Thursday, April 23, 2020

Intellectual Vapidity

Nothing has revealed the intellectual vapidity of the climate denial community than their insistence they also know the truth of Covid-19's epidemiology, which they know but somehow all the experts don't understand.

You're all read it, same as I have. This is actually a very clarifying moment. Their denial is nothing but ideology and truculence.


Ned said...

I'm going to trespass upon our host's tolerance, and re-post something I just posted at the end of the previous thread. I wouldn't normally do this, but (a) I don't want it to get lost in a long thread of comments, and (b) it's 100% applicable to *this* thread, because it's very much about both "intellectual vapidity" and the curious pattern of climate-change denialists (Powerline's Hinderaker and "David in Cal" here) now venturing into coronavirus denialism.

Ned said...

[The previous] thread is a massive embarrassment, first to David in Cal, and anyone taking his comment seriously.

Hinderaker doesn't know any more about epidemiology than your average dairy cow. The CDC statistics he links to are not complete. Data for the past year are still provisional and 2020 data are still being compiled by CDC; the numbers on the linked page will change as death records are assimilated. He is summing data over January and February, when 90% of all US Covid-19 deaths occurred in April ... and the April statistics in the CDC's all-deaths count are woefully incomplete.

If you want to compare 2020 mortality rates to previous years, you either have to wait a year for the data to be finalized by CDC, or you have to look at local jurisdictions that already have compiled their own mortality counts.

Hinderaker's claim that "a great many alleged coronavirus deaths are actually people who would have died at the same time, regardless, from other causes" -- promoted here by David in Cal -- is wildly wrong and it's appalling to see this kind of bullshit being uncritically repeated.

In the areas where most coronavirus deaths have occurred, total deaths are WAY up from previous years, with the difference exceeding the number of reported coronavirus cases.

This means that coronavirus is responsible for more than the reported number of deaths. In part this is due to deaths from coronavirus that are occurring outside hospitals and are not being labeled as CV. In part it's due to deaths from other causes that are occurring because hospitals are overwhelmed and patients with other problems are not receiving care, or are afraid to go to the hospital.

For example:

Deaths in New York City Are More Than Double the Usual Total

For those who haven't signed up for the NY Times free coverage of Covid-19, here's the graph from that article:

The Economist did an analysis of mortality rates for countries with large Covid-19 deaths, and found consistently large rates of excess mortality in addition to the official reported deaths directly attributed to Covid-19:

Tracking covid-19 excess deaths across countries
Official covid-19 death tolls still under-count the true number of fatalities

Here's an example for the UK -- which reports statistics more rapidly than the US CDC -- showing the interannual range of variation in deaths per week, for the past decade, compared to 2020:

Virtually all the mortality caused by Covid-19 -- both directly and indirectly -- in the UK and the USA has occurred in the last 4 weeks. But Hinderaker's calculations, promoted here by David in Cal, swamp that by including 10 weeks of data pre-Covid-19, and using incomplete death numbers for the recent weeks to falsely claim that mortality has decreased.

David in Cal's posts here are shameful. First it was promises in early March that tests would "soon" be in the millions. Then it was aping Trump in enthusiastically promoting hydrochloroquine as treatment for CV. This, however, is a much darker turn, spreading disinformation to falsely suggest that the numbers of deaths from Covid-19 are lower than reported when they are actually much higher than reported.

Victor Venema said...

Not sure it is even ideological. The GOP used to love free trade, now they love trade wars. The GOP claimed to love free markets, but no one protested when Trump micro-managed the economy and attacked or helped single corporations. They claimed to value life and now call for human sacrifices to their economic God.

It is tribalism. Their followers will do what their leaders say. That makes Republican politicians such lucrative investment objects for corporations and oligarchs.