In a story being rolled out with all the media fanfare that might herald the opening of a neighborhood lemonade stand, the CDC quietly released a report that showed just 6% of COVID-19 deaths since February were from Coronavirus alone. That means that fully 94% of all people who died from COVID-19 suffered from pre-existing conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes to lung disease, according to this report.
The math is jarring: Of the 182,000 recorded U.S. COVID-19 deaths, 6% rounds up to 11,000 deaths guaranteed to be caused just by Coronavirus in America in 2020.
A Little Perspective
Depending on your narrative bent, this is either a bombshell story – or a chorus of crickets. And on the left, which appears heavily invested in promoting pre-election chaos (see: three months of riots encouraged – until riots started polling badly), the effort to ignore or spin the inconvenient news that there are far fewer deaths solely from COVID-19 than were previously supposed has been business as usual in a divided country nurtured on the mother’s milk of mainstream media.
Some of the damage control runs along intellectually specious lines – to wit: Axios argues that:
“It’s clear from the CDC’s statistics on excess deaths that more people are dying than usual, because of COVID. The fact that common pre-existing medical conditions often coincide with deadly coronavirus infections is part of what makes it scary — not a reason to write it off.”
No one has been trying to “write it off.” But reasonable people have endeavored to give the media-induced international panic of COVID-19 some historical perspective. The Spanish Flu of 1918 killed between 25 and 50 million people worldwide. The Hong Kong Flu of 1968 killed between one and two million people internationally. The seasonal flu of 2017 killed as many as 646,000 people across the globe. The Chinese Coronavirus has claimed around 840,000 worldwide in 2020.
And we’re not even sure if those COVID numbers are accurate.
If we are to trust the CDC’s murmur of an announcement that only 6% of cases in the USA are actually COVID-19 deaths – what might this mean if we are to extrapolate internationally? It would mean that there have been approximately 50,400 total deaths in 195 countries globally to date. Why doesn’t anyone really know this?
To be fair, not every nation has the “perverse incentive” Robert Redfield of the CDC describes when he refers to hospitals making far more money for COVID deaths than non-COVID deaths. This has led to variations on the macabre joke that lists driving, hunting, and swimming accidents among COVID deaths. The vast number of deaths from which the CDC has lately made a 6% amendment have overwhelmingly been the result of people with compromised immune systems and pre-existing conditions having to do battle with an additional respiratory illness – in this case, an especially virulent but not uniquely deadly one named SARS-CoV2.
And this is, of course, consistent with any and all seasonal flus: They will always be deadliest for the immune-compromised, those with pre-existing conditions and co-morbidities, and the elderly.
In major metropolitan cities across America, restaurant-goers are being accosted by “peaceful protesters” proclaiming that their “silence is violence.” Does the mainstream media’s silence on this dramatic CDC announcement also constitute violence? The draconian, overreaching quarantines, with very little science to justify their efficacy in stopping the spread of the virus, may directly result in thousands of lives lost to drug overdoses, alcoholism, domestic abuse, and suicide. Is it evidence of further violence that the media has given scant coverage to these unintended consequences?
Over at Forbes, which has rarely seen a critique of “settled” science to which it didn’t take institutional umbrage, a curious sea change appears underway. For years they have mocked the concerns of those who question the prevailing narrative and have used the CDC website to try and deride them. Now, however, when the CDC is reporting statistics which gainsay the idea that Coronavirus is akin to the Black Plague, Forbes is pivoting like an NBA defender – away from science.
With a strange mix of petty snark, obtuse cultural references, and DOA attempts at humor, the Forbes writer resorts to the hottest new trend in the Fourth Estate known as Twitter journalism, which relies on tweets pulled from the internet to mock its targets or to make its case in lieu of actually making a case. Forbes‘ “take-down” ridicules those who reported the CDC’s announcement by stating the CDC “did not necessarily” mean that 94% of deaths were in cases with pre-existing conditions.
This is a writer engaged in a sort of interpretive dance. There’s always room for a qualifier like “not necessarily” when your job proper is to undercut – or when you’re using a lawyer’s tweets to contravene a doctor’s tweets about science.
Also handy in the Forbes piece is the liberal use of poor diction, as in another blazing rebuke to the same CDC information that the writer feels “does not accurately portray” what was on the CDC’s website. Just repeating data from a government website is an act of reporting – not portrayal. That’s the thing about science: It’s data. Portrayal is Hollywood’s job – as well as that of the occasional writer seeking to spin a story.
As is currently de rigueur in social media outlets wired to explode the president’s chances at four more years, Trump’s “only 6%” tweet was taken down by Jack Dorsey and friends. That red line in the Twittersphere was crossed months ago, and now Twitter regularly sees fit to proscribe the president’s messaging to America and his supporters.
This frenzied game of internet whack-a-mole, however, is becoming increasingly frustrating for our loveable big tech oligarchs. The moment one tweet about the CDC’s muted thunderbolt of a report is hammered into oblivion, another one pops up. The desperation is palpable.
In July, every major social media outlet either censored or deplatformed the news that 20 Frontline Doctors advocate the use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), which has been proven effective in 82 international studies for treating early-stage Coronavirus and as a prophylactic against infection. This blatant act of censorship in the name of protecting “community standards” against “false or misleading information” is the first time a handful of Silicon Valley gatekeepers have decided they know more about medicine than doctors. It exposed the media cabal in alliance against the truth. And yet, before the offending information was memory-holed, the video racked up massive numbers of views in record time.
Twitter and Facebook are now effectively caught in a Sorcerer’s Apprentice nightmare that threatens to swallow them whole as they try in vain to stopper and stem the free flow of information. This makes that portion of the public clamoring for unimpeded access to information and the right to free speech online the mouse of our metaphor.
The mouse that roared.
Read more from Pennel Bird.