The following individuals and groups, who have historically focused on denying or downplaying the risk of man-made global warming, have turned their attention to the COVID-19 crisis. In many cases, they have used their platforms to promote viewpoints counter to the available evidence understood by medical science about the severity of coronavirus and methods to mitigate its spread.
*Please note that automatic transcripts were generated for some of the video materials, and while we have reviewed the transcripts, there may still be errors. Contact DeSmog if you notice any errors and we will address them as soon as possible.*
These examples are taken out of a larger body of evidence DeSmog has gathered on COVID denial.
“Power Hour: Ray Niles on How a freer market can help us protect ourselves from COVID-19,” ImproveThePlanet on YouTube, May 20
[00:45:00] There were these catastrophe predictions that were totally overblown, as you mentioned. There’s this inflation of the death rate. This is a very common thing that people trying to take away freedom do. They take often something that’s a real threat, but they hyper inflate it. They catastrophize it to inspire fear and panic, so that then anything they do is justified. But we’ve seen in fast forward how these claims were just totally inflated.
“Ep. 1627 Lockdowns vs. Human Flourishing: Is There Another Approach?“ The Tom Woods Show, April 6
[2:20] So it’s I mean, I think it’s, it’s definitely not, I think on the level where people should be in a state of panic. It’s not as if Ebola became incredibly contagious. And I think that, I mean, I know that there’s a huge amount of uncertainty about the deadliness of it, mainly because when they’re calculating the deadliness of it, what they’re usually doing is they’re saying how many people died, divided by how many diagnosed cases there are, and yet we know this is something that’s very contagious, in part because most of the cases are not diagnosed because they’re asymptomatic.
[11:51] This is, I think, considerably more serious than the flu, although I don’t believe it’s an order of magnitude more serious than the flu from the evidence we have. But with the flu, you can say yea, if you leave people free, some people will be irresponsible with regards to the flu. And oh, they’re these backwoods people, or they’re going to be people at certain kinds of gatherings who are going to do that.
But if your focus is freedom, the fundamental is, people need to be free to live their lives. That is, that’s the thing that really matters. It’s not just preventing people from dying from a particular virus. It’s that ultimately we want to be free so we are, we can live our lives, and we can flourish according to our ideas of how to best live our lives.
[28:40] Another aspect of this is, that I’ve, that’s really bad. And this is some of the modelers, but definitely a lot of the commentators, is a combination of, you can call it like lethality, or it’s often used as death rate. But how lethal this is. But claiming certainty about death rates that are clearly too high and that may well be hyper-inflated.
[31:11] So you need to look at all these distortions. But what’s generally happening with the reporting on the models, it’s a combination of dramatically overestimating the maliciousness or lethality of the virus. And then it’s dramatically under estimating human adaptation under freedom. And that’s where you get this, this the narrative that says, If we leave people free, then a catastrophe will ensue. Therefore, we have to restrict their freedom. And I regard actually the restriction of freedom as the catastrophe and the sort of any plausible worst case scenario as bad and it’s very bad, but not anywhere near as bad as what’s being proposed as the solution and very likely, will be much less bad than as catastrophizing.
“Power Hour: 4 Ideas About COVID-19 You Won’t Hear Anywhere Else” Alex Epstein via SoundCloud (since removed, still available at Apple Podcasts), March 18
[00:06:21] I mean, conservatively, tens of millions of Americans, I would really say most the vast majority of the country and it’s harming them. And at the same time, they themselves are under no significant risk from COVID-19.
[00:01:22] This is out of control. And the lieutenant governor of Texas came out and said, I’m a grandparent. Others are grandparents. We’re all talking and we’re ready to brave this thing that looks like it might kill 1 percent of people that are above seventy five and sick for our grandkids because a Great Depression is gonna be a lot worse than that. And Trump said it last night at the press conference that Brian Williams attacked. That’s coming up, he said. This isn’t how America was built to operate.
Alex Berezow. “Coronavirus: Is It Even Possible To Contain COVID-19?” American Council on Science and Health, March 17
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. But these kinds of measures can’t last forever. The public is willing to tolerate massive disruptions to daily life only when it believes the disruptions will end. Therefore, mitigation is a more viable option.
COVID-19 does not appear to be on that track, especially with summer approaching. (Warm weather is often lethal to respiratory viruses.) In the roughly two months the virus has been circulating in America, the number of confirmed cases is only roughly 3,700. Even if off by a factor of 100, the number of infections is two orders of magnitude less than the flu. The bottom line is that scientists don’t really know how the virus is spread.
Can this extraordinary virus be contained? Probably not. The biological and epidemiological features of the virus make that nearly impossible. Research indicates that the virus is most contagious at the earliest point of illness, which means that a person is already spreading it by the time symptoms first appear. Once a person feels poorly enough to stay home, it’s already too late. Even worse, people who are infected but asymptomatic can probably spread the virus as well. The World Health Organization estimates that 80 percent of COVID-19 cases are mild or asymptomatic, underscoring the likely futility of containment measures. The only way to stop a virus that can spread so surreptitiously is to force every person on Earth to stay home for the next 14 days, which is the length of time necessary for quarantine, based on the virus’ incubation period.
Alex Berezow. “Coronavirus In The U.S.: How Bad Will It Be?“ American Council on Science and Health, January 31
Q: Is coronavirus worse than the flu?
A: No, not even close. In just this current flu season (which isn’t over yet), the CDC estimates between 15 million and 21 million infections and 8,200 and 20,000 deaths. However, the estimated case-fatality ratio would be roughly 0.05% to 0.1%, which is much lower than for 2019-nCoV. Though a person is 20 times likelier to die from the new coronavirus than seasonal flu, the sheer number of influenza infections makes the flu a far bigger public health threat.
“Some perspective on the #Coronavirus #COVID19 from the CDC,” Watts Up With That, February 26
“Folks fretting about the coronavirus are forgetting there’s another virus already running rampant in the United States, one that’s killed nearly 20 times as many people in this country alone.
Influenza has already taken the lives of 10,000 Americans this season, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 19 million have caught the flu, and an estimated 180,000 became so ill they landed in the hospital.”
^Links to “Let’s flatten the coronavirus confusion curve,” Financial Times, March 27 (subscription required).
[…] [M]ake sure you pay attention to what the mainstream media and the Democrats are doing to try to scare you and control you. Don’t let them. We all have a common enemy in a virus that originated in China, not the Oval Office. Americans must find a way to come together in the weeks and months ahead.”
The good news is that most of us are at a very low risk of contracting and then dying from the “Chinese Coronavirus.” But we are all at risk of suffering financially from its fallout. Some Democrats are advocating for a stimulus program filled with a wish list of ideological “goodies” including the funding of abortions—as if this has anything remotely to do with resolving our current crisis. Nevertheless, Wall Street wants it, but they want everything. Refer to the Obama-Biden administration’s over $800 billion stimulus program, where “shovel-ready” projects quickly wasted tax dollars in one of the most anemic economic recoveries in American history. Let’s take a breath before we simply throw more borrowed-from-China-money on the problem.
So, don’t panic.
People will get off cruise ships. Italy will reopen. The baseball season will start, and Bieber’s tour will be back in full force (I know you were worried). Above all else, the prosperity that America has enjoyed for the past three years will return.
Via the Cornwall Alliance’s March 18 newsletter (on file at DeSmog):
Keeping things in perspective can reduce fear. COVID-19 is a serious risk, but we live with others every day. In the average year, over 37,000 Americans die of flu and over 38,000 in
traffic accidents. COVID-19 is likely, like most epidemics, to peak and fall in weeks or months and so is unlikely to kill that many Americans ever, let alone each year.
“Coronavirus: What’s the endgame?” CFACT, March 17
It will likely be a long time until the risk from the coronavirus approaches zero.
The Center for Disease Control estimates that influenza resulted in between 9 million to 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 to 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 to 61,000 deaths annually since 2010. During that entire time we enjoyed an economic expansion. Life went on.
In short, our leaders need to plan not just how they will conduct the war against this virus, but an “exit strategy” on how to pull out when the mission has been achieved.
In October 2021, after he was diagnosed with Covid-19, Dennis Prager said he had tried to get Covid-19 with the intent to “achieve natural immunity”:
“I have engaged with strangers, constantly hugging them, taking photos with them knowing that I was making myself very susceptible to getting covid,” Prager said. “Which is, indeed, as bizarre as it sounded, what I wanted, in the hope I would achieve natural immunity and be taken care of by therapeutics.”
Prager previously appeared on his “Fireside Chat” in October 2020 to echo then-President Donald Trump’s sentiments to suggest people shouldn’t fear COVID. Prager claimed even the elderly had a “minuscule chance” of dying from it.
Dennis Prager: [00:05:26] As of now, about 200,000…210,000 Americans have died of COVID. We will really not know the real numbers for a while because we really will know it based primarily on excess deaths. Because a lot of people are listed as a COVID death when they tested positive for COVID, but may have died of a heart attack or something else.
But anyway, let’s even say that it is that number. You know, about 700,000 Americans, I think that’s the number, say, 600,000 just to be safe, die each year of heart disease. Now why should we not allow fear of heart disease, which kills more than three times the number of people each year that COVID has? Why shouldn’t we allow that to dominate our life? Because it happens every year, whereas the virus doesn’t happen every year? That’s the only reason I could think of. [00:06:28]
[00:06:27] And at what number should it dominate our lives, and by the way, why should it dominate the lives of anybody under 70 or under 80? Your chances of dying of COVID under 70 are miniscule, just miniscule. So why why would it dominate your life? [00:06:47]
Dennis Prager: [00:07:00] There are a lot of people in the medical profession and of course, in the media who think it’s good to frighten people. This is astonishing to me.
You know, I often contrast this world to the value system that I inherited from what we call the Judeo-Christian tradition. Do you know that the you know what God says the most in the Old Testament? And I was probably in the Bible, including the New Testament. What God says the most to human beings. The phrase or the statement, God says by far the most: do not fear. [00:07:47]
Dennis Prager: [00:07:50] The fear it leads you to irrationality. I have no issue with people wearing masks as I do when I go indoors. But outdoors, especially when you’re not in a very condensed crowd, is simply irrational. It’s the function of irrationality, which is a product of fear because the fear is irrational. Why don’t I fear it? I love life, I don’t want to die. But why don’t I fear it? Because the chances of my contracting have been dying from it, even at my age, are miniscule. That’s why. So I don’t want I want to live life, I don’t want to only be safe. [00:08:33]
Dennis Prager: [00:09:35] Thousands of scientists don’t agree with the lockdown, but they don’t follow them. Thousands of scientists believe in hydroxychloroquine, but they’re not even allowed to be on Twitter or on Facebook. They’re taken down. Scientists! It’s not true about “follow the science.” Most science, by the way, has actually been furthered by lone voices or lonely or minority voices. Thank God for those voices. Isn’t that why you go for a second opinion? [00:10:08]
August 6, 2020
In a “Fireside Chat” episode entitled “The Left Is Weaponizing Medicine,” Prager promoted Hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid.
Dennis Prager: [00:01:35] Anyway, this one is it is addressing an issue of the moment that is very, very, very disturbing to me, and that is the the mockery of all doctors who believe that hydroxychloroquine and zinc, and the zinc part is very important, but that hydroxychloroquine and zinc can help people the very earliest stages of COVID. [00:02:03]
Dennis Prager: [00:02:39] You know, people who say better safe than sorry don’t seem to apply it to hydroxychloroquine. Hydroxychloroquine is completely safe. It’s been used for over 50 years. There are people who take it for decades. It is taken by anybody who goes to a place where there’s malaria, and if nothing happens, it’s probably in the final analysis as safe as as aspirin. [00:03:08]
Dennis Prager: [00:03:58] The reason for the the opposition, which is overwhelmingly on the left, is politics. It is the hatred of Donald Trump, who recommended it early on. Just mentioned that in a news conference that he that he heard it. It’s it’s helpful. This caused people who hate Donald Trump more than they love human beings to go crazy over the issue. It’s hysteria. [00:04:28]
Dennis Prager: [00:04:44] Russian collusion with the Trump campaign turned out to be hysteria based on a lie. So we go from hysteria to hysteria. This hysteria over global warming. I don’t deny that the Earth is getting warmer. I don’t deny that burning fossil fuels is is an element in it. But I do deny that the Earth is coming to an end, that this is an existential threat to humanity that demands the radical reorientation of of all of our economies. [00:05:14]
And especially, I know it’s a phony issue because they don’t recommend to nuclear power. Nuclear power is not, is not fossil based and it’s it’s extremely safe and it works anyway. We’re living through another hysteria, the hysteria over hydroxychloroquine.
Dennis Prager: [00:07:53] And now the ridicule of the doctors who who went to Washington, and after 18 million views, I think it was, was it 18 million or 14 million? I thought it was the largest number of views of something like that within a few hours. And then they took it off. Do you know that Prager U does not have a Twitter account? We have been banned from Twitter because we simply retweeted the the news conference of these doctors. [00:08:25]
April 14, 2020
Prager wrote a column at Townhall arguing against lockdowns for Covid-19, suggesting they were not necessary to reduce loss of life.
“As I explained in my last column, modern men and women have substituted ‘experts’ for prophets and priests. Science is the secular religion, and ‘experts’ are its prophets and priests,” Prager wrote. “[O]n what grounds are we to believe that millions would die without ruining the American — and the world’s — economy? Without our being told by an omniscient God, there is no way to know the definitive answer.”
He added: “The number of confirmed infected people is meaningless, since so few people anywhere have been tested for the virus, and we don’t know how many people already had the virus and never knew it. (Moreover, asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic carriers of the virus constitute the majority of those infected.)”
Prager compared death rates from the US to France, suggesting the numbers disprove the effectiveness of lockdowns. He then used Sweden as an example:
“Yes, Sweden’s death rate per 1 million is higher than its Scandinavian neighbors, Norway and Denmark, which did lock down their economic life. But as of the latest report, in the past two days, Sweden, which has almost exactly the same number of people as Denmark and Norway combined, lost 20 of its citizens to the coronavirus, while its neighbors lost 18.”
“The left blames President Donald Trump for our crisis (as if only America is undergoing economic ruin and loss of life).
“If they were honest, they would blame reliance on ‘experts’ and ‘modeling.’ But they hate Trump more than they love Americans — or truth.”
March 12, 2020
Prager compared Covid-19 to the Flu on episode 125 of his “Fireside Chat”, where in the same episode he described the danger to smoking cigars as “minuscule because it is not a cigarette”:
Dennis Prager: [00:01:52] About 30 people, they say, have died from from the Corona virus. And I don’t agree, for example, about closing down schools, universities, all public events. I don’t support that, as it happens, I think kids should continue to go to school. [00:02:12]
Dennis Prager: [00:03:09] So why don’t I agree with the school closings, for example? Why aren’t I panicked over this as as so many are, and as the media are and others are? And the answer is it’s philosophical. [00:03:32]
Dennis Prager: [00:05:04] As of this moment, 30 Americans have died of the Coronavirus. Maybe by the time you see this, you know in a day or two with this or next week, whenever you watch it, it may be more than that, but it’s 30. Now, do you know the number of Americans that have died this season—and it’s not over, the flu season—this season from the flu? According to the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control in the United States, 34,000 approximately 34,000 Americans have died of the flu. Last year, over fifty thousand Americans, according to the CDC, died of the flu. Why was there no panic over that? I don’t think you have a very good answer to that question. [00:05:47]
Dennis Prager: [00:06:13] Why are we getting numbers on the Coronavirus but not numbers on the flu? When the numbers are so much greater? Well, you’ll say, well, because this could lead to something far greater than than the flu. But that’s what I heard in the past about SARS and about the swine flu and about other outbursts of viruses that have taken place. But none of them led to anything catastrophic. [00:06:42]
Dennis Prager: [00:11:02] But but. There are there are risks that are so minuscule compared to the benefit, like a visit to Israel, like going to class. I mean, I think people should go to class. I think people should go to meetings. People should live life normally. Yes. Wash your hands more often. That’s fine. I’ll give you an I give you another example, my trusty cigar. OK, so we always get some letters. I can’t believe it. [00:11:35]
Dennis Prager: [00:11:36] You know, you smoke cigars. The risk of in cigar smoking is so minuscule because it is not a cigarette. You don’t inhale a cigar. It is done for taste, not for nicotine. So I have enjoyed this since I was 16 years of age. [00:11:53]
Dennis Prager: [00:11:54] Just. One of the. Delights of my life. And in other words, the ratio of the joy versus the risk is so gigantic that all I opt for the joy. [00:12:12]
The above are just a few examples of Prager’s statements on Covid. Example episodes from Prager’s “Fireside Chat” below:
- Fireside Chat Ep. 161 — Lockdowns Hurt More Than They Help
- Fireside Chat Ep. 155 — Does COVID Dominate Your Life?
- Fireside Chat Ep. 146 — The Left Is Weaponizing Medicine
- Fireside Chat Ep. 134 — Which Will Do More Harm: The Virus or the Lockdown?
- Fireside Chat Ep. 133 — Fear, Credibility, and the Threat of a Police State
- Fireside Chat Ep. 132 — “Until It’s Safe” Means Never
- Fireside Chat Ep. 130 — Has the Lockdown Worked?
- Fireside Chat Ep. 128 — The Overlooked Victims of Quarantine
- Fireside Chat Ep. 126 — A Silver Lining to Coronavirus?
- Fireside Chat Ep. 125 — Coronavirus: Panic or Pandemic?
First: All of the deaths mentioned must be viewed and relativized against the background of the 25,000 or so influenza victims who were virtually ticked off in the winter of 2017/18 without any public noise. Incidentally, people died despite partial vaccination, adequate medication and a certain partial immunity.
“Corona or: which catastrophe would you like to have?” EIKE, March 24 (Translated by Google Translate)
Let us summarize: if you put the few known facts, the multitude of completely unknown data and a few plausible considerations, which are also made at the RKI among others, in a logical context, at least I come to the conclusion: at Covid-19 it’s most likely a normal flu epidemic. But if it was “normal flu”, why were the Chinese so scared and took such drastic measures?
- There is no rational reason to infer anything other than a normal flu epidemic from the available data.
- There is a rational reason to believe that the Covid 19 epidemic will quickly push the capacity of intensive care medicine to its limits.
- In Germany, however, there are no signals from the clinics that the limits have already been reached or that one is about to do so.
- According to the available data, the high-risk group of older, already sick people can be defined well.
- Much milder measures are conceivable to protect the high-risk group in such a way that there will be no bottlenecks.
- The measures taken will most likely lead to an economic and social catastrophe that is likely to outshine even a bad epidemic.
“Gregg Easterbrook on coronavirus: It’s better than it looks” – via YouTube, March 22
[07:58] There are a lot of forces that kill thousands of people: car crashes, seasonal flu, etc. So what I think about that, one of the things that I think about is the three most recent public health situations similar to Coronavirus all turned out to be more easily controlled than anybody ever expected. And that doesn’t prove that this one will also be easily—easily’s the wrong word—That doesn’t prove that this one will also be controllable, but it gives you a reasonable hope that things are going to work out.
“Is the coronavirus lockdown the future environmentalists want?” CFACT video featuring Marc Morano and Heartland Institute president James Taylor, April 30
James Taylor: [00:15:54] If we’re looking at sixty, seventy thousand deaths, heck let’s say eighty thousand deaths. That is just for equivalence. That’s about two flu seasons. Approximately forty thousand people each year die from the flu in the United States. And the question is, is it worth shutting down all of our freedoms, shutting down society, likely putting us into a Great Depression if we continue this to basically avoid two flu seasons? Now, that is it. That is a very serious consequence, those deaths that occur. But again, the tradeoff is something that we need to consider. [00:16:29]
Daniel Sutter. “Were Other Options Considered?” Heartland Institute, March 23, 2020
Given what is known about the virus at this time, an alternative strategy could have mitigated the human toll at a significantly lower economic and social cost. COVID-19 is dangerous primarily for the elderly and persons with underlying health problems. Analyses of fatalities in China, South Korea, and the U.S. reveal the age pattern, which has been applied in modeling of the pandemic. Alternatively then we could have sheltered the vulnerable populations. We could have locked down nursing homes (which we have anyway) and offered others safe places to isolate, like say now empty college dorms. With the vulnerable population isolated, we let the virus run its course.
In an article at the Spectator Australia, Delingpole writes that while he had what he later suspected to be coronavirus symtoms, he “didn’t cancel any of my engagements, such as the debate at Durham University” and went on “to various parties.” “It’s possible I infected lots of undergraduates. Or maybe not,” he wrote.
“Wu flu notes: My Coronavirus hell,” Spectator Australia, March 28
Many of you will be wondering what it’s like to get the coronavirus – aka Wu Flu, Covid-19, etc. Well I can tell you: it feels bloody great. Not the actual flu part, obviously – that part is horrible. I mean the bit afterwards once it’s all over and you realise with gratitude not only that you are still alive but also – yay! – you have a degree of immunity to this plague that is infecting and terrifying everybody else around you.
I don’t mean to play down the seriousness of Coronavirus. For an unlucky minority it means a stint in hospital. And for the unluckiest it means the kind of slow lingering death you wouldn’t wish on anyone, let alone your beloved elderly relatives. But the fact remains that for most of us, the worst thing about Coronavirus will not be the disease itself but the fear of the unknown leading up to your (almost inevitable) infection.
How bad was it? Bad enough to feel rotten and irritable and sorry for myself; not so bad that I couldn’t carry on working. I still wrote my articles, though they took me twice as long as usual. And I didn’t cancel any of my engagements, such as the debate at Durham University where I had to speak for the motion ‘This House believes in patriotism.’ I wasn’t on top form, but my side still won – quite an achievement given that students are so lefty. Afterwards, my children – Boy and Girl – who are both at the university, dragged their sick reluctant father to various parties. It’s possible I infected lots of undergraduates. Or maybe not. The next day, I spent four hours in the car travelling home with the kids – and neither developed any symptoms.
That weekend, when I was still feeling awful, my fellow scribe Douglas Murray came to stay. Oddly enough, he too was suffering from what he called a ‘bad cold’ which he’d picked up in Italy. With hindsight, I think it’s quite likely that he too had had the Coronavirus without knowing it. But we didn’t discuss it any further because Murray – taking his cue from the great social commentator Nicky Haslam – declared that illness is frightfully ‘common.’
Five weeks on, apart from the cough, I feel pretty good – OK physically, but just amazing mentally because I feel so incredibly smug. ‘I’ve already had it, so I’m immune,’ I boast to anyone who’ll listen – shopkeepers, the postman, passers-by. It’s almost like having a superpower or being the Omega Man who survives the apocalypse.
The above tweet originally linked to an article at Medium that has since been removed for violating its rules, and was also flagged by Twitter for being potentially unsafe.
April 9, via Facebook:
“COVID-19 and climate change require a better understanding of science,” CFACT, March 30
We have all been barraged on the 24/7 news cycle for years over fearful claims about climate change and global warming. Now for months, our lives are completely altered with a more realistic fear of the most contagious virus any of us have ever experienced. Both, however, suffer from questionable statistics and predictions that make us wonder what is real and what is someone’s best guess. Too few of us have an adequate understanding of what science is to make the most reasonable judgments for our own lives. Hence my attempt here is to better ground the reader in a more fundamental understanding of how science should help you rather than more commonly confuse you.
You have been witnessing a great deal of non – science on the issues of both climate change and the coronavirus. As for the latter, the political system has spoken deciding to err on the side of caution by ignoring the economic impacts of the decision to shut down the nation for fear of the virus largely. Wouldn’t it be interesting if every day we learned of the daily mortality from automobile accidents, flu, heart disease and strokes? What about old age, and the other leading causes of the daily death rate in our nation? Would we see it blown out of proportion? Some claims of a 3 percent mortality rate assume we know the numbers of folks contracting Covid-19 when common sense says unreported illnesses due to their lack of severity surely outnumber those that are counted.
As to climate change, we ignore how little we know of all the variables that must affect the earth’s temperature, too often embracing the Dogma of the activists that desire to end the use of fossil fuels.
We can not be blamed for often being lead around like sheep when our media, TVs, news papers and magazines regularly trade in the worst cases of all productions because human nature seems always to be conned by the bad news. It truly sells much better than good news or real science news.
No one is to blame for current worst-case scenarios based on fear when they are sold to us daily. If you would apply the simple principles of science, at the very least, your blood pressure may improve.
“PODCAST: Panic Is a Terrible Idea – Talking Wuhan Virus (Coronavirus or COVID-19) and Some ‘On Theme’ Music Vids,” Heartland Institute, March 15
[00:13:21] But, you know, I’m I’m just I mean, I don’t know if this will be, you know, pretty much out of the news in two months. I think. I think, you know the panic is definitely more dangerous than the than the flu. I mean, if this has been put in perspective and actually Donald Trump came under a lot of criticism for stating facts that should help everybody put these things, you know, put this Wuhan Flu into perspective. Just two years ago, in the United States, eighty thousand Americans died from the flu just two years ago.
It was a pretty bad flu season, the winter of 2017, 2018. You might remember the H1N1 virus, the so-called swine flu from 2009. Fifty nine million Americans got swine flu in 2009. Two hundred sixty five thousand Americans were hospitalized for swine flu. And 12,000 Americans died from swine flu in 2009. And that was a that was a strain of the flu that infected 1.4 billion people around the world and killed as many as a half a million people around the globe.
What’s happening? We’re counting the number of deaths in the United States in two digits. And in fact, it’s very, very tragic. But we know most of those deaths are coming from one nursing home in Washington state that got infected and didn’t know what they had on their hands before it infected a lot of other very elderly at-risk people. And it’s tragic. I think something like twenty two or twenty five of the patients at this at this nursing home have passed away from from one virus. And that is very, very tragic. But it’s not it’s not even you know, it’s not the 12,000 Americans who died from swine flu in 2009. And it’s it’s it’s you know, that perspective needs to be kept here. The chances of you getting this virus, you know, contracting it is relatively low.
I think canceling, you know, the NBA season, canceling March Madness. I mean, I can understand the the desire to do that, to protect yourself and to show, you know, these these entities, these sports leagues are showing that they’re they’re taking this very seriously. But it would never have occurred to anybody to cancel the NHL season in the winter of 2017, 2018, because 80000 people had died from the flu. You know, we have to put this in perspective here, and the panic is much more dangerous. And we have to think about the economic damage this is doing to the country. This is incalculable.
“CORONAVIRUS MORTALITY VARIES BY COUNTRY [UPDATED WITH MORE CHARTS],” Power Line, March 17
“Britain’s novel approach to coronavirus: Will herd immunity work?” The Globe and Mail, March 26
The new coronavirus will be recurring annually and the current crisis will last until spring of 2021, according to British virologists, who characterize the measures adopted by other countries as shortsighted, extreme and have the potential to backfire.
“If you suppress something very, very hard, when you release those measures it bounces back and it bounces back at the wrong time,” Britain’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, told the BBC last week. His plan – supported by Prime Minister Boris Johnson – is to take the long view and recognize that the best protection for those vulnerable to COVID-19, as with other coronaviruses, will be herd immunity, or a general immunity of the population at large.
In the short term, before the herd has been able to safely acquire immunity, Britain intends to isolate those with underlying conditions and everyone age 70 or older for four months, to protect them from the ravages of a disease that their aged immune systems can’t cope with.
In the meantime, the healthy population whose immune systems are up to the task – those under 70 and without underlying conditions – will fight off COVID-19 on their own, and it often won’t be much of a fight “because the vast majority of people get a mild illness [after which] people are immune to this disease and we reduce the transmission, at the same time we protect those who are most vulnerable to it,” Dr. Vallance explained.
“Communities will become immune to it and that’s going to be an important part of controlling this longer term,” he said. “About 60 per cent is the sort of figure you need to get herd immunity.” The coronavirus won’t stop at 60 per cent, though, according to the British scientists. Models promoted by Dr. Vallance and Britain’s chief medical adviser, Chris Whitty, indicate that 80 per cent will ultimately become infected. The trick is to limit that 80 per cent to those who can be safely immunized, since infection for the others could mean death.
In bucking the conventional wisdom, the British scientists, along with leading virologists and the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, point to data showing that the sweeping measures taken in other countries do little if anything to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“Facts Exposing The Hysteria Over The COVID-19 Coronavirus,” Principia Scientific International, March 18. Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
Even if my odds of dying from coronavirus should suddenly jump ten-thousand-fold, from the current rate of 0.000012 percent across the U.S. population all the way up to 0 .12 percent, I’d happily take those odds over the destruction being wrought on the U.S. and global economy from this unbridled panic.
“And, you know, the so far the data continues to be the case that the overwhelming number of fatalities are people who are elderly, have existing respiratory ailments.
And, you know, they may have been in the hospital anyway, this is not to say that their deaths are not as as tragic as anybody else. But it is not something that is going to take down the entire society and radically increase its mortality rate, at least with what we’re seeing so far. “
“So and, you know, the mortality rate, the initial estimates were grossly inflated three or 4%. It’s obviously you know, a function of we don’t yet know the denominator. I think, really what matters is not so much the rate it’s the absolute number of deaths. And and so far again, they’re a pittance. I know it’s early in the in the United States, but 69 deaths.“
“A Corona Contrarian | Glenn Loury & Heather Mac Donald [The Glenn Show]” Via YouTube, March 17
Heather MacDonald was also interviewed on The Glenn Show to discuss her views on the coronavirus (on YouTube as of March 17):
[2:58] Well at the time, this came out on Friday I put the deaths so far within the United States in the context of traffic fatalities in the context of cancer deaths. Each year, America has about 38 over 38,000 traffic fatalities each year that’s 100 driving fatalities a day. Cancer cases in 2019 were 600,000.
And what we’ve been seeing so far with the COVID-19 deaths don’t begin to approximate that. And we accept a degree of risk that has not been tolerated in this case.
The flu deaths in 2018 and 2019 were 34,000. Again, that’s over 100 a day. So far in the United States since the start of this outbreak we’re now at 69 deaths. So if worst case happens, and we really do get a unabated exponential rate of increase, I grant that we could exceed those numbers.
But there are many things that can happen in between and I’m not a scientific expert. But what I do observe is that the possibility of a global recession, global depression, and the steps we’re already taking to shut down the economy have also very serious consequences on people’s livelihoods and on their health. So I can’t say that I have a magic spot to to find a middle ground between a reckless laissez faire attitude and a let’s shut everything down, which I think maybe not called for. Although again, I’m, I don’t purport….I’m glad I’m not making the final decision here. But I just think that we should be conscious of a constant cost benefit analysis, Glenn.
Quoted in “Washington Reopens in a Win for Trump Amid Nagging Safety Doubts,” Financial Post, May 29
“You have a much greater risk of getting killed by a car than Covid,” said Marc Morano, a former Senate staffer and Trump supporter who lives in Northern Virginia. He said Trump’s decision to cede control to Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the “medical bureaucracy” including the Centers for Disease Control was the “greatest blunder of his presidency.”
“He allowed the greatest economy to essentially be nuked in a matter of weeks because of the Anthony Fauci-CDC scare scenario,” Morano said.
“World Health Organization Demanded Sweden Lock Down To Cover Its Own Fraud,” Armstrong Economics, April 17 (emphasis in original)
The New York Times and others are out in full force to defend Bill Gates, their savior of the world. They distort everything and try to pretend he is this wonderful man who only has our best interests at heart. They also refuse to address how the World Health Organization has carried out the greatest fraud perhaps in modern history and the links of the United Nations to the drive for Climate Change also go back to Bill Gates.
UNDER NO CONDITIONS should President Trump resume any support for WHO. All health organizations that want to pretend to be unbiased governmental agencies MUST stop taking private donations. That includes the CDC, NIH, and the WHO. Any university that accepts donations from the Gates Foundation should be PROHIBITED from providing any such studies whatsoever given (i.e. Ferguson) that they have ALL been wrong concerning this staged viral Plandemic (a more realistic term for what they have done). (see also Business Insider regarding WHO’s demands against Sweden)
“COVID-19 Miracle Cure for All Other Disease Prevents Heart Attacks,” Armstrong Economics, April 15 (emphasis in original)
Meanwhile, in Germany, the first real study has revealed that only 0.37% of coronavirus infected people die from it. According to this, the death rate of the novel virus is only around 0.4%. Our sources in Italy were reporting that NOBODY was dying from Coronavirus alone. They typically had some other disease.
The media has threatened our liberty, our livelihood, and the national security of the nation with FAKE NEWS as always. Something as to be done to stop these people from undermining our freedom and civil liberties worldwide.
“What is the Most Essential Key to Public Safety?” Armstrong Economics, April 10
The question becomes how far can they stretch this out before the majority of the people become skeptical? I warned this was a regular seasonal virus when they were claiming it would last for 18 months. The computer forecast the peak would be this week of April 6th. New York has had to admit it peaked this week. I trust Socrates. It has no political agenda.
“We do Have to Get Beyond the CDC,” Armstrong Economics, March 23 (emphasis in original)
The CDC does not shut down the entire economy for the flu which is far worse according to the CDC itself. The CDC and John Hopkins have destroyed the economy from which another 2 weeks of this will have wiped out far more jobs as a percent of the workforce than the Great Depression. These people are HIGHLY dangerous. There is such a tiny percent of the deaths in Italy that there were no known prior conditions – less than 1%. You do not shut down the world economy for this type of event. At best, to require people with prior conditions to self-quarantine. The bulk of this group is not employed anyhow.
“Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg Confirms this is an Insane Panic,” Armstrong Economics, March 18
What has taken place with this coronavirus is absolutely insane. This is seriously disrupting the entire world economy. We are staring into the eyes of a very serious Great Depression that will topple governments all because of an overreaction and hyping of this virus. Far more people die of the flu and even smoking than this virus. We do not shut down commerce because of such diseases.
“A FICTIONAL EXERCISE TO CONTROL PANDEMIC – Oct. 18, 2019 – That is Destroying the World Economy,” Armstrong Economics, posted March 13
This CaronaGate was perhaps intentional to gain more power, as was the case out of 9/11. Perhaps it is the product of absolute idiots who only think about stopping a pandemic that has a lower mortality rate than the general flu virus. Either way, we are looking at serious economic implications for their means of fighting a flu that has amounted to an economic policy of scorched earth.
“The Cyclical Nature of Disease,” Armstrong Economics, March 12
I have provided the percent of the population being affected has not even reached 1/10th of one percent. When we look at this Coronavirus scare, it does not even compare to all the deaths taking place every single day from a host of other diseases nobody bothers to ever mention. This really makes me wonder just who is orchestrating this panic and is the purpose really to expand government powers?
“Coronavirus Conspiracy to Eliminate Paper Money?”Armstrong Economics, March 6
Many people are starting to question why this coronavirus has been whipped up into a major panic when the annual flu kills far more people. Perhaps they have enlisted the conspiracy contingents who turn everything into the end of the world and are so eager to paint doom and gloom as a lethal weapon for mass financial destruction. They may not realize that they are being played for fools spitting out various conspiracies such as biological weapons laced with AIDS that will kill 50% of the population without a single shred of proof.
“Coronavirus to Subside in April,” Armstrong Economics, March 9
We have been in contact with very high-level people and the expectation is that the coronavirus (COVID-19) will subside in April with the normal flu season. This may be more in line with our model which is pointing to 2022 as the worst in such disease periods. Diseases of this nature love cold weather. They do not thrive in warming periods. This is why the flu season comes at the end of the summer.
“China’s Not the Only One Lying About the Coronavirus – So Are American Liberals,” MRCTV via YouTube, March 2
[3:17] This is exactly how they [Democrats] incite mass panic: Through lies and deception and exploiting ignorance. It’s how they convince people that we’re all going to die because Trump doesn’t believe in science or something.
It’s the same way they’ve managed to sucker millions of people into believing that they’re going to get shot with an AR-15 every time they walk out of her home, or that Nazis are lurking behind all of our shower curtains, or that the seas are going to boil over and we’re all going to be chewing on our own shoes in the next 10 years because the Earth is going to run out of food.
How many armageddons are we facing right now? I have lost count of all the things were supposed to be dead from already, and the media feed this hysteria. They live off of it. They get their ratings off of it. They make their money off of it. And they use it to fuel a political narrative to sway public opinion on by fear. The government can save us all from the apocalypse if we just elect the people that they deem worthy.
The coronavirus is the same story, different version. A serious situation spun into a convenient political football. So remember this over the next few weeks: take normal precautions. Wash your hands. Keep an eye on your kids. And buy all the purell and Lysol that you want. Just don’t be gullible enough to buy the lies.
The New York Times reported on February 28 how, while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Mulvaney played down concerns about the virus:
“The reason you’re seeing so much attention to it today is that they think this is going to be the thing that brings down the president,” he added. “That’s what this is all about it.”
“The flu kills people. This is not Ebola. It’s not SARS, it’s not MERS. It’s not a death sentence, it’s not the same as the Ebola crisis.”
“The ‘Bootleggers and Baptists’ of the Coronavirus Crisis,” Mises Institute, March 20, 2020
Comparing the coronavirus’s death toll to that of related pandemics over the past one hundred years provides much-needed historical context for the outbreak. As of March 15, the death toll for coronavirus was 63 in the US and nearly 6,500 globally. However, death rates are unreliably high at 1.9 and 3.8 percent, respectively, because testing has so far been relatively low (and thus the denominator is unreliably small). By contrast, in America and the world the 2009 swine flu killed 12,000 and 300,000, respectively; the 1968 Hong Kong flu killed 100,000 and 1,000,000; and the 1918 Spanish Flu, 600,000 and 40,000,000. The dramatic decline in deaths over the past century is a very good reason for optimism. In this context, Dr. Brian Joondeph and the famous Dr. Drew Pinsky, both physicians, made the following points each:
Big Media are all about ratings, view, and clicks, hence their axiom: “If it bleeds, it leads.” A viral outbreak is the perfect story….The added bonus is that any negative news can be laid at the feet of a president loathed by [this same] media, who just so happens to be running for reelection….Numbers are inconvenient to the media. [Instead] you will be inundated with fear [and a] constant barrage of coronavirus codswallop. (Joondeph)
When I saw excessive corona coverage in the press, I had to respond. The weird part on social media is that people are angry with me for trying to get them to see reality and calm down….If you put corona and the flu together, it’s still a moderate flu season. Wash your hands, take precautions, do what you’re supposed to do….What I have a problem with is the panic and that businesses are getting destroyed and people’s lives are getting upended. Not by the virus, but by the panic. (Pinsky)
I don’t love the warrior talk, but I do think you’re going to need that kind of ethos and that spirit to put freedom before fear. Listen, there’s a lot of anxiety, there’s a lot of misinformation, the experts have been telling us hundreds of thousands of people are going to die.
Now that we are learning more, herd immunity is our friend, healthy people getting out there, they’re going to have to have some courage. We’ve seen courage, we’re going to talk about it later, in Texas, where people are defying ridiculous orders. That takes courage, that’s not easy. So, I think that spirit, the American spirit frankly, is in full supply and ready to go if some of our experts and some of our leaders will just get out of their way. They’re drunk on power, it’s time to open up.
“Do lockdowns stop viruses?” CFACT, May 18
Imposing lockdown policies to protect public health and mitigate death is increasingly looking overwrought.
The continued lockdowns are unwarranted and ineffective in preventing deaths from Covid-19. Lockdowns have spread out the number of deaths over a longer time period. Still, the number of people getting infected with coronavirus has steadily increased, as have the number of deaths, during which most states where in lockdown.
The present day coronavirus, as tragic as it is from a health standpoint, nonetheless remains below the absolute numbers from the late ‘50s and ‘60s, and far below the percentages of Americans who died. A total of 217,000 Americans would have to die from Covid-19 to match the rate suffered in the 1958 pandemic, and 165,000 would have to die to reach the 1968 percentage.
Meanwhile, we have added $4 trillion and counting to the national debt in a single year, and now 36 million Americans have been forced into unemployment. Ongoing protests and lawsuits against lockdowns are burgeoning.
Economic lockdowns may have helped initially to slow the coronavirus, but longer-term are ineffective and counterproductive. It is long past time to get back to work.
Posted May 12:
Posted May 12, 2020:
Ty & Charlene Bollinger. “Coronavirus – Panic Or Pandemic?” Principia Scientific International, March 22 (emphasis in original)
So the lessons we can learn from Leicester and smallpox is that the vaccine did NOT work, but actually CAUSED further outbreaks. Whereas quarantine and isolation were successful at mitigating the spread of disease.
In other words, the flu shot increases your risk of contracting coronavirus by 36%!
Rather than 8%, the fatality rate [in Italy] may, in fact, be closer to the global average of about 2%.
Today the “coronavirus-panic” gives government fuel and cover for its assaults on freedom and poses a question the government does not want to answer: If liberty can be taken away in times of crisis, then is it really liberty; or is it just a license, via a temporary government permission slip, subject to the whims of politicians in power?
The government has no authority to dictate how many people choose to congregate for any peaceful purpose.”
We have far more to fear from “Big Government” tyranny than we do from any virus. Moreover, liberty is natural and personal. You can sacrifice yours, but you cannot sacrifice mine.
Dr Vernon Coleman. “Coronavirus – The Madness of Governments,” Principia Scientific International, March 19
Governments around the world are clearly suffering from mass hysteria. It used to be a problem found mainly among groups of teenage girls. It is now a problem affecting national governments and international organisations.
This isn’t anything new, of course.
It has always been governments which have created unnecessary scares – and there has often been a hidden agenda. (The disease caused by the coronavirus is clearly both unpleasant and potentially dangerous, and sensible precautions are required as they always are. What I am talking about here are the political aspects of the coronavirus.)
I am now convinced that the coronavirus scare is just the latest load of horseshit. Scientists have identified a bug and scared us without offering any solutions and as with global warming the `cure’ is doing far more harm than the problem. Maybe the Bilderbergers thought the climate change hoax wasn’t scaring us enough.
It annoys me intensely that the world’s governments seem determined to overreact and to create a crisis out of a very small health problem. (What will they do if the plague comes back?)
The small number of people who have died around the world from the coronavirus would have almost certainly died of the ordinary flu. Indeed, in the months since the first case of coronavirus infection was spotted, I would guess that at least hundred times as many Britons have died of ordinary flu as have died from the coronavirus. It is not unusual for 50,000 people to die of flu in the winter months. No one takes much notice. No one in government cares very much. How many people have so far died of the coronavirus in the UK? How many have died in the world – including China? (I will let you check out the figures so that you get the latest numbers.)
Sports events are being cancelled for months ahead. Why?
Cancelling public events and elections is utterly absurd. There is no logical explanation for it. (But, one pleasant side effect is that the silly climate change loonies can’t hold any of their daft rallies. Greta will have to stay at home.)
Telling people to self-isolate if they have any cold symptoms will cause endless bankruptcies and do nothing to protect the rest of us. And since the bug can last 28 days, self-isolating for 7 days is pointless.
The idea that people who self-isolate can keep away from family members in the same home is utterly ludicrous – unless you live in a 58 room mansion.
The coronavirus scare has to be about money and power.
“Video: Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg On The COVID-19 Coronavirus,” Principia Scientific Internatinoal, March 18.
PSI promotes a video that is part of a larger film project at “www.corona.film” seeking funding for a documentary featuring a number of “experts” who question the severity of COVID-19.
“Similarly to Lyme/MSIDS, there’s an accepted narrative – which squashes all critics. It is being driven by those who desire power, recognition, and money. Science has taken a back seat and politics are the driving force behind this,” the PSI blog post claims.
“Mainstream Media’s Fake News On Coronavirus Fatality Rate,” Principia Scientific International, March 17
The current estimate for the fatality rates on the coronavirus just don’t add up. The estimates based on current data are completely inaccurate. Current data shows that this virus is much less deadly that even the common flu from the 2019-2020 season.
In summary, the coronavirus is not as deadly as is being portrayed in the lying liberal media. In fact it is not as deadly as the flu. The elderly and the sick should be protected. Everyone else has very little to worry about. Again, don’t believe what the media is telling you. They are lying again.
“Coronavirus Destruction – ‘Not By Virus, But By Panic’,” Principia Scientific International, March 16
Southern California native Dr. Drew Pinsky wants people to calm down when it comes to the coronavirus hysteria.
Pinsky, who earned his medical degree at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, has been extremely vocal in pushing back against coronavirus coverage and the conversation around the pandemic.
“A bad flu season is 80,000 dead, we have about 18,000 dead from influenza this year and 100 from corona,” said Pinsky in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith.
“Which should you be worried about, influenza or corona. 100 vs. 18,000, it’s not a trick question. Everything going on with everyone using Clorox wipes and get your flu shot, which should be the other message… that’s good. I have no problems with the behaviors. What I have a problem with is the panic and that businesses are getting destroyed and people’s lives are getting upended. Not by the virus, but by the panic.”
“Coronavirus: Don’t Worry, Be Happily Informed,” Reason Foundation podcast, March 4.
Ronald Bailey: [00:18:54] My best guess, looking at the severity of the disease and so forth, is that it will be like a particularly well, like a really, really bad influenza season at some point. That would probably be the worst case scenario.
Ronald Bailey: [00:32:26] So, yeah, don’t panic again. Yeah, it’s way too early to panic about it. Think about, you know, monitor it. Listen to the news. Keep track of what’s going on. Again, my best estimation and, subject to revision with new information is if it does… if quarantine fails, if in fact, that’s not able to be controlled it will probably result in something like a fairly severe bad flu season, but it’s not apocalyptic.
“Will Coronavirus Be the Sweet Matzo Ball of Death?“ Reason Foundation podcast, March 2
Katherine Mangu-Ward: [00:02:19] So I remain disposition positionally skeptical slash panic-dampening about how severe and widespread their Coronavirus will be in terms of its impact on people in the United States. [00:02:34]
Katherine Mangu-Ward: [00:02:55] So anyway, what I’m saying here is I think that obviously, just to be very clear, it is not helpful when, as he did on a rally on Friday, Donald Trump calls Coronavirus a hoax, like he literally said the word hoax. Now, he sort of said it in the context of like the media was politicizing my Coronavirus and that was a hoax. If you’re interpreting it charitably. So it’s not a hoax. It’s very real. It’s a severe public health concern. All of that is real. [00:03:25]
Katherine Mangu-Ward: [00:03:27] However, I think all of us can remember some recent panics over various flus, viruses which again, were very real and took lives, but did not in the end cause the total shutdown. An apocalyptic end of society. [00:03:44]
Katherine Mangu-Ward: [00:04:16] So I am I am still team. Wait and see. Not team buy up all the face masks and hunker down [00:04:24]=
“Don’t Expect Millions To Die From Coronavirus, Says Richard Epstein,” ReasonTV video via YouTube, March 18
Richard Epstein: [00:01:19] the reason I tend to worry about it is not because I think that the odds are very high, since health varies amongst people who are 70 years old. But you have family and friends and institutions and everybody else. And even if you’re comfortable with going out and around, they’re not comfortable with you going out and around. And so what happens is the constant social pressures to take maximum precautions tends to drive the whole system downward. And it’s reinforced by really powerful doomsday scenarios which essentially say with respect to the bad news, we’ve only just begun. This is the tip of the iceberg. It’s going to last until August. It’s going to claim a million or a half a million lives. I think all of these forecasts are technically wrong. OK. Well, they influence behavior.
[00:02:02] Right now, the latest estimate is that we’re up to about 900 or a thousand cases per day, which is much lower than it was with respect to the flu epidemic that we had this past year. People start to refer to the Italian situation, which is a bit more rapid. But Italy for some reason seemed to have terrible health even before this, because there were more deaths than a smaller country from flu in Italy than there were in the United States by about a 50 percent margin. So if you’ve been to see it one day, you’ll see it in the other. Then, of course, there’s China. And, you know, people have been very upset about China, but the total number of deaths there is about thirty five hundred, give or take. And there are a large number of cases that are unresolved.
[00:28:29] So I’m sitting at home, same as why is it that I feel compelled to write about this particular subject? And it’s because I think, A, the model’s wrong. B, I’ve had some familiarity with working with these models going back 40 years to AIDS and even before that on evolutionary theory. And that somebody just has to say, look, there are two sides to this particular discussion. And, you know, as you start to see massive slowdowns in California and understand that their ten deaths in the state from this stuff for which happened three weeks ago, you know, six people was not there. You compare it to the flu. Right. The numbers are so mind boggling, different. And if this were the appropriate thing, then you’d have to shut down the United States six months every year. This is the flu epidemic, which kills last year about 50,000 people.
[00:29:27] Well, what it [the government] ought to do is not shut things down at the same level that they’ve been doing it. There’s no way that you can shut this down and give subsidies.
“Richard Epstein: ‘More Probable Than Not…Total Number of Deaths at Under 50,000’ (Podcast/Audio),” Reason Foundation, March 18
From the available data, says New York University law professor Richard Epstein, “it seems more probable than not that the total number of cases worldwide will peak out at well under 1 million, with the total number of deaths at under 50,000…In the United States, if the total death toll increases at about the same rate, the current 67 deaths should translate into about 500 deaths at the end.
In the earlier, March 16, 2020 version, of this essay, I made the single largest unforced intellectual error in my entire academic career, when I included numerical estimates about the possible impact of the coronavirus in terms of life and death. Those estimates were obviously ridiculously too low. Those mistakes brought on a torrent of criticism, pointing out the magnitude of those errors. Unfortunately, those responses detracted from the main purpose of that initial essay, which was to question some of the basic assumptions of the standard model. I regret those mistakes, and of course, I retract them.
Original Essay: “Coronavirus Perspective,” Hoover Institution, March 16, 2020
**Note: Epstein also posted this number at 5,000 dead, and already revised to 50,000. An original correction at the Hoover Institution lists Epstein’s initial estimate at an even lower ‘500’ (see threads on Twitter here, and here discussing this)**
“From this available data, it seems more probable than not that the total number of cases world-wide will peak out at well under 1 million, with the total number of deaths at under 50,000. In the United States, the current 67 deaths should reach about 5000 (or ten percent of my estimated world total, which may also turn out to be low).”
“Of course, every life lost is a tragedy—and the potential loss of 50,000 lives world-wide would be appalling—but those deaths stemming from the coronavirus are not more tragic than others, so that the same social calculus applies here that should apply in other cases.
These are deeply contrarian estimates. In dealing with any future prediction it is necessary to develop some model. Right now, the overwhelming consensus, based upon the most recent reports, is that the rate of infection will continue to increase so that the most severe interventions are needed to control what will under the worst of circumstances turn into a high rate of death. This pessimistic view is well captured in an op-ed by Nicholas Kristof and Stuart Thompson, who offer this graph to stress the importance and the immediacy of the looming crisis.”
“Much of the current analysis does not explain how and why rates of infection and death will spike, so I think that it is important to offer a dissenting voice. In what follows, I look first at the trends in the American data, and then, building on my conclusions there, I construct a theoretical framework to evaluate the evolution of the coronavirus in other places.”
The irony here is that even though self-help measures like avoiding crowded spaces make abundant sense, the massive public controls do not. In light of the available raw data, public officials have gone overboard. To begin with, the word pandemic should not be lightly used. Recall that the Spanish influenza pandemic, fully worthy of the name, resulted in perhaps as many as a half-billion infections and between 50 and 100 million deaths, world-wide, of which some 675,000 were Americans, many coming back from Europe in the aftermath of the First World War. The World Health Organization recently declared coronavirus a pandemic at a time when the death count was at 4,000, presently being just over 6,500. It will surely rise no matter what precautions are taken going forward, but what is critical is some estimate of the rate.
By way of comparison, the toll from the flu in the United States since October ran as follows: between 36 to 51 million infections, between 370 thousand to 670 thousand flu hospitalizations, and between 22 thousand to 55 thousand flu deaths. That works out to between roughly between 230,000 to 320,000 new infections per day, and between 140 to 350 deaths per day for an overall mortality rate of between 0.044 percent to 0.152 percent.
“What, then, does all of this portend for the future of COVID-19 in the United States? Good news is more likely than bad, notwithstanding the models that predict otherwise. The deaths in Washington have risen only slowly, even as the number of infections mount. The New York cases have been identified for long enough that they should have produced more deaths if the coronavirus was as dangerous as is commonly believed.”
“Clearly, the impact on elderly and immunocompromised individuals is severe, with nearly 90% of total deaths coming from individuals 60 and over. But these data do not call for shutting down all public and private facilities given the extraordinarily low rates of death in the population under 50. The adaptive responses should reduce the exposures in the high-risk groups, given the tendency for the coronavirus to weaken over time. My own guess is that the percentage of deaths will decline in Korea for the same reasons that they are expected to decline in the United States. It is highly unlikely that there will ever be a repetition of the explosive situation in Wuhan, where air quality is poorer and smoking rates are higher.”
So what then should be done?
The first point is to target interventions where needed, toward high-risk populations, including older people and other people with health conditions that render them more susceptible to disease. But the current organized panic in the United States does not seem justified on the best reading of the data. In dealing with this point, it is critical to note that the rapid decline in the incidence of new cases and death in China suggests that cases in Italy will not continue to rise exponentially over the next several weeks. Moreover, it is unlikely that the healthcare system in the United States will be compromised in the same fashion as the Italian healthcare system in the wake of its quick viral spread. The amount of voluntary and forced separation in the United States has gotten very extensive very quickly, which should influence rates of infection sooner rather than later.
Perhaps my analysis is all wrong, even deeply flawed. But the stakes are too high to continue on the current course without reexamining the data and the erroneous models that are predicting doom.
Richard A. Epstein. “The Grim Cost Of Total Lockdowns,” defining ideas (Hoover Journal), March 30
The question then is what should be done, given uncertain information. Here, there are two general approaches. One thinks the doomsday hypothesis is still valid, meaning that one million Americans, if not more, could die out of a population of about 331 million. There is also a second approach, with which I identify, that sees this problem as being akin to previous episodes of the flu, and is consistent with the lower end of the Fauci estimates. As a rough benchmark for this view, the deadliest flu season in recent years was 2017-2018, with an estimated 80,000 fatalities, which is higher than the levels reached with the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. According to the CDC, around 12,500 people died from H1N1 (range: 8,868-18,306).
But for the moment, let’s assume the pessimists are right and, God forbid, one million people may die. What then, are the social gains from potential interventions?
It is here that the difference between wealth and utility cuts. The customary starting point for this analysis is the apparently bedrock assumption, shared by many economists, that the estimated value of a statistical life (VSL), is about $10 million. The EPA arrives at this result by first asking individuals how much money they would demand to face a 1 out of 10,000 risk of death. On average, people say $1,000, which yields the $10 million figure for the value of an entire life ($1,000 times 10,000 equals ten million).
The dispute begins when coercive measures are imposed, for it is quite clear that there are not enough resources to meet the EPA’s VSL. Thus, one common measure of health is the QALY, or quality-adjusted-life-year, which is used in order to make interpersonal comparisons of benefits in a setting in which it is impossible to use market mechanisms to establish an exchange value. The more quality years, the higher the return from treatment. One suggestion of many is that we should reduce the value of a life saved roughly in half, in part because “moderate social distancing” could lead to trillions of dollars saved in VSL. For these purposes, I will set that VSL figure at $5 trillion, even though there are higher estimates.
The only solution that has a prayer of working is to ease restrictions as quickly as possible in those areas where the risks are lower, such as virtually all rural areas, and major centers that have only a low incidence of reported deaths. Of course, that requires a sophisticated incremental strategy that won’t be developed if our leaders remain hunkered down in a “fortress America” approach, which may turn out to be more deadly than the coronavirus itself.
Richard A. Epstein. “Coronavirus Overreaction,” defining ideas, March 23
In my column last week, I predicted that the world would eventually see about 50,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus, and the United States about 500. These two numbers are clearly not in sync. If the first number holds, the total US deaths should be about 4 to 5 percent of that total, or about 2,000–2,500 deaths. The current numbers are getting larger, so it is possible both figures will move up in a rough proportion from even that revised estimate. Indeed, the recent run-ups in Italy and perhaps Spain suggest that those countries have yet to turn the corner.
The question is—what should we make of these data? The standard model sees a slow rise in cases until mid-July when it predicts that the United States shall have, for a period of several weeks, close to 10 million cases per day, with an ultimate death total that could reach one million deaths. A recent, thorough study by Aaron Ginn (which itself has been heavily attacked), takes a much more cautious view. A second article by David Katz also indicates that the global totals and that of the United States could be even higher than the numbers I suggested, perhaps by two- or three-fold. These estimates are almost two orders of magnitude lower than the common estimate. Ginn’s study uses the term “hysteria” to describe the response to COVID-19, and, sadly, he is right, given the dangers of drawing hasty inferences from Italy to rest of the world. Unfortunately, the most common visuals of the virus spread, large red dots to indicate the number of cases in a given area, are alarmist and suggest a more severe crisis than the raw numbers indicate.
Progressives think they can run everyone’s lives through central planning, but the state of the economy suggests otherwise. Looking at the costs, the public commands have led to a crash in the stock market, and may only save a small fraction of the lives that are at risk. In addition, there are lost lives on both sides of the equation as many people will now find it more difficult to see a doctor, get regular exercise, stay sober, and eat healthily. None of these alternative hazards are addressed by the worthy governors.
It is critical therefore to get some perspective on this issue, which is perhaps done by taking a quick look at the now forgotten H1N1 pandemic that ran for about a year from April 2009 to April 2010. The similarities between the two pandemics are evident. Both were novel strains for which there were no available vaccines. Both viruses hit people over 60 the hardest. During the year that H1N1 raged, the CDC estimates that “there were 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (range: 195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (range: 8868-18,306).”
These figures are in flat contradiction to the wildly high estimates that supposed experts give to support their current doomsday scenario, and they suggest that a far more modest program of containment—and allowing the virus to run its course—is a better path forward for the economy. Our government fiats will probably save very few, if any, lives saved over what we can obtain through more focused voluntary precautions. All the while, the United States is entertaining hopeless stimulus negotiations that shift dollars around, but do nothing to make up for the trillions that will inevitably lost as result of the economic shutdown. There is only one cure to the current malaise, which is to reverse these self-destructive policies before it is too late.
Richard A. Epstein. “Playing Politics With Coronavirus,” defining ideas, March 9
At this time, the total cost of the combined responses is assuredly in the trillions, and these costs vastly outstrip the number of deaths worldwide from the coronavirus. The New York Times is presently reporting (and constantly updating) a total of 545 confirmed cases across 34 states and DC with 22 total deaths—surely a low estimate of the total prevalence of the disease. By way of comparison, the CDC reports that this year’s U.S. flu season saw between 34 and 50 million infections, between 350 thousand and 620 thousand flu hospitalizations, and between 20 thousand and 52 thousand flu deaths. (The wide range of these estimates is due to difficulty estimating the number of flu cases that go undetected through what the CDC terms “influenza surveillance.”)
“China’s economic virus is more dangerous than the coronavirus: Protecting the United States from a Chinese recession,” The Washington Times, March 2
China’s economic virus is likely to be much more dangerous to the world than the COVID-19 virus. We know from history that the consequences of recessions tend to cost many more lives than disease epidemics.
Yes, there will be a tragedy of many thousands dying prematurely from the coronavirus; but it will largely disappear by itself, and a vaccine will be developed. A severe economic virus, resulting in a global recession, will affect almost everyone to some degree and last much longer.
“The economic consequences of the coronavirus,” The Washington Times, February 3
Assuming that the U.S. public health defenses are sufficiently robust to largely contain viruses coming from China and elsewhere, the health effect may not be any greater than normal winter flu viruses that infect many Americans. However, the United States still needs to be deeply concerned, primarily for humanitarian reasons, but also for the potential negative impact on the world economy, including America.
*Note that the above tweet appears to have been removed. A copy is still available on the Internet Archive.
Steve Milloy. “NEVER WASTE A CRISIS: CLIMATE ALARMISM SURFS CORONAVIRUS,” Published first at Heartland’s ClimateRealism.com and also on Heartland’s main website.
April 7. Reported on at Fox News. (Emphasis in original)
Not surprisingly coronavirus alarm has pushed most other issues and concerns out of the news — much to the dismay of climate alarmists. But the alarmists aren’t taking displacement by coronavirus lying down.
In fact, many climate alarmists are trying to use coronavirus as a means of advancing their agenda. They are trying to surf it.
^^^Tweet links to Wall Street Journal article by Benny Peiser and Andrew Montford: “Coronavirus Lessons From the Asteroid That Didn’t Hit Earth”
^^ Links to TPP‘s “COVID-19 Dashboard.” An excerpt from TPPF‘s press release below:
“There is an important debate happening in the country right now over the proper balance policymakers must strike in responding to the healthcare crisis on the one hand, and upending millions of lives and doing irreparable damage to the country on the other,” said TPPF’s Executive Director Kevin Roberts. “And so far, the data that has been used to evaluate those considerations has been largely one-sided, to the detriment of more than 10 million workers who have lost their jobs seemingly overnight. Our public officials need to be painfully aware that each day that our restaurants, shops, office buildings, and hotels are shut down and people are unable to earn a living and provide for their families, the harder it will be for the American people to pull themselves out of the hole governments have dug for them. We can forget a V-shaped recovery if we don’t end this one-size-fits-all approach.”
Included are also charts highlighting the damage done to two industries, oil and gas and restaurants, that have been leveled by federal, state, and local governments bringing the country to a standstill.
“Dr. Oz Shares Tips On How To Prevent Coronavirus” (video), The Daily Caller, March 10, 2020
The vast majority are going to be fine. The mortality rate for healthy otherwise in-tact young people is probably 0.2%.
The Federalist (Not to be confused with the Federalist Society)
The following Tweet was removed for violating Twitter Rules (tweeted March 25)
Full article here: “How Medical ‘Chickenpox Parties’ Could Turn The Tide Of The Wuhan Virus,” The Federalist, March 25
If people are willing to risk deliberate infection for the sake of themselves and the greater good, should the government, and therefore taxpayers, cover any medical and hospitalization costs they may incur in the process? It is quite possible the answers to such questions might differ in various countries or even parts of a given country. Fortunately the CVI approach is amenable to implementation on any level, from communities to cities, regions, or an entire nation.
“Coronavirus and Misinformation,” The Federalist Radio Hour (podcst), March 9
Melissa Chen: [00:09:45] You know, at some point society is going to have to weigh the consequence of this sudden drop in economic activity to, you know, whether or not it’s worth spreading this disease in the population because there are costs to both. And it’s really not clear what the prudent thing to do here is yet.
Ben Domenech: [00:10:02] Maybe you can respond to my perspective on this and tell me if I’m wrong about it and feel free to say that I am. My own perspective is that the actual health danger when it comes to the West generally and America specifically is much lower than the media is saying it is, but the economic danger is actually even higher than people might expect it to be, because I think that we’re going to see canceled conferences, canceled gatherings, you know, canceled, you know, people who are going to stay home to eat as opposed to going out together. People who are going to be worried about transmitting this via restaurant workers and the like. All of which will have a huge economic impact. We’re overdue for a recession anyway.
Ben Domenech: [00:10:51] And so my my perspective on this is I think fewer people will die than from this from them than what maybe the media is kind of indicating just because, you know, if it’s on the same level as influenza, it is just, you know, another strain of disease that when you step back from it, it’s like, you know, this is something that we need to be able to handle. Obviously, we need a vaccine. But still, it’s it’s not something that’s as scary. But when it comes to the economic side of things, then it could be incredibly disastrous. […]
“We Need Better Data Before Trusting Most Things Anyone Says About Wuhan Virus,” The Federalist, March 23
In the time of the Wuhan virus, we should remind ourselves that we are trusting our collective fates to the exhortations and exclamations of politicians, media, academics, and a public health establishment that have spent almost four years on the frontlines of the #NotMyPresident movement. Many of the claims being made about how the Wuhan virus is the plague for our times are founded on remarkably weak data sets that are intentionally manipulated to foment fear.
The most important, and unstated, assumption underlying many Wuhan virus models and pronouncements is that this is the long-sought tool to overturn Trump’s 2016 election. Is there any economic or human cost that would give pause to the coastal intelligentsias and their histrionics as long as it evicts Trump from the Oval Office?
The same cabal that has spent the last decade telling us all there is an “epidemic” of gun violence in America, even though the gun homicide rate has fallen 50 percent in 25 years and is still falling, is engaging in a political con no one wants to talk about. Aeschylus was right: truth really is the first casualty of war.
Todd Myers. “When Covid ‘Science’ Is a Smokescreen,” WSJ, May 27
The word “science” has been hollowed out by politicians, who have stripped it of its substance and power and replaced them with emotional pabulum. These politicians discard the scientific method and deploy the term merely as a weapon against their opponents.
When the governor and other politicians refer to “the science,” they rarely point to actual science. It is a bluff designed to imply that their chosen policy is based on more than guesswork and politics.
Numbers speak for themselves. When the numbers tell the wrong story, politicians retreat into narratives that they pretend are science.
Mr. Inslee isn’t unique, but the national attention he has received for his work on climate change and now the coronavirus make him a prime example of how prominent politicians use the word “science” to mask their motives in managing health and environmental challenges.
^^The above tweet links to “A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data” by John P.A. Ioannidis at StatNews.
“THE VIRUS SLOWDOWN WAS SUCCESSFUL, BUT THE DEPRESSED PATIENT DIED IN POVERTY,” The Heartland Institute, March 26
The ordinary flu virus kills many people every winter despite vaccines. And both viruses are more lethal for the old and the sick.
We do not close the whole country every flu season but this year’s crisis is being exploited by scare mongers, centralists and globalists whose slogan is ‘never let a decent crisis go to waste’.
Already the green globalists are celebrating as industry emissions fall and political power moves towards central governments and global organisations. They will now abuse this economic crisis by pushing their climate agenda with stimulus packages that favour green energy.
William M. Briggs
“Coronavirus Update VI — Calm Yourselves,” WMBriggs.com – March 24, 2020
[Regular] flu has slaughtered about a million American souls. Mostly 50+ and 0-4 year-olds. What about the children!? A lot of dead kids. Over the entire earth, every two to three years a million souls are given early exits.
Flu will go on killing in horrendous numbers unless we do something about it! What that something is, is obviously this:
Every day beginning in the upcoming flu season (starting September 2020), each new case, from each state and large city should be blared across the headline of every news report. MONDAY: ONE CASE REPORTED. TUESDAY: CASES DOUBLE! WEDNESDAY: CASES SOAR TO FOUR. THURSDAY: WE HAVE GONE EXPONENTIAL.
Each death should receive nonstop coverage. All networks and newspaper should devote time exclusively to the flu. Politicians should issue immediate precautions about washing hands (always a good idea) and social distancing. Businesses not run by oligarchs should be shuttered.
As soon as the number of deaths rises above 10, in a way similar to what happened to COVID-19, full-on panic should become official policy. This should happen by about 15 September, since flu kills so many so effectively. Get ready for it.
By 1 October we’ll have already reached the same point of martial law we are now experiencing.
We’ll have to do this every year forever, too, because there is no other way to save lives taken by the flu.
My friends, I’m going to say something that will seem, to a few of you, harsh. People on the right are posting images and videos of sufferers of coronavirus and saying “This is why we need to take this as seriously as we do.”
This is equivalent to posting pictures of “migrant” kids washed on up on shore and saying “This is why we need open borders”. Which people on the right wisely condemned.
God bless everybody who gets this dread disease, and Godspeed to those who succumb. But we cannot make policy based on sad pictures.