Explanations no longer exist: On the whole, we agree with what Kevin Drum says in this new, sensible post. He says it's time for someone to explain why coronavirus "cases" keep going up while deaths keep going down:
DRUM (7/7/20): I’ve mentioned the divergence between cases and deaths in the United States before, but it’s gotten to the point where it really needs more than the handwaving that it usually gets on TV and in newspapers. When cases were going up back in April, we were told that deaths followed by 2-3 weeks. But our second wave of new cases is over a month old at this point and so far it’s had no effect on mortality at all. The death rate just keeps on dropping.On balance, we agree with what Drum says. But he's asking for an explanation and, within our failing journalistic culture, we're not sure they still exist.
Maybe there’s an explanation for this. Maybe next week the death rate will finally start to rise. But we keep saying that, and next week never comes. Are there any epidemiologists out there who are really working to come to grips with this?
Our failing culture is all about "the handwaving [this question] usually gets on TV and in newspapers." It's also all about repeating standard storylines while moving steadily toward the next commercial break.
Today, we actually decided to check one probable part of this mystery. We decided to fact-check an obvious question:
To what extent has our daily testing, nationwide, actually been increasing?
Trump has turned this topic into a clown show, but it's obviously true—to the extent that you conduct more tests, you will confirm and report more "cases." We were surprised by the extent to which daily testing has increased nationwide in the past month, even as the number of nationwide "cases" has been rising.
We'll show you the data in the next day or two. But we've told you that our public discourse is narrative all the way down. To a surprisingly large extent, this mystery may comport to that basic rule.
Drum says it's time for an explanation. As we sinks beneath the waves, do such creatures still exist?
A famous saying: In Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein famously said: "Explanations must come to an end somewhere" (see passage #1).
We agree with the frequently puzzling sage. But this isn't what he meant!