The COVID Rhetoric Shell Game

Coronavirus “cases” equal positive tests. They do not equal “deaths.” The recent trend in panic-button headlines around the world is increasingly to emphasize case numbers, and particularly numbers of new cases, as though these represent an inherent cataclysm. Fact: If you test far more people, you will likely find far more cases. Another fact: If everyone in the world tested positive for hangnails, that would not make hangnails the world’s greatest health crisis.

The U.S. CDC has made the influenza pages of their website as obscure as possible, rendering it almost impossible to get clear estimates on influenza in 2020 without all numbers being nebulously mixed up with COVID-19 numbers. One tidbit that does seep out, however, is that flu mortality is markedly, perhaps even remarkably, down compared to any previous year. I suspect the eagle-eyed number crunchers among us will gradually begin noticing a similar trend with regard to many other consistently major causes of death, once the final death totals for 2020 are in. This is not at all difficult to understand, and does not even require any grand conspiracies. The 2020 rules for writing death certificates in the U.S. virtually mandate that every death of a person with COVID-19 (or even presumed to have had it) is to be counted as a death from COVID-19.

That is not to say that there have been no “excess deaths” this year which may be attributed directly to the coronavirus pandemic. There undoubtedly have. Of course, almost all of them have been among the very elderly and those with serious pre-existing health conditions. It will take a few years, I suspect, to see how the total “excess death” numbers sift out when seen in a longer view. 

At the beginning of this crisis (I mean the cowardly universal submission to totalitarian social control crisis), we heard incessantly, particularly from Western media and governments, about the dire need for more ventilators to treat all these sufferers of the new flu-like respiratory disease. (It used to be de rigueur to employ the phrase “flu-like,” before it became verboten.) In those days, I was shouting from the rooftops, both in private and in writing, that the last thing a person with chest congestion needs is to be strapped on his back and stripped of all self-regulation of his own breathing and coughing. Oh, I know I am not a doctor — I’m only a human being who has had many life experiences with serious chest congestion, and knows all too well the desperate craving of one in that predicament to sit up, move about, and cough at will.

I have noticed in recent accounts of the early months of the pandemic a tendency to note in passing, among a list of other “things the medical world has learned during this pandemic,” how doctors now understand that ventilators were overused during the so-called “first wave.” That’s a very tidy little shrug-off of a pretty monstrous reality.

It is now considered perfectly reasonable and even morally superior to blame Donald Trump, a politician, for two hundred thousand deaths, as though his self-righteous accusers knew exactly how to save all those lives. When is anyone going to take stock and start tabulating the death count that really can be quantified, namely how many people died completely unnecessarily due to the now-casually-noted “overuse” of ventilators? (The answer, of course, is never.) There is little doubt in my mind that number would be into the thousands, possibly the tens of thousands, just in the U.S. alone. Throw in Europe and Canada and South America, and the death toll directly resulting from this radically foolish and uncalled-for treatment for people who desperately needed to move around, stay off their backs, and cough like hell — and who were denied this need by “the experts” who instead strapped them helplessly on their backs while their lungs filled up with guck — is truly chilling.

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