Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

Two NY studies suggest Wuhan flu death rate comparable to the flu

Are you enraged yet? A just released New York study now suggests that there are large numbers infected with the Wuhan flu with no symptoms, about 13.9% of the population, indicating that the overall death rate is probably quite close to the flu.

The article does not state that conclusion, being CNBC and therefore unwilling to come to any conclusion that might suggest things are not terrible. However, see this analysis of a different New York study, with comparable numbers:

Thinking about that study showing that 13.7% of pregnant women presenting for delivery at NYC hospitals in March-early April tested positive for COVID-19 AT THE TIME of admission. Unless one thinks pregnant women are more likely to have been exposed to the virus than other people in the population, surely must mean that ~15% of NYC has been exposed. (Recall also that the NYC study was only of active infections not of antibodies.) If so, then 10,000 deaths out of 15% of NYC (1.2 million) points to an infection fatality rate around .008, very much in the ballpark of seasonal flu. [emphasis mine]

The first reliable numbers from South Korea and the Diamond Princess had shown death rates of about 0.9% and 1.2% respectively. While about ten times higher than the flu’s death rate of about 0.1%, it was also very clear then that these death rates were grossly high because of very large underestimates of the total number of people infected.

Now we are getting better numbers on the total infection rate — including large numbers of healthy individuals who get the disease and never show symptoms — and the evidence is strongly telling us that the Wuhan flu is not that dangerous, killing mostly older and sick individuals, and doing it at the same rate as the flu.

For this we allowed the press and our power-hungry political class to nullify the Bill of Rights and bankrupt the nation? A lot of heads should roll. And soon.


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  • Andrew_W

    If so, then 10,000 deaths out of 15% of NYC (1.2 million) points to an infection fatality rate around .008 [0.08%], very much in the ballpark of seasonal flu.

    Should be “infection fatality rate around .008 [0.08%],” infection fatality rate around .008 [0.8%], Which is at the bottom end of what I’ve been saying for weeks.

  • Andrew_W

    Oops! Should be “infection fatality rate around .008 [0.8%],”

  • Andrew_W

    A 2018 CDC study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases looked at the percentage of the U.S. population who were sickened by flu using two different methods and compared the findings. Both methods had similar findings, which suggested that on average, about 8% of the U.S. population gets sick from flu each season, with a range of between 3% and 11%, depending on the season.

    I expect that most of us don’t get it each year either because its transmissibility is low or (I think more likely) because our exposure in previous seasons (and through colostrum) largely keeps it at bay (I did recently read that flu has only a 14% asymptomatic rate).

    Covid-19 is novel, so there’s not pre-immunity (if that’s the term) from historical strains, at ten times the lethality of flu and the entire population susceptible if it runs till herd immunity is reached, 80x the number of flu deaths is mathematically on the cards.

  • SteveD

    ‘these death rates were grossly high because of very large underestimates of the total number of people infected.’

    For SK yes. In the case of the Diamond Princess, everyone was tested. The high mortality rate probably reflects a combination of high viral load and a more elderly population.

  • SteveD

    ‘and the entire population susceptible if it runs till herd immunity is reached, 80x the number of flu deaths is mathematically on the cards.’

    That is why we must base our estimates on empirical data. Science is king, not mathematics. The laws of biology. Applying ratios from several natural experiments including the Theodore Roosevelt and Diamond Princess and assuming we engaged in the type of negative social distancing which occurs on ships and maybe subways (which increases both infection and severity due to high viral loads), it works out that 300,000 is approximately the maximum capability of CoVid-19 in the US.

    However in the real world, we are much more social distant by nature, so it would be almost impossible to approach that number. We can model down from there but at least we would start with a number which is biologically possible.

    ‘Covid-19 is novel, so there’s not pre-immunity’

    CoVid-19 is similar enough to other coronaviruses that I’m pretty sure people do have various levels of pre-immunity to the virus. There has never been a pandemic in history in which no one had any resistance. It’s just a matter of how much which we don’t know. In contrast, the pre-immunity to the flu various as well as H1N1 mutates but the vaccine adds to that substantially.

  • Rose

    Bob, is that miscalculated “[0.08%]” your bracketed addition?

    It is not in the current version of the Powerline piece, but that itself was a submission from “a reader who prefers to remain anonymous despite her apparent qualifications”, so perhaps J. Hinderaker added the erroneous bracket conversion, then later removed it without a “Corrections” note. Unfortunately, the Internet Archive does not have a copy of that page. (I recall F. Herbert writing something about the intrigue of interpreting quotes within quotes within quotes, or something like that.)

  • Rose

    SteveD: … it works out that 300,000 is approximately the maximum capability of CoVid-19 in the US.

    Care to share the specifics of your rough calculation?

  • Rose: I did add that bracketed number, mistakenly thinking that his .008 number equaled 0.08%. My math was wrong. It is more 0.8% I’ve removed it.

    And yes, when I add something to a quote, I always bracket it.

  • Rose

    Thanks Bob. I don’t know what the proper thing to do is in the case where you want to add a bracketed comment to a quote which already contains a bracketed comment, thought that turned out not to be the case here.

    I don’t see your number so much as an overt math error but instead a result of being led astray by the article’s claim that the rate was very much in the ballpark of seasonal flu, which, as you noted, is about 0.1%. Given the mantissa, it was only reasonable to assume a rate of 0.08% supporting their conclusion vs 0.8% contradicting it. I do wonder the author made the same error.

    It is well worth noting that at < 1% the CFR is relatively low when compared to SARS or MERS, but calling 8X that of the flu as being "very much in the ballpark" (vs say, "within an order of magnitude") is they sort of hyperbole which leads to the dismissal of even reasoned arguments.

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