Spike In Cases!

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“Ignorance is the parent of fear.” — Herman Melville (Moby Dick)
“Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom…” — Bertrand Russell Outline of Intellectual Rubbish
If conquering fear is the beginning of wisdom, then allowing fear to control one’s behavior is ignorance. — Gary Barnett

This piece is a bit of a mental wander to be sure, but I hope to make a few points along the way . . .

The mainstream media, just like clockwork, have begun anew the building of fear and hysteria with their collective proclamations of: Spike in cases! Humans, or at least the current generations inhabiting Ye Ole Earth at the moment, have (developed) short attention spans. The reasons and motives are for another tale. The riot/protest narrative was losing front page steam but did make a nice segue (back) into Spike in cases!. The average Joe/Josephine who are vicariously experiencing our turbulent times though the lens of mainstream media may have had sympathy for the peaceful protesters, disgust mixed with a little dark bit of giddiness towards the rioters/looters cuz 'stick it to the man, man' and a willingness to offer support beyond clicking a like button.

After all the violence, rioting and looting, including state violence, police, national guard, etc. subsided somewhat and with many of the peaceful protesters remaining gathered in the close quarters of protest, the general public is now less likely to be sympathetic, rather, more likely to be knee-jerk critical as 'why can they but I can't?' kicks in. Perfect! Increase the coverage of new cases, use emotional action words like 'spike' and suggest that this scary new rise is a result of those now ne'er-do-well protesters. More divide and conquer applied, Miller time.

Spike in cases! To that I say: so what? It stands to reason there will be a spike in cases upon 'reopening': assuming we take the data available to us somewhat at face value, this particular whatever-it-is has shown itself to be quite catchy, quite virulent…however, so too is the common cold and seasonal flu, themselves both coronaviruses as well. We have to always to keep in mind: this is not a sport, these numbers are not part of a scorecard, it's not a side taking event but rather part of a statistical set which needs to be explored in context and accuracy, not as random number-bites on the TV news.
"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." often miss-attributed to Mark Twain but truth nonetheless.
The idea of a 'spike in cases', whether initially or secondary infection cycle, for any infectious agent, should automatically trigger a set of protection policies and procedures in environments where vulnerable populations reside, such as nursing homes, hospitals, long term care, early daycare, etc.[notable: this response does not require a govt group at any level. The check and balance starts with those who are the caregivers for the vulnerable: they must be vigilant that the front line individuals providing the care are doing so in a manner that was initially agreed upon during admission (usually involving a contract),  and no matter what, all care is provided with a basic level of respect and compassion. Think of it like a project management position and those businesses and individuals you've made care arrangements with are your staff, your team. As the project manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that the project framework is carried out as agreed upon. In this example you would be interacting with whatever customer service/administration are customer facing with mini inspections every you are there for a visit.]

Like most of our existence, being kind is not a free ride, nor is being a care giver; set and forget does not apply here. Despite being conditioned to believe that a lot of life is a bowl of entitlement stew, this is absolutely not the case. Not a bad thing however, simply a reality: helping someone else in any capacity requires action on your part, this action requires effort, this effort requires one to expend physical as well as emotional energy and give something else up you were going to do since effective multitasking is largely a myth.

We have been given an emotional tool kit help with this though. Empathy, care, love, et al, these emotional tools individually provide the passion, combined provide the drive, to take on these tasks, these actions, to do our caring thang.

[another notable: in a world where there is no govt group horkin' your hard earned dough, no banking and corporate group manipulating and ripping you off (although not for lack of trying), the amount of wealth you receive will be very close to an even balance of effort out and return in. In other words, your profit or pay-cheque will be substantially yours to apply to your life as you see fit. Given the not fantastic but definitely decent amount of charitable giving that exists today, it's safe to suggest that this giving would increase when folks have more cash in the stash. This in turn would negate any financial reason for not providing the same level of care to those with no care givers, currently something like 'ward of the state'.]

To the rest of us… Well, what about the rest of us? The data is becoming more clear by the week, the day: for the vast majority of the rest of us, SARS-CoV-2 is a big plate of nothing burger topped with a propaganda pickle and wrapped in a narrative napkin. Further, while certainly there's always room for re-evaluation, there should be anyway in pretty much every life thing, at this point there is no solid evidence to suggest that lock-downs, physical (not using 'social' by conscious choice) distancing and face masks have had any big impact on transmission rate. Just a very small sampling:

Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures
US Professor: ‘There’s no scientific proof social distancing prevents spread of COVID-19’
Relaxation of the corona measures? Results from the Heinsberg study give hope
Did the Lockdown Save Lives?
How Fear, Groupthink Drove Unnecessary Global Lockdowns
Suicides on The Rise Amid Stay-at-home Order, Bay Area Medical Professionals Say

The emotional toolkit has a fraternal twin: the critical thinking toolkit. When the twins are working in harmony and balance, a human has the best chance at formulating opinions and conclusions that have been exposed to at least a cursory look at available information. The end result of this are thinking processes that lead to less erroneous conclusions and opinions.

Two of arguably the most important tools in the kit:
  • cause and effect
  • correlation does not imply/mean causation
These two are cornerstones of (data) reality and critical thinking. The ideas have a few nuances attached to be sure, but for basic day to day use very effective for one is less likely to form rapid incorrect conclusions/opinions on this or that. Filtering all input one receives through these two filters rapidly becomes an easy way to protect oneself against jumping to incorrect conclusions.

Here are two examples that provide an understanding start point:

The first example is from an old Family Circus cartoon with the caption "I wish they didn't turn on that seat belt sign so much! Every time they do, it gets bumpy." This is a good example in that it speaks to both points simultaneously.

The second one is a correlation example, insurance companies: male drivers have a higher instance of accident, correlation, but there is no way to prove this as causation since we can't change the gender and reset the experiment. One possibility: there may be more male drivers on the road than females which could be the cause of the higher accident rate not because they are worse drivers. Due to resultant higher claim payout numbers though, causation is not required, correlation is enough and males would be charged a higher premium. If this is not done, the company would be forced to either take a profit hit or spread the male payout cost across its customer base while risking losing business as a result.

Moving this back to SARS-CoV-2, spike in cases. What would be the end result of testing 100 people per day in the week leading up to a reopening and testing a 1000 people per day the week after reopening? What would be the end result of switching testing companies in the week leading to a reopening, perhaps to one whose testing kits often error positive but are the cheapest? What would be the end result of a new manager put into place who implements a major effort to clear a backlog of tests? The point is, in everything, we must ask questions, we must always assume that there is more than one possibility despite sometimes seeming logical, common sensicle. In the context of SARS-CoV-2, when looking at the case numbers provided by whomever, it is critical to do one of two things:
  • consider alternate possibilities
  • make a mental note to 'have no opinion at this time'
Righto, let's get to the brass tacked heart of the matter: mortality. A catch-22 but also the number-set that is the most important in the context of individual and societal responses. The fatality rate is a moving target during an outbreak and still a bit of a wildcard even after the data is assessed as best is possible. Fatality rate is not complex in its calculation but is complex in choosing when and what data to use in the formula. Things like under-reporting of cases, backlog of testing, 'time' in that we don't know the outcome of current cases and so on. In an ideal data world, we would know the total number of cases in a given population and/or geographical area and the total number of factually confirm deaths as a direct result of the contagion…*grin*, humans involved, this is never gonna happen.

Best we can do is create a starting point and do our best to collect and update the input data while keeping in mind 'garbage in, garbage out'. Fatality rate then, for this context at least, is calculated as follows: totalCases/totalFatality. It's critical to remember that on the total cases side, we're not dealing with an entire population but rather only those who have tested positive. This can lead to a higher initial fatality statistic until testing becomes more widespread and/or more positive cases are identified. We can see here then the moving target bit: as time passed with SARS-CoV-2, we quickly saw a higher climb rate with positive test numbers than we did with fatality numbers resulting in the fatality rate continuously dropping. Simple fictional example to outline this:

1 case - 1 death = 100% fatality rate
2 case - 1 death = 50% fatality rate
5 case - 2 death = 40% fatality rate

and so on.

Here is where the testing/case numbers come into play: more and more evidence is emerging showing that SARS-CoV-2 is much more wide spread than was thought meaning the fatality rate goes down even more.

Lastly on fatality, it is also critical to know three things:
  • where did they occur
  • what were the age demographics
  • what were the pre-existing health conditions, if any (co-morbidity)
Canada is doing a somewhat reasonable job in publishing the first two, but as far as I can tell, a real bad job at the last one. Other jurisdictions however are showing an overwhelming amount of fatalities occurring in the usual places, same as almost every other virus out there:
  • vulnerable population locations
  • vulnerable populations
  • already ill
There is nothing really unique then in the fatality statistics although the govt group and media would have you believe otherwise.

StatsCan Age Demographics (2019):

9,104,499 - 60 and over
28,484,763 - 59 and under

A quick look at COVIDCanada, data from 2020.06.08:

Covid Fatalities Canada - 7,844 (Weekly Epidemiology Update (4-10 June, 2020)

1959 + 5655 = 7,614 → 60 and over
22 + 208 = 230 → 59 and under

No wonder the govt gang and media wanna whack ya with the case numbers: the fatality numbers are not nearly what they claimed they were gonna be, not even close.

Now, let's ask what should be a criminally arrestable question: given there are 28,484,763 Canadians between 15-60, generally prime working age, and there have been only 230 deaths in that age group, was shutting down an entire country and its economy, surely to result in as yet unseen massive negative effects, warranted? The answer to this question can only be a resounding no. I can only speak to the federal govt gang and the gang in Ontario but in both cases, all 'upper management' should face a full public inquiry with the potential of criminal liability being a result. In an ideal world they all would have been fired yesterday.

In Ontario, there were ~1,000,000 jobs lost in Apr/May with strong evidence that the economic shutdown contributed to the bulk of these losses. There have been 107 Ontario deaths in the 15-60 age group, so, roughly speaking, for every one death in Ontario, in the working age group, 9,346 jobs were lost. Now, let's assume there are other folks who depend on that income, children, spouse, parent/in-law and so on. To reflect this, let's take 1/2 of the number and add it on:

(9,346/2) = 4,673 + 9,346 = 14,019

So, while still an approximation of course, for every 1 COVID fatality in Ontario, the actions of the govt gang cost 14,019 Ontarians their income security. Seems worth it huh?

Dear Planet Earth, sure looks like you've been sold some proverbial swamp land in a deal that already has and will continue to cost us dearly, in many cases with the lives of our family members. bank/corp/govt, you all disgust me to the core.

An immediate knee-jerk reaction of course it to state that the physical distancing/lockdown/shutdown worked. The same govt gang shows this not to be the case. There is one huge caveat before proceeding: we only know stats from the day testing started. There is significant evidence to show that SARS-CoV-2 has been circulating for a while (it is COVID-19 after all, not COVID-20). With this in mind, how are we to know that the infection rate (meaning case count) wasn't already on its way down? We can't. Further, there is no evidence to suggest that this is not a possibility.

First we establish the timeline:

By March 30, the province was effectively closed. Next we look at the case count:

We were told that 14 days was the magic number, fully symptomatic. This means that known cases would be identified by the end of that time-frame. Add that to the fact that virus cannot exist outside a host for very long, generally measured in hours but let's say 3 days for this chat as that's a high number I've seen claimed. So, with everyone locked down, all current cases coming to fruition in 14 days and virus becoming non viable long before that, we should see a very marked and dramatic drop off in infections in the middle of April. Hmm, that certainly seems to be missing. In fact, throughout almost the entire time of lock-down et al, the rise and fall was pretty much consistent including a marked rise during this time frame.

Same for Canada:


This strongly suggests that all the destructive measures forced upon us by the govt gang were not effective and completely unnecessary. This is more than just screwing up at one's job, this is complete incompetence bordering on criminal.

I'll wrap up with a question: using a range of immediate family, including in-law, how many people do you or they know in your/their immediate circle, not the sister of a brother or Jack down at the office or a friend of a friend mind you, immediate direct connect only, that have one or more of: tested positive with symptoms, were hospitalized or are deceased due to SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19?

Secondly, ask them to ask within their respective circles and let you know and so on.

Finally, compare the yes answer frequency to what you hear during cold and flu season with respect to folks having either/or of those onboard. I would wager a pizza that the latter is a far greater number than the former!

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