COVID-19: A Pandemic of Lies

As of this writing, daily new cases of COVID-19 in Germany, the most populous country in Europe with 83 million people, hover around 500. The entire European Union — population 447 million, a third larger than United States — reports stable 4,000 new cases per day. United States has now crossed 50,000 new cases per day and it keeps getting worse.

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Why? Because of fascists and lies. There’s many books about the vicious co-dependency between authoritarian forms of government and destruction of objective truth and science, so instead of once again explaining the mechanics of it, I’ll illustrate.

Here’s the list of countries at the top of the Johns Hopkins dashboard that have very evidently — based primarily on the current trajectory of their daily cases — failed to stop the spread of COVID-19:

1. United States
2. Brazil
3. Russia (stopped reporting accurate stats in May)
4. India
5. Mexico
6. Iran
7. Pakistan
8. Saudi Arabia
9. South Africa
10. Bangladesh
11. Colombia
12. China (lied to WHO from the very start)
13. Sweden
14. Egypt
15. Argentina
16. Belarus (stopped reporting accurate stats even before Russia)
17. Indonesia
18. Iraq
19. Kuwait
20. Ukraine

With a single exception of Sweden, this is a parade of authoritarian regimes, failed states, countries at war, and flawed democracies that have recently elected populist politicians and are now sliding towards authoritarianism.

Ta-Nehisi Coates called Trump the first white president: a president elected entirely on a platform of racism. It is fitting that Trump’s greatest accomplishment has become making COVID-19 the first global pandemic of lies.

Here’s some uncomfortable truths.

Won’t herd immunity from getting more people exposed slow down the virus?

There will be no herd immunity. Antibody testing shows 40,000x variation in antibody counts between coronavirus patients. Most people exposed to COVID-19 don’t gain immunity and can get infected again. If anything, new COVID-19 strains are only getting more infectious.

Isn’t COVID-19 mortality rate inflated?

No. As of this writing, there’s been 11 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 520,000 deaths. There is no “silent majority” of unreported cases. Different countries apply different testing and contact tracing strategies and show very different trends on infection spread, but the variation in mortality rates between countries remains within the same order of magnitude: 3–13% with the global average at 5%. The countries that significantly deviate from that average (Russia at 1.3% and Belarus at 0.6%) are reporting fabricated COVID-19 statistics to WHO.

The numbers are really low where I live?

Don’t. Santa Cruz county has lower per-capita COVID-19 cases than any of its neighboring counties. Here’s what Twin Lake Beach in Santa Cruz looked like on June 10.

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And here is what daily new COVID-19 cases look like as of July 3. It would take as little as a couple of weeks of continued exponential spread like that for the total cases to triple again and for Santa Cruz cases per capita to overtake Orange County.

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Is COVID-19 surging because of the protests?

No. The locations of largest Black Lives Matter protests — New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, DC — did not see a surge in new COVID-19 cases. The late June surge happened primarily in states and counties that either reopened, have failed to enforce, or didn’t implement stay-at-home in the first place.

Won’t a complete lock-down destroy US economy?

Not if you do it right. We only need two months of complete lock-down to bring daily case numbers down to a level where we can keep it from accelerating again through testing and contact tracing. Giving the entire country Kamala’s $2,000/month of universal basic income for two months would only cost $1.3 trillion — less than what Trump’s tax cut for the rich has cost us so far.

The alternative that we’re facing instead: major fraction of the country’s population catching COVID-19 all at once, businesses shutting down anyway because they can’t operate when 20% of their staff are too sick to come to work, 13% of country’s population dying, and 78% of the rest getting bankrupted by medical bills.

US GDP is $22 trillion. Losing even 13% of that just to the deaths would contract the economy by $2.8 trillion per year. Add a 5% recession (optimistically assuming that it will be on the scale of the 2008 recession and not the 15% of the Great Depression) and over 3 years US economy will lose $12 trillion — 10x the cost of a full two months lock-down with UBI.

Won’t everyone get exposed to it anyway by the time we get the vaccine?

Not even close. Assuming we can get a working vaccine and have everyone vaccinated in the next 12 months, by then the EU’s 4k steady new cases per day would add up to 1.5 million cases, which at 5% mortality rate observed in the countries where case load didn’t overload the healthcare system will result in 73,000 more deaths.

Allowing the virus to spread to the entire population means not having enough ventilators, ICU units, hospital beds, and medical staff to keep up with case load. The countries in that situation saw COVID-19 mortality rates rise to 13%.

People talking about exposing everyone to COVID-19 are proposing to kill 40 million people in United States.

For comparison, even at the current 50,000 new cases per day, 18 of 328 million people in US would be exposed, and only 900,000 would die. Yes, this is now America’s optimistic estimate. We could have limited it to 80,000 dead over the course of the entire pandemic (3,000/day x 18 months x 5% mortality), and instead we’re talking about keeping it under a million people and not letting it become 40 million.

Holodomor, Holocaust, and the Cambodian genocide by Red Khmers pale in comparison to the scale of the genocide perpetrated right now by the US government with cheerful support of some 100 million domestic bio-terrorists.

No, this is not a hyperbole. Intentional mass murder for political or religious purposes is terrorism. Trump has politicized the pandemic and encouraged his supporters to openly flaunt contagion control measures. Voting age population of US is 250 million. 40% of them support Trump. 100 million American citizens are willing accomplices in what is about to become the deadliest genocide in human history.

We need a better religion. This one has pulled people into a death cult.

References

Daily new COVID-19 cases in US and EU:
https://www.statista.com/chart/22102/daily-covid-19-cases-in-the-us-and-the-eu/

Johns Hopkins Institute dashboard on COVID-19 in the world:
https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

LA Times dashboard on COVID-19 in California:
https://www.latimes.com/projects/california-coronavirus-cases-tracking-outbreak/

Belarus accused of fabricating COVID-19 statistics:
https://afn.by/news/i/275882

There will be no herd immunity:
https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/06/antibody-testing-suggests-immune-response-post-covid-is-very-variable/

A new strain has mutated to spread faster:
https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/06/mutation-may-be-helping-coronavirus-spread-more-readily/

COVID-19 outbreaks across US in June are not caused by BLM protests:
https://apnews.com/5a283df1b23ecc5c4b19803d320d0ebc

78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck:
http://press.careerbuilder.com/2017-08-24-Living-Paycheck-to-Paycheck-is-a-Way-of-Life-for-Majority-of-U-S-Workers-According-to-New-CareerBuilder-Survey

Presidential vote by religious affiliation and race:
https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/09/how-the-faithful-voted-a-preliminary-2016-analysis/

I have opinions, and I am not afraid to use them.

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