Hail to You blog - great summary of the stupidity of the Kung Flu Panic

Posted On: Tuesday - April 21st 2020 8:12PM MST
In Topics: 
  General Stupidity  Pundits  Media Stupidity  Kung Flu Stupidity

This will likely be the shortest post since Peak Stupidity's very early days. Mr. Hail, from whom I posted a long comment 3 weeks back (see From Hail to you on the Kung Flu.), just wrote an insanely good summary of the stupidity of what he calls the "CoronaPanic" side of the Kung Flu Gap.

There are some numbers and lots and lots of graphs and tables, with links to the mostly NW European doctors' and experts' videos. I have been remiss in watching more of Mr. Hail's suggestions.

There's no point in excerpting any of his essay Against the Corona Panic, Pt. III: “Just the Flu” vindicated by the data, or, why to End the Shutdowns Now. Take the 20-40 minutes and read Mr. Hail's work, please.

BTW, Mr. Hail's presentation of graphs, tables, and a few numbers is not the usual Peak Stupidity way. We like the shorter and entertaining polemics, as they can be convincing in their own way, I hope. I wrote this, as I anticipate writing a few anecdotes, that, as Mr. Hail says, don't prove anything. However, they do show what this inordinate Police State response is doing to people and how people are rebelling and resisting.

Wednesday - April 22nd 2020 12:50PM MST
PS: Yes, thank you for THAT set of anecdotes, Mr. Hail. I just ran into some BS out of the governor today. Damn, it's one thing for other people to panic and do what they feel they need to do, but another to fence off a freakin' school yard so we couldn't ride bikes in there (I just wanted to use it as a usual short-cut.)

As a matter of fact there are about 3 anecdotes on this panic that I've got to get out before I hyperventilate, myself!
Wednesday - April 22nd 2020 12:45PM MST
PS: Bill H, I also wish you the best and hope you get completely recovered. On the matter of freaked-out people at the hospital (not just the ER), I will post something on that from a family member.

(Got behind on writing today - kids are still at home around here, and it is definitely going to be through the end-of-school-year. As I've written, it's in general a good thing, but I can't just go writing as often - kinda need an hour or 1 1/2 solid for some of the posts.)
Wednesday - April 22nd 2020 11:52AM MST
PS Bill H: Best of luck to you.
Bill H
Wednesday - April 22nd 2020 8:11AM MST
PS Here's an anecdote for you.I had the Wu-flu in February. Was sick for about ten days and, just as I was recovering got the same symptoms to a diminished degree. Fever, chills, muscle ache, loss of appetite, dry cough and some rattling in my lungs when I woke in the mornings. The last two persisted and were resolved by Zithromax.

I remain, however, a bit short of breath and still have a dry cough. I have an oximeter, and my oxygen level is mostly around 91% to 93%. With my history of emphysema and repeated bouts of pneumonia, this is not good, and the oxygen level is fairly ominous. Normally I would go see the doctor.

But Scripps doctors offices are closed and I would have to see him at the hospital ER. I am not going anywhere near that place. I have heard the people who work there talking on television. They are all in a state of panic. Their attitudes are 100% negative. "We are all going to die."

You think I want those people making medical decisions for? Oh, hell no.
Wednesday - April 22nd 2020 5:29AM MST

"Mr. Hail...just wrote an insanely good summary of the stupidity of what he calls the "CoronaPanic" side of the Kung Flu Gap."

He certainly did.
Tuesday - April 21st 2020 9:50PM MST
PS --

RE: anecdotes

Anecdotes are useful in their way and definitely more fun.

To me, a good anecdote properly used in this kind of situation would be one that illustrates something that is observable in the data.

I'd love to hear what someone like James Thompson (not sure how often you read him) would say about "anecdote vs. data." Because, on one hand, one's own personally experienced reality *is* a form of constantly updating data.

The problem is when single anecdotes, especially from distant sources ("a friend of a friend claims to know somebody who...") become the basis of policy-making (remember when Ivanka saw a picture of a dead child on TV and within 24 or 48 hours, was it?, the missiles flew), or when often-uncorroborated anecdotes help reinforce the vortex of a Panic (the anecdotes that seemed everywhere a few years go about unarmed black men being murdered; was it ever a real upward trend, or was it just focused on intensely by the media for a while?).

The dynamics of this Panic interest me, how exactly it happened. "Anecdotes" didn't cause the Panic, but they did serve as auxiliary forces.

This hit home when people began forwarding me reports attributed (unsigned) to nurses at a local hospital, claiming to be swamped, claiming several young people were among those fighting for their lives, claiming a person on life support of such-and-such an age in perfect health before COVID struck them down, and so on. I am a data person and I felt immediately that report was highly suspect, because it fit none of the data from other countries. In other words, statistically, assuming our data-set is good, it was highly unlikely that a large portion of COVID-19 cases locally were young people in their 20s or 30s. And yet, you know what, the unsigned testimonial attributed to the local nurse (who knows who really wrote it), I bet a lot of the people who read that in late March at the height of the panic were convinced by it. It's the way we are, humans.

(The person in the letter also claims she called the police on a group of kids she confronted a group of kids playing basketball on a public court, told them to social-distance, and that they when they declined to do so, she called the police on them; that was the type of person behind this letter. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize this may be someone panicked who is not 100% reliable; but my alarm-bells first went off with the statistically-unlikely report of several perfect-health young-adults in the ICU.)

Maybe another way to say this is, and this could be the **TLDR** version of this comment for those skimming through who don't want to commit to read all the above, is: Be skeptical of anecdotes if they don't fit the data. (Though sometimes, admittedly, the data *is* wrong). This is a cautious and diplomatic way of saying: Beware of liars and/or beware of the "game of telephone effect," in which a story that gets retold is always distorted or embellished.

Well that was a lot of writing on the topic of data vs. anecdote. I look forward to reading what you have...
Tuesday - April 21st 2020 9:34PM MST
PS --
Thanks very much.
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