Indiana is still trying to scare its people

The ISDH website which I have bitched about for weeks is finally reporting tests at the county level, but is still not reporting recoveries.  I continue to maintain that it cannot be that difficult to report the number of recoveries of people who were hospitalized with cases of WuFlu.  You know they came into the hospital, you know they left the hospital.  Raw numbers like that which do not identify anyone are not protected by HIPAA.

So let’s look at Marion County.  As of now, the page reports

5,295 Positive cases

305 Deaths

24,000 Total tested

OK.  So roughly (very roughly) for every 5 tests, they’ve had 1 positive case.  And that number has got to be incorrect, because it does not take into account the fact that until just a couple of weeks ago, practically nobody was getting tested.  (When I wrote my original “Bullshit.” post, 25 days ago, only 19,800 had been tested STATEWIDE.)  So many of the positive cases probably can’t be counted among the total tested.  Unless they can, and this is the problem with numbers thrown out to the public without any explanation of how they were derived.

So let’s look at the statewide totals, since I have them handy from April 4 (25 days ago) and we can do some comparisons.

Statewide COVID-19 Totals from ISDH
Date Total Positive Cases Total Deaths Total Tested
April 4 3,953 116 19,800
April 29 17,182 984 91,550

In 25 days — three weeks and four days — the number of positive cases has (roughly) quadrupled.  The number of deaths (which remain nearly negligible from a statistical point of view) have increased 8.5 times.  The total number of those tested has increased just over 4.6 times.

But what’s still missing?

Yep.  How many of those 16,198 positive cases where the patient didn’t die (or hasn’t yet died) have resolved into recovery?

The state doesn’t want to tell us.  It’s not that they don’t know the number, or don’t have a feel for it, it’s that it doesn’t help the Governor’s narrative that he wants to keep the state shut down for at least another week into May.

And let’s face it — we were told there would be a lot more deaths than we’ve seen so far, even with the curve flattening.

Testing is beginning to show that the Governor is full of shit about the spread.  Only 18.8% of those tested so far have had the virus.  (24,000 of those tested are in Marion County, BTW.  That’s 26.2% of the statewide total, and makes sense because Marion County is the largest population center in the state.)  And there’s another statistic I’d like to know — how many of those tested had the virus but remained asymptomatic and simply had to stay home for two weeks in self-quarantine?

If you add the “doughnut counties” — the eight counties surrounding Marion County, in other words, the “Indianapolis Metropolitan Area” — you find another 18,003 total tests, which is another 19.6% of the statewide total.  So 26.2+19.6 = 45.8%, or pretty damn close to half the tests in the entire state.

Adding up all the positive cases reported in the 9-county metro area, you get 8,404, or 48.9% of the statewide total.

Adding up all the deaths in the 9-county metro area, you get 964, or 57.4% of the statewide total.

Bottom line, half the problem is in 9 of the 92 counties in the state.  And the problem is not statistically massive.  Using again the number for statewide population that I pulled on April 4, 6,692,000, the percentages as of today (29 Apr 2020) are like this:

Indiana COVID-19 Totals as Percentage of Total State Population, 29 Apr 2020
State population (est. 2017) 6,692,000
Total reported cases in the population 0.257%
Total deaths in the population 0.014%
Total tested in the population 1.368%

We are still being coddled by our All Wise And Powerful Governor for something that has barely ticked over a quarter of a percentage point of the population, and hasn’t killed but 14 thousandths of a percent of the population.  And only ~1.4% of the population has even been tested, but that’s still 7 times more than have been tested and are positive. (Numbers corrected slightly on 30 Apr 2020; percentage of total tested was misstated in the table but stated correctly in this paragraph.)

We are being lied to.

Despite the “lockdown” orders, and the fact that many businesses are closed and may not be able to come back after this, there are still a gazillion cars on the roads, stores that are open are still as full of people as social distancing can get them, people are out walking and biking and probably congregating in the parks for all I know, and it just doesn’t look to me like the “lockdown” orders are responsible for the “flattening of the curve”.

The scary metrics on the ISDH page are only scary if you don’t know what they really mean.  Put those graphs into perspective, remembering that there are over 6,000 times more people in the state than the range on the “Statewide Positive Cases By Day” graph, which goes only to 1000 cases on the left-hand scale.  If the left-hand scale went to 6.7 million, and showed the proportion of daily positive cases against the total state population, you wouldn’t be able to see the peaks and valleys…it would look like a flat line starting March 6 and extending to April 29.

For the families of those suffering from the virus, and for the families of those who have died in some way connected to the virus (since the virus itself is rarely going to be the proximate cause of death — usually it will be heart attack, stroke, nervous system collapse, asphyxiation from the pneumonia-like symptoms, all “complicated by the COVID-19 virus”), this is a terrible time.  You’ve got someone in your family who is very, very sick, or in fact has died because they contracted the virus and probably made a pre-existing condition worse.  It would be heartless to say I don’t care about that, because I do care about that.

But in the end, we have to care about the people who are living.  Why do funeral processions yield to bridal processions?  Because the living are more important than the dead.

And it’s time to start living again.  There are tests; there are treatments; and yes, there will still be some who die because of the virus.

That’s life.  And some who are riding high in April will be (metaphorically) shot down in May.

That’s how the dice roll in this crazy game we call life.

Mr. Holcomb, tear down your orders.  It’s time to go back to work and back to living.  And some, maybe most, of us, are going to do that starting May 1 whether you like it or not.


30 Apr 2020: Edited slightly to place total population percentages in an easier-to-read table. Also captioned the “Statewide COVID-19 Totals from ISDH” table to make it obvious what data the table contained.

Just had a wild thought

I wonder who is still going to be wearing masks when it’s in the 90’s this summer?

First thing we do, we’ll kill all the voters.

Over on Fecesbook, I see people talking about it being a shame cops make it home at night — at the moment, primarily based on various and sundry arrests being made of people violating illegal executive orders regarding quarantine, but pre-COVID-19, the argument was simply that cops were either enforcing poorly-drawn law or misinterpreting what they thought was the law.  For some, this is a reflexive response that gets spit out every time they hear about some injustice being perpetrated by what they feel are bad cops.  Maybe the cops are bad, maybe they aren’t.  It’s not my place to make that judgement.

But this argument leaves out the fact that cops don’t make the law.  They are merely charged with enforcing it.

And the argument leaves out talking about what a shame it is the legislators who make those shitful laws make it home at night.  Or in the current situation, the governors and mayors and judges who are issuing executive orders which illegally restrict the ability of the citizens to live their lives.  (Illegal, because no executive order in and of itself may make new law or create new offenses.  You need the legislature for that.  And in Indiana, at least, it appears that no executive order trumps that principle, regardless of anything our governor has to say about it, or any prima facie unconstitutional (per the Indiana State Constitution) statute that’s been written into the Indiana Code regarding the governor’s supposed power to do that.)

So by this Facebookean logic, there are no good legislators, either.  Frankly, I’m not really arguing against that, because I think it’s valid; even if one goes into politics with good intentions, it seems to end up being a power thing (as in, “how do I hold onto power?”), and bad law continues to be written despite all the “reform” politicians who are elected swearing to change things.  As Heinlein trenchantly observed (via the voice of Lazarus Long),

“I don’t mean that a business politician won’t steal; stealing is his business. But all politicians are nonproductive. The only commodity any politician has to offer is jawbone. His personal integrity—meaning, if he gives his word, can you rely on it? A successful business politician knows this and guards his reputation for sticking by his commitments—because he wants to stay in business—go on stealing, that is—not only this week but next year and years after that. So if he’s smart enough to be successful at this very exacting trade, he can have the morals of a snapping turtle, but he performs in such a way as not to jeopardize the only thing he has to sell, his reputation for keeping promises.

“But a reform politician has no such lodestone. His devotion is to the welfare of all the people—an abstraction of very high order and therefore capable of endless definitions. If indeed it can be defined in meaningful terms. In consequence your utterly sincere and incorruptible reform politician is capable of breaking his word three times before breakfast—not from personal dishonesty, as he sincerely regrets the necessity and will tell you so—but from unswerving devotion to his ideal.

“All it takes to get him to break his word is for someone to get his ear and convince him that it is necessary for the greater good of all the peepul. He’ll geek.

“After he gets hardened to this, he’s capable of cheating at solitaire. Fortunately he rarely stays in office long—except during the decay and fall of a culture.”

Heinlein, Robert A.. Time Enough for Love (p. 110). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Finally, reductio ad absurdum, even those who voted for the bad legislators are themselves bad — and as Heinlein suggests, are themselves culpable for the writing of bad law due to their unwillingness to vote out “their guy”. To some extent I will argue that point; it seems to me, in the main, those who vote for bad legislators are simply under-informed, weak-minded, and vote with their feelings rather than with any logical purpose in mind.*  On the other hand, there are really no good candidates, either (this is implied already by “no good legislators”), so that makes any choice a bad choice, and all of us bad voters.  Sadly, to paraphrase a fictional computer that learned wisdom, “The only winning move is not to vote.”  Which, of course, fixes nothing.

But this is because the entire system is a fucked-up crapshoot. Plus, nobody really knows what the law is to begin with, which (if they were honest) legislators would admit is a feature of the system, not a bug.  Thus we have legislators who vote for omnibus bills they have not read, and police and government agencies that enforce laws that are often incomplete, full of loopholes (intended or unintended), and often unintelligible to all but the corpus of lawyers who specialize in bureaucratic law.  While it is the responsibility of the police to know the laws under which they are citing and arresting people, it is in this day and age nearly impossible for any one person — even one charged with knowing, applying, and upholding it — to truly know the law.

And thus, as is often pointed out, the average American unknowingly commits at least three felonies every day.

When and where does this stop?  When do we have the Great Overhaul of the Federal Code that throws out about 75%, hell, maybe 100%, of everything that’s been passed since 1789, and starts over from Constitutional scratch?

To answer my own question:  Probably never, since nobody teaches civics anymore.  Nobody seems to understand that the way to fix these problems is to remonstrate decisively when bad law is enacted, and if our elected legislators and other government officials then hesitate or refuse to fix the problems, or deny that any problems exist, THROW THE BASTARDS OUT.  And keep throwing the bastards out until you get a crop of bastards who, while they are still bastards, will follow the dictates of the people because they really want to stay in office.

And if that fails, simply state, “I will not comply,” and let laws that violate civil liberties rot on the vine.  (Which is what is beginning to happen as people understand the quarantine edicts — not really laws — that have been laid on us for the past two months have accomplished little more than to wreck the economy.**)

One man or woman saying “I will not comply” is not sufficient.  A million men and women saying, “I will not comply” is a constituency that must be heeded.  (But make it an actual million, folks, or even more; these “million ____ marches” — fill in the blank — are little more than a publicity stunt.  A month later, nobody remembers them.)

If citizens really understood the concepts of citizenship and liberty, these problems would not exist, because the people who are responsible for them would be, at minimum, out of office; or possibly six feet under, depending on the severity of the foolishness for which they were responsible.

I would argue that the good people of the Commonwealth of Virginia had this opportunity several months ago, and they blew it.  Thus ever to tyrants?

Let’s hope not.  The Tree of Liberty is long overdue for a watering, even if the nature of the watering is only metaphorical.

____________

* Also in my opinion, this happens on both sides of the political divide.  Conservatives are just as guilty as progressives.  Leftists, Centrists, Rightists, all are guilty guilty guilty (Centrists are guilty for pretending it’s possible to debate our freedoms and pare them away in the name of “consensus”).  I have argued for years that as much as I believe abortion is murder, it is not worth the Right’s time and effort to concentrate on that battle.  To be brutally honest, one can even substitute “2A rights” for “abortion”.  These single issues divert our attention from the main event, which is simply the idea that we should be electing people who are broadly devoted to liberty and upholding the Constitution as written, rather than worrying about how a given candidate comes down on a given pet issue.  If we elect people who are devoted to the Constitution as a whole, many of the questions over which we argue today would vanish, or at least be shoved to the side in favor of liberty.  None of these vanity issues matter if the Constitution itself is subverted or ignored.

** This post isn’t really about the COVID-19 quarantine, unless it is, but here are some links that go along with that statement:

California Docs Say Lockdown vs. Non-Lockdown ‘Did Not Produce a Statistically Different Number of Deaths’

Here Comes the Sun: The Good News about COVID-19 the Media Apparently Doesn’t Want You to Know

Businesses Without Options Defy Closing Orders

Lockdown is Destroying Food Supply Chain

I agree with McConnell that states should be allowed to go bankrupt

But only under these conditions:

  • The state immediately surrenders control to federal managers appointed by the President, including a federal Governor.
  • The federal managers will serve for a minimum of five years, or longer if deemed necessary by the sitting President.
  • State employee unions are immediately decertified and banned from attempts to re-organize state employees in perpetuity.
  • Within 30 days, the management team identifies non-essential state employees and terminates them.
  • Within 60 days, the state curtails non-essential spending as defined by the federal management team.
  • After 180 days, but within one year, the state holds special elections for governor and all state legislators.  The incumbent office-holders (that is, those incumbent at the time of the bankruptcy declaration) are not allowed to run for re-election, and are banned from running for office for ten years.  The new office-holders may resume the business of the state, but the federal managers have a veto on anything they do.
  • Within two years, a plan to convert all future state fixed pensions into 401(k) plans is to be put in place.  Current state pensioners may continue to collect their pensions at a reduced rate, have their existing pension converted at a reduced rate to IRAs, or take a one-time reduced rate payout in cash.  All rates to be determined by a special committee of the federal managers.
  • Before the end of the minimum five year term of the federal managers, the state code is to be revised to remove any laws or ordinances which conflict with the Federal Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
  • The state constitution must be amended to include a balanced budget provision and penalties for state officeholders who flout it.

Seems like a start to me.

Finally, some sense

Well, it’s about time.  State Rep. Jim Lucas and three others have signed a letter to Governor Holcomb insisting that it is time to stop the stupid and reopen the state.  As someone else said on Mad Mike’s Facebook wall, “Kinda too little too late.”  But that this is happening at all suggests that there is dissent within the Republican Party over the shutdown, and they’re not interested in seeing their comfy majorities in both Houses eroded over a crashed economy that was primarily due to the Republican governor’s over-zealous attempts to contain the virus.

Lucas makes a number of good points:

  • The original orders were based on partial data that, in the event, was grossly overstated, and has since become outdated.
  • The predictions of deaths resulting from COVID-19 have gone down drastically as the models have been altered to better match reality (and as models do, the models still suck — my opinion, Lucas doesn’t say it).
  • The number of deaths, notwithstanding, is inflated because of the CDC’s misguided directive stating that any death where the decedent was COVID-19 positive should be classified as a COVID-19 death — even if the proximate cause of death wasn’t COVID-19.
  • Since the original orders, a number of effective treatments have been discovered and are now in use to good effect.
  • Our full attention should be aimed at protecting population segments that have been identified as most at risk from possible infection — the elderly and those with specific underlying conditions.

Here’s the letter, click to embiggenate:

And here’s the link to his Facebook post, which is the only place I’ve seen this so far (other than shared on Mad Mike’s FB page).

This isn’t anything I and others haven’t been saying on blogs, Facebook, and other social media.  Yeah, COVID-19, the Chinese Virus, WuFlu, whatever you want to call it, is a nasty little business.  I’d prefer not to contract it (though as I have said repeatedly, I think I did, last fall).  And I’m one of the people Lucas is trying to protect.  Which is fine; I can stay home and work.  My wife can’t.  We need both incomes and we’re lucky we’re not down one or both of them right now.

That’s no different from the people who were thrown out of work by Holcomb’s orders.  The orders may have been wise at first, but after two weeks it was pretty clear all they were doing was hurting the little guy as the numbers fell fall short of predictions.  But Holcomb continued to make things worse by extending the orders, and then extending them again.  And now it’s likely he’ll extend them yet again if the Legislature doesn’t step up and stop him.

I can tell you right now that I will not vote for Holcomb in November.  I won’t vote for the Democrat, either, but I’ll probably hold my nose and vote Libertarian.  Holcomb needs to suffer for what he’s done to the Hoosiers who were least able to afford it.  The only thing I wish is that Jim Lucas was my district representative, so I could vote for him, because even though this is too little, too late, at least he’s trying to do the right thing.

Will this do any good?  I don’t know.  It depends on whether the Governor thinks his chances of re-election aren’t being hurt by what he’s doing.  If he thinks they aren’t, I think he has another think coming.

For what it’s worth, there is one name conspicuous by its absence on this letter:  That of the Speaker of the House, Brian Bosma.  But Bosma is a pussy who won’t let Constitutional carry get a hearing in the House, either, so I’m not surprised he’s not beating on Holcomb to lift his orders.

Maybe it’s time to let the Democrats have the reins of the state for awhile.  God forbid.  But the state’s Republicans sure have managed to fuck things up in 2020, and that’s a fact.

No comments again.  Sorry.

Here’s what’s wrong with the lockdown/no-lockdown dynamic.

Let’s face it.  I don’t think the lockdown is doing a damn bit of good.  Maybe it prevented some infections.  But there are so many loopholes in the lockdown orders (except, apparently, in states like Michigan and Colorado where the governors have gone full Nazi…and you never want to go full Nazi…and yes, yes, I realize I just Godwinned myself, fuck off) that I really don’t see how they’ve been all that effective.  In effect, you’re essential unless otherwise prohibited from working, and most of the folks prohibited from working seem to be the very folks who are least able to afford not working.

I mean, I’m still working, but the company I work for doesn’t deal with in-person customer service to begin with, and I’ve been a full-time telecommuter for nearly a quarter century.  So there was no change in my work day or work situation.  My wife nearly got furloughed, since she works at a health club, but her boss is a mensch and kept people working who wanted to help give the place a deep clean during the closure.  And even the people who didn’t have anything to do are still being paid based on their February earnings (mostly these are part-time instructors, lifeguards, etc.).  Which is why I consider her boss to be a mensch.

But that is not the case for the over 20 million people the WSJ said last week had filed for unemployment.

Now, figures lie and liars figure, and it is beginning to become apparent that there is a lot of number-finagling going on in places like New York City, where they’re counting just about every death as COVID-19 related.  Why?  Their governor figured out that he could get more money from the Feds that way.  See the CARES Act, section 4409:

SEC. 4409. Medicare hospital inpatient prospective payment system add-on payment for covid–19 patients during emergency period.

So suddenly, New York revises their numbers to include patients who deceased “during the emergency period” who MAY have had COVID-19 but were never actually diagnosed with it.  But they had heart trouble, or were diabetic, or were just fucking old, so obviously they must have had COVID-19, right?  And there’s no way to prove otherwise, because the deceased were not tested for the virus and many of them have since been cremated.

Fact-checkers are, of course, calling bullshit, not because the CARES Act doesn’t say what people are saying it says, but because they claim there is “no evidence” that New York City is inflating its numbers to get more money from the Feds.  Fact-checkers often lie, too.  You think for one minute that De Blasio and Cuomo aren’t colluding to make those emendations?  (De Blasio isn’t smart enough to think of it, but Cuomo is, so I imagine collusion.  Why not?  The Dems imagine collusion all the time.)

But all the money we don’t have that’s being wasted aside, it makes no sense that we are buttoning up in our homes and avoiding contact like the plague.  (Ha. Ha.  That was a joke, son.)  It’s becoming pretty evident that the virus has been floating around since last fall.  Hell, I suspect I had the “mild” version myself last fall, but there’s no way to get tested for it because in effect, unless you have symptoms, you can’t get tested.  And they’d need to run an antibody test on me anyway, not the thing they run up your nose, because I don’t have symptoms, and it was months ago at this point.

The thing that makes this most annoying is there’s this thing called “herd immunity.”  And forcing people to stay at home and not interact is preventing us from developing it — unless we already have, because the virus has been here since last fall.

Yes, people are continuing to fall ill from the ‘Rona.  People are going to continue to fall ill from the ‘Rona until we develop immunity.  There’s not going to be a vaccine (have you ever heard of a vaccine for the common cold?  It’s a coronavirus, too) before the virus itself mutates into a milder form, which is what viruses generally do.  Viruses that kill lots of people very fast do not, as a general rule, have a lot of survivability.

Although it’s an interesting virus, and the only thing that makes me think it was “engineered” as opposed to “just appeared in nature” is the two-week incubation period during which infected people are asymptomatic but contagious.  Most viruses have a three- to five-day window to development of frank symptoms.  You’ve all had colds, you may have had the flu.  Doesn’t take long until you’re sick and know it.  This thing isn’t like that.  Its primary purpose seems to be to infect as many people as it can before it sickens its host.  A secondary purpose seems to be to kill off the weak, sick, and otherwise non-healthy segments of the population.

At the same time, there are cohorts among which it’s not doing that, and you’d think it would.  The homeless, primarily.  Nobody is forcing them into shelters and they’re still living out in the streets as usual.  (I noticed yesterday that they’re back begging in the roadway medians and street corners.  Is that considered an “essential” occupation, Governor?)  And almost all of them who are tested are either virus-free or have antibodies indicating they already have had either the mild version or the asymptomatic version.

Huh.

Might be all that fresh air and sunshine.  Vitamin D appears to help.  You don’t get Vitamin D unless you go out in the sun or take supplements or drink a shitload of milk.  Possibly the fact that I’ve been taking 5000 i.u. daily of Vitamin D for the past two years because I don’t get out much during the course of a day isn’t just helping me avoid migraines, maybe it’s also helping me avoid getting the ‘Rona.  I don’t know.

But sitting around your house all day binge-watching Netflix isn’t doing a thing for building your herd immunity to this shit.

So everyone who’s fallen for the “stay at home” orders has got this idea that as soon as we open up, we’re going to see a spike in cases and deaths again.  Well, duh.  The point was to flatten the curve, not hide from the virus until it goes away.  The very idea that a significant percentage of the workforce can sit in their houses cowering from this thing for the next six to eighteen months in hopes of a nebulous vaccine being developed is the cray-cray.  We will have a recession, or a depression, and we will end up having a famine, if we listen to the fools who are running things right now, who either did Nazi that coming or just want to play Nazi until we storm the statehouses and treat them all to necktie parties.

AND THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO WANT THE NECKTYING TO START IMMEDIATELY.  Michigan.  Colorado.  Alabama.  California.  Probably New York and Pennsylvania, and probably North Carolina.  Hell, even in Indiana there are people making that sort of noise.

That’s the fucking danger, more than running out of money or running out of food.  Once the boogaloo starts, it’s not going to stop until the blood-lust is satisfied.  There are people out there who are that fucking angry right now.  I’m not one of them — yet.  But if the boog starts, I’ll be right out there yeeting with the rest of them.

Because this country was not founded on the idea that local officials could lock us up in our homes just because we might die from a virus.  You lock the people up who have it.  You don’t lock the healthy people up, and that includes the asymptomatic folks.  You have to create herd immunity or this stuff will come back time and time and time again.

So here’s what the “smart people” on Facebook seem to think is the right thing for anyone who decides to defy the lockouts.

First of all, no, and second of all, fuck no.  Because that’s the other side of the coin.  There isn’t a vaccine, but there are treatments that WORK.  Gilead has one that’s been tested with COVID-19 patients during a Phase 3 trial, and had amazing success.  That’s remdesivir, which will probably get fast approval if it continues to score successes.  Then there’s the malaria/lupus drug hydroxychloroquine used with a Z-pack antibiotic and (I think) vitamin D.  Both are known to work.  They might or might not save all patients, but they’ll save a high percentage of them.

The whole fucking point of the lockdown was, as I already said above, to flatten the curve.  That was so we wouldn’t put a burden on the hospitals.  Well, not only did the curve flatten, it flattened so far that none of the dire predictions came true.  The numbers never got that high.  Emergency facilities and the two US Navy hospital ships turned out not to be all that necessary.  (The U.S. Army tent hospital put up in Seattle’s football stadium to great fanfare was taken down after three days without ever having seen a patient.)

This is virus theatre.

We need to get out of our homes, get back to our jobs, and get the economy going again.  Take precautions?  Sure.  Wear a mask if it rings your bell.  Wash your fucking hands.  Keep your social distance (do that anyway, damn it).  Restaurants will probably have to make do with fewer tables.  Don’t know what will happen with sports and theatres or any kind of live entertainment (movie theatres are dying anyway, and may have just had their death knell sound with people discovering watching from the comfort of their own homes is preferable to going to the multiplex and dealing with all those other people and spending $50 or more to get you and your date in, get some popcorn and a drink, and watch the latest Hollywood crap on the big screen).

You know, I’m just as scared of getting the virus as anyone else who’s over 60, obese, diabetic, and has respiratory problems (I’ve had chronic bronchitis since I was in my 20’s and probably longer).  But I’m at the point where I simply don’t care, because if I get it and I die from it, that’s what the plan for me must have been all along.  I’m a lot more concerned that we’re headed for the death of our country from the decisions of a bunch of statist fucks who don’t know any more about virology than I do, and who are getting abysmally bad advice from people in the NIH and the CDC who have already been handing out bad advice for years to start with.

Comments are not open on this because I have no interest in arguing the point.  It’s argued back and forth all day long and nobody ever seems to be able to find a middle ground.  And the more we argue about it and don’t find a working solution that lets people get back to living their lives, the closer we get to everything just going to hell, either because someone starts the boog or because we all start to starve to death in our own homes.

We don’t have to live in Bandit Six’s world.  At least we dodged the bullet of Hillary Clinton.  Jury’s still out on whether we’re going to get a Big Chill, though.

Oh, and, because I haven’t said it so far in this post:  Chinese Virus.  Wu Flu.  Winnie The Flu.

Fuck China.

Perhaps “anti-intellectual” isn’t the slur the left thinks it is.

As a “smart person” (other people’s assessment; I just try to get by like everybody else), I truly dislike the term “intellectual”. Perhaps we should revel in the appellation “anti-intellectual”.

Poul Anderson once wrote a Long Night story called “A Tragedy of Errors”, in which certain Anglic words took on opposite meanings after raiders despoiling a certain planet ironically called themselves “friends”. The word “intellectual”, if indeed it has not already taken on a negative or opposite meaning in our own time, is on track to do the same. So-called “intellectuals” have long been the bane of our free society, as they are anything but sympathetic to freedom — most seem to believe that “rule by betters” is the way of the future.

The question is whether we will end up proving them correct. Let’s hope not.

At the same time, we must guard against falling into the trap of destroying people who really are intelligent and thoughtful by tarring them with the “intellectual” brush. Thus did the Chinese during their Cultural Revolution, and look where it got them…

Seems legit.

Bullshit.

UPDATE, 13 Apr 2020:  The site has been updated with many new statistics, but…still no statistic for how many of the previously-reported positive cases have recovered.  So I continue to say the site is bullshit.

UPDATED 6 Apr 2020 — scroll down for the update.

This site is bullshit:  ISDH – Novel Coronavirus

It’s bullshit because our fear-mongering state government is itself panicking because Hoosiers are more and more starting to think the constantly-expanding stay-at-home orders are based on little more than the state government’s desire to smash its fascist boot repeatedly into the face of its citizens.  Did I say, “citizens”?  Perhaps I meant “servants”.  Because we’re being treated like serfs and children.

It’s bullshit because nowhere on that page is there a statistic indicating how many of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 (the “Chinese Virus”) are now in recovery or who were and remain asymptomatic.  How many of the 3,953 positive cases (at the moment) represent:

  • People who are currently under hospital care for COVID-19?
  • People who were tested positive but have remained asymptomatic for at least two weeks?
  • People who were hospitalized and/or treated at home for mild cases of COVID-19 and have since recovered?

The implication you are left with by this page is that ALL of the 3,953 positive cases are hospitalized.  Because it doesn’t say otherwise, and one simply assumes the worst.  The fact is, it is unlikely that all of those positive cases are under treatment.  (Well, 116 of them have died, but even there you don’t know if COVID-19 was the primary cause of death, or if the patient was already so far gone with other medical problems that COVID-19 simply tipped the balance.)

By the way — I don’t think HIPAA covers any of this information.  It’s generic numbers, it’s not personal information.  So please don’t insult our intelligence by standing behind HIPAA or other privacy concerns.  We have a right to know these statistics.

One interesting statistic provided by the page is that there have been 19,800 people tested in the state.  One must assume that this, taken with the other stats on the page, means 15,847 of them tested negative for COVID-19.

Moreover, let’s pull a number out of the air — the population of the State of Indiana, which is estimated to have been 6.692 million in 2018.  What is 3,953 ÷ 6,692,000?  It’s 0.059 percent.  Yes, that’s just under SIX HUNDREDTHS OF A PERCENT.  Or if you are still having trouble visualizing it, it’s just under SIX PEOPLE OUT OF TEN THOUSAND.  My graduating class in high school numbered 1,103 souls.  That’s not even one person out of my entire graduating class.

That means if you walk into a gathering of 100 random people, it’s damn likely none of them are COVID-19 positive.  Of course, that’s not a given; it’s more likely in a densely-populated area like Indianapolis, less likely in a thinly-populated area like some of our rural counties.  And even then you don’t know if some rando didn’t infect half the county by simply showing up at the county courthouse one day, or buying gas at the local convenience store while passing through.

But the point is, it’s still rare.  It’s even rare in Indianapolis. 1,570 people out of 950,082 (2017 estimate) is about 0.17 percent. Round it up, it’s 2 out of a thousand.  So we’re up to two people out of my graduating class.

And the number of deaths, state-wide, is only 116.  That’s 0.000017 percent.  Less than two hundred-thousandths of a percent.  Less than two out of a hundred thousand.

When I go out on the roads, which I’ve done several times over the last few days, I notice there’s a lot less traffic — but that’s not to say there’s NO traffic.  And parking lots at places like grocery stores are still pretty full.  Drug stores not so much.  There was a line outside Trader Joe’s this morning, as they are apparently allowing only x number of people in the store at a time.  I gather other stores are doing the same, including big-box hardwares.

But still.  There’s plenty of opportunity for the coronavirus to spread.  When I went to the post office the other day, I could barely keep out of other people’s way.  Yesterday wasn’t as bad, but it was still difficult in that little lobby to stay six feet away from others entering and leaving.  And I’m sure there are other places where the same problem obtains.  And they are all places that really can’t be closed down or we’ll grind the country to a standstill.  Well, more of a standstill than it’s already been ground down to, I guess.

And yet, the numbers aren’t really getting all that much higher.  I’m sure our governor will puff out his chest and point at the low infection rate as proof that his “stay-at-home” order works, and should be extended to April 30, but what if we’ve peaked?  What if there are more asymptomatic cases than we’re aware of?  What if a bunch of us already had the “mild” version of COVID-19 earlier on (since after all, it’s been running rampant in China since at least October 2019, with no attempt by the Chicoms to restrict travel to the US and the rest of the world from the region hardest hit) and recovered from it, so we already have antibodies in our systems that could help our bodies fight off the nasty one?  (Of course, we can’t get tested, because we’re healthy.)

What if the damn thing has mutated again and isn’t as infectious as it was?

But that’s why I’d like to see the recovery numbers on that ISDH page.  There’s no damn way there are over 3,800 people still hospitalized in Indiana with this virus.  We’ve been tracking cases since the first reported case on March 6.  I want to know how many have recovered and gone home, and I want the same demographics charts run for recoveries as they’re running for positive cases and deaths.

Really, though, until everyone in the state has been tested (or at least much bigger group than the one that’s already been tested), there’s no way we’re ever going to know what the real chances are of contracting the virus.

So come clean, Governor.  When are you going to give us all the information, drop your stay-at-home order back to “those who have tested positive must quarantine for 14 days” (which is what was done during the Spanish Flu and most other epidemics we’ve faced in the last hundred-odd years), and let us get back to work (and putting the economy that you and other governors have practically ruined back together)?

Till you do, you can take your “stay-at-home” order and stuff it.  Everything I do outside the home is essential — to ME.

UPDATE, 6 Apr 2020:  Television Station WANE in Fort Wayne asked the same question about recoveries on Friday.  Here’s the answer they came up with:

Well, those numbers are not readily available because tracking recoveries is difficult, it turns out.

  • The only way we know about recovered cases right now is if the patient was released from the hospital and goes public that they are recovered.
  • Lots of people will get the virus without being hospitalized and without getting tested. Their recovery will not likely be documented.

Sorry, I still don’t buy it.  The first bullet point is bogus.  If they can be counted on the way in, they can be counted on the way out — whether they go out upright or on their backs.  Both incoming and outgoing counts are a public health statistic, and HIPAA can’t be invoked to hide it.  Hospitals should be reporting recoveries to ISDH just like they report positive cases.  If they’re letting people out to go home without any reporting at all to ISDH, e.g., for later followup by ISDH, that’s criminal negligence at this point.

The second bullet point is entirely non-germane to the subject, which is how many REPORTED cases are in recovery.  By definition, if you had the virus but were asymptomatic or only got the sniffles and it went away, and you were never tested, then OF COURSE you weren’t reported.  So you AREN’T one of the 3,953 (now 4,944) positive cases reported on the ISDH page and you are not someone with whom I am concerned.

I want to know how many of the reported positive cases have recovered.  Period.  And ISDH is not providing those numbers.  That is a violation of the public’s right to know, and it makes it impossible to run real statistics about how many hospital beds are in use for COVID-19 cases, for instance.

All the suppression of recovery data does is fan the flames of panic, and makes the state appear to be hiding something.  That’s not a good look, Governor Holcomb.

Yes. I updated the theme.

What do you want me to say about that?  Not much to say, really.

And then I changed it back, because apparently all the sidebar shit went away and will have to be redone for the new theme.

Who writes this shit?  Oh, well, what do you want for free.

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