One more stab at the “mortality rate” nonsense

As America’s mass hysteria pandemic picks up steam, and the U.S. Federal Government warms to the task of bankrupting and enslaving the nation for generations, I have noticed a new uptick — the dreaded “second wave” — in people online trying to justify their irrational fear by citing the “fact” that this coronavirus has a mortality rate eight, ten, or fourteen times higher (pick your favorite scare tactic) than the common flu. 

I know I have already covered this ground in previous weeks, during the first wave of this mathematical flu outbreak, but given the frightening new strain that has appeared, I feel the need to return to it once again, and speak directly to those feeling the increasing inclination to feverishly reference the old news that the mortality rate of this virus is, in some regions, around 1.0% or higher, whereas that of the common flu is a mere 0.1%.

To which statistical abuse, I reply:

You do not know the mortality rate of this virus, anywhere on Earth, or everywhere taken collectively. For it is impossible to know the mortality rate (or even estimate the rate, as we do with flu viruses) without having any reasonable idea of how many people have been infected, which we will not have for months, or perhaps years. In fact, we’ll never have a certain or generally agreed-upon number, just as we don’t with the common flu, the Spanish Flu of 1918, and so on. It’s simply impossible to do better than a very wide general guess, since most of the infected experience few or no symptoms, and never get tested. That’s why, if you check any government health authority’s website about the rate of flu infections and deaths in a recent year, you will see estimates so broad as to be almost useless — except for making this coronavirus outbreak seem quite small by comparison with even the lower range of the annual flu estimates.

So can we please dispense with the “mortality rate” fear-mongering, a trope that ought to have died weeks ago?

Let’s all put on our thinking caps now, ladies and gentlemen. A mortality rate based on deaths per CONFIRMED CASES is entirely different from a mortality rate based on deaths per TOTAL (confirmed + unconfirmed) CASES.

To compare what the media and the “experts” (i.e., media-supported degree-holders) are calling the mortality rate of this virus with the mortality rate of the common flu is like comparing the percentage of likely Trump voters among “Americans who wear red caps” to the percentage of likely Biden voters in the general population, and then concluding, “Oh my god, Trump’s more popular than Biden by a rate of 10 to 1!”

The relationship between human fear and human stupidity is a remarkable thing. As a species, we seem to be incapable of thinking at all when in the grip of terror. The solution, then, if being rational is our goal (as it ought to be): Fight your fear. Here’s my recommended first step in that fight: Stop listening to the news media’s coverage of this virus every day. The media has an obvious vested interest — several, in fact — in portraying this situation in the most terrifying light. Understand that, and stop caring what they say.

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