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Apr 09 2020

COVID-19 Threat: Why the Exaggeration?

You can hardly blame people for being reduced to gibbering panic by the Wuhan coronavirus if they get their news from the likes of MSNBC’s Chris Hayes.

Via American Spectator:

On his March 23 program, Hayes warned that “millions of lives are on the line” if the economic lockdown response to the virus was not extended indefinitely: “There is no option to just let everyone go back out and go back to normal if a pandemic rages across the country and infects 50 percent of the population and kills a percentage point at the low end of those infected and also melts down all the hospitals.” Applying simple arithmetic to that sentence … we find that 50 percent of the U.S. population is more than 160 million people infected with COVID-19. If just 1 percent of those infected died from the virus, that would mean a death toll of at least 1.6 million.

That’s the kind of body count we normally only see under communist governments. Pretty scary, all right.

But the models used to justify draconian responses exaggerated the danger. Already these models have been revised downward.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Andrew Cuomo theatrically screamed that a shortage of ventilators would produce 26,000 unnecessary deaths in New York. Now New York has more ventilators than it needs.

What was Chris Hayes doing when he hyped fears of a raging pandemic that would overwhelm the health-care system and kill 1.6 million Americans, 200 times more than the 80,000 currently projected by the IMHE [Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation] model? He was blaming Trump for having failed to prevent the approaching “doom and death.” The more deaths, the more blame — that was apparently why the Greek chorus of media fear-mongers (Hayes was by no means alone in this) were so eager to promote the worst-case scenarios that did not materialize.

The price of letting propagandists exploit faulty models to whip the public into a panic on behalf of their political agenda is high: in this case, $trillions. It is costing millions of people their jobs. After the coronavirus crisis is over, let’s hope people apply this lesson to the global warming hoax.

In the meantime, we can still mitigate the damage if we drop the hysteria and adopt a more reasonable response right now. Leave the schools closed, isolate the most vulnerable, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, wear a mask even — but lift the lockdown and open the country for business again. Willis Eschenbach makes a statistical case for this at WUWT.

On tips from Angel Artiste.

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