Differentiating fact from opinion on COVID-19



  • Almost all the people I have talked to in public the last few days have been dismissive of the severity of COVID-19. I just went to pick up my wife’s car and the mechanic told me his father in law went home sick. I told him good on him to send him home. He seemed embarassed to have done so. I brought up Coronavirus, and he started telling me numbers about how many people the flu killed last year. So far, when it has become clear that people are working with talking points from a position on the right I have disengaged, mostly because I want to get home. But I’ve felt that maybe I should be arming them with an alternate view.

    So I told him coronavirus has a 2% mortality rate in China, and that is 20 x that of the flu. And that i’d assumed China had a worse healthcare system. However, in Italy it is 6% mortality. So if we don’t take care like Italy didn’t take care, it’s going to be bad. I told him that the secretary of health in Ohio estimates the number of ohioans with coronavirus to be 1% or 116000 because of community transmission and that we should wait until tests are administered before we know the stats accurately around coronavirus. At that point he barked at me twice “WASH YA HANDS!!” as I walked out the door.

    Have we been conditioned to believe that all truth is subjective?

    Can this guy emotionally handle the truth that Coronavirus is a serious threat if he came to accept it?

    Do I need to be careful what I wish for? What exactly would people like this guy do when people start dying around him and our infrastructure is overwhelmed by sick people?

    Is it better if some people remain in the dark, always?



  • I would say many have trouble rationalizing things. As far as Italy they have a very large elderly population and it seems like it hit them hard. Not saying this isn’t serious but there are reasons Italy has been worse, including an extreme lack of discipline from their population which should surprise no one. It’s not like the us is a pillar of discipline either so that is a concern.



  • @approxinfinity said in Differentiating fact from opinion on COVID-19:

    Almost all the people I have talked to in public the last few days have been dismissive of the severity of COVID-19. I just went to pick up my wife’s car and the mechanic told me his father in law went home sick. I told him good on him to send him home. He seemed embarassed to have done so. I brought up Coronavirus, and he started telling me numbers about how many people the flu killed last year. So far, when it has become clear that people are working with talking points from a position on the right I have disengaged, mostly because I want to get home. But I’ve felt that maybe I should be arming them with an alternate view.

    So I told him coronavirus has a 2% mortality rate in China, and that is 20 x that of the flu. And that i’d assumed China had a worse healthcare system. However, in Italy it is 6% mortality. So if we don’t take care like Italy didn’t take care, it’s going to be bad. I told him that the secretary of health in Ohio estimates the number of ohioans with coronavirus to be 1% or 116000 because of community transmission and that we should wait until tests are administered before we know the stats accurately around coronavirus. At that point he barked at me twice “WASH YA HANDS!!” as I walked out the door.

    Have we been conditioned to believe that all truth is subjective?

    Can this guy emotionally handle the truth that Coronavirus is a serious threat if he came to accept it?

    Do I need to be careful what I wish for? What exactly would people like this guy do when people start dying around him and our infrastructure is overwhelmed by sick people?

    Is it better if some people remain in the dark, always?

    Agree you can’t fix stupid my friend



  • @approxinfinity the trouble is that it is just like the anti vaccine crowd. You find dozens and dozens of articles saying it’s really bad or just a bunch of BS. This is the same several doctors have said this isn’t remotely deadly to people under the age of 60. Any website I have looked at several showing the morality rate of .04% for people younger than that age. The problem is there way too many uncertainties right now. When you compare the morality rates of young people the flu and pneumonia are more deadly and by a lot. You compare with seniors and it’s fairly even. I think it’s all just a guess at this point and no one really knows.



  • @kjayhawks

    https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/487489-worst-case-coronavirus-models-show-massive-us-toll

    Statistical models meant to project the potential reach of the coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease suggest more than a million Americans could die if the nation does not take swift action to stop its spread as quickly as possible.

    At least three different models built by epidemiology experts suggest that millions of Americans will contract the coronavirus, even in optimistic projections, based on what they know of its spread in China and the United States so far.

    One model from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggested that between 160 million and 210 million Americans could contract the disease over as long as a year. Based on mortality data and current hospital capacity, the number of deaths under the CDC’s scenarios ranged from 200,000 to as many as 1.7 million.

    It found as many as 21 million people might need hospitalization, a daunting figure in a nation with just about 925,000 hospital beds.



  • I can agree that mortality rate among the young could be ok. However, unless the estimates from the CDC for total deaths and hospitalizations get revised, they’re still staggering.



  • @approxinfinity shutting down things for awhile is a good start. If we keep things locked down and people are smart we can get through this in a 2-3 months I think.



  • @BShark @approxinfinity I don’t alway trust numbers like these because I didn’t do the study. 100s of studies end up wrong in everything from Weather to Sports. If they think it could get that serious, they should indeed quarantine us all. I just found out I have been near someone that went to a dentist that is confirmed to have it.



  • @kjayhawks yeah we should have tightened up about a month ago. It would have been seen as an overreaction but would have absolutely flattened the curve. Obviously I’m hoping we do not see that many deaths.



  • Matt Tait shared this on twitter and I found it pretty informative. The first 21 minutes and maybe the last 5 minutes are the relevant content and definitely worth the time spent.

    It’s an interview Michael Osterholm, an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology. He is Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP).



  • @bskeet Very sensible!



  • @kjayhawks where’s the dentist from?



  • @BShark said in Differentiating fact from opinion on COVID-19:

    @kjayhawks yeah we should have tightened up about a month ago. It would have been seen as an overreaction but would have absolutely flattened the curve. Obviously I’m hoping we do not see that many deaths.

    I was listening to a news report and they said the number of confirmed cases are going to spike once we get more kits able to test more people. They are talking about shortages of hospital beds , talk about that having surgeries schedule - things not pertaining to this virus holding off if possible , gonna be a shortage of hospital beds and such with this for treatment of confirmed cases



  • @jayballer73 issues with supply as well due to China and the hurricane in Puerto Rico awhile back. We will make it through though.





  • @kjayhawks do u know who?



  • @Crimsonorblue22 don’t know name of the doctor.



  • @kjayhawks if u find out let me know. Weird they only have reported 1 guy today and he’s from butler co.





  • A good summary of the many failings of Trump over COVID-19 response as written by a lifelong Republican:

    https://amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/607969/

    @DoubleDD



  • China and Italy are two separate models from which we can draw some conclusions.

    China contained the virus and thus lower mortality rate due to very strict quarantine.

    Italy on the other hand did not enforce strict quarantine thus the significant wider spread and higher mortality rate.



  • @AsadZ wouldn’t shock me if China fudged numbers.

    I’m glad I lost a fair bit of weight recently. Hoping I don’t get this, but now I’m in better shape to survive it if I do.



  • Just saw our latest numbers, took a hell of a jump from yesterday. Confirmed cases now stands at 2,628 confirmed cases - - -41 recoveries – & 50 Deaths. - -that’s 50 deaths to many. = =Prayers for everyone. - -the news conference here in Topeka yesterday as pretty clear/informative as to why they shutting down our K-12. - Saying that with all the kids coming back from spring break at once and being in such closed surrounding is the perfect incubator for the virus. Closing for 2 weeks and the re-evaluate as two weeks has been the incubation period. - Saying that without a doubt there will be cases for sure in Topeka no way around it



  • @approxinfinity said in Differentiating fact from opinion on COVID-19:

    A good summary of the many failings of Trump over COVID-19 response as written by a lifelong Republican:

    https://amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/607969/

    @DoubleDD

    This is more of an opinion piece. Yea I get it the individual doesn’t like Trump. What’s new? Hell morning joe was supposed to be a Republican too. These hit pieces do no good, they change no votes.

    Try and take a step back and look at things as a third person. Look just at your own website. Most of the comments are anti hate even before Trump stepped into office. They never change from topic to topic. It’s always the same “I hate Trump”.

    So how is anybody supposed to trust you or those that constantly post dribble about Trump? Some have even made remarks at those voted for Trump. Yet none if you point to the great plans the Dem party will bring to the table. In fact the Dem and liberals only goal is to beat Trump. They have no plan if they do beat him, other than go back to the way things were? Really?

    On top of that your telling me the Dem party who is supposed to be this champion for diversity, has voted for the two oldest white dudes out of what 30 candidates? And let’s not forget the hypocrisy of the Dem party. Here you have a Joe out yelling and trying to fight voters. If Trump acted like this. It would be wall time to wall courage on trump is losing his mind. Yet the same people say nothing with Biden.



  • The DNC doesn’t want an electable liberal candidate.



  • Things could be worse, we could be England…





  • @FarmerJayhawk 👍 I’m staying home until my post op dental appointment. Will be staying home as much as possible after that. Thankfully I have enough spare cash to ride this thing out.



  • Just saw where France is closing all restaurants, movie theaters, cafes, and clubs.

    Unfortunately for me I can not work from home and I am sure there are many more millions like that cant. I guess the best thing is for those that can do and for large gatherings to not exist for now. However, I saw a picture online of Bourbon a street that was thousands of people out and about after they cancelled schools there so who knows how well this social distancing will work.

    I’ll admit I’ve been out and about all day yesterday and today.



  • I’m blown away that we are not mandating a social distancing policy. I hope the labs start testing soon.



  • @approxinfinity said in Differentiating fact from opinion on COVID-19:

    I’m blown away that we are not mandating a social distancing policy. I hope the labs start testing soon.

    true getting tested but like they said really all gonna do is confirm - -with increased testing we all know the confirmed cases gonna spike. - -Kansas has it’s 8th confirmed virus – Franklin County - -Another in Johnson county that is associated with Johnson County Community College



  • @approxinfinity said in Differentiating fact from opinion on COVID-19:

    I’m blown away that we are not mandating a social distancing policy. I hope the labs start testing soon.

    I think it’s already happened. Schools are shutting down, all sporting events are cancelled, and many places of business are shutting down.



  • @DoubleDD this is where having a president as a thoughtful leader matters.

    My neighbors, good people all, are still standing in the cul de sac as we speak talking to one another at close distance while their kids play together. If we had a president whom they respected mandating that they not do this, they would not be doing it.

    He’s both stupid and malicious and it’s some combination of ignorance and narcissism that had led him to avoid mandating social distancing. The path we are on will not lead to flattening the curve, as Director of Institute of Infectious Disease, Dr Fauci would like to do. This thing will still “flow through the country like a wave” as Trump said but the casualties and strain on the health system will be bad. And if he realizes this, then he is ok with many more deaths than are necessary when the health system is overwhelmed. Maybe he thinks the strain on the economy will be less? He had a “natural talent” for being a heartless moron and many will likely needlessly die because of him.



  • @approxinfinity said in Differentiating fact from opinion on COVID-19:

    @DoubleDD this is where having a president as a thoughtful leader matters.

    My neighbors, good people all, are still standing in the cul de sac as we speak talking to one another at close distance while their kids play together. If we had a president whom they respected mandating that they not do this, they would not be doing it.

    He’s both stupid and malicious and it’s some combination of ignorance and narcissism that had led him to avoid mandating social distancing. The path we are on will not lead to flattening the curve, as Director of Institute of Infectious Disease, Dr Fauci would like to do. This thing will still “flow through the country like a wave” as Trump said but the casualties and strain on the health system will be bad. And if he realizes this, then he is ok with many more deaths than are necessary when the health system is overwhelmed. Maybe he thinks the strain on the economy will be less? He had a “natural talent” for being a heartless moron and many will likely needlessly die because of him.

    I’m sorry that is your opinion. All I have heard from the Dem party is we do what the scientist say we should do. It Appears that trump has done what his team of professionals that dealt with the aids outbreak have suggested. What else can he do? He didn’t create this virus. So why the hate? What you think a government official will do better because they have a D beside their name? They have brought nothing to the table. In fact Pelosi tried to sneak in funding for plant parenthood on the financial help for coronavirus victims.



  • An organization that kills more black babies than any other color.



  • This isn’t about ds or rs it’s about human lives.



  • @DoubleDD

    You are not alone. Key points that many Americans will have to get better at:

    • discerning the difference between facts, opinions, and deception.
    • understanding a person’s or organization’s motivations.
    • understanding the difference between winning and being good.


  • Trump’s bravado in the face of the crisis has been irresponsible… and his administration’s decision to cut funding to the CDC and dismiss the pandemic response team 2 years ago — well, let’s just say it hasn’t aged well (he eschews responsibility and denies culpability – Shocking).

    That said, people have to make their own decisions. If they are gathering in the street, that’s their decision. Trump didn’t make them do that.

    It should surprise NO ONE after 3 years that the president isn’t providing adequate leadership and does not have our best interests in mind.

    So we need to rely more on ourselves for common sense and diligent research. Know what is and isn’t a good source of health information (CDC: yes, WHO: yes, WH: no). It’s disappointing, but we all have to adapt.

    Ultimately, the great arbiter is natural selection. Darwin will sort the stupidly cavalier from those fit to survive (with lots of collateral damage to those in the at-risk populations). It’s pretty indiscriminate between republican and democrat.



  • The last few years have basically made me tune out almost all media. I don’t read “mainstream” outlets for the most part, don’t watch cable news exception on election days (and even then, count results on my own), and have sort of bunkered down into my own group of folks. I have a very well-curated Twitter feed without a lot of nonsense, mostly academics and other smart people who really understand the issues, not journos that don’t know their multiplication tables, yet decide to become economists and epidemiologists all the sudden. I just want facts and some context, not filters from press folks with an agenda, whether right or left. I know my personal ideology backward and forward and of course judge particular issues through that lens but always start with the facts then evaluate from there. I’m lucky because I’ve worked for and studied with some absolutely stupid smart people so maybe I’m better at sniffing out crap than most, but even having some basic skills about critiquing news and reading with some well-informed skepticism is a really good skill.

    My critiques of the President have nothing to do with his party, though I worked my arse off to beat him in 15 and 16. I sometimes fantasize about having Jeb! run this show instead of Trump since he developed such a great reputation for being an effective governor in a purple state. Would I like to see him lose in 2020? Sure. Do I love Biden? No. We probably disagree on 90% of issues. But I think he’s a competent manager and someone with good character.

    tl;dr: get the facts, not the filter. Understand the facts. Make decisions accordingly.



  • wow. same wavelength. @BShark @approxinfinity @FarmerJayhawk



  • @FarmerJayhawk love the competent manager and good character! I feel like he’ll surround himself w/those people of the same qualities! Plus qualified and experienced! Won’t be firing and hiring every month. Earn back respect we lost w/the rest of the world too!



  • @FarmerJayhawk interested in some good follows. Twitter can be rough sometimes, had to unfollow a KU guy that was just non-stop conspiracy tweeting since the corona stuff ramped up.



  • @BShark said in Differentiating fact from opinion on COVID-19:

    @FarmerJayhawk interested in some good follows. Twitter can be rough sometimes, had to unfollow a KU guy that was just non-stop conspiracy tweeting since the corona stuff ramped up.

    Off the top of my head: Tyler Cowen, Sue Dynarski, Megan McArdle, Tom Nichols, Wojtek Kopczuck, Chris Arnade, Noah Smith, Luke Thompson, Scott Cunningham, Bad Econ Takes. It skews heavily toward economists (sorry, job hazard) but you’ll get everyone from very liberal to Never Trump Conservative to price gouging is good libertarian.



  • @bskeet Natural selection won’t work on this one because the people at greatest risk are post-reproductive. This outbreak won’t change gene frequencies. Stupid behavior, the people who transmit the virus, won’t be selected against.



  • @bskeet @tundrahok good point. but if you believe ideas are alive, we may see a natural selection of ideas here.



  • @approxinfinity And yet bad ideas can become more common also. Good/bad, of course, is a value judgement. I’m really not sure what currency is used to evaluate the genetic fitness of ideas.

    Richard Dawkins introduced the idea of memes in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, to illustrate how ideas can spread similar to genetic variants - way before the term was appropriated by the internet. Internet memes might be a great illustration of how we can’t rely on natural selection to solve our problems! I was never a big fan of grumpy cat. But I remember being fascinated by the idea of memes back in my grad school days, and am a bit chagrined that my own grad students in evolutionary ecology have no idea what the source of that term is.





  • @FarmerJayhawk good article



  • @tundrahok said in Differentiating fact from opinion on COVID-19:

    @bskeet Natural selection won’t work on this one because the people at greatest risk are post-reproductive. This outbreak won’t change gene frequencies. Stupid behavior, the people who transmit the virus, won’t be selected against.

    Yeah, that was tounge-in-cheek – Anytime I see someone take a stupid risk, I shake my head and say “Darwin”. It’s a sort of inside joke that doesn’t translate well here… Sorry.

    COVID-19 has claimed lives at all ages and even people who were considered healthy, but at a much lower rate.



  • Looks like someone hacked the best statistics site:

    Screenshot_20200315-202015_Chrome.jpg Screenshot_20200315-201958_Chrome.jpg


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