Julia Ioffe is why I do not trust the Covid-19 statistics in the press
Let me first say that I am not a member of some alleged cult as left-wingers call anyone who might agree with President Trump on anything. I do not take my information on the Covid-19 pandemic from Trump OR the anti-Trump politicians and press people. I find it necessary to do my own research.
I also do not take seriously the disinformation that spews from the mouths of so-called journalists like Julia Ioffe – a writer for GQ Magazine. For me, she personifies the problem of dubious claims and mendaciously constructed statistics. It is not always what they say but what they do not say.
(Incidentally, Ioffe is Russian born. Hmmm. Does that make her a Russian asset or agent? Is she part of a Russian disinformation campaign to disrupt American comity? I am joking, of course – but such a contention would be in line with the dubious claims of Trump being a Russian asset or an agent. If Ioffe were working for Trump, you can bet that the press would see it as Russian collaboration. But I digress.)
Ioffe was introduced by Mika Brzezinski on “Morning Joe.” She was asked about her difficult recovery from Covid-19. Weeeell … Ioffe waxed on how she had a severe case. She had to go to the emergency room. She was eventually prescribed steroids. After she thought she had recovered, she said she had a relapse. She suffered for more than five weeks.
She then said something rather remarkable. Her pity story took a strange turn. She alleged that her case showed that you can have Covid-19 and never test positive. WHAT?? She never tested positive? Not before she became symptomatic, during her convalescence and after her recovery? She said she always tested negative.
That means Ioffe had no way of knowing if she had the virus. It is more than likely that she did not. I had a similar experience as Ioffe – maybe worse. It involved two consecutive trips to the emergency room. I was suffering from violent coughing spells and almost incapable of getting out of bed. Could not eat. It dragged on unabated for days. In my second trip to the hospital doctors said that I may not have survived if I stayed at home any longer.
The emergency room was overflowing. There were gurneys lining the hallways and patients were actually being treated in the waiting room. There was no bed available in the entire hospital, so I spent the night on a gurney in an emergency storage room.
After returning home, I felt a bit better, but the coughing continued. I was finally prescribed steroids and my lungs cleared up in a week. My several-week ordeal was over – and I have felt fine ever since.
Oh … I think I forget to mention. I did not have Covid-19. My illness occurred last year – long before we heard of the Wuhan flu (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).
To me, the Ioffe interview seemed like just another attempt by the biased media to create fear based on false narratives and the misuse of statistics. It goes along with a number of facts that the anti-Trump news media refuse to include in the daily propaganda reports. I have written about some of this stuff in the past, but apparently it needs updating.
The infected population
If you follow the press, they give the impression that there are 9 million people running around with Covid-19 infecting their fellow citizens. The real number is about 2.9 million with 5.9 million having recovered.
The seriously ill
Over the course of the past month or so, the number of individuals considered to be “serious/critical” – according to official government designation and statistics — has risen from approximately 14,000 to the current level of 16,000 across the entire nation. And most of those will recover.
We hear a lot about what some would call permanent residual complications. There are such cases, but they are very very few in terms of those who come down with Covid-19. Similar complications are also found in some individuals who contract other forms of corona flu viruses.
In addition to the raw data, I follow the words of the top medical professionals – especially Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Center for Disease Control. I believe in both cases; they are knowledgeable and well-intentioned in their reports. But I also remember the history of those reports – something the news media wants folks to forget.
In the early days of the virus, Fauci is on the record as saying that the Covid-19 virus will NOT be a major problem for the United States. He said it was unlikely to impact hard in America. That is what Fauci was saying at the time when Trump was saying pretty much the same thing.
I recall watching Fauci advising people against wearing masks in public. When asked if he would be wearing a mask, he was dismissive in his response. “Why would I wear a mask? I have no symptoms.” That from a man in the high-risk category.
I remember not long ago when Fauci was asked about Trump’s response to professional advice. Fauci said that the President listened to their (the White House Task Force) advice and implemented it. Fauci’s opinion has changed in more recent weeks, but it is noteworthy that the President was listening to the professionals in the early months of the Pandemic.
We also must keep in mind that Fauci is myopically focused on the Covid-19 pandemic. He is not empowered to address the severe impact on the economy or on the wellbeing of the hundreds of millions of Americans impacted more by the shutdowns – and the surge in the loss of lives and reduction in health due to shutdowns.
Are the numbers correct?
I am dubious. We do know that a lot of people who are said to have died from Covid-19 are not scientifically or medically established. That’s right. In that number of deaths is a high percentage of what the government categorizes as “assumed.” These are folks who have not been tested before or after death to determine if they even had Covid-19.
When I did research on the high number of deaths in New York nursing homes, I was surprised to find that the official accounting showed that 60 percent of those deaths were “assumed.” That is an important statistic – like the number of people who have recovered – that the media refuses to report.
The issue of co-morbidity
This one is a bit more difficult in putting people into one category or another. It is the question as to whether a person died “from” or “with” Covid-19. This is a different population than the “assumed” deaths.
We have seen some abuses of the accounting system – a person with Covid who died in a traffic accident. A suicide. Patients in the last stages of a terminal illness.
Covid-19 may have been the coup d grace in the case of those with short-term survival prospects, but is it fair to set aside the terminal emphysema, cancer or liver failure and rank Covid-19 as THE cause of death? We should at least be able to agree that there are good arguments on both sides of this.
Like the number of cases itself, the number of hospitalizations is increasing. That is not a nationwide issue. It is limited to areas that are suffering spikes at any given time. Viruses tend to move from community to community. Covid-19 is no different in that regard. The vast majority of hospitals will not be overrun by Covid-19 patients. The reports we see in the media are largely isolated regions with spikes. The reports of hospitals with no further capacity generally focus on a few hospitals in a region – maybe only one.
During the worst days of the Pandemic here in southern Florida – the most impacted area of the state – No hospital ran out of bed space, ventilators or personnel. I know because I personally checked them out when the press was reporting we had run out of all the aforementioned. We can also recall how the field medical facility in the Javits Center in Central Park and the hospital ship USN Comfort were never used even as reports suggested people would be dying without access to medical attention and ventilators.
Death rate is decreasing
While the nation is suffering a surge in cases, the death RATE is dropping. The actual number of deaths will always go up when there are more cases because the number of deaths cannot decline. Those who die do not recover. The decline in the death rate is likely due to the fact that as we do more and more testing – increasing the number of found cases – they are more likely to be the younger or asymptomatic cases.
One of the other problems in the statistical data is overreporting. It is exacerbated by the “dying with” issue. Because government agencies provided special funding based on the number of Covid-19 cases, there is a financial benefit to reporting more rather than less cases.
To view that as a reason for higher numbers in the case count is not cynical skepticism. It is human nature. Virtually every doctor in every hospital in American knows that more Covid cases means more money. If you do not think that would – even could – have an impact on diagnoses, I fear you are rather naive.
Most will recover
The good news is that the most enduring statistic is the fact that 80 percent of those who contract Covic-19 will have mild or no symptoms – and recover without the need for any intervention. Even the majority of seniors with underlying conditions will recover. I know that because I heard Dr. Fauci say so.
He said the seniors who are relatively healthy – even with some underlying conditions – will fare quite well. He used himself as an example. The concern is for those in the most advanced years with the most advanced chronic and deadly illnesses. Yes, there are exceptions, but we must base policy – and our personal decisions – on the broader statistics, not the prattle from biased newsies, politicized paid-for media doctors and the politicians.
You should not even take this commentary at face value. Go check out the statistics, the reporting and the real facts. You just might be surprised that what I write is more accurate and informative than what you hear from the politicized press every day – and from people like Julia Ioffe.
By the way, you may recall that Ioffe was the gal recently bounced from Politico for an obscene tweet suggesting that Trump was having sex with his daughter Ivanka. Apparently, nothing is too crude or lewd for her new bosses at The Atlantic when it comes to attacking Trump.
So, there ‘tis.