Tag Archives: History

Models vs. Reality – which should guide our lives?

“Question everything” – Thomas Jefferson

“The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best – and therefore never scrutinize or question.” – Stephen Jay Gould

“The very foundation of science is to keep the door open to doubt. Precisely because we keep questioning everything, especially our own premises, we are always ready to improve our knowledge. Therefore a good scientist is never ‘certain’. Lack of certainty is precisely what makes conclusions more reliable than the conclusions of those who are certain: because the good scientist will be ready to shift to a different point of view if better elements of evidence, or novel arguments emerge. Therefore certainty is not only something of no use, but is in fact damaging, if we value reliability.” – Carlo Rovelli

“Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it.” – H.L. Mencken

“He who gives his freedom for safety gets none of them.” Thomas Jefferson

Any predictive models, by their construction, are a projection based upon known factors, PLUS assumptions. Assumptions, educated, informed or not are no more than educated guesses. Hence, they are for all intents and purposes conjecture. They are essentially the modern rendition of oracles of antiquity. The FACT that these particular models were wildly inaccurate makes them more unreliable predictors. Scientists are not oracles, or prophets. Frankly for me, those who think they are should not be trusted at all.

Even MSN acknowledges models are based upon assumptions – https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/why-the-covid-19-death-forecasts-are-wrong/ar-BB12ZwWB. And, while I disagree with some of the conclusions, Forbes had an excellent article on the models, which affirms the “guessing”/assumptions element – https://www.forbes.com/sites/hershshefrin/2020/04/18/what-makes-the-covid-19-mortality-forecasts-upon-which-the-white-house-relies-seem-so-low/#26bb299c2f70. Yes, they include a “trustworthiness factor” but even that is based upon the assumptions of others. So, it’s assumptions piled on assumptions. Remmember this axiom: ”you know what ASSUME means, right?”

Models aside, the ACTUAL (CDC/John Hopkins) numbers tell us the following:

  • Who is most susceptible (older persons and those with pre-existing conditions weakening their immune systems)
  • Who is most likely to have the worst incidence, if infected
  • Who least susceptible (healthy and younger)
  • What the likelihood of infection is (Sweden and States within the US did not do the same as others and still have solid numbers in relation), with or without draconian mitigation
  • The actual rate of infection per capita (within a range); studies, however, demonstrate this is considerably lower than those who are or have been infected (see below).
  • The actual rate of mortality per capita and per infection (not near what the models forecast)
  • The actual rates of infection and mortality are significantly less than predicted (on an order of magnitude), mitigation measures not withstanding precisely because it was not done in all areas  (more on this below)
  • Less than one percent virility

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ shows the US per capita COVID-19 death rate a 242 per 1,000,000, which is  0.0242%.

COVID-19 Data_050820-1

A study (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340539075_Sampling_Bias_Explaining_Wide_Variations_in_COVID-19_Case_Fatality_Rates) states, “It is thus likely that the IFR will be in the range 0.25% – 0.50%. There is also no room for complacency, as many people are still at risk of dying, even if the IFR is 0.25%, because COVID-19 does seem to be very infectious.”

The actual number of infections that have already occurred in the US have been demonstrated to be considerably higher than those currently tested. The difference is orders of magnitude ranging from as low as 18 times the known infections to 80 times. We will never know the precise number because the vast majority are asymptomatic and/or have had mild symptoms and never. See links embedded below signature line.

From recent reports from NYC, 60%+ of all new patients were individuals who had sheltered in place (the mitigation protocol). https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8293417/66-New-York-coronavirus-hospitalizations-people-staying-HOME.html. Key facts regarding the virus itself from the NYC report:

  • A study of hospitals last week found that of 1,000 patients, 66 percent were people staying at home
  • 73% of the new hospitalizations were people aged 51 and over and 96% had underlying health conditions
  • In New York City, 90% of those who answered said they had not been taking public transport
  • It prompts the question of whether lockdown even works or is necessary

All of this confirms the previous notations.

COVID-19 Data_050820-2

What else we know about the virus itself:

  • Sunshine, particularly the UV bandwidth, kills it.
  • 70% Alcohol, Hydrogen Peroxide and chlorine bleach (diluted 50%) are all effective sanitizing agents that kill the virus
  • We have several treatment protocols that can be safely implemented that arrest the disease’s progression when administered in a timely fashion, under doctor’s supervision.
  • We know the actual number of those who have had the virus or been exposed (based upon at least 3 survey studies)

This does not diminish the harm potential of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV2), but the whole of data shows it’s not nearly as bad as projected. Yet look at the ACTUAL per capita rates of infection – tenths of one-percent; mortality rate – hundreths of one-percent!

Complicating the issue is that to rely solely on scientist as the experts presents a host of problems in and of itself – https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/may/9/covid-19-puts-spotlight-science-scientists-often-l/. This wouldn’t be the first time in history. Scientist are human beings, not saints, nor infallible oracles. We should view all information with skepticism. Scientific method is essentially evaluating information to see if it matches with life. I’m not certain clinical studies were ever conducted showing the cobra or rattlesnake bites could likely cause death. It was observed and reported, word-of-mouth. Eventually the neuro-toxins were studied to find out the how and why, but no one needed a scientist to tell them either variety of snake could kill them.

More information can be found here:

Our nation’s general current approach may in fact be costing far more lives than the virus itself would –

    • For example, New York State enacted one of the strictest lockdowns in the U.S. but has 22 times the death rate of Florida, which had one of the mildest lockdowns.

Draconian lockdowns do not conclusively improve per capita infection and/or death rates:

    • The Imperial College—whose cataclysmic projections of Covid-19 deaths have been a driving force behind government lockdowns—has acknowledged that “the more successful a strategy is at temporary suppression, the larger the later epidemic is predicted to be in the absence of vaccination, due to lesser build-up of herd immunity.” (pg. 11) This acknowledgement should really disturb anyone.
    • A 2012 paper in the journal PLoS One titled “Immunity in Society” notes that “when a sufficiently high proportion of individuals within a population becomes immune (either through prior exposure or through mass vaccination), community or ‘herd’ immunity emerges, whereby individuals that are poorly immunized are protected by the collective ‘immune firewall’ provided by immunized neighbors.”
    • Large portions of people are highly resistant to Covid-19 and experience no symptoms when they catch it, later making them firewalls against the spread of the disease. For example, the New England Journal of Medicine reported in mid-April that universal Covid-19 testing of pregnant women at two New York City hospitals found that 88% of the women who tested positive for the disease were asymptomatic.
    • U.S. states with strict lockdowns—like New Jersey and New York—have Covid-19 death rates that are three to five times that of Sweden’s:

Evidence demonstrates the “shelter-in-place” measures are not nearly as effective as being portrayed. Worse, doing so could end up making matters worse due to delaying “herd immunity”. A vaccine may or may not be discovered; there are many coronavirus for which there is no vaccine. So to say we must wait for a vaccine to open society again, is utterly unreasonable, and equally irrational.

Finally,  the world I was raised in taught me something most never learn – that living in fear of what might happen isn’t living. None of us are guaranteed anything, much less the next day or our next breath. I choose not to dwell on what may or may not occur. I’m not foolish or reckless, but I am rational in accumulating and digesting information. I am ever skeptical but not cynical. I look for and weigh facts, discard or dismiss assumptions for what they are, not what I want them to be.

The FACTS do not justify how our nation has responded in shutting down the livelihoods of the majority of the country. This will end up causing far more harm than the disease itself ever could have.

Reasonable and informed caution, I’m all for that; irrational fear that subverts yours and mine essential and unalienable rights, supported by unsupported conjecture – not in the least. Start jailing individuals trying to feed their families, taking reasonable precautions simple because they defy a decree, we’ve gone way too far. When mayors and governors threaten citizens, or suggest neighbors be rewarded for “snitching” on their neighbors who violate these “stay indoors” orders, we’ve gone too far. When law enforcement start using drones to ensure absolute compliance to these edicts, we’ve gone too far. When one person within a jurisdiction declares some to be “essential” and other “non-essential”, how far removed from that are the pronouncements of Mao, Stalin and Hitler about some segments of their respective societies?  Who is reasonable and who is not in light of the FACTS and not supposition?

————– more ———

Studies showing higher infection rates (which equates to a much lower per capita infection rate and per capita death rate) Links are within.

At least six US studies show the coronavirus is more widespread than expected and that millions and millions of Americans have been infected by the Wuhan virus already without knowing they had the virus.

Two new studies were released earlier this week that show millions of Americans were infected with the coronavirus between March and April 21.

The studies also reveal the mortality rate is much less that was reported and similar to seasonal flu.

This also shows that the experts who are behind the draconian lockdowns have been wrong from the beginning.

The first study by Dr. Justin Silverman estimates that there were 8.7 million coronavirus infections between March 8 and March 28.

And as of April 17, 2020, 10% of the US population has been infected or around 33 million Americans.

A second study by Fivetran estimates that from March 1 and April 4th 12 million Americans were infected with the coronavirus.

A third study finds that 25% of residents at homeless shelters tested positive for the virus.
And 66% of those residents tested at San Francisco homeless facilities tested positive for the coronavirus!

A fourth study from last week in Santa Clara County in California revealed that 2.5% to 4.2% of people tested for COVID-19 were positive for antibodies.

A fifth study in Boston found that 46 people in a homeless shelter tested positive and all of them were asymptomatic.

And now a sixth study in Miami-Dade County in Florida found that at least 6% of the population tested positive for the coronavirus antibodies suggesting the number of infected could be 16 times higher than previously reported.

The Washington Examiner reported:

A random sampling study shows that at least 6% of the population in Miami, Florida, have coronavirus antibodies, indicating past infection.

165,000 residents of Miami-Dade County tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, suggesting the rate of people infected could be more than 16 times higher than previously thought, according to a study released by University of Miami researchers on Friday.

The study, set into motion by local officials, will be an ongoing weekly survey randomly selecting residents who volunteer to submit pinpricks of blood to show whether they were positive in the past. Friday’s results were based off two weeks of countywide testing of about 1,400 participants, and researchers found that about half of those who tested positive did not report symptoms in the previous 14-17 days, according to the Miami Herald.

“What we’re finding out is something we’ve frankly known all along. There are a lot of asymptomatic cases out there where people are carrying the virus but are not experiencing any symptoms,” Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a press conference.

Antibody studies across the globe are reporting similar findings.

A high school in France this week determined that 25% of students and staff possessed coronavirus antibodies requiring nine hospitalizations but zero deaths.

random sampling test conducted by Stanford researchers in Santa Clara County, California, concluded that the coronavirus is 50-85 times

Are We About To Throw The Baby Out With The Bath Water?

Tom Kite is PGA Tour player whose low Major total belies his resume as a player….He only led the Tour in earnings twice, but he was the second Tour player to crack $1 million in a season (1989, a year after Curtis Strange did it), he finished in the Top 20 in money 17 times, and he was the first player to accumulate $6 million, $7 million, $8 million, and $9 million in career earnings.1 Tom, although an excellent player was not Greg Norman, Ben Crenshaw, Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus; names one might expect to head that list. How? He did it by having a considerably higher finishing average than other players and naturally earned more prize money as a result.

In 1960, the New York Yankees lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 3 games to 4. Amongst the Yankees’ roster were future Hall of Fame Players Berra, Maris and Mantle. Still the Yankees lost despite having scored a total of 55 runs to the Pirates’ 27 runs.

These stories seem relevant to today’s political campaign rhetoric. We are told our system is corrupt. It may be; but wouldn’t it be a good thing to look at where and how? In light of the twisted language of our politically correct consciousness, which makes honest substantive discussions on issues difficult at best, it would likely be prudent to ensure my words here are clear.

Ever since our nation’s founding, we, the average citizen, have had a say in our national elections and discourse. But, aside from our votes, it has never been direct. Our votes, other than on state and local initiatives, nearly always involve our selection of someone to represent us. We delegate our political desires to someone who, hopefully, will reflect our views when they cast their votes on specific legislation.

We are not, as a political structure, a pure democracy. Never have been, although it could be argued that we have moved more in that direction. Our founders did not trust a pure democracy: structurally, we are a representative republic.

“what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”

– Federalist No. 51, James Madison

As Franklin, replying to a woman who asked as he left the Constitutional Convention, “Well Doctor what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?,” stated, “A republic . . . if you can keep it.”

Note Madison states the obvious: government is necessary due to the flaws of humanity generally. Not that people are evil per se (though some most certainly are – Hitler & Stalin come to mind), but that self interest is a universal human characteristic. Yet, government, established to prevent individual self interest from becoming anarchy or rule of the jungle, is an organization run by people. So how do you prevent the very self interest government is set up to protect against from becoming a tool of those who work in government?

A republic. A pure democracy is essentially mob rule: 50%, plus one negates the 50% less 1 in all matters. That is law of the jungle, lynch mob governance. A republic on the other hand is a layered form of democracy that attempts to mitigate the aggregation of political power. This form is still imperfect because people are still people.

I’ve recounted all of this because we’re being told nearly every day how corrupt the delegate system is. When, in truth, if any one cared to go beyond the railings and look into the process, it is actually a full demonstration of the principles of our founders’ efforts to keep us from being our own worst enemy. How?

First, the delegate selection is NOT controlled, at least in one political party’s structure1, by one centralized entity or small group of elites. Each state has it own rules, means and methods. This means that no one person or small group can control the outcome. A successful candidate must be able to navigate many different process rules, from state to state. It is much the same as a business in one state seeking to expand its offices to another state – they have to look at how the laws, taxes, etc., impact how they conduct business in order to successfully operate there.

This multi-faceted, variable process is accidentally brilliant. Accidentally because the states themselves and the state party structures were set up independently, over a period of decades, and through their own localized self interest developed whatever delegate process they thought would serve their own constituents best. Each of these statewide party representatives are individuals who got involved in the process because they wanted to influence the outcome however they could.

Perfect? Not at all. But it does keep political power less concentrated and more diverse. And that benefits us all.

Confusing? Yes. Corrupt? Not likely; it is just too diversified, too disconnected for full centralized control. Those who argue for pure democracy would do well to recognize the dangers of mob rule. Is that what you really want? How long would our society survive if that were how we decided things?

Don’t like the outcomes? Get involved. But regurgitating easy and disingenuous slogans which tend only to stoke emotional fervor is destructive. It is the very thing that lead to the rise of some of history’s most wretched atrocities. One only need look to 1789 France to appreciate the horror of the mob. Our elected officials, particularly in the last three election cycles, have not been as representative as many had hoped they would be as to the direction of the country, the size, scale and scope of government’s influence in our daily lives. But to allow that disappointment and frustration to literally blow up the layered system meant to protect us from ourselves is precisely what some advocate for – an utter collapse of the system allowing for who knows what.

It should be noted that what makes government necessary is at the same time the very thing that requires government be restrained and limited in size, scale and scope. Otherwise, we cease being even the imperfect representative republic.  The Constitution acknowledges the imperfections of humanity and attempts to allow each of us to enjoy individual liberty to pursue life as we envision it. It seeks to protect our God-given, unalienable rights by preventing each of us from using political power to our own advantage over one another. And while, we’ve done considerable damage to that bulwark, it is not yet fully lost.

But, if the tone and language, accompanied by blind, emotional outrage and verbal assaults are any indication, we could inadvertently usher in that which disassembles the very thing that ensures each and everyone of us are able to continue being a free people, to enjoy life as we would pursue it.

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

– Benjamin Franklin

  1.  PGA Tour Career Money Leaders History
  2. The Democratic Party delegate process has what are known as “super delegates”. These delegates are solely controlled and assigned by the DNC directly to the candidate the Party decides, not the voters. CNN interview DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz explaining this: https://youtu.be/w5llLIKM9Yc

Lex Rex
April 20, 2016