Five million more applied for unemployment benefits last week

The beatings will continue until morale improves: More than five million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, a jump caused almost entirely by the government shutdown nationwide.

That brings total claims over the four weeks ended April 11 to nearly 22 million workers, erasing the entirety of labor market gains since the 2008 financial crisis, a stunning sign of the colossal economic damage inflicted by the virus outbreak. Before the pandemic, the largest number of Americans to seek jobless aid in a four-week stretch was 2.7 million in the fall of 1982.

With a labor force that totals about 162 million people, that brings the unemployment rate close to 13 percent.

That exceeds the 10 percent peak during the worst of the Great Recession more than a decade ago and tops the previous post-World War II high of 10.8 percent in 1982, bringing the U.S. closer to Depression-era levels of unemployment. A growing number of economists have warned the so-called “Great Lockdown” will push the global economy into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

This by the way is only the beginning. If businesses are not allowed to open in the next week or so, the cascade of new job loses will make these numbers seem tiny.

But hey, we have to prevent even one death from COVID-19, no matter what the cost, even though its overall impact remains comparable to the annual flu.

Best Buy furloughs 51,000 workers because of Wuhan panic shutdown

The beatings will continue until morale improves: Best Buy yesterday announced that it is furloughing 51,000 workers because their stores have been shuttered by the government imposed lockdown over the Wuhan flu.

Best Buy announced Wednesday the tech chain will furlough roughly 51,000 hourly and part-time store employees nationwide beginning Sunday as the company grapples with the business impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to furloughing the workers, who include “nearly all part-time employees,” an unspecified amount of corporate staff members have volunteered to work reduced hours and, in turn, take pay cuts, while others have volunteered themselves for the temporary furloughs, Best Buy announced Wednesday.

The company will provide health benefits for three more months. No promises after that.

You know, if the company goes under, caused by the government-imposed shutdown, wouldn’t that be a kind of taking of property? And doesn’t the violate the fifth amendment of the Bill of Rights?

Oh, right, that doesn’t count anymore, according to the Democratic governor of New Jersey. I forgot.

JC Penny faces bankruptcy due to Wuhan panic

The beatings will continue until morale improves: J.C. Penny is now facing bankruptcy because it will unable to meet a due date on a loan because of store closures forced on it by state governors, panicking over the Wuhan flu.

Like many traditional retailers, J.C. Penney’s business has been under pressure in recent years amid declining store traffic and a shift toward digital outlets. The company’s struggles were compounded in recent weeks after the coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of 850 J.C. Penney stores.

With turnaround plans temporarily shelved due to the pandemic, J.C. Penney executives are considering filing for bankruptcy, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter. While the retailer has enough cash on hand to weather the store closures, bankruptcy protections would allow J.C. Penney to restructure its upcoming debt payments. The company owes nearly $4 billion in long-term debt.

The article did not say how many employees are presently out of work because of the shut down of JC Penny stores.

I think I will start posting these stories, as I see them. There are a lot, and they illustrate that the shut downs are hurting far more people than the Wuhan flu.

Trump bows to bureaucrats, unveils a never-ending 3-phase program to end shutdowns

The house arrests will continue indefinitely: Though the country’s fifty governors are in charge of the nationwide house arrest and the only ones who can really end it, President Trump today unveiled a 3-phrase program to use as a guide for ending those state shutdowns.

The new guidelines are aimed at easing restrictions in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus, while holding the line in harder-hit locations. They make clear that the return to normalcy will be a far longer process than Trump initially envisioned, with federal officials warning that some social distancing measures may need to remain in place through the end of the year to prevent a new outbreak.

Places with declining infections and strong testing would begin a three-phased gradual reopening of businesses and schools — each phase lasting at least 14 days — to ensure that infections don’t accelerate again.

In phase one, for instance, the plan recommends strict social distancing for all people in public. Gatherings larger than 10 people are to be avoided and nonessential travel is discouraged.

In phase two, people are encouraged to maximize social distancing where possible and limit gatherings to no more than 50 people unless precautionary measures are taken. Travel could resume.

Phase three envisions a return to normalcy for most Americans, with a focus on identification and isolation of any new infections.

Essentially Trump has accepted the rules demanded by the nation’s health bureaucrats. The Bill of Rights and Constitution, meant to protect private property, personal freedom, and religious practice, will continue to be suspended and against the law until these petty dictators decide otherwise.

And even when they declare we can go back to “normal,” they want a program to hunt down infected individuals and label them as “unclean” (my term but quite accurate) so that they won’t be able infect the clean. For those individuals, all rights will still be suspended, possibly forever.

Meanwhile, the numbers continue to suggest that the total deaths from this disease will end up comparable to a somewhat normal flu season. Some might then argue that these deaths are in addition to those flu deaths, but that is incorrect. Most flu deaths occur in older and already sick populations. The Wuhan virus targets these same populations. Someone who dies from one would have been just as likely this year to have died from the other. Thus, the overall mortality will probably not change significantly, if at all, in 2020.

We never shut down the country and suspended the Bill of Rights during past similar flu seasons. In fact, it would have been considered insane to do so. I think it is insane now, suggesting that the real epidemic sweeping across the global is mass hysteria, based on an irrational fear fueled by a partisan press and Democratic politicians who are focused solely on attacking Donald Trump and endlessly seeking ways to hurt him, even if it means putting millions of people out of work and bankrupting the economy.

Moreover, there is tentative evidence that suggests the shutdowns are irrelevant to the spread of the disease. Regardless, these shutdowns were never meant to stop it, only to give the health system breathing room so it would not be overwhelmed by too many patients. That has not happened, meaning that the shutdowns are now unnecessary.

It is time for them to end, now. And if the government won’t back down, then maybe it is time for Americans to tell them to go to hell and go back to work anyway, as suggested by Sarah Hoyt.

Ignore their plans. Their plans are not for our good. The goal is to have everyone out of the house and doing the most productive thing they can by May 1st.

May First (Yes, I know, stealing the commies holiday is grand) is now National Hit the Streets Day. If you can get out of the house and work, do so. Open your shop, serve coffee on our front lawn, I don’t care. Be outside. Do something productive. And if you can’t do something productive AT LEAST BE OUTSIDE. Out in the street. Out in the park. Both of which are paid for by your taxes, btw.

May 1st, get out. Wear SOMETHING yellow (Hong Kong, the gillets jeunes, which though not like us also are fighting attempts at tyranny.) Snek optional.

Because we’re Americans. They govern by the consent of the governed. We don’t need their consent to exercise our natural rights.

As she adds, “They can’t arrest everybody.”

Judge rules health dept must give names of all COVID-19 patients to police

The law is only for the little people: An Illinois judge has ruled that the county health department must give the full list of patients infected with the Wuhan virus to the police, immediately making void all federal and state privacy laws designed to protect our health records.

On Friday, McHenry County Judge Michael Chmiel entered a temporary restraining order mandating that the Health Department disclose to police the names of those actively infected with COVID-19.

…The Health Department refused to reveal the names, prosecutors stated in a news release. Health departments have typically cited privacy concern in withholding such information, specifically the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

What this also means is that if you have been infected with the Wuhan flu, you are now a second class citizen in McHenry County, subject to increased police surveillance and restrictions, regardless of your rights. And your health records are now out of your control, and being freely distributed to government officials.

This story is hardly an outlier. Government officials nationwide are now using the Wuhan flu as an excuse to make them immune from all laws, free to do anything they want in order to increase their power ad infinitum.

If Americans do not resist this abuse of power now, very soon we will not have even the hint of a free nation that we presently retain.

Economy crashes in March due to Wuhan lockdowns

Never let a crisis go to waste: Retail sales in March dropped a record 8.7%, almost entirely due to the nationwide lock downs and business closures imposed by the government on what government officials have arbitrarily determined are “nonessential” businesses.

The Census Bureau said though “many businesses are operating on a limited capacity or have ceased operations completely,” it had “determined estimates in this release meet publication standards.”

Last month’s decrease in retail sales reflected depressed receipts at car dealerships, with light vehicle sales crashing in March. With millions at home and crude oil prices collapsing amid worries of a deep global recession, gasoline prices have dropped, which weighed on sales at service stations in March.

In addition, the closure of non-essential retailers knocked sales at clothing, sporting goods and furniture stores.

There were also steep declines in receipts at restaurants and bars, which stopped in-person service and moved to take-out and delivery service. Though some businesses, including restaurants, have shifted to online sales, the volumes were insufficient to close the gap from social distancing measures. [emphasis mine]

I wonder if the families that run these “non-essential retailers” consider their livelihoods to be “non-essential.” Somehow I don’t think so.

New York falsely inflates COVID-19 death toll with no evidence

U.S. Wuhan virus deaths, as of April 14, 2020

Yesterday the nationwide death toll from the Wuhan virus suddenly jumped after several days of decline. The graph on the right, created using the numbers at this link, illustrates this. Until yesterday it clearly looked as if the epidemic was finally subsiding, and that the peak had occurred as expected several days ago.

Why the jump? Well it turns out the reason is because government officials in New York decided to add thousands of recent deaths to their total, based on no evidence of coronavirus, at all.

The city decided to add 3,700 people to its death tolls, who they “presumed” to have died from the virus, according to a report from The New York Times. The additions increased the death toll in the U.S. by 17%, according to the Times report, and included people who were suffering from symptoms of the virus, such as intense coughing and a fever.

The Times stated: “A limited number of tests have been available, and until now, only deaths where a person had tested positive were counted among those killed by the virus in New York.”

The report stated that Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided over the weekend to change the way the city is counting deaths.

In other words, de Blasio is falsely inflating the numbers. And I can guess why. The drop during the past few days indicated that this manufactured crisis was beginning to end. That cannot be tolerated, as these government officials are still in the process of cementing their totalitarian control over their citizens. More time is needed! Let’s balloon the totals to magnify the crisis beyond reality!

The symptoms described could easily apply just as much to the flu. Moreover, just because someone has a cough or fever does not mean this is what killed them. They don’t say, but I bet some of those individuals clearly died from other causes.

This is fraud and corruption at its worst.

State governments announce demands before releasing citizens from house arrest

A variety of state governments, having now enjoyed their first taste of unrestrained power over their citizens, have begun issuing their odious requirements before they will end the shut downs imposed due to the Wuhan virus, shut downs that are imprisoning their citizens in their homes, destroying businesses, and putting millions out of work.

Those requirements as stated are essentially impossible to meet, and will thus cause these shut downs to continue forever.

For example, the fascist Democratic governor of the fascist state of California has now released the six demands that must be met before it will consider lifting the house arrest it has placed on its citizens.

The actual order can be found here [pdf] The demands, all of which insist on heavy future surveillance and odious limits on the freedoms of California’s citizens, all violate the Bill of Rights, and all have been imposed by degree, with no election or legislative action. They state that before the government will release its citizens from house arrest, the government must have, to quote:
» Read more

A scientist picks apart the COVID-19 models, and finds them wanting

Link here. What he does is what everyone not involved in writing these models (most of which predicted wholesale disaster if we didn’t impose martial law worldwide) should have done. This quote alone tells us the dishonesty of these models:

More surprisingly perhaps, the Imperial College paper published on March 30 states that ‘Our methods assume that changes in the reproductive number — a measure of transmission — are an immediate response to these interventions being implemented rather than broader gradual changes in behavior’ [emphasis in original]. That is to say: in this study, if the virus transmission slows it is ‘assumed’ that this is due to the lockdown and not (for example) that it would have slowed down any way. [emphasis mine] But surely this is a key point, one that is absolutely vital to understanding our whole situation? I may be missing something, but if you are presenting a paper trying to ascertain if the lockdown works, isn’t it a bit of a push to start with an assumption that lockdown works?

In other words, they shaped their prediction so that a lockdown was required to prevent millions of deaths, ignoring the extensive knowledge scientists have about how viral epidemics routinely die out because of the normal spread of infection throughout the population, depriving the virus new and safe hosts to populate.

Or to put it more bluntly, these models were political documents, not scientific research. They, like all the global warming models (that by the way have never succeeded in predicting anything), were aimed not at illuminating our knowledge but in influencing political action, and in this case the destruction of free societies worldwide.

Some people not only deserve to be fired, some might justifiably be hung for the harm they have caused millions. And I am pointing at both the modelers and the politicians who didn’t do the proper due diligence required, and instead panicked, or decided this was a great opportunity to grab some extra power.

Failed past predictions from a COVID-19 “expert”

Neil Ferguson, the Imperial College London epidemiologist and professor of mathematical biology that has been called the “gold standard” of disease modeling, according to the New York Times and Washington Post, and whose initial predictions that the Wuhan flu would kill more than two million people in the United States and half a million in the UK, has in the past routinely made absurdly wrong and vastly overstated predictions for numerous other diseases.

The article compared Ferguson’s predictions with the real data for the following:

Bird Flu: Ferguson predicted up to 200 million deaths worldwide. So far 455 people have died.

Mad Cow Disease: Ferguson predicted up to 150,000 deaths. So far 178 people have died.

Ferguson’s predictions for coronavirus have been as bad. His initial prediction of 2.2 million deaths in the U.S. is going to be so wrong that every politician and individual that cited it to justify the Wuhan panic should be made to apologize, publicly.

As COVID-19 numbers have come in, Ferguson downgraded his predictions, lowering his UK prediction from 500,000 to only 20,000. At this moment the death toll in the Great Britain is under 9,000. It is very unlikely it will reach Ferguson’s revised number. And even if that number ends up close to accurate, it just illustrates that Ferguson’s ability to predict is garbage. His only accurate number was issued on March 26, when almost anyone could have made a prediction of reasonable accuracy.

So we come to the fundamental question: Why have our press and politicians repeatedly relied on this quack’s predictions? Could it be that his over-the-top cries that the world is about to end might serve their interests, and not the general public’s? Might it be possible that they are using him to convince the pubic to give them more power? Could it?

These are valid questions. And the history of the past two decades justifies asking them, as the track record of our mainstream press and politicians during that time has consistently shown they are not interested in the public’s needs, but their own, exclusively.

New study suggests lockdowns did nothing to change epidemic growth

A new study produced by researchers at University College London, University of Pennsylvania and Harvard has found that the lockdowns imposed on populations actually accomplished little in slowing the growth of the Wuhan flu epidemic, and that social distancing appears to have been more than sufficient to do the job.

This information comes from the researchers’ twitter feed, and is about to be published. The key quote:

The mean daily case growth rate had _already_ been declining at this point. There was no additional decline in mean daily case growth after implementation of statewide restrictions on internal movement (“lockdowns”)

The researcher then try to make believe the lockdowns were still a good idea, denying their own results, but there it is for all to see. We have risked bankrupting our whole economy and thrown out our Constitution for no reason.

COVID-19 vs other causes of death

Link here. The article freely admits that a new contagious disease is not the same as something like cancer and snakebites. It also notes the importance of putting this virus in its proper perspective, something unfortunately few are doing.

For example, about 4,700 deaths from the Wuhan flu have been recorded worldwide today. From all accounts we are also very near the peak of this epidemic. Compare this with other death rates:

According to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer, there were 9.6 million deaths from cancer in 2018. That works out to around 26,000 deaths a day worldwide.

17.9 million people died from all cardiovascular diseases in 2016 according to the WHO—this works out as 49,000 a day.

Ischaemic heart disease or coronary heart disease specifically was the cause of 9.4 million deaths worldwide in 2016, 25,840 a day.

In 2016 the WHO estimated that 1.6 million people a year die from factors relating directly to diabetes. This is about 4,400 a day. [emphasis mine]

There’s more. Read it all. And remember also that of the 4,700 or so deaths from COVID-19 today, many occurred because the patient was already sick from some other illness and, based on the skewed reporting system being used, might really have died from those illnesses, not the Wuhan flu.

It is very clear that the fears pounded into us by the leftist academic community, working in league with the Washington bureaucracy, are way out of line. As the article concludes:

To sum up where we stand today, April 9: Based on the pretext that we must “limit the spread” of the Wuhan virus, the American economic boom of the past three years has been reversed in a matter of days, millions have lost their jobs, tens of thousands of small businesses have been shuttered and will probably never reopen, and three-quarters of the American population has been subjected to some form of house arrest by state, county and city governments.

All over the country people are being fined or arrested and jailed for violating suddenly imposed restrictions on their every movement and gathering, often with the aid of their neighbors, who turn them in to the police, following instructions on how to be a snitch. Attendance at religious services has been forbidden altogether or limited to ten people, even in vast cathedrals, while “permission” is granted to crowd supermarkets and convenience stores, buy booze, purchase cannabis and have pets groomed.

America’s almost instantaneous transformation into a police state is based on “models” that “predicted” upwards of 2 million deaths from the Wuhan virus without “mitigation” in the form of a preposterous attempt to quarantine 330 million people. And the people have obsequiously bowed to every ridiculous command.

We have been scammed. It is time that the scammers paid, not innocent Americans. It will however take innocent Americans to make that happen, at the voting booth in November.

Rocket Lab tests 1st stage capture using helicopters

Capitalism in space: In early March, prior to the shutdown of New Zealand due to the Wuhan panic, Rocket Lab successfully completed a test whereby one helicopter dropped a dummy first stage over the ocean, the stage’s parachutes released to slow it down, and then a second helicopter captured it and gently transported and deposited it safely on land.

This test was part of the company’s effort to recovery its first stages so they can be reused. Because of their small size and the difficulty of developing the software, they have decided that a vertical landing is not economical. This test however shows that capturing the stage by parachute is possible. The real trick will be getting the first stage back through the atmosphere to an expected target spot and be able to release its parachutes. Proving that part of the effort will have to wait until the panic is over and New Zealand releases its citizens from house arrest.

I have embedded video of the test below the fold.
» Read more

IHME lowers its death prediction for Wuhan virus again

In what appears to be becoming an almost twice-weekly event, the scientists who created the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model that the White House has been depending on to deal with the Wuhan flu epidemic have once again lowered their projected total deaths from COVID-19, from about 82,000 to 61,000.

Wednesday’s dramatic reverse in the model’s projection of U.S. deaths was made without a press release from IHME explaining the reasons for the reduction. It marks the second reduction in the model’s U.S. deaths projections since April 1, when it forecast 93,765 U.S. fatalities.

On April 5, the death projections were lowered to 81,766.

Our estimates assume statewide social distancing measures are continuing in states where they have already been enacted, and for those states without such measures in place, it is assumed they will be will be in place within seven days,” IHME director Christopher Murray said on April 5. [emphasis mine]

Murray’s highlighted statement above gives the impression that these new lower numbers are because of the imposed “social distancing measures.” This is a lie. All their predictions, even their highest, always included such measures. Thus, their earlier predictions were simply wrong, and very badly wrong.

In only a week they have dropped their prediction by one third.

I must add that this is the same model that has vastly over-estimated the number of hospitalizations that would occur, to the point of absurdity. Instead of having so many coronavirus patients that hospitals were overwhelmed, hospitals have had numerous empty beds, even in New York.

If the deaths from the Wuhan flu end up around 61,000, that number will match exactly the number of total deaths during the 2017-2018 flu season. Remember how we shut down the entire economy then too? I don’t.

I will also make a prediction. The final numbers will still be far lower than the 61,000 they are now predicting, even though there is clear evidence that many states are exaggerating the number of Wuhan flu deaths, probably in order to justify their panic that has shutdown the country and is bankrupting millions. In the end, even with these overstated numbers, the totals (including the flu) will I bet end up not much more than a somewhat bad flu season, but not one far different than 2017-2018, the worst in many years.

If the voters don’t fire a lot of politicians come November for this disgusting travesty, then we are surely doomed to bankruptcy and tyranny in future years.

Wuhan panic causes Space Force to delay launch

The Space Force yesterday announced that it is delaying the April launch by SpaceX of a GPS satellite until June, though they say in their announcement that they also still intend to get all three GPS launches off this year, as originally planned.

It seems they decided that since the in-orbit constellation is operating well, with lots of redundancy, they could afford to wait two months to launch this new upgraded GPS satellite.

Lost freedoms and media lies

The panic over the Wuhan virus is clearly doing irreparable harm to our freedoms. And worse, the loss of those freedoms is being celebrated and supported by the press, the very people who should be acting to protect them, for their own sake if not ours.

Consider for example this article, which documents how four of the ten rights in the Bill of Rights have been tossed out the window during the government imposed lockdowns over the Wuhan flu. It also notes that a more basic right, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, has been cancelled as well.

While this right is not listed in the Bill of Rights and instead appears in the Declaration of Independence, it covers all of our rights in a general sense and should be considered under attack. I have heard from friends who have been stopped at the border of their state and turned back by police; people with out-of-state plates turned away from grocery stores over the border that have supplies they need and can’t get in their own state; and people whose livelihoods are being destroyed by government edicts with no end date in sight. [emphasis mine]

As the author also notes, “anyone who has studied human history knows the ‘temporary’ loss of human rights is rarely temporary.”

The worst part of this article however is the incompleteness of the list of civil rights abuses. Consider these for example:
» Read more

COVID-19 model predictions continue to be too high

Two stories off the wire today illustrate again the overheated and over-stated predictions of the computer models being used by federal and government officials are simply wrong.

The first prediction resulted in a panic that caused hospitals nationwide to cease all “non-essential” medical procedures out of fear they would overwhelmed with serious Wuhan virus sufferers. Instead, hospitals sit empty with little activity and some have had to cut staff and hours because the loss of the income from those “non-essential” procedures is bankrupting them. And in New York, the worst hit state, the model was four times too high:

The model projected that New York would need 65,400 hospital beds by April 4, but only 15,905 were actually used, according to former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson.

The second story reports that the IHME model that the White House and state governors have been relying on to justify shutting down the entire U.S. economy, bankrupting millions of small businesses, and putting millions of people out of work, has reduced its prediction for deaths from COVID-19 from about 93,000 to about 82,000, a number is still certainly too high based on the actual deaths so far. Earlier they were claiming hundreds of thousands could die.

Meanwhile, policy nationwide has been based on the assumption, clearly stated by Dr. Deborah Birx, head of the White House coronavirus task force, that “No state, no metro area, will be spared.”

The numbers however make this statement seem absurd. This state-by-state analysis today shows that the bulk of the problem is focused in the New York metropolitan area:

Thus, we can ascertain by these numbers that 53% of all U.S. Coronavirus deaths are coming from the two states of New York and New Jersey.

…If you throw out the numbers for the top five and bottom five states, removing the extreme highs and lows – the other 40 U.S. states (including Puerto Rico) will have suffered an average of 70 deaths from Coronavirus.

In other words, we have allowed our politicians to bankrupt us over an illness that has killed so few people in most of the country (most of which were aged and likely very sick already) that the numbers could almost have been considered rounding errors.

More evidence that U.S. health system is not being overwhelmed by COVID-19

In an article today in the National Review focused on a lot of good coronavirus news the past week, a number stories jumped out at me, mostly focused on the surplus hospital beds available in the states of Florida, New Jersey, Washington, Maryland, Vermont, Ohio, Utah, and in southern Arizona, and in the cities of Dallas, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Orange County.

In other words, my conclusion earlier this week that the U.S. hospital system was not going to be overwhelmed by COVID-19 is proving to be true. Even in New York, which appears to have the biggest problem, they have arranged with twenty hotels to convert rooms for hospital care.

Much of this surplus is unfortunately caused by the forced lockdowns that have forbidden hospitals to do any elective surgeries (with “elective” sometimes defined so broadly that they have caused some hospitals to cut staff and hours) as well as the too-high predictions that have probably caused them to plan for more beds than they will need.

Nonetheless, these surpluses are good news.

Meanwhile, the daily death toll rose significantly today in the U.S., reaching almost 1,500, after several days where it appeared to have stabilized around 1,000. This rise is not unexpected, and further rises will also not be a surprise. The moment of truth however will be when it begins to drop, which should probably happen in less than two weeks. When that happens, we will then finally be able to get a realistic estimate of the total mortality from COVID-19.

I will add that based on the numbers of actual deaths so far in the U.S., it still appears to me that the prediction of between 100,000 to 240,000 U.S. deaths by Trump’s experts is going to be much too high, and very very wrong.

Predictions four to eleven times higher than actual COVID-19 hospitalizations

Garbage in, garbage out: The computer models being used by hospitals and government authorities to justify the shutdown of the entire American economy have routinely been way too high, four to eleven times higher than the actual numbers.

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which owns HealthData.org and has been cited by the Trump administration, is getting called out for promulgating COVID-19 projections that turn out to be far too high. The institute’s projections are treated as the gold standard by several American hospital systems and state governments, according to its website, which warns that the demand for “ventilators, general hospital beds, and ICU beds” are “expected to exceed capacity.”

Yet it overestimated by four times how many hospitalizations would happen in New York State on one day this week, already accounting for the “lockdown” in the state, according to former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson

For example, the Institute predicted that on April 1 New York would have 50,000 hospitalizations. It only has 12,000. Similarly,

The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis noted similar overestimation on a national level, saying the UW model is using New York and New Jersey data – the epicenter of the epidemic – “and applying it to the rest of the U.S.”

This “garbage” model estimated 121,000 hospitalizations Wednesday, about four times higher than the actual number, he said, delving into more wild divergences between projections and results state-by-state. Tennessee and Texas projections were particularly off, at 11 and nine times higher than actually resulted, while Virginia’s was the closest at only two times higher. [emphasis mine]

For any model to be that badly off in only a week indicates it is total garbage, entirely divorced from reality and more a political document expressing the desires of those who wrote it.

But we’re all gonna die! We’ve got to do something! We’ve got to assume bad things so we can justify our actions!

Shutdowns forcing hospitals to cut staff during Wuhan panic

This makes perfect government sense: The shutdowns that our governments have imposed on people and businesses nationwide due to the Wuhan panic has forced hospitals to cut staff and shorten hours.

The article describes the growing collapse of medical services caused by the state-imposed lockdowns in Ohio, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Connecticut, South Carolina, Tennessee, New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, and Arizona. That’s only ten states, but it is very likely the remaining states are experiencing the same problems, as described in the article:

The Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is furloughing 400 across its health system as a result of surgeries being delayed, which has caused patient volumes to plummet, resulting in millions of dollars of lost revenue, according to the Hartford Courant.

The number of elective cases at Prisma Health in South Carolina has fallen by over 75% in two weeks. CEO Mark O’Halla issued a letter to employees informing them of furloughs, adding that they will be able to file for unemployment and apply for open positions at the hospital.

Two-hundred healthcare workers in Tennessee are being furloughed as a result of “dramatically reduced” hospital visits, which means a loss of revenue, according to the Tennessean.

We need to bankrupt ourselves in order to save us! Thank you government and centralized rule!

First estimate of the cost of the Wuhan panic shutdown

The estimated lose to the U.S. economy due to the shutdown over the Wuhan panic is now estimated at $32 trillion, more than the entire annual gross national product for the country.

That number is of course preliminary, but for a first guess I think it is probably low, especially because it does not include the following:

  • Lost opportunity cost for businesses
  • Lost opportunity cost for individuals who had to delay dreams, plans, etc.
  • The loss of freedom (priceless)
  • The cost of not educating millions of students and falling further behind in academic standards

It also assumes we get back to work relatively soon. Should the shut down extend through May, I think the Great Depression will appear like a lark in comparison.

Note that the overall social cost of this panic and shutdown cannot be measured, as it is also establishing new social distancing customs that are probably overwrought and counter-productive for a healthy society.

States begin push to end voting at polls

The rigging of elections begins: As part of the Wuhan panic, state legislators (as well as Joe Biden, the present Democratic Party front runner for president), are now pushing to change election laws to allow more voting by mail, and to even eliminate in-person voting at the polls.

States are weighing measures to change voting rules in November’s presidential election as they struggle with social-distancing orders during the worldwide coronavirus outbreak, according to a report Tuesday. “More people who vote early or vote by mail, means fewer people standing in line on election day,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla told the Axios news website.

But the effort to keep voters from going to the polls in person Nov. 3 faces legislative and financial roadblocks. The price for states to change their methods of voting could pass $2 billion, Axios said.

Of course, they are completely sincere about their desire to protect us from this evil virus. None of them would ever take advantage of an election conducted entirely by mail to rig the results. Never! How could anyone think such a thing?!

I mean, really, these are the same kinds of people who wrote the FISA court legislation, and then administered it perfectly! They are also the same kind of governmental people who run the IRS and never use it to go after people they don’t like, for political reasons. Never!

I await the coming our perfect government-run utopia. All will be well. Just accept it.

The lack of context during the Wuhan virus panic

Link here.

This editorial tries to remind people that when you look at the whole picture, the coronavirus epidemic simply does not yet justify the fear it has caused, or the over-the-top authoritarian measures politicians have imposed. For example:

On its own, 3,000 fatalities [from COVID-19 as of yesterday] might seem like a tremendously large number. But that’s before you learn that an average of 7,700 people die in the U.S. every single day. Which means that over the past week, when the coronavirus took 2,000 lives, nearly 54,000 people died from other causes. [emphasis in original]

They then list the many other preventable causes of death that each year kill far more people than the coronavirus, and yet pass entirely unnoticed, with no panic, fear, or government-imposed edicts. The mortality numbers for other infectious diseases I find especially revealing:

  • 35,000: antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • 40,922: blood poisoning resulting from bacteria
  • 55,672: flu and pneumonia

Once again, these are numbers for deaths that occur routinely, each year. I don’t remember the government declaring martial law over these. Do you?

COVID-19 could still be as bad as our panic-stricken leaders say, with predictions of between 100,000 to 200,000 deaths this year. I remain very skeptical. Such numbers would be from two to four times higher than the worse flu epidemic. The data from too many sources suggest this prediction is absurdly high.

And even if it is correct, I suspect these deaths will not be additional mortality, on top of all other causes. Instead, I predict that overall the mortality will be about the same, if not less, because of the imposition of martial law. Unable to go out, there will be fewer traffic accidents and flu infections, for example, causes that routinely kill a lot of people.

Thus, the overall death numbers will not be significantly different than we normally see, a result that will hardly justify the panic that has gripped everyone.

Flu deaths appear to be plummeting as COVID-19 arrives

Sarah Hoyt has published a very revealing analysis of the CDC numbers of the on-going 2019-2020 flu season.

The graphs, which are astonishing, show two trends, one somewhat expected, the other completely a surprise. You should definitely go to the link to see.

First, this flu season there is a giant uptick in people seeing their doctor because of flu symptoms. Though the big rise in doctor visits began in December, when COVID-19 first began to make the news, the trend did began well before its appearance, making the uptick somewhat puzzling.

The second trend makes that uptick even more baffling. It appears that in the last four weeks the number of deaths because of flu and pneumonia has plummeted, dropping to far below any numbers for the past five years. As Hoyt notes at the link,

BTW the author and I had several “people who know better than us” look at the charts, and it remains a mystery. No, we don’t know what’s going on. We know it makes no sense.

I suspect the drop in deaths is connected to the high level of concern by the general population, causing them to get treatment earlier so that many who would have died in past seasons don’t. I also suspect that this data also confirms the relatively minor impact so far of COVID-19 overall. As the author notes,

As to conclusions, there isn’t enough data for any concrete conclusion. Looking at this logically, IF there have been COVID-19 cases in the US since December, it doesn’t appear to have been deadly enough to have been very noticeable.

This data is very preliminary, has great uncertainties. Nonetheless, it suggests once again that the panic over the Wuhan flu is way out of line.

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