I Do Not Understand Covid Panic

 

I don’t get the level of panic that surrounds Covid-19. This particular disease has a mortality rate on the order of 2% or less (and apparently declining), yet government and other organizations and people of influence are acting as though the disease has a mortality rate at least an order of magnitude higher than that. They are acting as though Covid has Ebola-level mortality (approx. 50%). And too many people are going along with this excessive panic. Most of the Covid-19 mortality is in particular demographic groups. For younger adults the mortality rate is barely measurable, and for children the mortality rate is essentially zero.

Yet in the name of this disease from which the vast majority of people recover, especially younger people, governments and others have required, and continue to require, that almost everyone to change their lives in ways big and small. People are required to reduce (and in some cases eliminate) their interactions with other people. Rules explicit and implicit require people to alter how they interact with other people, changing some of the basic features of our society. Schools have significantly altered schooling and even the entire childhood experience for children. Schools have made some rules so difficult that they have effectively cut some children off from school altogether.

Governments (aided and abetted by influential organizations and people) have put the economy into shambles. People can’t get even rudimentary tasks completed because of shortages of things and people.

Governments are limiting what people can say and who can speak in public and in private (enlisting organizations and people to carry out the details).

Governments and employers are requiring people to be injected with a vaccine that has not been fully tested nor officially approved*. We assume but do not know there will be no long-term consequences that might appear in years down the road. What happens as vaccinated women grow children?

I might consider these extensive and costly responses reasonable for a disease that kills a significant proportion of the people it infects. Covid-19 does not**. Yet government, media, and other powerful groups and people act as though every case of Covid is a death, and we should be writing the obituary of anyone who gets Covid.

Yes, people die of Covid, and I would prefer they not. But the reaction of government and of others in positions of power and influence seems way out of proportion to the risks the disease poses. We seem to suffering through a panic hype that is causing a lot of harm. Other than trying to calm down a few of my personal friends, I wish there was a way to get people to look at the actual risks, not the government and media induced panic.

* I know, in many cases, people can avoid vaccination requirements by receiving frequent and intrusive tests, which has its own problems.

**at least unless the person is in particular demographic and health groups

Published in Healthcare
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  1. Hugh Member
    Hugh
    @Hugh

    I think a lot of it falls into the “We Must Do Something!” category.

    • #1
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    We have traded liberty for security and will get neither. 

    This is the first time we have ever tried to quarantine sick people. I signed on for two weeks to flatten the curve. That was an utter lie, it turns out. 

     

    • #2
  3. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    The problem is the panic at first was a bit useful in that things were unknown.  Now it is useful so as to milk money. 

    • #3
  4. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    They need to keep the panic going to justify the draconian lockdowns and mask mandates. They will never admit they overstepped their bounds. They are in love with power and control.

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    We have traded liberty for security and will get neither.

    Agree 100%

    • #4
  5. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    If you stop thinking about it rationally, and put yourself in the minds of narcissistic, hyperemotional people and power-hungry politicians  (BIRM), Covid panick makes a lot more sense. 

    • #5
  6. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Meanwhile, Karen is driving down the highway drinking a latte with one-hand while yelling to her friend on Facetime about the danger posed to her by an unmasked Trumper.    Ironically, by 2022 we may find that the countries too poor for vaccines fared better. 

    • #6
  7. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    The whole thing reminds me of The Great Alar Scare of 1989 in a way. If it bleeds, it leads, and every third-rate journalist could get noticed by exaggerating one statistic about Covid-19 or asking Trump a question about ventilators, etc. Then, there is another part and that is encapsulated in the phrase “social distancing”. It shouldn’t have been social distancing, but rather physical distancing, six feet and all that. BTW, was there something magical about six rather than four or eleven? But getting back to what I think might be a valid point, it’s almost as though the people in charge wanted to have people socially isolated so they would be easier to manipulate, easier to frighten, more willing to ignore loss of their freedoms. I won’t start screaming “fascism” the way every half-wit does today, but the government has exercised more control in the last 18 months than at any other time in my life, and government never willingly gives up whatever power it has acquired. 

    • #7
  8. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    I have concluded that the panic part of the reaction to Covid is almost completely a political play by Democrats and it is no secret why.

    • #8
  9. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Money, power, and control.

    • #9
  10. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    If you stop thinking about it rationally, and put yourself in the minds of narcissistic, hyperemotional people and power-hungry politicians (BIRM), Covid panick makes a lot more sense.

    Shouldn’t people be pushing back? Are people so bad at even rudimentary statistics that the public can’t figure out that the response to a virus with a less than 2% fatality rate should be different from the response to a virus with a 50% fatality rate. 

    • #10
  11. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    I work in commercial real estate.  I’d estimate that I have wasted 4 cumulative months on this farce and I’m not done yet. Received another corporate edict that I’ll have to contact vendors and contractors about and comply with. The HR “Karen’s” and lawyer’s have been & continue driving this. I’m certain this latest promulgation of vaccination & making requirements is due to the % government work we do. I’m sure they don’t want that to dry up.

    It was never about realistic evaluation of risk. 

    This was/is all ‘political science’.

    • #11
  12. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Django (View Comment):
    every third-rate journalist could get noticed by exaggerating one statistic

    This all reminds me of the Global Warming Hoax.  You probably don’t know this, but all those scary predictions are based on stupid assumptions.  One assumption is that power is generated with the efficiency of 1980 technology.   In 1980 most CO2 came from crappy Soviet boilers that were about 10% efficient.  Modern boilers are about 45% efficient!  Computer design, computer control and amazing metal technology makes a new coal plant 4.5 times more efficient than the Global Warming people assume.   Likewise, they assume we’ll give up LED lighting and fuel efficient jet engines.    There are crazy assumptions about population exploding (reversing the trend).  All of that produces crazy stats for headlines and researchers LOVE headlines.   Headlines bring fame and more research money.  

    • #12
  13. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment)

    Shouldn’t people be pushing back? Are people so bad at even rudimentary statistics that the public can’t figure out that the response to a virus with a less than 2% fatality rate should be different from the response to a virus with a 50% fatality rate

    Consider the math skills of our media elite

     

    • #13
  14. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):
    every third-rate journalist could get noticed by exaggerating one statistic

    This all reminds me of the Global Warming Hoax. You probably don’t know this, but all those scary predictions are based on stupid assumptions. One assumption is that power is generated with the efficiency of 1980 technology. In 1980 most CO2 came from crappy Soviet boilers that were about 10% efficient. Modern boilers are about 45% efficient! Computer design, computer control and amazing metal technology makes a new coal plant 4.5 times more efficient than the Global Warming people assume. Likewise, they assume we’ll give up LED lighting and fuel efficient jet engines. There are crazy assumptions about population exploding (reversing the trend). All of that produces crazy stats for headlines and researchers LOVE headlines. Headlines bring fame and more research money.

    There is also this: 

    “Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

    In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.” 
    – Michael Crichton (1942-2008)

    • #14
  15. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Imagine the level of panic this man would exhibit if we got into an actual war. What an embarrassing display.

    • #15
  16. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Back in April 202o I noticed among people I knew a difference in reactions depending on whether they focused on the worst-case-scenario (tended to panic) versus they focused on the very low probability that they would get a serious case of the disease (tended to think many of the restrictions were nuts). Unfortunately, I found that once people focused on the worst-case-scenario, it was very difficult to get people to see how unlikely it was they would get a serious case of the disease. Even rudimentary statistics seems to be beyond the abilities or interests of too many people. And the government and especially media don’t help, as they rarely report actual data. They sometimes throw numbers around, but rarely the numbers needed to calculate risks and probabilities. 

    [I am not a statistician, but I used simple statistics to manage processes in my last job.]

    • #16
  17. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I think the press and politicians are playing to the innate human aversion to being sick in any way. I think that is the base layer of the mass reaction. 

    • #17
  18. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Django (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):
    every third-rate journalist could get noticed by exaggerating one statistic

    This all reminds me of the Global Warming Hoax. You probably don’t know this, but all those scary predictions are based on stupid assumptions. One assumption is that power is generated with the efficiency of 1980 technology. In 1980 most CO2 came from crappy Soviet boilers that were about 10% efficient. Modern boilers are about 45% efficient! Computer design, computer control and amazing metal technology makes a new coal plant 4.5 times more efficient than the Global Warming people assume. Likewise, they assume we’ll give up LED lighting and fuel efficient jet engines. There are crazy assumptions about population exploding (reversing the trend). All of that produces crazy stats for headlines and researchers LOVE headlines. Headlines bring fame and more research money.

    There is also this:

    “Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

    In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”
    Michael Crichton (1942-2008)

    I first learned this fact and subsequently worked to avoid the onset of Gell-Mann Amnesia while doing analytical work related to emerging electronic methods of transferring funds (in other words ‘how to eliminate the paper check based payment system’). There was a publication  called The American Banker whose writers would try to describe the actions and legal and regulatory effects of savings and loans, mutual savings banks, and credit unions that were developing and implementing electronic payment capabilities that were competing with commercial banks, the industry the American Banker was about. The articles rarely reflected facts and other things I knew about so I dropped putting trust in media and I have held that distrust to this day.

    • #18
  19. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    Shouldn’t people be pushing back? Are people so bad at even rudimentary statistics that the public can’t figure out that the response to a virus with a less than 2% fatality rate should be different from the response to a virus with a 50% fatality rate. 

    This is what has frustrated me to tears many times since March 2020. Where is everyone’s spine? Why are so few Americans saying eff-you to the powers that be? And I would honestly be shocked if the fatality rate was even as high as 2%. I’m guessing there are many thousands of mild, undiagnosed “cases” (barf) that aren’t reflected in that estimate.

    • #19
  20. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Imagine the level of panic this man would exhibit if we got into an actual war. What an embarrassing display.

    Gross.

    What, does he think he’s an extra in a remake of the quarantine scene from E.T.?

    • #20
  21. BillJackson Coolidge
    BillJackson
    @BillJackson

    As others have pointed out, the panic lets them:
    – Continue “emergency” measures by the executive branch. (Illinois is on its 19th extension of the governors emergency powers.
    – Continue to push for teachers to work remotely.
    – Continue to keep favoring liberal causes
    – Judge others. Lots of folks on the left love to judge others for some reason, and they particularly like visual signs that say “you’re deplorable.” It was a red hat for awhile, now it’s a mask.

    I am sure that for some, it’s the fear of dying and getting sick. But for the enablers, it is not, nor has it ever been, about your health. 

    • #21
  22. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    Shouldn’t people be pushing back? Are people so bad at even rudimentary statistics that the public can’t figure out that the response to a virus with a less than 2% fatality rate should be different from the response to a virus with a 50% fatality rate.

    This is what has frustrated me to tears many times since March 2020. Where is everyone’s spine? Why are so few Americans saying eff-you to the powers that be? And I would honestly be shocked if the fatality rate was even as high as 2%. I’m guessing there are many thousands of mild, undiagnosed “cases” (barf) that aren’t reflected in that estimate.

    Charlotte, I agree.  My impression is that the infection fatality rate is a fraction of 1%, but I don’t have detailed data on this at present.

    • #22
  23. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Imagine the level of panic this man would exhibit if we got into an actual war. What an embarrassing display.

     

    Gross.

    What, does he think he’s an extra in a remake of the quarantine scene from E.T.?

    People in the Twitter comments say that it’s how the Philippines is handling Wu Flu and shields are mandatory. Secretary Austin’s protocol team should politely say, the Secretary is vaccinated and doesn’t require a shield or mask. Instead I received a note last night that masks are required indoors for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in all DoD facilities in areas of substantial transmission. I had to dig around my truck to find one to play in this theater. Then my division boss has the audacity to add to the end of his message about the new requirement, “To those unvaccinated, Just. Get. The. Shot.”. Why? What benefit does it give? Vaccine or not I have to wear a mask.

    • #23
  24. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    There is an alternative hypothesis to explain some of the reaction.

    I didn’t come up with it myself.  The question is “stupid, or evil.”  When someone is doing something apparently inexplicable, these are a couple of viable options.

    Maybe a lot of people are just stupid.  They believe the hype.  Maybe many people in the media are quite stupid, unable to understand math or to quantify risks.

    Of course, “both” is another possible explanation.

    • #24
  25. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Imagine the level of panic this man would exhibit if we got into an actual war. What an embarrassing display.

    That looks like a Monty Python skit — masks AND face shields? These are our military leaders? Shameful.

    • #25
  26. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    Shouldn’t people be pushing back? Are people so bad at even rudimentary statistics that the public can’t figure out that the response to a virus with a less than 2% fatality rate should be different from the response to a virus with a 50% fatality rate.

    This is what has frustrated me to tears many times since March 2020. Where is everyone’s spine? Why are so few Americans saying eff-you to the powers that be? And I would honestly be shocked if the fatality rate was even as high as 2%. I’m guessing there are many thousands of mild, undiagnosed “cases” (barf) that aren’t reflected in that estimate.

    Charlotte, I agree. My impression is that the infection fatality rate is a fraction of 1%, but I don’t have detailed data on this at present.

    Yeah, I don’t have any real data either, so I used 2% as a guess generous to the side of justifying restrictions. A 2% mortality rate based on the 600,000 reported Covid deaths, would indicate 30,000,000 people in the U.S. have had Covid (~8% of the American population). I have read guesses that 40% of the American population has had Covid (~132,000,000 people). That guess would suggest a mortality rate of less than one half of one percent (considerably lower than the mortality from the flu). 

    But in general, we’re clearly not dealing with a 90%, 50%, 25%, or even 10% mortality rate. The risk does not justify the level of panic. 

    • #26
  27. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Imagine the level of panic this man would exhibit if we got into an actual war. What an embarrassing display.

    Gross.

    What, does he think he’s an extra in a remake of the quarantine scene from E.T.?

    People in the Twitter comments say that it’s how the Philippines is handling Wu Flu and shields are mandatory. Secretary Austin’s protocol team should politely say, the Secretary is vaccinated and doesn’t require a shield or mask. Instead I received a note last night that masks are required indoors for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in all DoD facilities in areas of substantial transmission. I had to dig around my truck to find one to play in this theater. Then my division boss has the audacity to add to the end of his message about the new requirement, “To those unvaccinated, Just. Get. The. Shot.”. Why? What benefit does it give? Vaccine or not I have to wear a mask.

    IIRC, the only real benefit is that it lessens the symptoms if you contract the virus. As one credible website pointed out the normal flu shot is about 60% effective, but also can make flu symptoms less severe. This week the CDC — stop laughing — said that vaccinated people who contract the virus and are asymptomatic can still spread the virus. Hence, masks for all.

    Now let’s check some of the lies we’ve been told:

    1. vaccines will allow a return to normality
    2. vaccines will prevent infection
    3. asymptomatic spread is not happening
    4. we will stop or greatly eliminate virus mutations if everyone is vaccinated because there will be no hosts for the virus
    5. Fauci knows best (OK; cheap shot, but I enjoyed it)
    6.  …

    No wonder I’m confused.

    • #27
  28. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Hugh (View Comment):

    I think a lot of it falls into the “We Must Do Something!” category.

    Also known as “CYA, political version”. 

     

    • #28
  29. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Charlotte (View Comment):
    This is what has frustrated me to tears many times since March 2020. Where is everyone’s spine? Why are so few Americans saying eff-you to the powers that be? And I would honestly be shocked if the fatality rate was even as high as 2%. I’m guessing there are many thousands of mild, undiagnosed “cases” (barf) that aren’t reflected in that estimate.

    I was just complaining about this the other day.  I was at an outdoor restaurant and some young guys (early  20’s) were wearing masks.  In my teens and 20’s I did all kinds of stuff, because it was dangerous.  Risky was cool.  Drive fast.  Drink excessively.  Blow stuff up.  Hell yah!   Thinks sure have changed with young men.   Once again Jesus was right:   the meek shall inherit the earth.

    • #29
  30. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    There is an alternative hypothesis to explain some of the reaction.

    I didn’t come up with it myself. The question is “stupid, or evil.” When someone is doing something apparently inexplicable, these are a couple of viable options.

    Maybe a lot of people are just stupid. They believe the hype. Maybe many people in the media are quite stupid, unable to understand math or to quantify risks.

    Of course, “both” is another possible explanation.

    I can go with “stupid” for media. Media have demonstrated many times that they don’t understand math, and seem to be incapable of quantifying risks.

    Government (at least federal government) is more questionable. Clearly people of high position in the federal government understand that Covid is a low-risk disease, since they are allowing tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to roam the U.S. freely without any knowledge about the Covid status of those illegal immigrants. 

    • #30