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Coronavirus #3: Denise Minger is Thorough But Misses the Boats

Previously on Free The Animal:

For those unaware of Denise Minger, she’s an English major who moonlights as a statistics geek-nerd.

Laugh all you like, but she’s to be taken seriously. She splashed on the diet and health scene in the summer of 2010 (wow, 10 years already!) by, of all things, reaching out to me. She had zero audience and had done the most unlikely thing. She took on T. Colin Campbell and his The China Study in a thorough post using the same raw data Campbell himself used (it’s not a book review): THE CHINA STUDY: FACT OR FALLACY? So, I promoted the hell out of it, this blog being much more popular back then. And, I induced many others to do so as well. All together, we helped to elevate her to paleo Superstar of the Universe for a while. Well deserved it was and shall be. That’s how universals work.

As a result of her newfound fame, youth, adorableness, and geek-extraordinaireiness, she got a number of speaking gigs for some years, as well as a book deal, Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health. Good for her. Nothing to take away from that whatsoever.

After some years out of the scene and limelight—assuming there’s any such thing, anymore—the ‘rona has motivated her to once again come forth with a shiny new blog post: SOME THOUGHTS ON THINKING CRITICALLY IN TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY, AND THE TRAP OF LOPSIDED SKEPTICISM: CORONASPIRACY THEORY EDITION.

But then COVID-19 happened, and if that isn’t the biggest cosmic plan-changer that ever did plan-change, then I don’t know what is. So we’re gonna roll with it. And at the risk of writing something that’ll already be outdated by the time I hit publish (such is the nature of current events), I’m hoping this post will stay evergreen (or at least ever-chartreuse) by sheer virtue of its universal core theme: navigating conflicting, emotionally charged narratives in which objectivity behooves us but doesn’t come easy. (emphasis added)

I said it was thorough. What I mean by that, though, is that as thorough as it is, I find it quite pedantic, the formal word for mental masturbation. Sorry, Denise. Her post is essentially an exercise in debunking the debunking. But, no debunking of debunking supports the original premise (that COVID-19 is a big deal, that it’s necessarily worse than a typical flu season—that kills 300,000 – 650,000 annually—that it’s containable—unlike the thoroughly uncontainable: common rhinovirus or coronavirus head colds, influenza, or pneumonia—a vicious, contagious killer of 2.5 – 4 million annually … including children under 5 … 2 million per year … the chief killer of kids under 5 in the world … 15 – 20% of deaths of under-5 are from pneumonia. Did I mention it’s contagious? How many of you wear masks around young children TO SAVE LIVES, DAMMIT!!!???). You know the bromide. “You can’t put a price on a human life.”

Pneumonia kills more children than any other illness – more than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. Over 2 million children die from pneumonia each year, accounting for almost 1 in 5 under five deaths worldwide. Yet, little attention is paid to this disease.

https://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/documents/9280640489/en/

Let me cover my critique in two general parts. But first, my development of the gut feel causing me to dismiss the panic and hysteria early on that was the result of kind of being “near the action.” I think it’s important to have my perspective that’s not simply anger over all that’s going on. Frankly, there’s no place I’d rather be to endure this than where I am, in the company I keep.

… I left the USA one bright morning of January 14, 2020, bound for Qindao, China from SFO on a wide-body flight full of Chinese people. After a 15-hr flight and 3-hr layover in an airport crowded with Chinese people, onto the same plane … full of Chinese people … for a 4-hr flight to Kunming where I would spend 9-hrs just walking around an airport crowded with … Chinese people.

The final leg, a flight from Kunming to Chiang Mai, Thailand in the north was on … you guessed it … a plane full of Chinese people. And if that’s not Chinese enough for you, it so happens that the apartment I’d rented for a month was in the Nimmanhemin district of Chaing Mai and guess where all the Chinese hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and other such stuff is, packed with tens of thousands of … Chinese people? Yep, Nimman.

By this point, no mask wearing was going on in terms of widespread adoption. It was a few days, maybe a week, before I heard of this “novel” coronavirus, and my spidey sense went up. I already had awareness that corona viruses had been with us forever (discovered in the 1930s), just like rhino viruses (both cause common colds—you’ve all had the ‘rona, probably a bunch of times). Then I see people on social media, people IRL, and news media beginning to give great attention to it, and then I see it almost immediately become politicized and I went, ‘uh, oh, Impeachment 3.0‘. And that’s still my view. Politicization, combined with a mature social media that almost everyone participates in, along with global access to smartphones, even amongst poor people.

Here was the first thing I said about it, January 25, 2020.

So the CDC info I looked at says around 97% of those who contract this Corona virus will recover without medical attention. Given the symptoms, I can’t see how it would be distinguishable from the common cold for most.

The ones (few) dying are the same as it always is. The old and otherwise highly health compromised.

So what’s the hand wringing hysteria all about?

Almost three months later, I’m still asking essentially the same question, and plus, the numbers keep revising downward. Ironically, this was about the same time as, in retrospect and learning its symptoms, I’m quite confident—though not certain—that I had it. Weirdest “cold” ever, since there was no nasal issues. Fever, ache, mucous cough 2-3 days morphing into dry cough. I sought no medical treatment, just used some OTCs. I got a test here at the international hospital a couple of weeks back, which came back “undetected” for COVID-19. I’ll sure be anxious to get an antibody test when available.

It would take two months from my arrival in Thailand on January 16 for the shit to hit the fan in Southeast Asia at about the time I sensed the hysteria waning—which I had chalked up to the tens of thousands of Chinese being in town, but who had all since departed. My visa expired March 15, I had a visa for Vietnam, and my flight got cancelled. I did some scrambling which didn’t work, so checked back into the same hotel room from which I’d checked out of 2 hours prior.

Went to the immigration office the next day where a 4-hr wait and a $60 fee got me a 7-day extension, no additional penalty for an overstay. The next day, I rented a car, loaded up the Thai-GF-Unit, and did the 4 1/2 hour drive straight north to Mae Sai, right on the Myanmar border with Tachileik. There’s a provision there where Myanmar will give you a 1-day entry permit so you can do what’s called a “visa run.” You get your Thai exit stamp, enter Myanmar, mill about, shop, eat, and re-enter Thailand with a new 30-day visa (which can be extended for another 30 days—4-hr wait, $60).

But the shit has only begun to hit the fan. ONE HOUR before I arrived at the border, Myanmar suspended entry permits—everyone has to have an official visa. But finally something went right. I’m a clever fuck. I sit in a cafe, start searching about on my iPhone, and voilà, there’s a nicely functioning Burmese website for e-visas, plus an expedite service for 24-hr processing. Takes about 20 minutes to get through it, $56 fee, and I wait, intending to stay the night if need be. But I had the visa within 1 1/2 hours, got it printed, and to the shock and amazement of both Thai and Burmese border agents, I got the job done. I was the first to circumvent intensions. Clever fuck.

The next day, Myanmar eliminated Tachileik as a point of entry for the e-visa.

Then the next day, the cascading shutdown shitstorm saga in Thailand begins. First it was the bars, massage parlors, nightclubs, boxing arenas movie theaters, etc. Essentially, anyplace where people congregate and have fun. For about a week, that was the extent of it. Restaurants were still open, but tourists were leaving in droves…

I grabbed a flight to Koh Samui. Word was there was still life happening there, and there was—until the next day after arrival when all alcohol service in service establishments was suspended. And people were leaving in droves. By day eight, I was one of two rooms occupied in a 200-room beach resort. At least the beach was still open, the pools as well.

So I said effit, if I’m going to suffer Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds, then I might as well be back in Chiang Mai and ride it out with the TGFU (Thai girlfriend unit) and others I know, including those at the French expat bar next to the hotel.

So I came back, barely scooting in a day or two prior to the institution of a mandatory 14-day lockdown quarantine for all arrivals to Chiang Mai, and rented a very nice modern apartment of Swiss design next to the hotel, to sit out the madness. By then, all restaurants were take-out only. Then, a few days later, no alcohol by any service establishments—though still available in stores, from 11:00 – 14:00 and 17:00 – midnight. Then, the curfew, 22:00 – 04:00, otherwise one can walk around at will. There’s still no legal requirement to wear the Mao Uniform … uh … mask, and I’ve yet to catch shit from Thais who are about 99.99% duped into doing that. Some stores require it to enter, so I have other people buy my stuff for me.

And since then … let’s see … a total ban on all sales of alcohol anywhere, including package stores, 7/11, and supermarkets. Fortunately, I have #ThaiConnectons, so I can get #PriceGouged by 50%, a gouging I’m more than happy to pay.

Now, in addition to the 2 million babies dead of pneumonia annually—an ignorance that afflicts most everyone—let’s put this in further perspective. For one, respiratory-infection viruses do not seem to fair all that well in sub-tropical regions. So, Thailand, if you will, seems to enjoy both a reprieve on that score, as well as malaria not being too big of a concern. For the former, I understand that it could be both a function of the year-round heat, as well as lots of sunshine and a likely good average vitamin D status.

In Thailand, 8 people per 1,000 die every year. The population is 70 million. So, 560K die every year, 1,534 per day. The very first COVID-19 case was January 12, about 97 days ago. 149,000 Thais have died since the worisome “outbreak.”

Who cares? It literally happens every day. But, there’s an extraordinary popular delusion, fueled by the madness of crowds with smartphones and real-time social media where everyone 1) scares the shit out of everyone else and 2) puts all their virtue on display for everyone to see. Notice how so many social media profile pics are now with the Mao Uniform on display?

Understand. Those 47 deaths in 97 days come out to about a half death per day, or one death every two days. That half death per day is 0.03% (0.00032) of the daily deaths from all-cause, and the damn world is shut down and children video conference their mommies and daddies in tears (I’ve seen it first hand—my GF has 10 and 9 yo daughters), afraid they’re going to die of Corona. Well, they see the whole world around them acting like abject duped fools, what are they to think? They’re children.

And you’re not [children, supposedly]. At least you’re not supposed to be. Here, get a dose of adult.

So let’s move on to Denise’s post. I’d didn’t expect the introduction to be that long, but there’s a lot of unique context surrounding how I regard this mess. I’m not just some bed-wetter dwelling in mommy’s basement yelling at people on the internet to JUST STAY HOME!!!

Don’t Take Knives to Gunfights

Denise’s prémisse évidente“objectivity behooves us”—deserves scrutiny.

Like, why does such virtue behoove us when it’s an unobtainable panacea?

Few people are ever objective and what’s more, what’s objective in the slightest surrounding politics when this bastard of a global mess has surely been politicized? Sure, there’s the aura—or stench—of “objectivity” but when you peel it away, it’s just faux authority, the kind based on political power and not objectivity.

Objectivity might happen in a chemistry lab, but the raw data isn’t understood by most, so the results are filtered through lenses of interest, from corporate, to media, to ruling elites—and everybody wants some thing.

It’s the first time a medical crisis has been politicized since HIV/AIDS that I’m aware of (I didn’t look hard, because it’s rather irrelevant … this one is … a sort of Impeachment 3.0 since the other versions failed). The Swine or H1N1 flu of 2009/10 did quite a number, infecting an estimated 1 billion globally and taking out a half million. But Black Jesus was president. No politicization needed.

The world was gaga in love. No number of lives could have been worth all the Social Justice(tm) coming down the pike any second now.

Denise picked four principal debunks of the political, media, social media, and smartphone epidemiology narrative to counter-debunk, because it’s apparently very important that we tell truth to lies. Or something.

#1 The CDC has literally issued guidelines telling doctors and medical examiners to classify deaths as COVID-19 if they “presume” the patient has it—no test results needed.

But they have, and probably it’s not a conspiracy, but where else does that happen? I believe the answer is: nowhere, at least not like this. Yes, many good docs were quick to point out that indeed, without autopsy, it’s tricky to establish cause of death (sometimes with autopsy as well).

But what many of those same docs pointed out was the specific naming and coding that’s really unusual. Apparently, there’s no such thing to this extent for the flu. Why? It kills a very lot every year.

Perhaps it’s because that over many decades of experience, flu-like (and isn’t COVID “flu like?”) seems a better call. Or, maybe it’s because that on autopsy and lung biopsy, they often find several viral and bacterial respiratory infections in a single elderly subject.

In an autopsy series that tested for respiratory viruses in specimens from 57 elderly persons who died during the 2016 to 2017 influenza season, influenza viruses were detected in 18% of the specimens, while any kind of respiratory virus was found in 47%. In some people who die from viral respiratory pathogens, more than one virus is found upon autopsy and bacteria are often superimposed. A positive test for coronavirus does not mean necessarily that this virus is always primarily responsible for a patient’s demise.

https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/

So what I’m groking out of all of this is that even though there’s decades of experience and tens of millions of deaths surrounding “flu-like” respiratory infections, it’s still a guessing game sometimes, which is why they don’t put “Influenza [type xyz]” on a death certificate. So ask, why are they doing that for COVID-19, a very specific infection down to the whatever?

Could there be any un-objective political motivations for doing so?

#2 CDC data shows a precipitous drop in pneumonia deaths right around the same time COVID-19 became a thing—suggesting pneumonia deaths have been getting reclassified as COVID-19 deaths, and creating the illusion of a pandemic.

Well, yes, many got taken in by the data lag on that one, me included.

But I find it almost hilarious that there’s a BIG QUIBBLE over the non-objectivity there—and in the midst of going out of our way to classify deaths as specific COVID-19 when we don’t even do that for specific influenza viruses—but absolutely zero ever is said in terms of proportionality, that upwards of 4 million die of pneumonia and 2 million of them children under the age of 5!

For me, I was not the slightest bit aware of that proportionality. Moreover, exactly ZERO children have died globally under the age of 10 from the great and “novel” COVID-19, all the while sniveling, low-T, white-knight beta-boys on the Internet admonish you to JUST STAY HOME!!! and DON’T KILL MY GRANDMA!!!

#3 People who die with coronavirus, but not from coronavirus, are getting counted as COVID-19 deaths—again inflating the body count.

I think that’s adequately dealt with in #1. The issue is not that. The issue is that COVID-19 is a flu-like illness and unlike other flu-like illnesses, it enjoys top status as a very specific cause of death, down to the damn RNA of the thing. That’s never been done before.

So why the compelling need to do it now? From my light Googling, the H1N1, for example, was all estimated as the probable cause way after the fact. In other words, they used death certificates as part of the analysis, death certs that did not have H1N1 specifically on them, because none did. Noodle that.

#4 Despite COVID-19 mortality skyrocketing, total mortality is staying the same (or even dropping)—suggesting a “cause of death” shuffle, if you will, and betraying the idea that we’re seeing additional deaths from a new disease. (Alternatively: “Only people with preexisting medical conditions are dying and they were gonna keel over any minute anyhow.”)

There are any number of ways to approach this but my favorite is who the fuck cares? I don’t, and neither should you. Everyone dies of something and old people die more frequently than most and for more family members than you care to think about, it’s a relief in their heart of hearts.

There is a very silver lining to this specific one. It is almost exclusively culling the herd from the top down in age; whereas, previous infections like H1N1 hit the young very hard. Even still, 4 out of 5 of the elderly survive anyway, and good for them.

This sounds harsh and callous I know, but c’mon, everything—owing to shaming media and social media—has been a non-stop emperor-esque no-clothes parade of faux concern, faux moralizing, and faux virtue signaling for months.

Please let me off the clown carousel. And CockZucker has taught so many so well, where it’s not enough to just troll social media for opportunities to cajole and admonish, you now get to call the HOTLINE!!! and report those neighbors you didn’t like so much anyway. And you get thanked, rather than like in the old days when astute mommies told you to stop being a pathetic little tattletale (#asshole).

Let’s just kill this pedantic nonsense that’s touted as The big Big One. Here’s a chart from EuroMomo.eu, a site that tracks all mortality in 24 participating European countries and territories on a weekly basis. It’s updated every Thursday, we’re on week 15.

A brief explanation should suffice.

  • First peak, 2016; Nobody noticed anything unusual.⁠
  • ⁠Second peak 2018; Nobody noticed anything unusual.⁠
  • ⁠Third peak 2019; Nobody noticed anything unusual.⁠
  • ⁠Fourth peak 2020; Absolute mayhem, non-stop news coverage. General public exposed to non-stop images of grim horror, sickness, and death in ICU wards; images of coffins and mass burials. Global markets slumped. Mass house arrest of global workforce. Mass unemployment claims. All leading to total devastation for possibly a decade to come.⁠
  • ⁠Anybody looking at this graph might care to wonder why (devastating) peak four represents fewer cumulative excess deaths than peaks one and two.⁠ In other words, while the peak itself is comparable, the time under the bell-like-curve is way wider in the first and especially, the second.
  • Ironically, by the time 2020 is done, we’re very likely to see significantly lower total-year mortality compared to past years, even without adjusting for population growth. Why? Because billions worldwide are under house arrest (I don’t use euphemisms like “social distancing”) and not out engaging in the quotidian risky things living a life of liberty is all about. We’re in self-fulfilling prophesy territory.

You don’t suppose there’s anything afoot here, any sort of motivation where you’d want to shut down the whole world over this, do you? Of course locking everyone up saves lives. Duh. So, why not just lock everyone up for all time, then? Isn’t that your prime and fundamental standard, to save lives, without any other considerations?

Let me see if I can drive home my point for you. Sure, ok, if we’re in a laboratory pure science setting you’re likely to find very good objectivity, intellectual honesty, and proper science. But we’re not. We’re all in the very messy lab of human endeavor where lies, dishonesty, anything-but-objectivity, politics, agendas, and every other nefarious thing under the sun prevail.

So, would you rather play Pollyanna with Rose Colored Glasses, or be effective?

You do not counter congenital liars and manipulators with your bright shining, objective truths. Did Denise convince T. Collin Campbell of a single damn thing, even though she exposed The China Study—as no one else ever did—as a general pack of fucking lies to fit a vegan agenda?

So, as very good as that was, it was largely an exercise of preaching to the choir. But who knows? I’d like to think its main force is in helping the objectively, science-minded over time to better evaluate, since the whole rest of the world is against them.

Sometimes, the pragmatic approach, especially in a literal emergency—and I don’t mean the virus—is to wing it. You don’t need a China Study Exhaustive Takedown when so many are trying to make sense of the insanity, questioning their gut instincts because everyone on a smartphone is #NPCing them.

Liars are no more interested in the truth than are predators interested in your gun laws. You don’t defeat them with laws … or knives. You defeat them with bigger and better guns.

Or, how do you deal with a liar? Lie better, especially in an emergency … like … the world just came to a complete screeching halt because no number of lives or any amount of financial ruin is too much if you can just rid the world of Trump. I saw you Trump-hating leftists and Democrats coming a million miles away in this never-let-a-crisis-go-to-waste, third impeachment attempt. And Trump hating isn’t just an American thing, it’s a global thing; because he so effectively FUCKS with you better than all of you put together can ever hope to fuck with him.

Rather Than Criticize The Criticisms, Offer Better

Whereas, Denise’s China-Study takedown was an exercise in negation, falsification, and people should just revert to the default omnivore narrative once convinced enough that veganism sucks Soy Balls, this is an in-your-face immediate emergency. No, again, not the whimpering virus that can’t even manage a decent tough flu-year.

There is no time to evergreen a post so as to be idle for another three years.

Shit, or get off the pot.

So let me do what Denise ought to have done, which is to offer better critiques, proposals, and analysis than those four that have already swayed millions into doing an about-face on this insanity. Now, were we to do this exercise independently, the results would be quite different. Women would tend to like Denise’s proscriptions better, and men, mine.

Make your own judgments as to what that might portend in reflection of the 19th Amendment.

In no particular order.

#1 Don’t you find it odd, or at least curious, that this biological viral pandemic falls into general party lines, left and right, so meticulously? I’ve already said that it’s politicized, but this isn’t a point to be overlooked. Why is it so steeped in left-right politics this time, not since HIV/AIDS?

It’s said that everything is politics, and that’s probably true, but there are times when even individual politicians seemingly set it aside in order to see if better political use of the event can be had later—or it just fades away into the memory hole anyway.

This one went highly political almost immediately and had Trump gone it alone on this house arrest lockdown thing, there would be hell to pay, rightly so. For whatever reasons (I know if you don’t), the entire modern world went in lock step, except Belarus and Sweden. So they can’t get Trump on that, because, y’know, lefties and their internationals. On the other hand, had Trump said fuck you! to all the dire predictions and done little to nothing, he’d be sitting pretty right about now.

Instead, he’s chosen, politically, to believe the crazy computer models and I saw him on TV yesterday say twice or three times that his administration’s and states’ actions saved 2 million lives. That’s bullshit, but politics is politics.

#2 The COMPUTER MODELS!!! as though computers are still a novel thing. This again touches on the general political antagonisms, but have you noticed that the same people who have touted global warming … no … climate change computer models for decades—that are ALWAYS way wrong, often by orders of magnitude—touted the grossly and insanely wrong COMPUTER MODELS!!! for this particular bastard just the same?

I don’t know whether it’s a 1-1 correspondence, but it’s got to be within a c-hair.

#3 This will ruffle feathers, but no, I don’t care about your grandma. You do. I don’t. And, news flash: neither does anyone else who doesn’t know you, social media virtue signaling and comment threads of pray-praying-prayers notwithstanding.

Consider, for a second, the practical efficacy of this virus. I mean, since we’re not talking principles of liberty or anything, or its trade-away for feelings of safety and security. It’s killing 1 of 5 very expensive people who don’t produce any longer. It’s leaving the productive and potentially productive alone. Unscathed. Not a single infected under age 10 death on the planet. That’s something big.

Sounds callous, but given the cradle to grave health maintenance plan you want, that even pays for oil changes and flat tires in order to bolster the illusion that it’s FREE!!! I ask you what a few more months of “life” is worth—at a cost to your diamond-level healthcare membership of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars—when the money pit can just be over with right now?

How many have thought of the upside to their National Health Care Systems, having now been culled of so much costly dead weight quickly—especially for you Euros with your sécurité sociale, plus développé du mond?

#4 While on the subject of principle dump, how about a different mix of lockdown? Why not just be pragmatic as fuck? The data is rolling in still, but it’s pretty clear that obesity and all the down streams of that play an important role.

How about close and liquidate all junk food producers, fast food, pizza, Starbucks Sugar Coffee Company, et al?

No?

Why, politically untenable?

But I thought we’re in it to win it…

Let me get this right. You have the political and “ethical” gumption to destroy the financial lives of billions around the world, but the various and sundry boards of directors and and a few million shareholders are gonna have a hissy fit so no? Ok then.

#5 The thing nobody gave a shit about because it wholly contradicted (falsified, really) the convenient panic-and-hysteria narrative that was just accelerating, gaining speed, and attaining critical-mass momentum. The cruise ship Diamond Princess.

On 20 January 2020, an 80-year-old passenger from Hong Kong embarked in Yokohama, sailed one segment of the itinerary, and disembarked in Hong Kong on 25 January. He visited a local Hong Kong hospital, six days after leaving the ship, where he later tested positive for COVID-19 on 1 February. On its next voyage, 4 February, the ship was in Japanese waters when 10 passengers were diagnosed with COVID-19 during the early stages of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.

The ship was quarantined on 4 February in the Port of Yokohama in Japan.

[…]

As of 16 March, at least 712 out of the 3,711 passengers and crew had tested positive for the virus. As of 24 March, twelve of those who were on board have died from the disease.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_coronavirus_pandemic_on_Diamond_Princess

Well isn’t that cute, Wikipedia. What’s wrong with the whole context?

  • The infection rate of 712 infections of 3,711 passengers and crew is only 20% in a damn controlled, tin-can petri dish.
  • Of the 712 infections, 60% were asymptomatic. They carried and spread it, didn’t know they had it.
  • The passengers were heavily weighted toward the elderly.
  • All who died were old (I believe old men).
  • Of the other 700 infected, 97%, survived. Of generally elderly people.

#6 Ah, but wait! we have another ship where Denise missed the boat. This just in. The USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71).

USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71)

Now, of course, I’m an ex-Navy officer, ship driver variety (SWO). Before I explain the results of their COVID!!! OUTBREAK!!! (it’s very novel) let me make a couple of distinctions between this tin-can petri dish and the other one.

  • There are no passengers. Crew only, 100% essential personnel.
  • I don’t know what the age distribution of the military is, but at a WAG, 90% are probably under 40 years old.

So what happened in a quite different controlled “experiment,” but with quite an inverse age-population makeup (this means: good)?

  • The infection rate is 600 out of about 4,500 tested (crew of 4,800, testing ongoing).
  • That’s an infection rate of 13.5% in an enclosed environment.
  • But just like the Diamond Princess, 60% had no symptoms. Had it. Didn’t know it.
  • A single sailor has died, I don’t know any details.
  • That’s 0.16% (0.0016).

Denise darling, you missed the boats.

While it’s true I used my gut and no data initially to place my all-in bet on how this plays out, the Diamond Princess was a perfect revelation. I found almost zero interest in it while at the same time, I then knew with absolute certainty how this plays out.

And now we have another boat. Different day, different boat, same essential result and even more pristine, an inverse age-population and the number that matters in the end, death, just about what you would expect given the age distributions.

So, now, Denise, feel free to take on my 6 tries, above. Otherwise, I shall wait by my email inbox waiting for the eventual though infrequent missive from you, “do you ever get tired of being right?” as you sent on November 4, 2015, knowing I’d said in 1992 that Hillary will never be president and in November, 2015, went all in with Trump to take the whole thing. And I never wavered.

Well, it’s been fun. This post only took 8 hours.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

32 Comments

  1. Michelle on April 19, 2020 at 10:00

    It’s a shame that this post is not being spread far and wide. I think you are one of the last original thinkers left.

    • Runsalot on April 19, 2020 at 12:24

      Couldn’t agree more. This is refreshing and original.

  2. Catherine H. on April 19, 2020 at 13:57

    So fun. 8 hours well spent; thank you.

  3. Richard Nikoley on April 19, 2020 at 17:44

    Thanks everyone. Please help spread it.

  4. George Bruno on April 19, 2020 at 19:29

    The absolutely best treatment of this subject to date. You tipped the scale the moment you said Impeachment 3.0. Well done and thank you for the critical work thought that went into this.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 19, 2020 at 22:28

      Thanks much, George.

      Unfortunately, Soc and Drew Bay seem to have swallowed the Kool Aide, Drew even going so far as to sport his Mao Uniform in his Twitter profile pic.

      I have been amazed at the number of cowering little girls in my circles living in fear and virtue signaling their concern.

      Pathetic.

      Nobody questions the premise. They just argue over best measures counter a completely false premise.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 20, 2020 at 19:49

      George, just added this para.

      “Or, how do you deal with a liar? Lie better, especially in an emergency … like … the world just came to a complete screeching halt because no number of lives or any amount of financial ruin is too much if you can just rid the world of Trump. I saw you Trump-hating leftists and Democrats coming a million miles away in this never-let-a-crisis-go-to-waste, third impeachment attempt. And Trump hating isn’t just an American thing, it’s a global thing; because he so effectively FUCKS with you better than all of you put together can ever hope to fuck with him.”

  5. Gordon Wayne Watts on April 20, 2020 at 00:42

    You da man, Richard! And I suspected that there was an over-exaggerated response from the Goober-mint… uh, I mean, Government.

    For the record, I’m as far-right-wing Conservative Trump supporter (but do advocate for common-man causes like oppressive an immoral tuition inflation, onerous and usurous student debt, etc, which I view as excessive taxation), but, what of the spike in deaths?

    I independently researched that one claim, and while — yes — this Covid-19 thing is NOT near as bad as the infamous 1918 epidemic, nonetheless, there WAS an unexplained spike in absolute death count in some cities associated with the same time/place of the alleged Covid-19 cases (i.e., something killed them, but not necessarily that strain). Indeed, in a recent post on my https://Facebook.com/GordonWayneWatts I document this.

    My point is this: While it’s nowhere near close to justifying shutting down the entire Galaxy this side of the Neutral Zone or the Klingon borders… nonetheless, you do seem to agree with me (your graph with four “spikes” above — COVID-19 — or some Corona-virus – if not the Covid-19 strain — being one on them), right?

    What, if I may ask, Rich, are your suggestions? I would suggest common-sense things (common sense isn’t so common any more), like handwashing, not sneezing on people, and keeping your distance — but NOT masks unless you feel YOU need them (or to “fit in” and not get your @ss in trouble with local paranoid authorities). So, what’s your take on the bottom line? Thx,

    Gordon Wayne Watts

    • Richard Nikoley on April 20, 2020 at 08:01

      Yea, absolutely. Hand washing (or the now ubiquitous alcohol sanitizers) and covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze, staying home or isolated when YOU are sick, etc. have always been sound, civilized practices.

      Plus, it helps mitigate the transmission of cold and flu as well.

  6. Ronan on April 20, 2020 at 01:23

    Thank you, Richard,

    What can you say about the eternal counter argument that the excess deaths have been minimized by the social distancing, thereby approving the draconian measures and the well, killing of our economy?

    • Richard Nikoley on April 20, 2020 at 08:09

      That’s just self fulfilling prophesy territory.

      There’s a reason we don’t try to contain cold and flu viruses. They’re uncontainable. The annual flu virus is only about 50% effective, I hear.

      I’m pretty certain that by the end of 2020, total mortality for the year will be substantially down because you have several billion people under house arrest and not out engaging in risky behavior like driving cars, bikes, motorbikes, crossing busy streets, etc.

      If one really got serious about SAVING LIVES!!! we’d just build a jail cell for everyone on the planet and lock everyone up and eliminate virtually all risk.

      That’s what’s so screwy about this, the saving lives at all costs. It’s an absurd notion, very child like.

  7. Noah Revoy on April 20, 2020 at 09:29

    In this post Richard once again proves that he can write very, very well. Not just entertaining us but also taking us through boring statistics and facts in a way that is engaging and insightful with plenty of masculine energy.

  8. Aussiebob on April 20, 2020 at 18:35

    Well Richard I am immuno-compromised and I was on the “it’s not just the flu bro” a month ago when nothing was known about this virus and the reports and footage coming out of China was scary. Now we have decent data we can see it is nothing. I am worried for my grandparents but the truth is they are just as likely to die from any flu strain this year. No one lives forever and we need to stop pretending we can prevent death forever. As someone more vulnerable than most I do not support this lockdown. I am an adult and I can decide how much I want to protect myself and I don’t expect any others to accommodate me. I engage in other risky behaviour because life is inherently risky. The alternative is living death.

    I will have to read that Madness of Crowds book because I believe there is more than bad government and authoritarian overreach at play. There is a large psychological aspect to this hysteria, whether it is the need of a society who has never experienced war, depression, or any real hardship to feel alive or whether it is a need for arrogant cunts to feel morally superior by yelling stay at home and calling the cops on people not cowering in their homes.

    I am extremely disappointed in Denise though. For a supposed data nerd she has ignored the two most useful pieces of data:

    1. Australian stats. Australia has almost contained the virus and has a lot of widespread testing so their numbers are pretty accurate. Mortality is at 1.5% and dropping. A large portion of their cases were outbreaks in nursing homes and returning cruise ship passengers, so the old and unhealthy.

    2. Iceland too has very comprehensive numbers and their mortality is below 1%

    3. Sweden has not chosen to introduce a police state and their per capita mortality from the China flu is less than the UKs.

    There is plenty of data out there for anyone willing to look.

  9. Richard Nikoley on April 20, 2020 at 19:48

    Note: In addition to a few edits and enhancements here and there, I just added this very fun-ass paragraph to the end of the “Don’t Take Knives to Gunfights” section.

    “Or, how do you deal with a liar? Lie better, especially in an emergency … like … the world just came to a complete screeching halt because no number of lives or any amount of financial ruin is too much if you can just rid the world of Trump. I saw you Trump-hating leftists and Democrats coming a million miles away in this never-let-a-crisis-go-to-waste, third impeachment attempt. And Trump hating isn’t just an American thing, it’s a global thing; because he so effectively FUCKS with you better than all of you put together can ever hope to fuck with him.”

    • Perry on October 2, 2020 at 06:00

      Hi Richard, use to read you years ago, glad to see you are alive and well.

      When this got kicked off after a bit of a slow role and I saw it catch fire with the commies for whom the delight was palatable, from that point on every time a normie caught on I just said to them,
      ‘Just another get Trump, not going to work’. Que the sheepish look, lol.

  10. Chung-Ho Lee on April 21, 2020 at 12:56

    Dear Richard,

    The Minger article was extremely poorly researched and invalid information. WHO is corrupt and not a trustable source. Many doctors and nurses have come forward with the covidiot fraud. This is a very important video from a respiratory doctor. This guy is the real hero not these dancing clowns. There is n pandemic, no war zone nor ventilator shortage. Nurses are being laid off. H1N1 was far more serious- a million times more scary than this “bad flu”.

  11. Gerry on April 21, 2020 at 02:45

    You were right about carbs, right about potatoes, right about protein, right about ketotards.

    Your a smart and I always read your stuff for many years at distance and take the gems that make rational sense to me.

    Often though, you come across as waaaayyyy to aggressive and with most people I suspect they loose what your trying to say. Their brain sees you going personal on some one, such as assassinating their character with abuse and they switch off. Pass it off as abuse rather than argument. lol – Your always so agreeable in podcasts too.

    I felt #1 and #2 were like the above. This #3 content was really good. You weren’t overly aggressive to Denise but showed humorous put downs which is fine and put forward a different argument.

    I’m not sold on it all, i’m agnostic on Trump as i’m a political centrist from Australia. So kinda skipped that bit.

    Those last paragraphs showing the ships as closed models that may reflect the population dynamics in the wild are especially interesting! The only other closed model I saw was an Italian town that shut its borders from the rest of Italy and did COVID tests on the towns entire population. They also found a ~50% asymptomatic rate but I never followed up on their death rates.

    Off topic – In Australia this has cut influenza down from what was supposed to be a hellish flu season to one of the best. Wasn’t expecting that.

  12. JP on April 21, 2020 at 07:56

    Nicely written and enjoyable to read. Thank you for your thought and work on this.

    Here is another article that discusses the two ships: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/04/19/wuhan-coronavirus-and-covid-19-rumination-5/

  13. Bret on April 22, 2020 at 10:28

    Ditto the others on the brilliance of this post, Richard. Nail on the god damn motherfucking head. The Knives to Gunfights section I think I will print out and frame. On a side note that section describes perfectly what is wrong with libertarians — I see it every single day. I remember you used to mention this frequently, and now I see it crystal clear. You’ve always been three steps ahead of everyone. Like fucking Batman.

    I thought I was aware of how ridiculously ignorant the general public was, but I hadn’t seen nothing prior to this deep state faux outbreak apocalypse. How many utter and complete fucking MORONS have you observed (real or internet) not only willing but eager to hand over all of their presumed freedoms, bekuz da govermint and dokterz told them to panic. Forget the obvious hoax…just suggest this is merely an overreaction, and you are a science denying flat earther, and your concern for the ekonomee doesn’t go beyond your own wallet, you greedy money grubber you. Fuck me in the pie hole, the ubiquity of these nitwits is just astounding.

    George Carlin used to rant and rave against the people, rather than politicians. This righteous bit (9:40 to end) and later this one (whole thing), both of which I believe you are familiar with. He was so right. It is the fucking people that are the problem, always. They’re not happy except when pissing away the system their ancestors fought & died to build for them.

    Here’s where I am going to get weird and amateur wannabe psychoanalyst. While I agree this hysteria has always had an OrangeManBad underpinning, I fully believe the majority of its contributors & participants are not even aware of the antiTrumpism in any conscious, prefrontal cortex way. At this point people are so god damn brainwashed by their titanic faceless partisan overlords that the desire to take down Trump’s economy — especially in election year — is truly impulsive, reflexive, on a fundamental mental level. No decision required, nor rational or logical thought (even semi- or faux- versions thereof).

    If a “crisis” (by an intellectually comatose sheep’s definition) occurs on a globalist politically correct Democrat’s watch, then we of course can all skip the concern and stress. Everything will be fine! And we don’t want to upset this nice progress towards Euro trash soft socialism he (wishfully she) has been making.

    But under a Republican — especially this reincarnated Hitlerstalin Orangutan — all hands on deck. Freak the fuck out, please, now and forever. Watch your income spiral down the toilet, go stand in line for hours at food banks, piss away your prospects for the next 5 years……all worth it to defeat Agent Orange and inch closer to communism.

    All of this, of course, on a subconscious level. Not that it matters, nor changes your point. But I guess what I am trying to add, is that there is absolutely no communicating with these people, on this point or any other. They’e living in a different universe……one in which individual critical thinking is superseded by information monopolies, and individual choice is supplanted by gestapo direction.

    They are the modern day Nazis, in every way. How long before they are advocating for violence against their fellow citizens simply for not hating Trump? Oh wait…..already are, and have been for a long time.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 22, 2020 at 21:49

      Hey Bret. I think the reason your post got hung up in the mod queue is the number of links.

      Great comment. Thanks.

      As a sort of 36K cruising altitude view of your thoughts, I’ve been fond of saying, lately, that this whole ordeal informs me that we have made little progress since Aristotle.

      This floated by this morning.

      (if that doesn’t open anything, it’s an NYT piece: “‘Instead of Coronavirus, the Hunger Will Kill Us.’ A Global Food Crisis Looms.”)

      My first thought was, what a wet dream for leftists. I mean, the’ve been salivating for mass starvation death since 1968.

      “The Population Bomb is a best-selling book written by Stanford University Professor Paul R. Ehrlich and his wife, Anne Ehrlich (who was uncredited), in 1968.[1][2] It predicted worldwide famine in the 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation, as well as other major societal upheavals, and advocated immediate action to limit population growth. Fears of a “population explosion” were widespread in the 1950s and 1960s, but the book and its author brought the idea to an even wider audience.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Population_Bomb

    • Bret on April 23, 2020 at 02:17

      Man, that is heartbreaking, all those starving people suffering due to the shutdown. Really makes me appreciate our second amendment and in particular those citizens willing to demonstrate it, like those patriots in the Michigan capital recently.

      Scared that worthless piece of shit governor into backing down.

      Rest of the world needs to wake up and get on board. Truly oppressive regimes have literally billions of people by the balls. Modern day slaves that can’t defend themselves or assert any rights.

      Styx mentioned the other day how US food aid to some foreign countries has created a dependency effect that is now a tragic curse during a seized-up economy. Just terribly sad.

    • Bret on April 24, 2020 at 12:00

      Sorry, one more expatiating remark and then I’ll stfu. In trying to keep the previous long remark from being longer, I forgot to expand on one point:

      Re: Knives to Gunfights

      No matter how far we progress into the more and more obvious reality of ubiquitous fake news, deceptive contemptuous clickbait garbage as a rule of thumb, and widespread unwitting consumption thereof (i.e. the real pandemic)…

      We still have these dorks who think they can solve that problem by playing by the liars’ rules. People who think if they can just assemble enough logic and just present it in just the right superlogical way…the liars will admit fault and back down, because they’ll have no choice…because the oh-so-logical-and-intelligent public will see the faults exposed! LOL.

      Post an exceedingly detailed rebuttal, beg to be acknowledged by the liar kingmakers, and then grunt and sigh when they aren’t. Then repeat…this time I’ll get it right.

      Passive & submissive to the core. Impressively logical brains, but lacking the testosterone-equipped ability to give the middle finger to the whole dishonest bullshit narrative in the first place. They’ll just be dismissed as quacks by the same news media that lied to begin with, and maybe with a fake accusation of pedophilia (or other gut-wrenching bottom-feeder activity) to go with it. Discredited, irrelevant, uninteresting. Persuaded exactly no one.

      Libertarians in a nutshell, even a non-political tripe. This is why Trump won and Gary Dipshit Johnson never even came near the game.

  14. Richard Nikoley on April 23, 2020 at 00:06
  15. Julia Martin on April 23, 2020 at 12:30

    Talk about hitting the ball out of the park. You certainly did. Best thing I’ve read on the rona coverage.

  16. Wizzu on May 3, 2020 at 14:49

    >Here’s a chart from EuroMomo.eu, a site that tracks all mortality in 24 participating European countries and territories on a weekly basis. It’s updated every Thursday, we’re on week 15.<

    You'd better check the updated chart, Richard. The numbers are way up for 2020. At the time I'm writing this, it's approaching 90'000.

    The updated numbers don't support your point anymore. Better rethink the whole thing.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 4, 2020 at 06:22

      LOL dude, its the exact same peak, and has decreased since. They simply changed their website in the last couple of weeks and changed the visual distance between numbers.

      Take a close look and look at the END point of the line.

      Also, look how narrow it is (rapid peak and decline) compared with far greater “time under excess” in he previous spikes (more total excess deaths overall).

    • Wizzu on May 5, 2020 at 03:41

      @Richard

      No, numbers are up, from ±70’000 to ±90’000. Strange that you don’t see that, for someone who claims to understand such graphs better that the average joe.
      Examine again the updated graph and you’ll probably understand your mistake.
      If you still don’t, I’ll (try to) explain it to you in simple terms.

      As for the peak vs. the area under the curve, I hope you realize that the data is not up to date for recent deaths. It is “correct” only for previous years. So you can’t compare total deaths by now (area under the curve). You can only compare the max numbers. You have no idea how this peak will look like in a couple of months when they catch up with the actual numbers.

      Your argumentation relies on faulty observations of incomplete data.

    • John on December 27, 2020 at 21:03

      While I think more people will die in the first wave of 2020 compared to 2019 I don’t think we’ll see more dead compared to 2018 or 2017 which seem to have longer ‘extra dead people’ seasons.

      Based entirely on using MS paint it seems like 2020 lasted about 10 weeks in eu with +35k extra dead, 2019 was also about 10 weeks but added only +5k dead people per week. 2018 lasted nearly 2x as long at 19 weeks but added only about +15k dead people per week, 2017 was probably only 15 weeks at around +20k dead per week. doing some complex maths we get +dead people scores of +350k for 2020, +50k for 2019 and +285k for 2018 and +300k.

      Alright so I was wrong about less dead but still pretty close ballpark figures of +2% real extra dead people in 2020 excluding the current 2nd wave we’re in which would add +10% dead people if it kills another +350k.

      12% more dead people is scary and we need to worry about it and probably can’t be explained away by rising suicide, poverty, crime and bad advice from china. but I suspect in the next couple of years we’ll have below avg ‘extra deaths’ as we run out of sick 80+ yros

      the interesting tidbits are obviously the boats with 0.1% in healthy population and >2% in old people which is also reflected in the swedish chart of 65+ people. where people under 65 are not dying more then normal while 65+ are dropping at a sweet 5% per year while in ‘pandemic’ mode compared to 2.5% per year in normal mode. do note that pandemic mode has only been ~14 weeks long in sweden or about 11k extra dead 65+ yro out of a population of 2m old people in a country of 10m

      https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/en/home/statistics/health/state-health/mortality-causes-death.assetdetail.12467389.html and 2017 https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/en/home/statistics/health/state-health/mortality-causes-death.assetdetail.4482309.html

      • Richard Nikoley on December 28, 2020 at 17:25

        I’ll be interested to see final all-cause mortality for 2020. Last I checked US figures, it looks to be coming in 1.12% over 2019, which is actually low end of the normal range year over year of 1.1 – 1.3%.



  17. Chung Lee Ho on May 16, 2020 at 19:11

    Fake News Media CBS busted and caught faking “busy, crowded patient testing lines”. They used hospital employees to POSE as patients !

    . The ItalianMP has called out The New World Order and Bill Gates for crimes against humanity. Her speech was great.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BUBTtUTOII

    Why do people even tune into the mainstream media? Trump is correct- FAKE NEWS.
    We have all the proof we ever need this a SCAM. Crisis actors who do not even cough. False protests staged and paid for by Soros etc. ( Facebook Live one)

    More and more people are waking up to this PLANDEMIC/SCAMdemic. Italy is waking up, too. More and more doctors and scientists are coming forward- Dr. Shiva, Dr. Dan Erickson, Dr. Artin Massihi ( California) ( banned by YouTube) Dr. Judith Mikovits and more.

    There is also a good interview by a Swedish scientist Dr. Johan Giesecke on why lockdowns are the WRONG POLICY. He says there is no evidence for social distancing , wearing masks are not that useful, no evidence for lockdowns, or banning all social gatherings. .Only washing hands is useful. . ”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfN2JWifLCY

    “Flatten thecurve”, We are in this together”, Stay at home”, “The new normal” . These are ALL phrases from the Nazis ( Fauci and Gates) constanyl repeated over and over and on billboards and signs shoved up our asses daily to CONDITION us, to make us SHEEPLE .or COVIDIOTS… “War on terror” “Stay alert” These are weasel words and phrases that are very, very vague , make no sense and can be used as a BOOGEYMAN to go on forever and ever,…

    Google “Operation Mockingbird” ” Operation Northwoods” The government LIES all the time. I think Snowden is a HERO for exposing the spying. .

    Ignore these phrases and these criminals and never speak those words. Anarchist Larken Rose has a lot to say on this, too.

    Fauci and Gates will be in JAIL hopefully for this- . These people are psychopaths- Clintons, Epstein, Rothschilds etc. Event 201 says it all. This was ALL planned. They want to crash the economy- this is about depopulation and population control. These bastards have been at this for a long time. The public is awakening and these individuals SHOULD be scared and running!

    Nurses being laid off, empty hospitals, faked cause of death certificates, payouts for labeling it COVID-19, hospitals making profits, dancing nurses with extremely choreographed detailed complicated in sync moves fooling around, rooms FULL of ventilators. They are mocking us!

    We went from 2020 to 1984. It is SICKENING what is going on . DISGUSTING!!!! OPEN the economy and beaches!

  18. Arthur De Vany on March 21, 2021 at 08:41

    Richard,

    This is a good post. Denise wiped out Campbell, now why don’t take a shot at Fauci.

    I wanted to thank you for your excellent and kind review of my book, which I just found today.

    I am no longer on the Internet, save for some brain lectures at IHMC on YouTube.

    Leaving next week on a 6-month motorcycle ride through the US and parts of Canada on my BMW K 1200 R (160 HP). Alone. I call it my neurogenesis tour since novel, enriched environments spur neurogenesis; so does riding really fast. 83 now and still lean and strong. Lots of negatives these days for me.

    Let me end with another thanks and my best wishes and one comment that will irritate the doubters === I still get stares in the gym, particularly from the young women.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 23, 2021 at 15:51

      Art.

      No matter what, here is the post I wrote on May 30, 2007, which is a rapid 14-year passing.

      https://www.freetheanimal.com/2007/05/art_de_vany.html

      Age comes at you quick, quicker, and quickest and I just turned 60.

      My main mode of transportation here at Rawai Beach, Phuket, Thailand, is a GPX Racer. Only 200cc, but in a classic style.

      I totally understand:

      “enriched environments spur neurogenesis; so does riding really fast”

      The vast majority of the Earth is now children cowering in the dark in fear.

      2020 turned my targeted and focussed misanthropy to generalized and blurry.

      I wish you well.

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