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The Collective Fallacy, COVID-19 & Hurricane Harvey
Can we ever take government seriously again?
by L. Reichard White
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
Which of the following politicians was right about Hurricane Harvey?
"I think it would be a good idea to take a
few days off, get out of the Houston area."
—Texas Governor Abbott
Getting a bit more serious—so your body can be identified if you don't evacuate and "get out of Houston "—there was this advice from another politician—
"We're suggesting if people are going to
stay here, mark their arm with a Sharpie pen with their name and Social
Security number …We hate to talk about things like that … It's not
something we like to do but it's the reality, people don't listen."
"—Rockport Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Rios
On the other hand,
"Please think twice before trying to leave
Houston en masse. No evacuation orders have been issued for the city.
—Houston mayor Sylvester Turner
ANSWER: None of them were right.
Do you know why?
If so, you're well ahead of the pack!
Here's the first clue—
Three days before landfall, [Hurricane] Rita bloomed
into a Category 5 and tracked toward the city. City and Harris County
officials told Houstonians to hit the road, even while the population of
Galveston Island was still clogging the freeways. The evacuation itself
wound up far more dangerous than the storm: 110 people died during the
effort, while the eventual Category 4 storm killed nine.
—Ike whips up waves as it steams toward Texas, Sep 12, 2008, AP
And the second clue—
However, despite the dangers of evacuation, if you're in, say, a low-lying area of South Houston—perhaps within sight of Trinity Bay—with a predicted storm surge of 9 to 13 feet and maybe 40 inches of rain, you might want to consider Governor Abbott's advice "to take a few days off, get out of the Houston area."
And the third clue:
If you're elsewhere in Houston—a central Houston high-rise for example—Mayor Turner's advice to "Please think twice before trying to leave Houston en masse" makes a lot more sense. Especially in light of previous history. Hurricane Rita, as above for example.
The bottom line is, as seminal economist Ludwig von Mises, seminal quantum physicist Niels Bohr, and seminal baseball catcher Yogi Berra all agree, "Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future ." This is especially true when counting on computer simulations to make the prediction.
You can see, however, that from another perspective, both Governor Abbott and Mayor Turner were correct. That is, both leaving and staying in Houston during Hurricane Harvey made good sense. Depending on your individual circumstances.
Fortunately, despite the delusions of control still harbored by most politicians, bureaucrats and others who think we're stupid and they must homogenize us into "one size fits all" —and always be in charge—no evacuation orders were issued. And, on the bright side, as Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Rios noted, "…people don't listen" anyway—
When a Spec's liquor store opened in Houston on
Friday morning, it did not have to wait long for customers: About 125 of
them had lined up outside in the rain. By early afternoon, the store's
manager, Ryan Holder, estimated that about 3,000 people had passed
through, filling the parking lot and then their cars with wine and not a
few kegs of beer.
—Hurricane Harvey Makes Landfall Near Corpus Christi, Tex. - The New York Times
The chronic problem is non-conscious application of the Collective Fallacy to inherently unequal things—and to attempt this disasterous behavior despite the Law of Universal Inequality. In this case, the unequal things are humans in the path of Hurricane Harvey and in all sorts of different locations and in unequal circumstances.
The application to the COVID-19 fiasco is pretty obvious.
Even if their general advice is good—social distancing and washing your hands are good advice, even against the flu and certainly can't hurt. But clearly they can't rationally dictate what States should ALL do or when they should ALL do it any more than the Texas politicos could rationally tell ALL Houston's citizens collectively what to do in the face of Hurricane Harvey.
This guy is on the right track—
…we not only need to know Rt [the time-dependent
reproduction number], we need to know local Rt. New York's epidemic is
vastly different than California's and using a single number to describe
them both is not useful….
—INSTAGRAM founder Kevin Systrom
As of April 17, 2020, it looks as if Mr. Trump has caught on and, inadvertantly supporting States Rights by turning COVID-19 policy over to the individual States, has so far avoided committing The Collective Fallacy.
But, why leave it up to State Governors or other elected psychopaths and liars? Instead emulate Houston mayor Sylvester Turner. "Think twice," he suggested, and then left it to the individuals and/or groups directly involved who almost certainly know their individual circumstances better than any politician or bureaucrat—and more importantly, have their skin in the game.
Perhaps you're thinking, "But that would kill grandpa. We need herd immunity!"
There are two ways to get "herd immunity: " Vaccine or direct experience. Vaccine is at least a year away. It's clear "we" can't survive a year of lock-down. Like it or not, that leaves "direct experience," which, as we're seeing with all those infectious undiagnosed cases out there, can't be avoided anyway. Certainly not for a year or more.
Since by far the largest percentage of folks who actually die from COVID-19—the ones that really do (see below)—are over 50 and/or have "pre-existing conditions," we don't need to "stay home to protect them," they need to stay home to protect the economy—and all of us from a repeat of The Great Depression or worse.
The European spokesman's claim—RT, Thursday, April 02, 2020 4:24 PM—that 95% of deaths come from folks over 50 isn't so surprising since approximately half of the COVID-19 deaths so far are among folks already "staying home" anyway—
Saving grandpa may be a little more complicated than originally thought.
Next let's take a little closer look at those COVID-19 figures they've been feeding us. For example, how were those " confirmed cases" and "confirmed deaths" actually confirmed?
On April 16, 2020, President Trump bragged that here in the U.S., because of recent deployment of point-of-treatment tests with results available in minutes instead of days, "3.5 million tests have been performed, more per-capita than even S. Korea." That amounts to just about 1% of the U.S. population.
So, in the remaining 99% of the population, how many folks are harboring COVID-19 but, while infected, don't show symptoms, or even with symptoms, don't seek treatment?
Clearly it's not zero and could be quite large. That means it isn't included in the denominator of DEATH RATE = CONFIRMED DEATHS / NUMBER INFECTED x 100%.
That means that the currently imputed death rate from being infected with COVID-19, based mostly only on folks who seek diagnosis and/or are admitted to hospitals, is inflated right from the get-go.
More interestingly, how were cases and deaths confirmed before this recent testing and with results that took days? And how are they being confirmed in the rest of the world with less testing?
So let's take a look at those diagnoses—
Because there's still (mid April 2020) a shortage of tests and facilities, in addition to exhibiting serious symptoms, those being tested had to be referred by a physician.
One of the test facilities outside Pittsburgh reported that only about 5% of those approved for testing actually tested positive. That means in that case, diagnoses based on symptoms alone fooled physicians about 95% of the time. This is somewhat understandable since, in addition to the pandemic mental-set, the official symptoms of COVID-19 closely resemble those of the common flu.
Now remember that before this—up until mid-April—particularly during the February and March "scare period, " there simply weren't tests in most cases.
So, you might ask, given the inaccuracy of diagnoses based solely on symptoms and lacking tests, how did folks know a death was actually caused by COVID-19? Or that COVID-19 was even present?
Here's a clue: [CDC GUIDELINES]
Dr. Scott Jensen, a Minnesota physician and
Republican state senator said he received a 7-page document coaching him
to fill out death certificates with a COVID-19 diagnosis without a lab
test to confirm the patient actually had the virus. …Dr. Jensen explained
that this is not a normal procedure. …for example if the same patient had
pneumonia during flu season and he didn't have a test confirming the
patient also had influenza, he would never diagnose the patient with
influenza on the death certificate.
—MN Senator and Dr. Reveals HHS Document Coached Him on How to Overcount COVID-19 Cases
So clearly, there were—probably still are—a lot of diagnosed COVID-19 cases and deaths where no COVID-19 existed, especially during the "scare-period" in February and March when even the current meager testing wasn't available.
But it's worse than that.
Even in the cases where tests are actually given and COVID-19 is indicated, was it actually COVID-19 that caused the death?
In his letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, multi-credentialled German infectologist epidemiologist Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi puts it this way—
"…the mistake is being made worldwide to report virus-related deaths as soon as it is established that the virus was present at the time of death—regardless of other factors. This violates a basic principle of infectiology: only when it is certain that an agent has played a significant role in the disease or death may [that] diagnosis be made."
Complicating matters, "hospital" is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. How many COVID-19 sufferers died from a hospital-related incident instead?
In my previous piece, " The Rock vs. the Hard Place," I somewhat tongue-in-cheek suggested that if Uncle Joe was diagnosed with COVID-19 and then died in an auto crash, COVID-19 might be reported as the cause of death.
Well, not quite as gross, but this illustrates the real-life situation in the U.S. today—
I have a friend whose 95-year-old mother was
hospitalized for COVID. On day two of the hospitalization, the patient
died of a massive heart attack. Guess what the primary cause of death was
listed on the death certificate? If you guessed COVID-19, you win the
prize…. Because of this, COVID will be diagnosed as the cause of death far
more than it should.
—Dr Brownstein | Fake COVID-19 Death Numbers
Trump-team star Dr. Brix explained why that happens—
Dr. Birx confirmed during a COVID-19 task force
briefing that a new ICD code was established to keep track of Coronavirus
deaths. …there's a new secondary code, U07.2, "for clinical or
epidemiological diagnosis of COVID-19 where a laboratory confirmation is
inconclusive or not available, [this is] expected to result in COVID-19
being the underlying cause more often than not," the guidelines read.
Dr. Birx told a reporter, "We've taken a very liberal approach to
mortality.", …"If someone dies with COVID-19, we are counting
that as a COVID-19 death," Birx said.
—Dr. Birx Confirms Anyone Who Dies WITH Coronavirus, Regardless of Any Underlying Health Condition, is Being Counted as a COVID-19 Death
Why would doctors, hospitals and the CDC engage in such chicanery? In the previously referenced article, Dr. Brownstein explains that "Hospitals receive …up to $13,000 from the Government for an admission diagnosis of COVID," and "if the patient is ventilated, they receive up to $39,000." "I can guarantee you that hospital administrators are running around telling every physician and resident physician to diagnosis COVID at the first cough or sneeze," Dr. Brownstein suggests.
Further, suggests the good Doc, CDC wants a high death count so it can get increased funding from Congress and the Government wants the same because the Government is going to need a really, really, really good excuse for destroying the U.S. economy.
Let me repeat that: "the Government is going to need a really, really, really good excuse for destroying the U.S. economy. "
Here's a read on the extent of the deception from Italy—
On re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12 per cent of [Italian] death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 per cent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity - many had two or three." This means that the cause of death for COVID-19 on death certificates in Italy have been artificially inflated by 88%! —Dr Brownstein | Fake COVID-19 Death Numbers and There Still Is Good News
This might also explain China's widely disbelieved claim of only about 3,300 COVID-19 CAUSED deaths and no new infections. Maybe they've corrected the mistake most of the rest of the world is still making.
Just too fantastic to believe? It must be one of those conspriacy theories? Well, yes, since it's clear it IS a conspiracy of sorts, even if a stupid one.
And there is even more Big Picture evidence. First there's the Incredible Shrinking Virus as some call the shriveling computer-modeled COVID-19 U.S. death projections. They started out at 1 to 2 million, then Dr. Fauci revealed 100,000 to 200,000, next CDC floated 82,000 and the latest from Dr. Fauci is, "it looks like less than 60,000." Will there be further incredible shrinkage? Time will tell.
By way of comparison, according to the CDC, as many as 62,000 U.S. flu-caused deaths may have already occured in the six months between Oct. 1, 2019 and March 21, 2020.
So, where was the economy-destroying lockdown to stop the flu?
The really Big Picture, however, is—and will be—revealed by what epidemiologists count on, " excess deaths."
That is, since there is an average number of deaths on record for each year, are there more or less deaths than normal now? If COVID-19 is truely as wide-spread and deadly as is being claimed, the "excess deaths" stat should be through the roof. Or at least bruising its head on the ceiling.
So, how are the "Authorities" going to back out gracefully from this Collective Fallacy faux-pas? What's your guess?
One way or the other, stopping "the pandemic " is out the window. According to the MSM, Fauci, Blix, etc. at least 80% of us will have a bout with COVID-19 and even according to the alarmists, most of us will recover. It will likely be with us and seasonal from now on, just like the flu it is.
Vaccines, as the experts tell us, won't be here for at least a year. Herd immunity, whether by vaccine or direct experience, seems the best answer.
So remember, Trump's "Federal Guidelines "—State Guidelines etc. as well—are just GUIDELINES.
Our fooled and duped public servants need to get out of our way and let those of us willing to take the risk try to "open up America" again. And quickly before we lock ourselves down back to the stone age.
Let's get on with it!
BTW, do you still take government seriously?
HERE for updates, additions, comments, and corrections.
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L. Reichard White [send him mail] taught physics, designed and built a house, ran for Nevada State Senate, served two terms on the Libertarian National Committee, managed a theater company, etc. For the next few decades, he supported his writing habit by beating casinos at their own games. His hobby, though, is explaining things he wishes someone had explained to him. You can find a few of his other explanations listed here.
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