Donald J. Trump likes to talk about "cases!"

TUESDAY, AUGUST 4, 2020

The press corps is eager to help:
All through May and June, deaths from coronavirus were on the decline in this country.

From more than 2000 deaths per day in mid-April, the average number of deaths per day declined to just a bit more than five hundred by the end of June.

In part because the anti-Trump press likes to talk about things getting worse, the press corps made a switch during this period They largely stopped discussing deaths and started discussing "cases."

In many ways, this was a dumb idea.

Why is the focus on "cases" dumb? In part, because no one knows how many "cases" (how many infections) there actually are.

We're constantly told that the actual number of cases may be ten times the reported number. (The actual number may be ten times the number of "confirmed cases.") By contrast, the number of deaths is relatively easy to track, although there's no perfect assessment there either.

It's dumb to discuss the number of "cases" when you have no idea what the actual number of cases is. That said, it's also unwise to focus on "cases" because that focus lets Commander-in-chief Donald J. Trump make all kinds of misleading presentations.

Watching Trump with Jonathan Swan of Axios, it seems to us that Trump actually believes his current crazy claim
—the claim that we're doing a better job with the virus than comparable nations are.

Our impaired commander supports that claim by discussing a somewhat marginal statistic called "case fatality rate." Also, by making a claim which contains an element of truth, though only to a point:

It's true! A country which does a lot of testing is going to find more "cases" than a comparable country which does less testing. When he speaks with someone like Swan, Trump jumbles that claim together with charts about "case fatality rate," ending up with the claim that we're doing a better job than all the other nations.

As we've watched his interview with Swan, it seems to us that Trump actually believes what he's saying. And sure enough! Like Chris Wallace before him, Swan wasn't ready to confront Trump with jaw-dropping data like these:
Deaths from coronavirus in the past seven days,
as of August 4:

United States: 7,392
Canada: 46

Germany: 34
Italy: 54
Spain: 38
Japan: 20
South Korea: 1
Taiwan: 0
It's true! None of those other countries are as large in population as the United States. But when the difference in absolute numbers is that vast, you don't have to "adjust for population" in order to see the lunacy of Trump's latest claim.

That said, the Wallaces and the Swans are never ready to confront Trump with those basic statistics. Beyond that, you don't see those gruesome data in newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post as they attempt to discuss the commander's latest lunacy.

On CNN today, they've just continued to talk about "cases." The astonishing difference in daily/weekly deaths never seems to get mentioned.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our upper-end journalists seem to be unable to handle a topic like this. It lies beyond their intellectual range. Counterintuitive though that may seem, it's a basic fact of the case.

36 comments:

  1. Swan did confront him with the S. Korean numbers. 300 deaths for a country of 50m vs. 160k for the U.S. at 331m. Appalling!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even though it was a predicted and expected world crisis for which he was given exhaustive preparation, Trump totally dropped the ball on coronavirus. He still is ignoring and belittling his own scientists even now.

      We will all be reaping the whirlwind of his foolish misjudgements for a long time.

      Delete
    2. If a journalist doesn't confront Trump in exactly the way Somerby dictates, then he is a poopyhead.

      Delete
  2. "It's dumb to discuss the number of "cases" when you have no idea what the actual number of cases is."

    It's not dumb at all if your goebbelsian mission is Orange Man Bad, and it helps accomplish it.

    "Watching Trump with Jonathan Swan of Axios, it seems to us that Trump actually believes his current crazy claim..."

    Well, perhaps it's because he is a genius, dear Bob, eh? Or because you're a a bit of a dunce? I'm not sure which one to go with here...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Мао трахает свою сестру и маму

      Delete
    2. In true Goebbelsian style, you say Trump is a genius. Or perhaps you're joking.

      Delete
    3. Well, tsk, I suppose it's for you to figure out, dear AC.

      But thank you for reading and taking time from your busy schedule to respond.

      Delete
  3. Number of new cases is now trending down (as measured by the running 7 day average) Has the mainstream media reported this good news?
    D in C

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it good news if the reason the cases are declining is because people cannot get tested?

      Delete
    2. Uh, @2:41, according to worldometer, the US did just over one million tests yesterday. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

      This huge number was made possible by the actions of Trump and his administration.

      Delete
    3. No, it was possible despite the actions of Trump and his administration.

      Delete
    4. The coronavirus testing system in the United States has been a disastrous hodgepodge. There is no uniform standard, it is difficult for parts of the system to coordinate or communicate with each other, and even people who do get tests have to wait so long for the response that the signal is useless.

      Delete
    5. Wait time varies. My wife got tested locally yesterday afternoon and had the results this morning.

      Delete
    6. Wait time varies. Some affluent metropolitan whites can get tests that are not worthless. Many others get worthless tests or no tests at all due to Trump's insane decision to not have a national testing strategy. But who gives a shit about them??!

      Trump's leadership has been a total disaster with regard to coronavirus. I do hope he is imprisoned shortly after his forthcoming well deserved landslide defeat.

      Delete
    7. Dave and Mao, after Trump's forthcoming well deserved landslide defeat you can try to find someone else to get behind to defeat the liberals. Ii may help your cause to pick someone who is minimally competent basic leadership.

      Delete
    8. "Ii may help your cause to pick someone who is minimally competent basic leadership."

      Or knows how to write a sentence.

      BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

      Delete
    9. Exactly - someone who is minimally competent and can read and write. (Trump isn't competent as we all know and he can't even read or write!)

      Delete
  4. The only statistic that matters is deaths per million, not deaths "in the last week" or cases or other low IQ measures Democrats think are important.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "... low IQ ...."

      Hey genius, try using a hyphen next time, assuming you know what it is.

      BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

      Delete
  5. Here, dear Bob, for your reading pleasure:
    Mainstream Media TV Veteran Admits "We Are A Cancer And There Is No Cure"

    "MSNBC producer Ariana Pekary explained that the reason for her deciding to quit her job was that the mainstream media blocks “diversity of thought” in favor of promoting hysterical voices for ratings and that a TV veteran admitted to her “we are a cancer and there is no cure.”"

    MSNBC, your favorite, dear Bob.

    Hmm. Perhaps you may want to drop your 'anthropology' thing, and adopt this 'cancer' idiom instead, eh, Bob?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ma0 ma0 * ,!, ,!,

      Delete
    2. Mao perhaps you want to drop this troll thing and die of cancer.

      Delete
    3. Now now chuckie.
      Leave mao to me. I'll treat him nice

      Delete
  6. This post is just wrong on two counts. First, it is very important to track cases. It doesn't matter that there may be 10 times as many confirmed cases. In most instances, this just means that 10 times as many people have no symptoms, or mild symptoms. As long as you keep testing relatively consistent, you want to look at the change in cases, and you can ignore what is the true number. If cases double in CA, over the course of 10 days, it doesn't really matter what the true number of infected is; it just matters that CA is getting out of control. Cases really do reflect the state of covid in your state, or country.

    Second, increasing tests will most likely not results in increase of cases. That would only be the case if the testing were random. It is not. For most states, we only test those who have symptoms. If the number of tests double, that is probably because twice as many people are getting ill.

    ReplyDelete
  7. In Somerby’s quest to mock journalists, he makes a criticism which is exceedingly dumb.

    Number of cases means number of confirmed cases. It is a number routinely cited in local media and by state health officials to track the progress of the pandemic.

    That there may be undiagnosed cases is irrelevant. There will always be undiagnosed cases in any pandemic, unless you test 100% of the citizens. That doesn’t render number of cases “dumb.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another misreading. Try again pal.

      Delete
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