Wednesday, August 19, 2020
When it comes to Covid-19 -- perhaps the single most important public health, public policy, economic issue of the past six months -- the media are grossly failing in their obligation to report the facts. Instead, they have given Americans a daily diet of fear and hysteria.
And it is obvious because what most people think they know about the coronavirus is completely wrong.
Researchers at Franklin Templeton and Gallup recently teamed up to study"the behavioral response to the COVID-19 pandemic and implications for the recovery." Here are two key points they discovered:
- "Americans still misperceive the risks of death from COVID-19 for different age cohorts—to a shocking extent."
- "The misperception is greater for those who identify as Democrats, and for those who rely more on social media for information."
Now, here are the specific findings:
- Most Americans believe that people over 55 account for half of all COVID-19 deaths. The actual figure is 92%.
- Americans believe that people under 45 account for 30% of total deaths. The actual figure is 2.7%.
- Americans grossly overestimate the risk of death for those under 25 by a factor of 50. Conversely, they seriously underestimate the risk for those 65 and older. They think it is just 40% when it is in fact 80%.
Here's more analysis from the Franklin Templeton-Gallup report:
"The discrepancy with the actual mortality data is staggering: for people aged 18–24, the share of those worried about serious health consequences is 400 times higher than the share of total COVID deaths; for those age 25–34 it is 90 times higher."
It's difficult to fathom how so many people could be so confused. But this is what happens when progressive politicians and their left-wing media allies insist that kids can't go to school and churches must be closed while we ignore the unforgiveable disaster that took place in New York's nursing homes.
Don't dismiss this study as a fluke. We have reported on other research findingsimilar results, including one survey that found most Americans believed that 9% of the country – roughly 30 million people – had died from Covid. That's nearly 200 times the number of confirmed deaths.
Based on figures released by the Covid Tracking Project:
- 406 people died from Covid-19 on Monday. Monday figures are always low, but that was the lowest number of deaths since mid-July.
- At the peak of the virus in April, the daily death total was more than 2,400. So Monday's figure was 83% below the peak death totals.
- Daily hospitalizations were at their lowest level since early July.
- More than two dozen states appear to have a declining number of cases. More states are plateauing and will likely see their numbers decline. Only eight states appear to be "hot spots," reporting more than 1,000 new daily cases.
Regardless of what has been tried by various governors and the CDC, the virus seems to have a "mind of its own." It spreads into a geographic area, infects certain people, most of whom have mild cases, and then runs its course.
Some experts now believe that the threshold for herd immunity may be as low as 50% or less, potentially ending the pandemic much sooner than originally thought.
Just days ago, virtually every headline was about how the disease was out of control. A Federal Reserve Bank president, who presumably understands the economic consequences, called for another six-week shutdown of the economy. That would be disastrous.
Don't get me wrong. I am not anti-science. Covid-19 is a very infectious disease that can be serious for some people. But one way or another, either through herd immunity, a vaccine or both, the virus will essentially go away.
Life will never be risk free. Every choice has consequences and potential risks. Life is about balancing those risks, and life must go on.
Confronting Communist China
The United States formally notified Hong Kong today that it is terminating three bi-lateral agreements due to the National Security Law that Beijing recently imposed over the city. Among other things, Chinese authorities claim that this law applies to any person anywhere in the world.
As a commissioner on the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom, I have been warned that our work exposing communist China's repression of religious liberty qualifies as a violation of China's National Security Law. And this new law is having a chilling effect on university campuses across the country.
Sadly, it is a fear based on reality. Given what we have seen in recent years, some left-wing universities will be all too ready to surrender to this fear and be even less likely to criticize China's oppressive policies.
But some universities are refusing to self-censor. They have come up with an intriguing albeit depressing solution of using code names to protect pro-democracy Chinese students from pro-Beijing students and Chinese spies.
In addition, the Trump Administration contacted major American universities yesterday and informed them that Chinese companies controlled by the Chinese Communist Party trading on America stock exchanges will soon be delisted. The universities were informed that it would be "prudent" to remove those stocks from their endowments before the delistings.
Yesterday, we joked that the left would probably attack President Trump after he issued a posthumous pardon for women's rights advocate Susan B. Anthony for her 1872 conviction for voting illegally.
Well, we were partially right. Left-wing reporters at the New York Timespublished a story blasting Susan B. Anthony as "an increasingly divisive figure" who was against abortion.