Last week, I wrote a post called How epidemiological models are a lot like Zillow. In it, I explained how the real estate website Zillow not only includes a bogus algorithm for estimating home values, but routinely goes back and alters the history of their projected valuations. They do this so you can’t see how far off their “Zestimates” are from actual sales in an area. It’s the lie that keeps their gimmicky site rolling, not unlike high school lab students that reverse-engineer the results of their experiments so they can pass the class.
It turns out, I was a lot closer to the truth than I understood at the time. At a press conference this week, Birx was questioned about how they are now classifying anyone who dies with the coronavirus – whether they were even tested or not – but whose death was caused by an unrelated medical event, as having died from the coronavirus. Thus, they are inflating the mortality numbers for the illness. Birx and Fauci are Zillow-ing up their statistics, and flat-out lying to the American people about what is happening in their communities, as if people can’t see that with their own eyes. When challenged by a journalist about this at one of Trump’s press conferences, Fauci replied that anyone who has problems with this method is a conspiracy theorist.
So the early problems with their coronavirus response were due to the fact that Birx and Fauci trusted Chinese propaganda. Now anyone who asks questions about their data is a conspiracy theorist. They have a serious problem with the truth.
That directive has been expanded to include infections generally, and it is clearly a mandate that is going out to local health officials across the country. Their models have been wildly off and the shutdowns Fauci demanded are creating a Second Great Depression – and that’s not an exaggeration – so they have to pump up their results.
There are local news stories like this everywhere now:
So first Fauci and Birx were decrying the lack of widespread testing – which inexplicably never came – and now they don’t give a shit about testing at all. This is made even funnier by the fact that 90% of the people who think they have the coronavirus and do get tested turn up negative results. But suddenly not having any standard of truth has utility. Maybe next they can set up a 1-800 hotline so every hypochondriac who self-diagnosed themselves from reading the symptoms on WebMD can get added to the list of cases. Because that’s about where we are now.
Laura Ingraham interviewed a practicing doctor on her show last night who put it bluntly: the White House is demanding that doctors and other health officials misrepresent the known and unknown facts of patients’ cases to make their numbers look bigger and paper over the cheesy models that broke the world. He thought it was morally wrong, and it obviously is morally wrong.
The White House coronavirus response team has become an epic mountain of lies. And at this point, I’m not going to sit here and defend Trump. The buck stops with him and he clearly cares more about the “ratings” for his team’s daily dose of manufactured panic than he does about the fact that our country has been utterly devastated economically.
This is just gross.
Trump is the president and it is his job to intervene in destructive policy like this. When he fails to act, that’s on him.
Future historians are going to look back on this period of time and marvel at the fact that Trump had both the strongest labor market in the history of the country and the absolute worst. The country had everything good going for it – economic inequality was finally in decline and more people were experiencing the gift of prosperity.
And then the president brought in some medical Rasputin who destroyed the empire he had built overnight with opaque sorcery and claims of divine knowledge that were all an elaborate performance.