Stop Coronavirus Outbreak Disinformation

Finally, ladies and gentlemen, I’ve got pissed off. It doesn’t happen too often. As a matter of fact, this is the first time since I had started this blog almost a year ago. So…

It seems like the coronavirus has caught up with me. Don’t worry; I’m not infected. I’m talking about my mental stability being under attack from all the mainstream media, social networks, and self-proclaimed experts (some even with a bunch of letters after their names) trying to hummer “the end is near” mantra into my brain.

What the hell is wrong with the mainstream media?

“Confirmed,” vs. “Active.”

The first thing I hear every morning for the last few weeks when I tune the radio to news station is the “number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infections.” Today the number was a little over 140 thousand.

And that number — the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infections — gets repeated over and over again by mainstream media in the U.S. and elsewhere.

So, what exactly ticks me off? Are those numbers inaccurate? Do media outlets lie? No, they don’t lie. They mislead. The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infections this morning has reached 140 thousand. But…, “the number of confirmed cases” means all cases of infections from the first one (in December 2019) to the last one (today). It includes people who got infected and died and people who contracted the virus but had since recovered.

The problem is that when people hear: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infections has reached 140 thousand today, most of them think that there are 140 thousand active cases — individuals infected with the virus — right now, and that’s not the case.

This morning the number of active cases was 65,342. That’s far from the widely used figure of confirmed cases.

  • Total Confirmed: 140,875
    minus
  • Total Recovered: 70,174
    minus
  • Total Deaths:5,359
    equals
  • Total Active: 65,342

Mainstream media and, unfortunately, everyone else keeps using the number of “total confirmed” instead of “total active.” Even Johns Hopkins University doesn’t bother to show the number of “total active” cases on their COVID-19 interactive map, but prominently presents the number of confirmed cases at the top of the page.

Just for the record. The number of active cases of coronavirus in China dropped under 14 thousand. (Total confirmed — close to 81 thousand.)

Doomsday is coming.

You probably come across some predictions of uncontrollable coronavirus explosion. At the top of the list of alarmist scientists is Marc Lipsitch (an epidemiologist at Harvard University), who predicts that between 40 to 70 percent of adults in the world will become infected with the coronavirus. That’s at least 3 billion people.

Published by CBS Evening News on Mar 2, 2020

Luckily for us, “40 to 70 percent,” is just a forecast by mathematical models (models similar to those that predicted Manhattan would be under several feet of water in the year 2000).

Some other examples of overreacting:

Panic.

Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician of Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court, said he expects 70 million to 150 million people in the United States will become infected with COVID-19.

From CNBC

Cool and collected.

These estimates include people who will get sick and make a full recovery, and many people — could be as many as 50 percent or more (depending on which mathematical model was used to create calculations) — will catch the virus without ever feeling ill.

Panic.

As many as ’60 to 70 per cent’ of Germans will be infected with the deadly coronavirus, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned today, as the contagion threatened to rip through Europe.

From Daily Mail

Cool and collected.

Health Minister Jens Spahn pointed out during the meeting that 80 percent of all infected patients would have almost no symptoms.

Panic.

If the spread of the new coronavirus isn’t halted, it could infect 60 percent of the world’s population and kill 1 in 100 of those infected – around 50 million people.

Gabriel Leung, chair of public health medicine at Hong Kong University

Cool and collected.

“If the spread of the new coronavirus isn’t halted, it could infect 60 percent of the world’s population.”

If it isn’t halted, there’s no reason for it to stop at 60 percent. The virus is not going to stop spreading, then look around and say: OK, I’m at 60 percent. I think it’s good enough. If not halted, it will keep going.

Anyway, how Mr. Leung know that around 50 million people will die? Well, he doesn’t know. He likes to be in front of the camera, sharing his gloom and doom predictions. And we need reliable information instead of numbers pulled out of someone’s tin foil hat.

We need facts, not fantasy.

Unfortunately, when it comes to mainstream media, facts are in low supply. Media hype the bad news and overlook any positive information. They have gone to great lengths to create and now, to keep fear alive in the hearts of their viewers.

Some do it to juice-up the ratings or generate clicks, but most, including major media outlets, induce panic for political reasons. They intend to use fear to tank the economy and Trump’s odds of reelection. They don’t care that their actions hurt people, as long Donald Trump loses in 2020.

Bill Maher is a perfect example of the mainstream media attitude. For quite a while now (since long before COVID-19 outbreak), he roots for a recession so that Trump loses the next election. Maher said:

Sorry if that hurts people, but it’s either root for a recession, or you lose your democracy.

Is he really “sorry if that hurts people”? No, he’s not. He doesn’t care as long as Donald Trump is kicked out of the White House. Mr. Maher is a multi-millionaire (his net worth is 50-100 million dollars). Even if he loses most of his money, he will still be a millionaire. On the other hand, people who live paycheck to paycheck barely managing their bills, they will suffer. They will lose their jobs, their houses, their 401K/IRAs, all of that while Bill Maher keeps collecting his multi-million-dollar salary.

So, ladies and gentlemen.

Don’t buy into the media created panic. Don’t lock yourself in a basement or spend the last dollar to pay for the two-year supply of toilet paper. Be careful. Be calm. Most importantly, keep yourself informed. The best cure for anxiety is knowledge.


COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC TRACKER

I decided to drop the Johns Hopkins corona tracker and switch to Worldometer’s COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC tracker. It’s not as good looking as the one from Johns Hopkins but provides more information.

  • Currently Infected Patients (Active Cases)
  • Patients in Mild Condition
  • Patients in Serious or Critical Condition
  • Closed Cases (Recovered / Discharged and Deaths)

Data on testing at The COVID Tracking Project. (US totals and state by state numbers.)

It’s also a good idea to read this article: Evidence over hysteria — COVID-19. (It looks like this post was taken down by Medium. Will see if it come back.) The material is still on at this location.

If you rather use tracker from Johns Hopkins, use this link. Remember, however, that in order to get the number of people presently infected (active cases) you must subtract “Total Deaths” and “Total Recovered” from “Total Confirmed”.


Thank You For Reading

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