Covid-19 Deniers Try Too Hard

Someone shared a post on Facebook on my feed today. It started out with a half-truth meme, and was followed up with a healthy dose of questions for government officials and the medical community. I took a shot at answering, when nobody else did (probably due to the amount of time it would take)…

The post with all the questions is here. The meme is this one:

There are certainly some truths to the meme. But the second and third points (i.e. the ones regarding >95% and <1%) are not factually correct. The first number is actually closer to 80% and the second number I imagine is greater than the death rate…considering that if you’re about to die of this then you’re, uh, probably going to go to the hospital.

It’s so important that we don’t spread these as facts. “Dr. Jamie” is a naturopath. No disrespect to that industry, but for coronaviruses let’s adhere to science.

And now for the questions.

The writer asked 33 questions, many are legitimate, some are based on false information, and some are just filler. Because, with 33 questions, who is going to take the time to answer them?

Me!

But 99.9% of people won’t bother. Most won’t even read them all. But they’ll share, even if they didn’t read them all. And this is how misinformation is spread in the social media age. Please don’t share these things unless you read it through, have checked everything, and agree with it. Just because they post 33 different “facts” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t investigate all 33 things (I admit, I didn’t look into two of them but I stated as much – I just don’t want to put any more time into it than I already have!).

The Questions found in the Original Post

1. Why does Covid spread if you oppose lockdowns at a protest, or support Trump at a rally but it doesn’t spread if you support BLM at a protest?

Dobber It does spread during BLM protests. You need to be careful, wear a mask, and do your best to social distance. And hope for the best.

2. Why does this virus spread at a park or gym but not at the Beer Store or McDonalds?

Dobber It absolutely does. Those businesses keep the lines spread and insist on masks – or no getting in.

3. Why can you shop at Walmart and Big Box stores safety but not at Mom and Pop shop?

Dobber You can. Let’s do our best to support Mom and Pop. Though I’m afraid all too many are closing due to rent issues, or they are not opening because business is too slow (and are in danger of shuttering as a result)

4. If the virus doesn’t effect children and teens why are daycares and schools the last on the list for reopening?

Dobber It does affect kids too. And they can certainly carry it (which is the issue)

5. Why do the Covid death counts include both confirmed and probable cases?

Dobber We need all illnesses classified the same way. “Confirmed” and “probable” is how it is done with everything. Fortunately, most probable cases can eventually be “confirmed”, with statistics adjusted accordingly.

6. If it is about our health, why are we not talking about our immune systems, eating better, exercising, sunlight and fresh air?

Dobber This question seems like a ‘filler’ to make this list look longer. This is always part of the conversation in day-to-day life. We also don’t talk about going to the bathroom, but we still do.

7. If it is known that people with Vitamin D deficiencies have a higher risk of Covid complications why are we not mandating sunlight and vitamin D rich foods?

Dobber Vitamin D helps with everything. My doctor has me take it, and everyone who sees a doctor (in my family). Another “filler” question.

8. If more people are dying and suffering from the lockdown (338% increase of calls to suicide hotline) then from the virus, why are we still in lockdown?

Dobber Two different ways to tackle this – full lockdown (worked for Canada), or stay open with precautions (“kind of” worked for Sweden). What USA did was half-ass it. Full lockdown for a couple of weeks, then Trump started wavering, and out the side of his mouth encouraged protests, and governors to open up…but not really, etc, etc. And some governors opened up, some didn’t – no real cohesion there. This answer really requires a long essay, but it’s definitely answerable. I’ll summarize: The USA needed to pick a path and stick with it – with everybody in each political party to toe the line on whichever path this was. With their leader not being firm with the path he chose, and assertive with his statements, it led to more of the population questioning and acting against those decisions. And that just made it worse.

9. If this has always been about flattening the curve, and we have, why are we still in lockdowns and now worrying about eliminating a virus, which you can’t?

Dobber Assuming this is an American post, then the answer is – the curve is not flattened. At all. If it’s Canada, then you may have noticed (or maybe not?) that restrictions are being lifted!

10. Why do the people in charge keep making huge errors, backtracking, changing it again, making mistakes, making more mistakes, deny, deny, deny and no one holds them accountable and everyone still listens to what they say?

Dobber This is how science and discovery works. You learn as you go. The alternative is for scientists to keep their mouth shut about it until they were 100% certain, meaning you would hear nothing for 10 or 15 months and then get all the answers at that point. Instead, we get daily updates to the best of their knowledge, and I feel that is the best way to do it. I feel like only a Grade 6 student or younger would wonder this! It’s like the question-asker missed high school…

11. Don’t domestic abuse victims, child abuse victims, sexual abuse victims, alcoholics, drug addicts, matter?

Dobber Another “filler” question to make the list longer and make them look as though they have a valid point.

12. What about all of the people that are dying from Cancer, Heart Disease and other illnesses because hospitals have cancelled all “elective” surgeries?

Dobber Any surgeries related to those things are not ‘elective’ and therefore wouldn’t be canceled. Come on…

13. If hospitals are still to capacity, why are so many laying of employees to avoid closing. “The loss of revenue over the last few weeks due to the inability to provide non-emergency care is destabilizing core health services and the cost is devastating.”

Dobber This is probably taken from this source regarding rural hospitals in the United States. In Canada, no hospital employees are being laid off to my knowledge. In the US, the worry is about ventilators. Unrelated to the emergency department. But those smaller hospitals outside of the big cities lack the ventilators. The worry is that if cases rise high enough, the serious ones won’t all get treated as well as they normally would.

14. If we wear masks to protect others, why don’t we care about the people that can’t wear masks?

Dobber We do care. And this issue is noted far too often (goodness, I see this every day by the anti-Covid group) relative the the amount of times it is actually an issue. I understand that the original poster has this very issue and cannot wear a mask. I get it. So don’t wear a mask. This is rare. But the mask is just to be used if it saves lives without costing lives (duh). Obviously if you can’t wear one, then don’t. Have other people go into stores for you, or produce a doctor’s note that exempts you (if the place of business allows for that). But my goodness I see this issue brought up very, very often. It’s as if there are a billion people who can’t wear masks! The reality is, it’s for a tiny amount of the populace and the covid-conspiracy-theorists seize on this as an easy excuse to use in their arguments. I think it’s their favorite one!

15. If you expect empathy, why don’t you give it?

Dobber Another filler question.

These next few require me to dip into my Degree in Statistics (with a Math Minor), so here goes…

16. How come when I type in any 3 digit number followed by “new cases” on google it comes up with the exact number of new confirmed cases of covid in the US?

Dobber This is amazing! I tried a few and I think you’re right. But with 195 countries in the world, and 50 states in the US and 13 provinces and territories in Canada each reporting daily (so 258 different geographical locations reporting) numbers over 140 days, that gives you 36,120 different reports. Assuming the reported numbers range from 0 to 10,000, with most of the numbers clustering between say 50 and 1000, statistically most of the three-digit numbers will be represented. But that’s a very cool discovery, thanks for pointing it out!

17. Why are people surprised that more cases are confirmed if they are testing more people?

Dobber This one always makes me sigh, as it just trumpets what Trump said in one of his addresses. Look at the numbers (I use this site), and instead of total cases, just look at cases per test. Compare tests per 1M population among the different countries. Then compare cases per 1M population among the same countries. A higher test count should mean that the second number will rise at the same rate as the first number. But it doesn’t (for the USA).

As an example, I use Canada vs. USA. Tests are 118,776 for the USA and 80,009 for Canada on a “per million” basis. This should mean that, if both countries having an equal issue but US is getting more cases because of more tests, then the cases per million should be about 48.4% higher. But, the cases per million in the US is 9523 and in Canada is 2819, which is 338% higher.

Anyway, a Year 1 Stats course at University could delve further into how this works, but I think it’s easily understandable in the example above.

18. Why is everyone petrified of a virus known to have a 99.8% survival rate?

Dobber That is not the survival rate. It is the survival rate among people under 40 who do not have pre-existing conditions. So the “fear” is only that those people carry to others who are at risk.

19. How many false positive tests is too many?

Dobber If you test positive, you are tested again. Two false positives are virtually impossible. Statistically.

20. How many lies told are too many?

Dobber Oh my gawd. Filler.

21. Why are governors that put Covid Positive patients in Long Term Care Facilities causing mass deaths not being held accountable?

Dobber That wasn’t how this happened…but I hope they do get held accountable. I’m sure some rich bigwigs who are responsible will weasel out of it. But that’s another debate.

22. Why are the death rates significantly higher in states that used ventilators then states that used Vitamin C, zinc and hydroxychloroquine?

Dobber I would need to see a source on this. You can’t just spit this question out without a source. Or, okay, I’ll do that: *How come the Covid-deniers beat a scientist to death in Virginia after he tried to explain the data to them over a megaphone?

(*This didn’t actually happen, I just spit out a question without a source – exactly the type of thing that gets “shared”)

23. Why is no one upset that the half of the US Nursing home deaths were in the 5 states that forced infected patients into nursing homes? (NY, PA, MI, NJ, CA)

Dobber I’m sure people are upset. I don’t live in the US. If this is a fact, then I think people are upset about it.

24. Why are we still listening to The WHO and CDC?

Dobber Oh my gawd. They are the ones with the most knowledgeable scientists analyzing this! This is all they do – this very thing! And yes, they are going to change their opinions and advice as they discover more. This is the same question as Question 10. More filler. *bangs head against desk*

25. If a vaccine requires 10-15 years to properly test for “safety”, how is no one concerned about one being ready by the end of 2020 (production in under a year)? OR
If it has gone through proper “safety” protocol why are we not asking how long they have actually known about this virus?

Dobber Vaccines take years to know all the side effects. So this will be a matter of weighing the risk – reopen the economy, help people at risk…vs. the damage any possible side effects that may come in a few years. Acceptable risk needs to be at zero, and it will be. There is a lot of pressure to end the lockdown (ahem: you), so we will rush this (I hope not too much) when we probably shouldn’t. I will trust their standard of acceptable risk, and I want this to end as much as anyone. I suspect not everyone will trust that the safety standards were adequately set. (Cue the return of the Anti-vaxxers who have been strangely silent lately)

26. How many millions of people is the untested vaccine going to kill based on the failed vaccine studies and tests done so far? (Hint, about 20% based on the results of testing so far)

Dobber Again – the 20% won’t be the standard before they release it. This would need to be at 0%, and be satisfied that future side effects won’t be worse than the virus itself.

27. If the number of deaths is correct, why do countries keep readjusting their numbers?

Dobber I haven’t seen a number adjusted down and I check them multiple times per day. But if you are going to die of, say, cancer in a week, and Covid kills you today…how should that be tallied? If you say “don’t count that as Covid…then what if, same question, but use one month instead of one week? What about using six months instead of one week? Where is the line? What if the person is dying in hours anyway, but has Covid too? Best way to standardize it is to count it all. I’m a statistician, and I understand that to accurately track the numbers you have to set a rigid standard that has as little wiggle room as possible. It’s still not black or white, so minor tweaks will happen after the fact. If you have a fix-all solution, let me know.

28. Why is it safe to get an abortion but not to have a colonoscopy?

Dobber Abortions have time limits. Filler question again.

29. Why are criminals being released from prison to prevent the spread but people that don’t wear masks are being threatened with jail time?

Dobber No they aren’t being threatened. They are being fined. But…even if the odd one is being threatened with jail time, what would YOU do to get them to stop? Threaten a spanking?

30. Why can Canadians not travel outside the province or country but government is free to do as they please?

Dobber Filler question.

31. Knowing that vaccines shed, why aren’t people quarantined for 2 weeks and mandated to wear masks for 4 weeks after inoculations?

Dobber I don’t understand this question. But it seems like a filler because there isn’t a vaccine.

32. Why aren’t masks mandated for all viruses including the flu, TB, HIV, Mono, Epstein Bar Virus (which is actually an adverse reaction to vaccines…), Strep and even Herpes?

Dobber They don’t spread as easily. Covid-19 isn’t as deadly as some things, but it spreads very easily. But you do have to wear a mask for those things listed, in hospitals. And, by the way, most people easily beat EBV (Epstein-Barr), but when I came out of my stem-cell transplant my body couldn’t fight it. I had to get chemo to beat it. I sure could have used a mask then!

33. If Herd immunity will slow it to almost nothing, why are schools the last thing to open knowing kids are not effected by it?

Dobber Herd immunity apparently won’t work. Indications are that you can get it a second time.

34. I could honestly keep going but hopefully you get the point.

Dobber No, given the six or seven filler questions, I don’t think you can go on at all. You tried to ask a boatload of questions figuring the more you ask, the less chance someone will call you on it. But you had about 25 actual questions, easily answerable, and you couldn’t honestly go on from there.

The problem with social media is that it promotes laziness. So someone with a belief that goes against the common thinking can post a biased opinion. They can post lies without sources, or they can fill it with so many “facts” that they know that most people won’t check them all. Now, I’m the first one in line when it comes to anti-establishment. But I do my best to use reputable sources and I try to allow for being wrong.

Please, please don’t share things without fact-checking. Social Media 101

And in case the post gets deleted, here are the screen shots:

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