We are in the midst of a cold civil war. What is the battle about? That is something we have considered in other posts. The issue here? Information. Information is power.

In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies. — Winston Churchill (from here (

How do we make sense of what we are being told about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) statistics? Does the threat posed by that virus justify shutting down our economy, not sending our children to school, closing our churches, and isolating ourselves from each other?

Whenever we want to figure out how much we can trust information, the first thing we usually want to know is where that information came from and how we are supposed to use it. That requires us to do a little work. However, if we are lazy we can just accept what the “experts” tell us, but that is problematic. Since the “experts” may have their own agenda, if we just listen to the “experts” we become the tools of those “experts”.

So, how do we learn about Coronavirus (COVID-19) statistics? We can try to use an Internet search engine. Let’s compare search engines, Google and Bing. Let’s us both in a search: can we trust the coronavirus covid-19 statistics.

The top three hits on Google?

The top three hits on Bing (Note: The third article was about the trustworthiness of China’s statistics. So I skipped to the fourth hit.)

What do all these articles neglect to mention? Why is the data so dubious? There is an obvious reason. The death rate from COVID-19 is quite low. The numbers of COVID-19 related deaths are small enough we have trouble distinguishing them from the baseline. Some of us are dying every day, COVID-19 or no COVID-19.

COVID-19 does not kill robustly healthy people. Healthy people may not even notice they have the virus. Instead, COVID-19 kills people who are quite old or already seriously weakened. That makes COVID-19 statistics difficult to collect.

COVID-19 is an unseen enemy because it is not a truly dangerous illness. This disease is so mild we don’t even know for certain who has the virus. Even when someone dies we are uncertain when to assign the cause of death to COVID-19.

Therefore, when the Coronavirus (COVID-19) rages out of control, is it a big deal? Well, the news media has made a big deal of it. The news media has played upon our fear of the unknown. COVID-19 is an unfamiliar threat, supposedly a novel virus.

None of us want to die. None of us want those we love to die. We want the risk of death to be zero, but we will all die, every single one of us. We cannot avoid death. We cannot reduce the risk of death to zero. We can only prepare our souls for death.

Matthew 16:24-26 New King James Version

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Meanwhile, we live in this world. To live for Jesus we must accept risks, perhaps even small risks like the risk posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). To be free, we must live for Jesus. To have liberty, we must exercise our liberties for the sake of Jesus Christ.

What’s next? We will consider some specific data collection an reporting issues.

To Be Continued



    1. @Partnering With Eagles

      I have heard about that one. It seems weird and dishonest, but it is neither. The problem is that we just have too much reason to be suspicious.

      I think the point of a search engine is to help us find what we are trying find. If we enter a number and “new cases”, we are going to get an article about “new cases” related to that number. Of course, because that is what is out there, most of the articles will be about the Coronavirus.

      Companies like Google and Microsoft are trying to make money. So, we can expect them to direct us to websites whose owners are paying them. Nothing is free. However, like the rest of us, Google and Microsoft also have political biases, and that can be a problem. Many have noticed that Google, in particular, will do its level best to avoid sending us to Conservative websites. I operate a website that gets less traffic from Google than other search engines. Since Google has over ninety percent of the market, that’s absurd. It also makes it extremely difficult to get a new website up and running successfully, which, of course, may also be the intent. It forces any new entry to the market to pay to play.

      When a company has an extremely large market share, virtually monopolistic, we see behavior that for all practical purposes is bullying.

    1. Okay, just reading at the tricare site and I guess this was limited to an e mail to 600,000 people telling them they tested positive, not the actual lab results.

  1. Statistics is about studying data for the purpose of making comparisons and drawing inferences. There is hardly any doubt that in comparison to the rest of the industrialized world, we are doing poorly whether because, as you imply, we inferred from the early the pandemic data a threat more serious than we should have (the “Chicken Little” phenomenon) or because, as the conventional wisdom would have us believe, much of our nation chose to marginalize the inferred threat until the actual deadly reality began to hit us over the head no matter how much we wished to ignore the statistical warnings of experts with their hair on fire.

    The President and many of his most adamant science denying governors are all in the latter category, and their constituencies are suffering the most for it. They are slowly facing the grim reality that their callousness kills and because of the time lag, it will continue to kill. (Trump stages a rally in a pandemic hotspot, but then grudgingly cancels the Republican convention because he suddenly cares about people dying).

    And then there are the crackpot conspiracy theorists clinging to their nefarious plots by the experts, the media or the radical left that supposedly will show us that it is all just a big hoax. See Google proves it! (As if Google isn’t able to prove everything and nothing at the same time).

    Whether you are in the supposed Chicken Little crowd, the slow-to-the-coronavirus-as-killer Party, or in the crackpot conspiracy theory crowd, our national and much of our state leadership has failed you miserably, and continues to do so. But compared to what? What does Google show? We are all our own experts now, right . . . .😏

    1. There is hardly any doubt that in comparison to the rest of the industrialized world, we are doing poorly

      I don’t think we can even be sure of that.
      How can we have “hardly any doubt” about anything regarding “novel” covid at this point?

      1. Just to add, in normal situations, I’d agree. This is not a normal situation. The advice, statistics, recommendations et al have changed so many times I’m losing track.
        Yesterday, our second son had to take an online “class” on covid to complete the process for registration at CU (Boulder).
        Some of the “important” facts he had to know are already discredited, but at the time they made the test those were the facts so he had to respond accordingly.

        Wouldn’t have surprised me if they’d asked:
        Who is responsible for this virus?
        1) Trump
        2) Trump
        3) Trump
        4) China
        Guess wrong and you’re not coming to Boulder so consider carefully!

        Germs should not be political, but everything is political now.

        1. I was driving my dog to the vet today (large animal vet, he’s getting shots for his arthritis he is an old old dog). Along the way, someone had a large metal rooster up with a mask on its face. Now, two months ago I would’ve seen that and thought it was cute. Now I look at it and it annoys me. Greatly. That is what corona fatigue, plus being inundated every hour a day for months by virtue signaling idiots, does over time.
          Who are these folks? Well, they’re on next-door screaming about seeing one person without a mask in the store. Or, a small group of people in a bar where everyone takes off their mask but not the first five minutes of entering. It’s nuts. I mean NUTS!!
          Someone had the temerity to link to an article about the ineffectiveness of masks, and a rando gave them a veiled threat, “you might want to keep a lower profile, since you’re a realtor”. He of course is free to disparage with impunity as he has the “right thoughts” for that forum.

          1. An actual doctor commented on next door after receiving covid training. It was a very informative post and offered that very knowledgable and intelligent people disagree. It was the opposite of political, and he offered both sides without bias by any objective measure. He didn’t even make any suggestions, just gave the facts as he’d recently learned them. He had to delete his post after his livelihood was threatened (indirectly).

          2. I’ve found Next Door to be filled with fearful sheep continually shaming others for “inappropriate” coronavirus behavior. I can’t even go on there any more, it’s become so toxic.

          3. @Tricia

            Never used Next Door. Politics and religion are always risky topics with the neighbors. That is one reason birds of a feather flock together. When people rub each other the wrong way, they avoid conflict by keeping apart. Yet Next Door seems designed to bring folks together just because they live near each other.

            It is sad that everything has become political, but that is inevitable when people want the government to do everything. Conflict becomes more difficult to avoid.

          4. @Liz

            To a large extent our Liberal Democrat news media is responsible for silencing Conservatives. The jerks constantly portray Conservatives and Christians as bigots. Ironically, they prove their own intolerance, but it take young people awhile to figure out the hypocrisy. I was in my fifties before I understood how I had been affected by their bias.

          5. Tricia: I’ve found Next Door to be filled with fearful sheep continually shaming others for “inappropriate” coronavirus behavior. I can’t even go on there any more, it’s become so toxic.

            Yeah, my spouse got off of Next door for that reason. I was going to right after, but received an alert that there was a fire one town over from our home…the first time it was ever useful, really. So I didn’t leave, which was probably a mistake.

            I try to avoid political topics (which are rude on a neighborhood site anyway, IMO). But every once in a while I’m drawn in by fakery. For example, there was a post labeled, “So proud of our high school youth!” which was a long post about a local BLM “protest” and anti-Trump crap. Then there was another entitled, “beware of false medical advice!”. As s nurse that one drew me in…but it was all about why we shouldn’t drink fish cleaner and Trump is dumb (recently an Ivy League professor recommended hydroxychloroquine so I guess the statute of limitations on agreeing with anything Trump has said might be a good idea has passed).
            Strangely Conservatives don’t seem to do this. Imagine if folks wearing MAGA hats were tearing up things in the cities like the antifa/BLM folks. I don’t think folks would post about how proud they were of the highschool “peaceful” protests in support.
            But I digress.

        2. “Germs should not be political, but everything is political now.“

          In any war where things are rarely static, a commander adapts as our understanding of the facts change. Military Commanders are held accountable for results that include their adaptability and foresight.

          We can bemoan that the facts are changing constantly, but that doesn’t solve anything. We can blame China for starting the whole thing, but that does not excuse Trump’s incompetence in handling the crisis ever since.

          Politics is our way of holding our political leaders accountable. So yes, I think it’s time to get rid of Trump, Trump, Trump and all the horses’ asses that he road in on.😊

          1. Commanders are actually empowered to fire people.
            So, for example, when New York doesn’t clean its mass transportation system until May, that would be a firing offense. Or when they don’t close down the schools, or travel, when the fed says to. Ect. With the authority of the states to run things, in theory the voters should hold them accountable.
            In the current system, it’s a little hard to blame the executive when the states have power. Unless you want the executive to force martial law everywhere…which I don’t, and I doubt the majority of people would want to see.

          2. I’m all for the voters’ holding executives of THEIR states accountable when things go wrong. If I thought Trump’s excellent pandemic response was hampered by state governors acting within their powers, I’d be with you, but we both know Trump is the one mostly screwing the pooch on this. Even the governors who have handled it most badly have followed the Orange Incompetent’s lead; the ones who have done relatively well, have done well mostly without Trump and in many cases, in spite of him.

            Now Trump wants to be the tail that wags a new dog by supposedly saving from themselves the residents of states that don’t want his secret paramilitary forces. How desparate can Trump get? And how much of his bull will you swallow? I guess we’re gonna find out. 🙃

          3. @tsalmon

            All you can do is blame Trump, and you cannot even be specific. You just “know” he screwed the pooch. Of course, you really know nothing of the sort.

            Frankly, I have not got much interest in dealing with your specific charges. Because I did not want to devote all my time doing nothing but refuting continuous stream of lies from the news media, I gave up. I focus on issues.

            This post is about the fact people doubt the statistics on the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Why? The virus is not especially dangerous, except to old people and those who already in bad shape. So the number of casualties from COVID-19 is relatively small when compared to the numbers we routinely experience. Get a grip. Check out =>

      2. “I don’t think we can even be sure of that.
        How can we have ‘hardly any doubt’ about anything regarding ‘novel’ COVID at this point?

        Good point. That’s why I’m willing to give some countries and some of our governors the comparative benefit of the “novelty”. With Trump (and a few governors), comparatively speaking, there is hardly any doubt that a forgivable skepticism long ago gave way to fecklessness, dithering and magical thinking.

    2. @tsalmon

      Strange. All you can do is attack Trump. You cannot deal with the substance of the post. We don’t trust the statistics because the virus isn’t a serious health risk for most people. What is the median age of the people dying from COVID-19? 78? Most people don’t even get to that age.

      Stop and think for moment. Try setting aside your absurd bias. Who attends a presidential convention? Many of the attendees will be getting up in years. Over 65, anyway.

      Lots of the people who participate in our political parties are retired. Those are the people who have the knowledge, the experience, the time, and the money. Moreover, because they will be anxious to make the most of the opportunity, those crusty and independent people are too likely bend the physical distancing rules, and Marxist demonstrators will be all too delighted to get in their faces. Therefore, holding a political gathering in a COVID-19 hotspot does not make much sense, especially when biased people like you will make a monumental stink out of it.

      We should be doing our best to conduct the processes we use to protect our freedom as diligently and carefully as possible. Without the mass media driven hysteria, we would regard COVID-19 as an unpleasant obstacle, not a bludgeon to use against our political opponents, but that is obviously too much to expect from people ignorant, biased, and silly enough to argue that the United States invented slavery (Believe it or not Senator Tim Kaine said that the United States invented slavery.).

      With respect to the rest of the world, how is the United States doing dealing with COVID-19? Well, if certain Democrat governors had not forced nursing homes to accept people with active COVID-19 infections, we would be doing much better. As it is, I have my doubts about comparing our stats with those from other nations, especially when Democrats want to make those stats look as bad as they can.

      You infer that I am lying about the Democrats? I wish I had nothing bad to say about Democrats, but Conservatives have good reason to fear Democrats. What kind of politicians refuse to put down riots in their own cities? What kind of politicians are so anxious to get Trump they will do anything to win? Liberal Democrats.

      We have had a relatively stable republic because our leaders were willing to accept the decision of the voters. Not Democrats. They would not do it when Lincoln was elected, and they have done every lying, cheating thing they could think of to drive Trump out of office.

      Check out is collecting their money for them. Black Lives Matters is a bunch of Marxists, and Biden is adopting Bernie Sanders platform.

      What does Google show? We are all our own experts now, right . . . .😏

      When you want big government, in order to make certain the government is doing the right thing the right way, we all have to be be experts. When we run our own lives, we each get to choose our own experts. You don’t like Trump? Well, you have no one to blame except yourself that he is in charge.

      1. This is “the culture of life” argument? Abortion is only a serious health risk for the unborn, you know. The vast majority of sperm and eggs don’t even become fetuses. They are lucky to have even gotten that far.

        If several 747s full of 78 year olds crash and burn every day, why worry? They were going to die of something eventually anyway, right? And what about all those younger folks who are dying because they have other health problems? COVID is just thib the herd of the weak and lame, right?

        I’m sorry Tom, but I don’t believe you or your statistics, and no one else should either. You’re a smart guy (too smart perhaps) but you’re not an epidemiologist and you have zero expertise in how to collect and interpret data so as to assess risks and model policy. The experts may be wrong, but statistically speaking, you are more likely to be wrong than trusting my life, the life of my family, my community and my nation to wild intuition of a coin toss, or worse, the mercurial whims of an Orange Narcissist.

        1. @tsalmon

          Throwing up smoke screens again. Sigh!

          This is “the culture of life” argument? Abortion is only a serious health risk for the unborn, you know. The vast majority of sperm and eggs don’t even become fetuses. They are lucky to have even gotten that far.

          Don’t ignore the context. I referred to lethality of the virus. 78 year old people are fragile (as if you did not already know), which is why nobody should have sent people with active COVID-19 case into nursing homes.

          Sperm and eggs have nothing to do with abortion. Silly, desperate red herring. Except for the childless, I doubt many think it worth the bother to complain about unused sperm and eggs.

          What about the statistics? If the COVID-19 statistics are too complex for you to understand, then why are you debating me? When you are depending upon a bunch of reporters to tell you the TRUTH, to choose just the right “expert” to serve as your high priest of Coronavirus (COVID-19) science, where did you get the expertise to tell me I am wrong? From your news media high priests?

          Are there people who know more about statistics than me? Of course, they are. However, I did not make a complicated argument or reach a conclusion that was not obvious. I just said what the CDC has said. In spite of all the hype, not many people are dying from COVID-19.

          Proverbs 28:1 New King James Version

          28 The wicked flee when no one pursues,
          But the righteous are bold as a lion.

          1. High priest? How needlessly derisive of a hard earned wisdom. Well, I guess if the mere expertise gained through study and practice makes a medical doctor a “high priest” of medicine, then you and I are definitely the high priests of bullshit.

            I don’t have to be an expert on epidemiology to know that you are talking out your butt, your most high Eminence.

          2. @tsalmon

            Now you are contradicting yourself. You said you are ignorant of the subject, and I see no reason to disagree. Otherwise, instead of proclaiming an anatomical miracle, you would just point to the flaw in my argument.

            Consider taking your own advice. When election time comes around, stay home. Leave it to the “experts”.

          3. You wish! Leaving elections to the high potentates of scatology is what got us Trump in the first place.

          4. @tsalmon

            I suppose Saint Clare of Assisi was okay, but if she did not get her theology from the Bible her theology does not matter.

            James 1:22-25 New King James Version
            22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

          5. How wonderfully and pridefully sanctimonious for us to presume for God who He decides to grace with revelation and how. You don’t think Saint Claire could teach us a thing or two about the quiet joy of Scripture in action?

            When did we Christians quit the humility necessary for learning and decide we already knew everything that “matters”? I would guess that it was about the time that official Christianity stopped being radically humble, as the Assisi siblings were, and began to idolize a certain Pharisaic intellectual orthodoxy of thought over the less self-centrically dogmatic and more graciously kinetic forms of revelation.

            Saint Clare’s metaphor of the mirror is the opposite of such self righteous, dogmatic self absorption and should be a lesson to us all in just the sort of lived humility we should strive for. We all can learn much from her and from her more famous brother concerning how to humbly approach theology in ways that might actually “matter” more to God, rather than only to our own sense of doctrinal superiority of personal rectitude over others.

            It’s perhaps no wonder that political and theatrical so-called “Evangelism” has chosen a narcissist as their redeemer these days, whereas practical Christian Evangelists are quietly sickened by Trump. One of my many flaws is that, unlike Saint Clare and Saint Francis, I lack their grace to be quiet about this obvious hypocrisy. If I ever do actually learn their humility, then you should be happy not to hear from me any more here good brother. I have so much to learn from God about what “matters”. 😉

          6. @tsalmon

            You are off topic. Instead of discussing the topic you are looking for someone to attack. Trump. Me. Would Saint Claire approve? Doubt it. Does it matter?

            Did I cite a passage from the Bible? Yep! The point is that we should not be so fearful we give up living to protect our lives.

            Am I trying to impose my will on anyone? No. I just don’t want to force businesses to close or to make people wear masks. I just don’t want to print money and spend it by the trillions and pretend I am being generous. Yet, without actually being willing to discuss the subject, you make your accusations. Heaven help anyone who asks a Liberal Democrat to stop being a busybody and mind his own business.

          7. Off topic? It’s your scriptural quote, not mine. (And yes, as I fully admit, Saint Clare would not approve of me, but I don’t claim to be even close to being as enlightened as her, do you?).

            Your topic here I thought was about amid trust in data, or how little confidence to place in such expertise. Maybe in parts 8 or 9 you plan to bring this back around to your fav bugaboo, demon Big Guvmint, and tie it all together into your go-to vision of dystopia, but let’s not jump ahead too soon to that horrifying climax or we’ll miss all the best parts in the fantastic buildup.

            Right now I’m trying to figure out why we should trust your expertise on interpreting the “data” in Scripture when, in your emotivist revolution of sorts, we are not supposed to trust experts at all. It seems that we are to distrust all orthodoxy, except of course yours. You don’t find that contradictory?

          8. @tsalmon

            We are trying too hard to be clever, I suppose.

            Think about this paragraph.

            What do all these articles neglect to mention? Why is the data so dubious? There is an obvious reason. The death rate from COVID-19 is quite low. The numbers of COVID-19 related deaths are small enough we have trouble distinguishing them from the baseline. Some of us are dying every day, COVID-19 or no COVID-19.

            Can you imagine trying to measure the weight of a lady bug with a bathroom scale? Without an appropriate scale, how accurately could you measure the weight?

            Because it is so small, the mortality rate of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not easy to accurately measure. At first we did not even have any data. Now that we do have some data it is apparent the virus does not have a high mortality rate, but how high is still a guess.

            What is the real problem with the virus?The problem is that the virus is highly contagious. So, it is difficult to keep it away from the people it can harm. Still, that is what we need to do. Shutting down everything causes more harm than the virus.

          9. Ok. I‘m no “very stable genius” like your Dear Leader or you, but to the mere layman like me measuring the mortality rate of COVID 19 would seem to start with keeping track of everyone who dies while sick with COVID 19, hopefully as shown by a positive test for the contagion at the time of their death or in close proximity to that death. Would that same person have died about the same time (or perhaps even sooner if they were not already in intensive care) of other causes regardless of the COVID? How does that affect and effect mortality measurements?

            Don’t know. I haven’t studied this kind of medicine as an occupation since agh . . . well, I never have, have you?

            Like you I suppose I can only make a wild, uninformed guess then. But it would seem to me to be an esoteric kind of data differentiation that experts might use to make fine distinctions between the “lethality” verses the“mortality” of a given disease. Like flying an airplane, however, what do you want to bet that people who (WHO?) have spent most of their lives studying infectious diseases (Fauci?) probably have thought about this and have figured out ways to measure, categorize and compare these types of data intentionally in internationally standardized ways that help such experts use this scientific knowledge to inform policy decisions based upon the best scientific practices of contagion control for the purposes of preventing and mitigating human suffering,

            Or it could all just be one more small step in the Nerd Class’s secret plot in their “agenda” of world domination.

            Trump gave Limbaugh a medal so he’s the one you ought to trust to answer these difficult questions, not me. Then again, Fauci has a medal too, and for this kind of work . . . nah, I was only kidding. Fauci doesn’t know anything. I saw him throw a baseball the other day and he sucked. Baseballs are to secret Nerd totalitarians what mirrors are to secret vampires – gives them away every time.

          10. @tsalmon

            With respect to political matters or matters that have been politicized, I don’t think citing anyone as an authority adds much credence, especially someone living. Can you imagine me citing Trump or you citing Obama? What would be the point? So, I just present facts and formulate an argument base upon those facts.

            The mortality rate and the lethality rate are the same thing. The “problem” with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the many people don’t seem to be affected by the virus. Children don’t even spread it. So, when we add those people to the statistical calculations, that reduces the mortality rate considerably. Unfortunately, when we first tried to test people for COVID-19, we only had enough tests to test the sick.

            Anyway, we can only guess how many people have been exposed to the virus and did not get sick. We are not ever certain how accurate the antibody test is in identifying such people.

            When you figure out how to discern who is a trustworthy expert, let me know.

          11. “With respect to political matters or matters that have been politicized, I don’t think citing anyone as an authority adds much credence, especially someone living. Can you imagine me citing Trump or you citing Obama? What would be the point?“

            Well, Fauci is kinda recognized as the world’s leading expert on this. He’s been doing the job through five administrations, three Republican and two Democrat, including the present one. The only reason for questioning his expertise and command of the facts is that you have politicized expertise and facts to the point where both are meaningless to you, so much so that you think you are an expert and your facts appear to be just wrong.

            “The mortality rate and the lethality rate are the same thing”

            This is what I mean. I’m no expert, but the experts I’ve read say, no, they are not the same thing.

            “The ‘problem’ with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the many people don’t seem to be affected by the virus. Children don’t even spread it.”

            In your “expert” opinion, what studies of child spread rate are you basing this on because I’ve heard actual experts say that neither the long term effects, nor the spread rate for children is completely clear yet?

            “So, when we add those people to the statistical calculations, that reduces the mortality rate considerably. Unfortunately, when we first tried to test people for COVID-19, we only had enough tests to test the sick.
            Anyway, we can only guess how many people have been exposed to the virus and did not get sick. We are not ever certain how accurate the antibody test is in identifying such people.”

            You don’t know what you don’t know and what you don’t know can’t hurt you is your thinking here then?Ignorance is bliss!

            I’m ignorant too, but like most rational people that ignorance scares me until I get someone who I know is not ignorant to advise me.

            Just from my reading, however, I know that, even though the odds may say it may not kill me, I don’t want to possibly spend weeks hospitalized with it or have my health for the rest of my life wrecked by it, nor do I want that for my wife, my family, friends or neighbors. Therefore, hospitalization rates and rates of long term health effects may be just as important as mortality rates. As therapeutics improve, mortality rates could also be a moving target that becomes less important to me at least than other health concerns.

            There have also been studies where whole towns in Italy and enough of whole countries have been tested to the point where the moving target of mortality has been given greater illumination. However, because lethality rates increase the mortality rates in certain communities and counties (people of color, poor countries, urban poor versus rural poor versus urban rich versus rural rich, etc.) measuring risk can’t possibly be an homogeneous exercise and requires much more complex modeling than you or I apparently can even imagine.

            However, as I said, I don’t know at all what I am talking about and no one should bet their safety, the safety of those they love, the safety of their community or their country on any stupid opinion that I have. They, and their elected policy makers should do so based upon the best advice of actual experts, certainly not my opinion and quite obviously not yours either.

            Have you even considered that what you are doing here by marginalizing the threat and the risk based more upon your ideological opinion than any real grasp of the facts or the science might not be helpful, it might even be harmful?

            You simply don’t want the threat to be serious because such a threat requires an effective government response and national leadership (such as is happening in other countries, but quite obviously not here). Simply not wanting the facts to conflict with your ideological dogmas doesn’t make those pesky facts go away. Facts, like viruses, tend to be very resilient to the drug of magical thinking. Unfortunately, as my doctor friend tells me, you just can’t fix someone who doesn’t want to be fixed. Some folks, and countries it appears, are doomed to just be a warning to others.

          12. @tsalmon

            I am not marginalizing the threat. I am discussing it. With all that you said all you did is try to justify shutting me up.

          13. @tsalmon

            Seem you were right. Is there a difference between the mortality rates and the lethality rates? It seems there is. Since mortal and lethal are synonyms, the differences between the mortality rates and the lethality rates are arbitrarily defined.
            Probably some bureaucrat like Dr. Fauci created the definitions so that the “experts” could avoid constantly defining their terms.

            Us layman, however, have to learn how the statistics are defined. That’s what this BBC article is about:

            The BBC article uses its own terms, but such is life. The BBC article on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is about just how many people have been infected by the virus but not been reported as cases. The concern is testing.

            What is my concern? Because of all the unreported mild cases, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) seemed more lethal than it actually is. Based upon the data we have now, shutting down the economy was an overreaction, but that is hindsight.

            Anyway, you are dreadfully afraid. I am not, but I am supposed to justify being unafraid? Do I have to justify being unafraid of lightning, great white sharks, trees falling me, driving my car, walking across the street,….?

            Seriously, why is it every time you Liberal Democrats make a power grab, everyone else has to make nice while you have a temper tantrum?

          14. Good morning brother! New puppy has me up early enough to watch the bats dip into our pool for a drink on their way to bed. Late at night and this early in the morning my body doesn’t seems to like me much anymore.

            “With all that you said all you did is try to justify shutting me up.”

            How might I do that?

            I’ve learned that growing old gracefully means that one has scars that earned the right to complain incessantly, and yet pleasantly, she refuses to do so.

            But who wants to grow old gracefully? I may get a tattoo yet. Or as T.S. Elliot wrote in Prufrock:

            “I grow old … I grow old …
            I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

            “Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
            I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
            I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

            “I do not think that they will sing to me.

            “I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
            Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
            When the wind blows the water white and black.
            We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
            By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
            Till human voices wake us, and we drown.“

            On a high tide, the winds have indeed turned the water white and black here. Rain bands have broken over us in waves for days now. A hurricane just drifted past us in the Southern Gulf into one of the worst coronavirus soaked and poorest parts of the Texas borderlands. The hospitals are full there and patients wait in ambulances and suffocate in hallways. But sorry, I forgot that you don’t believe in the news, in expertise, but Trump conspiracies, those you believe in . . .

          15. @tsalmon

            How might I do that?

            The word for the day is “shaming”.

            It is kind of odd how Marxist regimes go to extreme lengths to shame their opponents, the enemy of the people, but atheists have a problem with the guilt supposedly instilled by Christianity. If some did not have double standards, I supposed they would have none.

          16. If the truth actually shamed Trump and his cult followers into “shutting up”, then they would be very quiet by now, wouldn’t they? But truth has no effect. In fact truth has the opposite effect.

            The interesting thing about the Trump narcissist following is the shameless of it all. This allows a kind of naked impunity. There is no fear of the truth when your sense of bottomless grievance excuses the embrace of endless lies.

            This explains much, don’t you think: this disdain of experts, people who spend their lives studying and searching the nuances of truth in complex fields, the hatred of courts and judges and the Rule of Law because it all evolved incrementally out of a complex, near thousand year history of institutional truth finding progression, and the willingness to accept even the most fantastic delusions if actual reality doesn’t fit the lies that take away that fear of being lost and out of control.

            It’s understandable. The world is indeed scary, fragmented, disorienting. For those who, for one reason or another, cannot embrace complexity and ambiguity with a sense of adventure, a lie provides black and while clarity that assuages a good deal of anxiety. The question then becomes, not whether it’s true, but does the lie make you feel good, and righteous rage is one of the best ways to feel good, isn’t it? As long as Trump tells lies that fill that void, no amount of conflicting truth discredits – it’s all either happily swallowed like snake oil, or forgivable because the truth and the truth tellers are the damnable other. Trump saves by slinking, Trump redeems by being reductive, all of Trumps sins are sacred. He can tell verifiable falsehoods right in the press’s face and he knows that you will always find a way to either excuse, forgive or applaud him. There is no “He’s gone too far” anymore is there?

          17. @tsalmon

            I would like to think the point of this discussion is to establish an approximation of the truth, but in practice all you do is vent your rage against Trump. If we believe you then we are supposed to believe you are some kind of cool, urbane member of the intelligentsia, and Trump’s followers are just deplorable bigots.

            How can you learn the truth if all you do is cast those who disagree with you as stinking and rotting souls? I can barely get you to listen to me. It is a cinch you know next to nothing about Donald Trump.

            This is rich with irony.

            This explains much, don’t you think: this disdain of experts, people who spend their lives studying and searching the nuances of truth in complex fields, the hatred of courts and judges and the Rule of Law because it all evolved incrementally out of a complex, near thousand year history of institutional truth finding progression, and the willingness to accept even the most fantastic delusions if actual reality doesn’t fit the lies that take away that fear of being lost and out of control.

            Barack Obama, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, AOC, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, the Liberal Democrat news media, hard core Democrats, Black Lives Matters, Antifa, and so forth. Do you seriously believe those people have respect for tradition? Joe Biden? Who knows what he still remembers, but he is adopting Bernie Sanders’ platform.

            Meanwhile, you would like to cast those who refuse to embrace Socialism as frighten and disoriented. Have you noticed your own rage? That comes from fear.

            Am I afraid? Somewhat. I know enough about history to know that the trends established by the immediate past hardly provide a good basis to predict the future. Even those we supposed to experts can behave corruptly. Whenever people have unchecked power, they abuse it. When we look upon the distant past, that is easier to see. Supposedly decent people maintained the institution of slavery. Nearer to our time our biases creep in more strongly. We argue over whether teachers unions can rightfully insist upon a monopoly. We debate the propensity of public employees unions to insist upon growing government. We wonder about the exploitation of illegal immigrants by their employers, school systems, colleges, and the Democratic Party. Even Establishment Republicans, supposedly more Conservative, support illegal immigration and breaking the budget. So, yes. I am not happy with the direction of things, but I know God is sovereign, and God is more concerned about the state of our souls than He is the state of our pocketbooks or the stability of our government. Therefore, when our nation is experiencing a decline in our moral standards, I don’t expect things to get better, at least not until we each begin to repent of our own sins.

          18. “I would like to think the point of this discussion is to establish an approximation of the truth, but in practice all you do is vent your rage against Trump.”

            Really? Now I thought that I was being kinda matter-of-fact here. “Venting your rage” sounds like a rather dramatic description of me. I can’t say that I haven’t gotten a little angry now and then, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a good rage venting episode. Maybe, you might be projecting a wee bit here, or at least exaggerating?

            “If we believe you then we are supposed to believe you are some kind of cool, urbane member of the intelligentsia, and Trump’s followers are just deplorable bigots.“

            Now, this is what I’m talking about – this whole thing being grievance oriented. We’re brothers Tom, raised in the same home, same Mom and Dad. We’re USAF Master Sergeant’s kids. Our mother was a sweet God loving woman, but she never finished High School. While you earned scholarships, I was barely passing junior high. While you were getting advanced degrees, I was a couch surfing bum who knocked around mostly working class jobs and junior college night schools until I married a woman who expected me to get more serious – after that, with some ups and downs, I’ve been more lucky than well born or even very smart. You’re actually way better educated than I am.

            You’re trying to do the class warfare thing by playing the part of the poor salt-of-the-earth country bumpkin who has fallen victim to the my supposed elitist wiles. That’s another fantasy. Who are you trying to fool big brother me or yourself? We’re just having a discussion here, not playing out a scene from in Richard III.

            The rest of your comment continues this absurd list of straw men that you wish to prop up and demonize. I don’t have to defend anyone or any of your isms to point out that Trump is indeed deplorable. He lacks the basic integrity that it takes to lead, but the first real crisis he meets has proven his amazing incompetence as well.

            I get what you mean about it being an imperfect world (especially for an ideologue), but the issue isn’t whether Americans should trust in God, it’s whether we should trust in some expertise and minimal competence during an international health crisis that has lead to an economic meltdown that has lead to massive social unready. Unfortunately, you’ve put your faith in Trump rather that character, expertise or even competence.

            I’m off to bed. I think these spine issues run in our family, but I’m praying for better sleep than the last few nights. You know what the Buddhists say though: “when we pray for anything but grace, the gods just laugh”. Given the absurdity of the world and especially our country with Trump in charge of it, I’m pretty sure that God indeed must have a sense of humor, dark though it may be sometimes.

          19. @tsalmon

            You are engaging in Ad Hominem. Then, when I point that out, you bring our mother into it. Have you no shame?

            If you cannot talk about the subject instead what you think is wrong with the people who dare to disagree with you, what is the point? I am not ashamed of what I believe, and I see no point in putting up with such a foul excuse for logic.

            Is there something wrong with people? Is it relevant? Yes and yes. We don’t obey God. We bend the rules. That is relevant and so are the ideologies we use to justify our bad behavior.

            Have I personalized my arguments? No. I have just complained you are attacking people, not discussing the issues or our positions on those issue. Here is the crux of it. Contrary to your repeated assertions, removing Trump is not the answer to every problem. Sending Trump’s supporters to reeducation camps and beating some sense into them until they give in is not the solution to every problem.

            I don’t want to make my blog about me or you. If you want to discuss me or you, this is the wrong forum.

            Sorry your spine is giving you trouble. I would recommend some exercises, but you would probably be better off seeing a physical therapist who knows how to work around the surgery you have had.

          20. “Have you no shame?“

            I suppose, perhaps because I fail to see what I am supposed to be ashamed of. You are kinda hung up on being shaming, shamers, being ashamed lately. What’s that about?

            Calling someone who steals “a thief” is indeed an ad hominem. The use of the classification might be shameful if it is irrelevant or untrue, but when the purpose is for holding our elected servants accountable, I think its a civic duty to point out the candidate’s lying, corruption and incompetence. Trump’s character and incompetence IS the issue. You spend half of your time here engaging in political and ideological ad hominem attacks on who you consider to be you adversaries, don’t you?

            In the course of just this discussion you have, through direct accusation, implication or innuendo, accused me of being a Leftist radical, a communist, an atheist and finally, the snobbery of being some kind of intellectual elitist. I point out that we come from the same “elite” family and that you are smarter and better educated than me. So now you accuse me of being somehow defaming Mom. Whaaa? I’m the one making this too personal? I’m not attacking you personally brother. It’s a political discussion and you brought MY supposed elitism into it. I’m just saying that, if you think I’m elite, then you must be super elite, is more of a complement than a personal attack, but it digs at the truth either way.

            Well, it seems that my pointing out some inconvenient truths has annoyed you once again, so I better move on. I do appreciate the discussion. I know that you allow me more leeway than you might allow another critic here.

            I’m getting some sort of spinal injection this week. Kinda silly of me I know, but I picked a doctor rather than a snake oil salesman for the job. I’ll let you know how it goes. Love you brother.

          21. @tsalmon

            Probably a cortisone injection. Might help. I got better results with exercise. Medicine is an art. It helps to find someone who knows their art. It also helps to select the right art and the right artist. A physical therapist may not have as much expertise as an MD, but ….

  2. Last night my spouse got a group text. Someone he knows went to get a covid test (here in Colorado). There was a long line, so he waited for about two hours and then went home without getting the test.
    The next morning he received a call from the facility about his “positive test result”.

    In a nutshell:
    Yes, it is very difficult to trust the statistics these days. Exhibit number 5000.

      1. I’ve heard about “all positive” tests elsewhere, but was kind of skeptical.
        My spouse says he now knows two people this happened to (didn’t get the tests, but were told they were positive).
        Maybe the testing centers are overstressed.
        And I can also envision the operators telling them, Don’t you dare send out a false negative, we could be sued. (I’ve read that false negatives are running at 20%….which is the other side of the problem)

    1. We’ve all heard about that happening. So what’s your point? Do we blame Trump for giving us bad tests or do we blame Trump for leading bad testing? Or do we blame ourselves for believing whatever conspiracy theory or gossip is going around about testing lately?

      1. Well, the clear path is to always blame Trump for everything of course.
        Testing. Littering. Profanity. Bad thoughts.

        1. Ha! Trump would have us believe that he is not responsible for anything. The buck somehow stopped in China on everything, including I’m sure bad thoughts and littering.

          The Trump CDC gave us a bad test so the Trump FDA approved a veritable smorgasbord of commercial tests, some good and some bad and some from China suppliers. They are not even the same types of tests with some measuring for viral antibodies and some for the virus Itself. But who exactly is responsible for taking the lead on test efficacy and standardization of data? Trump would have us believe it’s China, I guess. The sad part is that, if China were responsible, they would do a better job than Trump.

          After three years of lauding China!/ Communist rulers,
          Trump woke up yesterday and conveniently decided China could take the blame. How handy to discover who is to blame just when Trump desperately needEd a fall guy to distract his acolytes from the horrific job he’s doing?

          1. @tsalmon

            We are a big, republican, capitalist country. If we want everyone tested, then we have to put up with the fact different companies will produce their own tests. We also have to put up with the fact that the individual states will do their own thing. Maryland, for example, bought tests from South Korea.

            We believe in free trade. Since China is a Communist state, free trade with that country does not work well. We bet that competing in capitalist markets would encourage China to become more like us, but the Communist leadership of China worked with more enthusiasm to make us more like them.

            Life is complicated. Blaming Trump is not usually the correct answer. The world was screwed up before Trump took office, and one man can only affect small changes. Given the rabid intensity of the opposition from Liberal Democrats, Trump will probably only make things a little less bad than they might have been.

          2. After three years of lauding China!/ Communist rulers,

            You don’t even live in the real world. Seriously.
            Did he praise illegal immigration too?
            Do you not remember when all the economists were berating Trump because he “wanted to start a trade war” to end our dependency on China?
            This was an actual platform he ran on.
            Do you remember when he wanted to stop travel from China and the CDC and WHO said not to and then everyone called him a xenophobe?
            This is beyond absurd.

            Now, he didn’t call Xi a nasty little fat man when he was trying to negotiate…I guess any sign of respect during negotiations is “lauding a Communist ruler!”
            Once again, there really is no point.

            You’re going to vote for a LITERALLY drooling empty suit which will simply be a shill for the DNC (the reason he is the officially annointed candidate…he has no thoughts)
            The DNC’s history with China created this mess.
            Our only hope for decoupling (which I’ve been waiting for for almost 20 years, Trump being the first president in memory to take this threat seriously) is Trump.
            If Biden is elected everything will go back to dependency.
            And the media will do what they do so no one will notice…
            until the next time crap hits the fan.

            One thing that has happened out of this pandemic: telemedicine.
            I’m getting an out of state doctor now for myself, and today I’m going to set one up for my son (dermatologist). Dermatologists are typically terrible (in my experience). The one here we have to drive an hour each way. The last one gave him some medicine that made his acne about 500 times worse. He needs antibiotics, but typically doctors like to string it out so you try everything before they give you the antibiotics that work.
            Not today (knock on wood).

          3. I don’t know Liz. I wasn’t there. I guess we should trust those who were in the “room where it happened”.

  3. Tom,

    Interesting subject in my opinion.

    King Solomon’s observation in Ecclesiastes can be related to your subject and your CS Lewis comment

    Anyone who is among the living has hope –even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! (Ecclesiastes 9:4)

    Reporting or slanting news or statistics for a sinful purpose is sinful, in my opinion.

    Why? Because it destroys the Bible message of hope how in life, we should strive to live like the CS Lewis symbol of a lion instead of living like a dog, a lowly animal in ancient times, in my opinion.

    (Did CS Lewis personify Christ as a lion after reading Ecclesiastes?)

    Which begs a question you posed? How does one know the news they are spreading is not for example, a slanted news report or a skewed statistic being promoted for a sinful purpose?

    For example, the virus news in relation to the subject of hope, may have destroyed a lot of hopes of small businesses, jobs, and opportunities to serve a purpose to discredit a politician or political party.

    Frankly, my doctor told me not to worry about the virus but to be cautious, wear a mask and avoid crowded areas because of my health problems.

    Did he say that to instill hope in me or does he as a doctor have better news source or statistics than what I read or hear in the news?

    Looking forward to your next post.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    1. @Scatterwisdom

      Thanks for the comment. In particular, I enjoyed your perspective on Ecclesiastes 9:4. Never thought of that verse that way.

      What about your doctor’s advice? I think your doctor realizes that if all we are trying to do is stay alive that is not living.

      1. Tom,
        When you reach 80 you will notice the difference in the advice doctors provide you, basically strong innuendos to enjoy life because it is later than you think.

        Regards and goodwill blogging.

  4. In a word, NO we cannot trust the stats, not the ones the MSM highlights 24/7 as does CNN and their banner ribbon exclaiming “Covid positives reach new daily record!”, (hint that number will always be record breaking).

    There have been SO many weird things about the #’s, like the CDC purposely mixing virology and antibody test counts, labs reporting 100% positivity rates and then having to readjust the numbers to single digits when caught and the best is in London where anyone who ever tested positive for covid gets counted as a covid death when they die, not matter what they died of and how long afterwards!I”m sure that”s happening here too.

    Seriously, you cannot make this stuff up but every day it’s something new and more outrageous when it comes to Covid, the stats and our idiotic government reaction to it.

  5. Good post, Tom.

    A couple of things that might help people with their research, the lethality of a virus is not necessarily about how likely it is to kill you. People hear the words “deadly coronavirus,” and imagine people catching it and dropping dead in the streets. That isn’t true at all. At minimum 99.5% of those who catch it will recover and survive. At minimum! What gives it the “lethal” label is how contagious it is. So, if it sweeps across a population of 10,000 there will be some fatalities. That is what makes it “dangerous,” how contagious it is, how fast it spreads, not it’s impact on your body. Many people have no symptoms at all or very mild ones.

    The second thing is that “novel” label. Novel does not mean “new, unknown, never before seen, and scary,” it means “known.” Coronaviruses have been around since forever. New version of the same old, same old, is “novel.” If it wasn’t already known, we wouldn’t be able to identify it at all.

    These things are just semantics, linquistics, word definitions, but they change everything, how we perceive the threat, how we respond, what it all means. For example, a few years back WHO actually put in their lecture footnotes instructions, always give a virus a geographical name (like China flu,) and never use terms like “novel” and fatality rates, because it serves no other purpose than to alarm the general public. “Novel and fatal” to the ears of the general public means “new and it’s going to kill me.” The truth is the precise opposite, it is known and has a 99.5% survival rate.

      1. @sklyjd

        Totally wrong? Then you attach an article from April (we have more data since then) explaining how someone actually died from the Coronavirus (COVID-19). And that proved what, that I am totally wrong or you are totally frighten?

        We are all going to die of something. Most of us — the vast majority of us — don’t know how we will die until it happens. Thank God for His mercies.

        Prudence involves assessing probabilities. Am I totally wrong about the probability of dying from the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

        If you feel safer wearing a mask and physical distancing that is your call, but what is the point of allowing yourself to be panicked by the news media? Why use the government to force your irrational fears upon everyone else? The facts don’t justify shutting down everything. Shutting down everything just creates a different set of more serious problems.

        We need to be cautious about spreading COVID-19 to the elderly and to people with illnesses that make them vulnerable. We don’t need to cut ourselves off from our family, friends, and neighbors, but that is what we have done.

        1. “We are all going to die of something.”

          I do not know about you Tom but I am enjoying my life and I do not want this virus to cut my life shorter than it should be.

          “Am I totally wrong about the probability of dying from the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?”

          The article I attached earlier was to point out the damage it can do to the many organs in the body such as weakening the heart, in other words you may not die but will develop ongoing health problems requiring expensive medical procedures for life and die younger even if you did fully recover from COVID 19.

          “what is the point of allowing yourself to be panicked by the news media? Why use the government to force your irrational fears upon everyone else?”

          I am not panicked, I just believe this virus is a real killer like most rational people and is not a political conspiracy to undermine Trump. This virus has far more ramifications for health than the science deniers want to understand. I am well into my sixties and I have always been into fitness and a healthy lifestyle and I hope it will assist my entry into the 70’s and beyond, therefore is it so wrong to be concerned about the effects of this virus and the behaviour of other people without been seen as either a conformist or non-conformist of a political and theological ideology?

          “We don’t need to cut ourselves off from our family, friends, and neighbors, but that is what we have done.”

          Trouble is that people do not know they have been infected and it is not just the elderly at risk, obese individuals and anyone with a respiratory problem at any age are also likely to die like older people. People have been tested as negative and still been infected after 14 days in quarantine and they often show no obvious symptoms, therefore it is basically like a lottery and doing what you can to stay healthy and protect others by using the recommended methods is logical and currently the best we can do.

          1. @sklyjd

            I can easily list a long list of threats to life, limb, and health just as dangerous to most people as the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Are we going to go nuts about every little thing just because we might die from it?

            When I get into a car and start driving, I try to remind myself that I might kill someone if I don’t pay attention to what I am doing. Still drive. Even lots of people die in auto accidents, we still have cars and roads. We accept the risks for the sake of the benefits.

            Those of us who are getting up in years face a greater risk from the virus. So, we should make our children live in isolation? Close the schools? When children hardly notice and don’t spread the damned thing? If we care about them, then the answer has to be no.

          2. Yes Tom, we do die of many things such as cancers, heart diseases, strokes, gun shots and car accidents, however we do not pass on cancers or heart diseases or accidents through normal human communication with strangers nor do we normally kill someone with our cars.

            We risk our lives in many situations, however a meeting with a person who has the virus should not become a death sentence or the chance of damaged organs for anyone, especially if you contract the virus from someone who purposely did not take precautions

          3. @sklyjd

            Actually, we routinely run into each other with our cars. I have a ten year old car that has been hit in the rear four times. Every time it is some young guy in a hurry. Fortunately, most accidents are now serious. Still, we have to regulate the design of autos to make them safe.

            To prevent illnesses we require food labelling and regulate pollution. To prevent accidents, we sue the manufacturers of unsafe products, and so forth.

            What we don’t do is shut each other down. Instead, we set up regulations to facilitate honest and transparent commerce so we don’t harm each other or get in each other way.

            The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not some demon from the abyss. It is just a virus that modern technology has allowed us to detect and characterize. Without modern technology, we would just go about our business and remark that an unusual number of elders passed away this year. A serious disease, like the Black Death, goes into the history books high tech or no high tech.

  6. I do not trust the Covid19 stats, from the day I read that they were counting any deaths as COVID I knew we were being scammed-It seems to me that the perpetrators are attempting to affect the election or opinions about the Federal response-None of it has changed my mind and I don’t think anyone can place blame about a virus-The hater’s minds aren’t changed, the supporter’s minds aren’t either-I guess the worst-case scenario is the use of mail-in ballots for the 2020 Presidential elections I am encouraged by the recent special election in CA where mail-in was used and the republican won overwhelmingly-It was suggested in my reading this morning to be at peace and if the troubles of the world were affecting me I was to stop work and find His peace in that secret place before proceeding

    1. @jeffw5382

      God is sovereign. We can surely find our peace in that. Then, as you say, we can go back to work.

      If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. — by C. S. Lewis

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