $#!+. Or do you want one that says, "things are bad, but we're going to get through this, and we're going to come through stronger than ever."

Fredo wants the first one. I'll take the second. Sounds like Professor Althouse agrees with me.

Birkel said...

I would not have changed my behavior.
I wash my hands and get daily sunlight for Vitamin D.

Bilwick said...

It's interesting to me when "liberals," "progressives" and other statists want to use Covid 19 as a reason to get rid of Trump--you know, like they were all Trump fans BEFORE the Kung Flu. I have a friend, like most "liberals" in the arts as knowledgeable about pandemics and medical science as she is about history and economics, who was trying to use this party line on me; and I said, "So what is it? Last week Trump was Hitler--now he's not Hitler enough?" She's too smart to say something as blunt "right now we need more Hitler" but that was the gist of her response.

As Slow Joe himself has said, "It's not about your rights"--which the Democrats should use as their 2020 campaign slogan.

Anthony said...

I suspect Fauci knew/suspected this was going to be the equivalent of a bad flu pretty early on given the comments he (and others) published saying it was "entirely possible" (which in epidemiology-speak is "probably") that the fatality rate was on the order of a bad flu. Why he then went into la-la-land with his mask BS (later, when he recommended wearing them as opposed to early on when he, quite sensibly, said don't bother) and his shut-down BS, and all the other BS, is beyond me except perhaps he got a little drunk on his own power and media attention.

As did, I think, 90% of this profession of mine. I've known most of my colleagues were (not so) closet SJWs, but I kind of never thought they'd really let that get in the way of BSing everyone just for their political goals.

Yeah, I can be naive sometimes. . . . .

RMc said...

Freder and his ilk are openly rooting for more deaths, cuz it makes Orange Man look bad. (As long they aren't anyone they care about, of course. Gotta have some standards. Isn't there a nursing home full of deplorables in rural Georgia or something...?)

Martin said...

I fail to see that Trump did anything so terrible in the COVID business... hindsight is geat but the people criticizing him were no better at the time, often worse.

The only fair criticism I see is that he didn't give inspiring speeches, like FDR's Rirst Inaugural ("nothing to fear but fear, itself"). Well, (a) nobody ever claimed Trump is a master of elegant speeches, and (b) if he had given a truly wonderful speech, they wouldn't have recognized it as such.

His only real mistake that I see is that when CDC told him they could quickly prepare and distribute their own test kits, he believed them. So his one mistake was to "trust the experts." Which is what all the elite types say he doesn't do.

I really really really object to the people who try to gaslight me as if I am stupid. I'm not a genius, but I'm not an idiot, either, and I can remember stuff that happened less than a year ago.

Leland said...

+1 to Greg the class Traitor @10:26 AM

Bill Peschel said...

Here's what we know now: the models were overblown by a factor of 15. We had a low flu season casualty rate that pumped up the number of overall deaths, but not, it turns out, by too much.

The pandemic is over, but the Democrats refuse to open up the states until after the election, as San Francisco chief "science" officer told us.

Here's 40 minutes of an engineer going over the official data showing what happened.

https://youtu.be/8UvFhIFzaac

tl;dr; We were played. The Democratic Party and the press killed people by denying them needed medical care for a virus that was worse than the flu, but for people with multiple comorbidities.

And because we haven't achieved herd immunity like Sweden, we're see a brief uptick.

MacMacConnell said...

I remember when the Left blamed the British government for down playing civilian deaths in WWII with that poster, " KEEP CALM, CARRY ON".

MountainMan said...

Left Bank: "And he should have convinced leaders in other countries to do that too. If he’d kept the U.S. per capita death rate down to the level of, say, Germany or Oregon, a gift of what we have seen, that would be to his credit"

This is a very uninformed statement. Scott Adams, on his Periscope this week, had a very good discussion about national leadership influencing the pandemic, with the basic conclusion being that it doesn't. If you had a good statistician perform a multi-factor analysis, country-by-country, of what influenced the Covid death rate, "leadership" at the nation level, however it was defined, probably had little to do with it. In the US, for example, the 2005 US response plan for a pandemic like this placed the greatest responsibility on state government, not the national government, for managing the response. Constitutionally, there is little the President can do directly, other than managing foreign relations - such as cancelling flights to/from foreign countries - and working with Congress to approve funding, etc., and mobilizing some of the Federal bureaucracy, like the CDC and NIH, although they already operate in a pandemic according to long-established protocols and don't really need any direction from the President to take action when something like this occurs.

You cannot directly compare countries, say the US and Germany, because they just are not the same. The population of the US and the population of Germany do not compare. We know now that certain factors - age, race, medical co-morbidities, obesity, housing density - all influence the spread of the disease, its severity, and the probability of death. The US has a large and very diverse population; Germany has a more homogeneous population. They are not comparable along any of these dimensions, and when you do compare many of these are more favorable to Germany than the US.

For example, the US ranks 12th in the world for obesity; Germany is 79th (and Japan is something like 185, and it has had a very low incidence and death rate). The US has a large black population, which seems to be very much impacted by Covid, while Germany has practically no blacks at all. What is the age distribution of the US vs. Germany? What is the incidence of diseases like coronary disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.? The US has a large (15-25 million?) population of illegal aliens, many of whom came here with existing health issues, and who also tend to live in high density housing that facilitate spread of the disease (housing density, rather than population density, seems to be a big factor as well). Unless you are going to correct for all these differing factors you can't make any kind of comparison. Leadership has little to do with it. I don't put much faith in "models" that say "If only he had done this we'd have prevented X deaths" when there is absolutely no way to prove that and we actually know now that all these identified actors are significant.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Jupiter said:

"The predicted infection rate was 100%, since supposedly, no one was immune."
****************
Before there were vaccines against polio and inoculations against smallpox, no one was immune to them---but the infection rate was never 100%.

jg said...

I thought that *early on* Trump 100% should have shut down more domestic travel (and obviously international) than he did. I think only in retrospect was he 'right'. But downplaying a (turns out to be pessimistic) 11 million dead scenario isn't harmful; it's a bet that paid off.

Temujin said...

You have to remember the 'science' that our 'experts' were handing the President. Hell- they told us only a fraction of the truth- still are. One wonders why most of the nation is still partially or fully shut down when- across the nation, 459 out of 300,000,000 people died of covid related deaths on 9/8.

Anyway- they were talking millions of people. Remember 2.2 million people were predicted to die early on. Predicted by the guy at Oxford who was released from his position because he was driving around to his mistresses house during the London shut down brought about by HIS numbers.

Fauci made determinations by his numbers as well. Numbers that were so far off as to be head-shaking.

Based on this info, and the tidal wave of hand-wringing fear shoveled across the nation by Democrat Governors and our media- Trump did the right thing. You want complete panic? Share those massive (false) numbers with our breathless media. We had panic as it was. Remember ordering beef online? Getting to the stores early to grab some disinfectant wipes and paper towel and TP? Scrambling to buy masks, and now realizing that- actually- there is no science that says they work to prevent a virus.

But it's nice window dressing. Trump did right. I listen to Biden ads about this with disgust.

Clyde said...

It's not like Americans are a panicky people, right? Well, except for not being able to find toilet paper in the stores for a couple of months...

jpg said...

YOU BELIEVED A 5 PERCENT DEATH RATE!? JFc.

Drago said...

Left Bank: "And he should have convinced leaders in other countries to do that too. If he’d kept the U.S. per capita death rate down to the level of, say, Germany or Oregon, a gift of what we have seen, that would be to his credit"

MountainMan: "This is a very uninformed statement."

As are all statements that begin: "Left Bank......."

Greg The Class Traitor said...

John said...
Me: stopping people coming from China. Later stopping people coming from Europe
John: Both of those statements are lies. Flights full of passengers continued to arrive from Europe and China after this supposed ban.

Really? And were these all US Citizens & permanent residents? you know, the people he could not keep out?

If no, got some support to back up that claim?

Drago said...

RMc: "Freder and his ilk are openly rooting for more deaths, cuz it makes Orange Man look bad."

Just like the Iraq war "grim milestones" reported every single day while W was President and then magically stopped the very minute obama took office. Never to be repeated again.

Just like the disappearing homeless who would then magically appear by the millions during republican administrations only to disappear as soon as a democrat took office. Never to be repeated again.

Just like how Code Pink protesters had absolute moral authority to speak during republican administrations only to be disappeared as soon as a democrat took office.

Did you know that there were actually reports of Medea Benjamin again just the other day on the cusp of all these Trump troop drawdowns and peace deals after 8 full years of Medea being banished from the airwaves during the obama admin?

Sorry, LLR-lefty Chuck might be reading this, so I'll add "magnificent" to obama's name. LLR-lefty Chuck is quite insistent about that sort of thing along with continuous praise of democrat marxist governor Whitmer.

JaimeRoberto said...

Except Trump thrives on creating panic.

Unlike the Dems. Paul Ryan pushing Grandma off a cliff, Romney putting blacks in chains, global warming, telling blacks that the police are hunting them, that's not creating panic at all. That's just science.

Drago said...

Joe Biden@JoeBiden
"Stop the xenophobic fear-mongering. Be honest. Take responsibility. Do your job."
March 18, 2020

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

wbfjrr2 said...

I compliment you Althouse on posting your original predictions again.

I argued here at the time, much along the lines that Mandrewa and others have, that Diamond Princess was the appropriate data upon which to set policy. Which should have been to quarantine those at hi risk and let everyone else get on with life. We knew all the necessary data not later than March. Between the media, modelers, Fauci and Birx, and pols fanning panic,the Althouses did indeed panic.

But I salute her for being honest about it. Most liberals eschew honesty when they are wrong.

wbfjrr2 said...

By the way, how many Diamond Princess passengers were wearing masks?

Any?

Yet Biden wants mandatory mask wearing outdoors (we can infer indoors as well) for 90 days.

Lying moron hack that he is.

Megthered said...

You are a complete moron if you believed 11 million people would die. There was no way in this world that those people would die. Just doing the calculation and looking at the statistics from the infected cruise ship showed that the death toll would be nowhere near the fearful predictions peopke were screaming about.

John said...

Althouse cherry-picked the jumbled and ignored “five times”.

Of course she did. If he had confused the numbers the other way she still would have mislead her readers by intentionally misinterpreting Trumps quote in the most flattering manner possible.

Brian McKim and/or Traci Skene said...

POTUS, MAR 5, POLITICO: "Well, I think the 3.4 percent is really a false number. Now, and this is just my hunch, and — but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this. Because a lot people will have this and it's very mild. They'll get better very rapidly. They don't even see a doctor. They don't even call a doctor.

"You never hear about those people. So you can't put them down in the category of the overall population in terms of this corona flu and — or virus. So you just can't do that. So if, you know, we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work but they get better."