We need to talk. As a country, we have a serious problem. It is no longer limited to the paranoid corner of the nation. It is making its way to the mainstream. And yes, some in our media is helping to normalize this, and they should know better. This is about one of the mainstays for self-radicalization and growing doubt about the government and educated elites. And this cottage industry also includes candidates for office, who also should know better. However, they are picking on this corner of the QAnon rhetoric, and Q-Drops for the sake of their election.
So let’s start with the political class that is doing this. Locally Daryl Issa, formerly of CA-49, now running for CA-50, came out and told us a fascinating story. He doubts the number of infections and deaths due to COVID that Sacramento is releasing. Why? Because he knows that the most rabid Donald Trump base is also on board with this. Some are even rabid readers of far-right sites where this is circulating. Issa told KUSI that the death rates for healthy individuals are a fraction of one percent. This is happening all over far-right land.
Issa has been advocating the Swedish model, which is now seen as a mistake. From Objectivo, and English publication:
This Swedish model of relatively mild restrictions and a lax attitude towards the spread of the virus has been praised by some abroad and defended by the Swedish government as well as its ambassadors. Nevertheless, the bare truth is that Sweden has neither a strategy nor a model. Sweden has arrived at the current situation having one of the highest mortality rates in Europe through a series of avoidable mistakes. It let Swedish tourists return from the infected Austrian ski resorts and continue their normal lives. It did not close retirement homes in time. It did not buy enough protective equipment. It did not close schools and thus deliberately exposed young children to an unknown pathogen. Also, most carelessly, it allowed infected people without symptoms to carry on with their everyday life.
The Swedish government has simply avoided doing what it was elected for; taking decisions. Instead, politicians have let “experts” run the show. Anders Tegnell, the chief epidemiologist has been the man in charge of the response. He underestimated the level of threat from the beginning. At first, he thought the virus wouldn’t cross to Europe from China, then he said it was just like your everyday flu, and argued that herd immunity could be reached by protecting the elderly and infecting as many young and healthy people as possible. None of those have turned out to be true, but he is still in charge, despite being heavily criticized by several Swedish scientists.
We have arrived at a point where there is a country in the European Union deliberately giving up on a part of its population for the elusive goal of defending its economy. This cannot continue any further. The European Union, which has strict standards for animal welfare, must have minimum criteria for how individual members should and should not treat their citizens in case of a pandemic. It is simply against the very core values this Union is built upon to let dubious scientists experiment on the population. It speaks volumes that the only country in Europe following a similar “strategy” is Belarus, however they are doing a lot more tests than Sweden.
Then there are more recent data that emerged from Spain. In a study published in The Lancet, suggests herd immunity may not be possible. This has implications for vaccinations as well. But for the moment, vaccinations are in the future.
The study, which was published in medical journal The Lancet, tested more than 60,000 people and estimated that only 5 percent of the Spanish population has developed antibodies for the coronavirus.
The study also showed that coastal areas in Spain had an even lower prevalence of antibodies at just 3 percent.
It also found that 14 percent of people who had tested positive for the antibodies on the first test, no longer had the antibodies in subsequent tests weeks later. This could mean the antibodies only provide a very short period of immunity
This is despite Spain being one of the worst hit countries in Europe with more than 250,000 confirmed cases and 28,000 deaths.
Issa also said something else, which is part of this conspiracy theory making the rounds. He told KUSI that “it includes the CDC coming in, and taking people who died from other things, and repurposing them to say they died of COVID.” This is the deep state right there and is spreading out of conspiracy sites into the mainstream. What Issa is doing irresponsible, and KUSI is helping. Yes, I know, KUSI is not precisely part of your liberal media.
This is normalizing conspiracy theories. It is part of the paranoid nature of American politics where some do not trust the government. There is a direct connection to the John Birchers of the late 1950s. However, for KUSI viewers it is not hard to go from the TV to these sites where self-radicalization happens. The fact that the anchor did not challenge him on this is irresponsible, but in the current environment where we have different information silos. KUSI lies on the edge that laps at the vast ocean of the conspiracy mindset.
The sites where many of these ideas start to take shape are both hidden and in the open. This is where QAnnon lives. They have been spreading this for months. There is a dark aspect to COVID, and it is a vast deep state conspiracy to damage and destroy Donald Trump. This is a Democratic hoax we are told. That the President started spreading some of this is immaterial. Much of these ideas get polished in these sites. Once people find them, and they are not that hard to discover, they enter a self-feeding information loop. It has places like KUSI, and FOX, but also GAB and 8KUN. This is where people ready for this can also find explanations of the world that make sense to them, and these are places full of lies, half-truths, and conspiracy theories.
What Issa did was take one of their most common idea regarding the virus. We have already seen over 133,000 dead, but most Americans still do not know anybody close. They have heard of cases, but for the most part, it is still only in the news. We can keep this at distance. As more people get sick and die, this will start to change. People will know off somebody who died from COVID or is suspected they died from the disease. And at that moment the lie and bubble will be harder to maintain. But for the moment, even with the mind-blowing number of dead, it is still easy to ignore it or become numb to it. It is also easy to reject it out of hand because of what people read on the Internet. And no, not everything on the internet is truth or something you should trust.
We expect to see 200,000 dead by November from the latest models. This is not a small number, and it will continue to be revised upwards as long as states and citizens do not do what needs doing. Yes, we can foresee another hard lockdown if we want to reverse current trends in multiple states, with the concomitant effect on the economy and trust. Do you want to do something to help? You must wear your mask when in public if we want to slow down the virus.
For the moment, the administration hopes that as the numbers continue to climb and people will become numb and learn to live with it. This was one of the points Issa made as well. The president continues to claim victory in the face of utter failure, but here is where his loyal base comes in.
First off, if you listen to either the politicians spreading this view or anonymous people on the internet. the virus is not that bad. Serious, It’s just the flu. Or in the worst of cases, you will be protected if you are white. Yes, even in this white supremacy runs rampant. Never mind we have excess deaths, don’t look behind the curtain, because you will find a death reaper standing there. The other is that they keep claiming that the numbers are wrong. And they have a point, though not the way they think If anything, we have more deaths from COVID than officially recorded. The statistics only mark laboratory-confirmed diagnosis. We have excess cases of pneumonia, which is consistent with COVID.
So how can they say this? If you tested positive for COVID and you had hypertension, both will go into the death certificate. And it is important to go into the minutiae of what goes into one because sadly we need to understand this.
The first thing that goes into one is what is called are vital statistics. What are those? Let’s assume I am filing a certificate of your death. And let’s assume for a second I am either a doctor or a medical examiner because these are the people who are authorized to fill one. So here is what goes into one.
Who are your parents? Some include places of birth as well.
Where were you born?
When were you born?
Where did you die?
Was your death witnessed and by whom?
What time did you die?
What was the cause of death, in some places it lists a primary cause and secondary causes. These days they include three main causes, let's say pneumonia, COVID, and heart failure. Don’t ask me why, but just saying natural causes is not enough anymore
Other things that may contribute to your death are the comorbidities. These may be diabetes, drugs, heart disease, whatever else was going on. If you died from a drug overdose, but there was COVID in your system, it will be listed in the certificate. This is not just for the present, but for future medical statistics and history.
Obesity may even be listed if it’s severe.
Deaths that occurred early in the epidemic that was not lab-confirmed COVID cases, were in many cases pneumonia, in many cases atypical. This has been way above the numbers seen in previous years. This is how medical statistics are created. They come from death certificates across the nation. This is how we know what is the chief killer of any population at any given year. Why we know that gun deaths now exceed automobile accidents for example. This year will be marked by COVID and pneumonia,
Your family will need the certificate for legal matters, including inheritance and banking. But for the state, these vital statistics are essential for medical surveillance. This happens with all these certificates across a lifetime. They are part of the statistics that speak to the health of a nation, as well as birth and death rates. The first certificate you get is your birth certificate, which contained similar data. That certificate had your mother's and father’s name, and grandparents, as well as where were they born. Your marriage certificate contains similar data as well. This is why all these certificates are invaluable for historians and genealogists as well.
So if you died of pneumonia and there was a positive diagnosis of COVID, it’s going to be in the certificate, This is not a fraud since this is how they are filled. The data matters.
Why are people falling for this? Partly, people want to believe in fairy tales. Ours is a scary reality, and it does not matter that this is global. There is also the paranoid nature of American politics, and the president encourages this. There is also an anti-authority bend to our people. So these things cannot be trusted. We have always had a small minority that thinks this way. But they usually are kept at bay from polite conversation.
Then there is the second line of evidence that the conspiracy uses. But hospitals are empty, we know, parking lots are empty! Of course, they are empty, for their own safety and that of their patient's people are not allowed into hospitals to visit family. Why? Well, COVID, and this is why people are dying alone in ICUs with nurses and technicians at times using FaceTime for relatives to say goodbye. Think about the horror of having to say goodbye over an electronic device, because you cannot have visitors. Think of the horror for those that survive the crisis who had to say goodbye, when lucky, over an electronic device.
As people start to know of family and friends who died from the disease, the conspiracy will die from its own weight. Some of the horrors is that politicians are embracing and mainstreaming this for the sake of electoral victory and to seed doubt in the same government they supposedly want to serve in. The fact that media is helping for the sake of maintaining separate information silos is also problematic. When this dies though, hopefully, the post-pandemic world will see these media outlets go away because they are lying to the public.