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Media Pandemic Fantasy Games – How to Negatively Spin COVID-19 Statistics
“U.S.’s Coronavirus Deaths Surpass Italy and China!” the N.Y. Times and even the Wall Street Journal’s headlines blare. Obviously, the clear intent of the so-called “journalists” like Talal Ansari, Jennifer Calfas and Chun Han Wong reporting the statistics using CNN Jim Acosta-style science is to create shock and awe among the masses.
In a world that has been trained over the past ten years to gulp up thirty-second “Breaking News” sound bites, I’m sure that the intended affect was successful. However, anyone with a brain in their head should be highly skeptical of such statistical drivel.
In full disclosure, I’m not saying that CNN’s village idiot Jim Acosta reported this, but when reporters from the usually credible Wall Street Journal get into the “first to report,” rather than factually report news, forensic investigators like me raise an eyebrow.
As an expert who works with a medical team and investigates deaths on a daily basis, I knew right away that the articles did not pass the “smell test.” In my world, people play “games” with statistics all the time. Statistics without valid comparisons provide zero context. Yes, you can get the “OMG!” affect with some people, but you don’t provide intelligent context that helps the reader to understand scope. Such is the case with this meaningless story. “Where’s the beef?”
Well, here are some forensic facts to share with you, as well as some simple questions that “real” investigative reporters should be asking, as well as you. I’ll just keep everything simple by bullet-pointing. We’ll begin with Italy.
Pop. of Italy – 60 million
Pop. of USA – 331 million
Pop. of CA – 40 million
Pop. of Texas – 29 million
CA + TX have 10 million MORE people than Italy
CA + TX total COVID-19 cases from today – 32,285
CA + TX total COVID-19 related deaths today – 335
Italy total COVID-19 cases from today – 156,363
Italy total COVID-19 related deaths today – 19,900
USA COVID-19 mortality rate today – 3.9%
Italy COVID-19 mortality rate today – 12.7%
The USA’s population is 5X MORE than that of Italy, yet Italy’s mortality rate is 3X greater than the USA; 6X greater than TX and 3X greater than CA.
The Italian province of Lombardy, Italy is the epicenter of their Coronavirus outbreak.
Lombardy pop. 10 million – 57,600 cases, 10,511 deaths and their mortality rate is 18%, or 4.5 HIGHER than that of CA + TX death rates combined with a population that is only 14% of CA + TX COMBINED.
Tuscany, Italy pop. 3.7 million – 6,958 cases, 467 deaths has nearly 30% MORE deaths than CA + TX combined, with a population 5.3X SMALLER than 2 those states.
Veneto (Venice Province), Italy pop. 4.9 million – 13,768 cases, 831 deaths has 2.4X MORE deaths than CA + TX combined, with a population that is 7X SMALLER than those 2 states. Are you starting to get the picture and a more accurate “context” here?
Next, let’s talk China. Now you would think that WSJ reporter Chun Han Wong, a Singaporean national who has worked for the Journal since 2014 and who was kicked out of the People’s Republic last year should know quite a bit about China and might be skeptical about any stats coming out of the veiled communist country. Apparently not, which I personally find disturbing.
China has 26 provinces with a population is currently 1.4 billion. However, the Chinese have only provided COVID-19 statistics for seven of its provinces: Hubei, Guangdong, Henan, Zhejiang, Hunan, Amhui and Jiangxi. The population for these seven provinces total 513 million people. This means that a whopping 887 million Chinese people are completely unaccounted for stat-wise when it comes to COVID-19. Why is that one would reasonably ask? Option 1: There are no cases of Coronavirus in the remaining 19 provinces? Hummm. Option 2: The Chinese medical teams have yet to survey those provinces. Perhaps. Option 3: The Chinese are lying about their COVID-19 stats.
Let’s continue on our Chinese journey. I think that everyone including the Chinese agree that CORVID-19 began in Wuhan which is in the province of Hubei with population of 75 million people.
The national capital of China, Beijing with a population of 21.5 million is also in Hubei province. It makes total sense that Hubei would have the most cases of COVID-19 which the Chinese government lists at 67,803, with only 3,212 deaths. However, here are some very “interesting” statistics provided by their government. China lists their total deaths at 3,254. That’s right, their total deaths. That means that Hubei province experienced 98.7% of all of the COVID-19 deaths in all of China. Hummm, and Beijing? Well, the Chinese government tells us that their capitol not far from the COVID-19 epicenter experienced only 582 Coronavirus cases and 8 deaths; of which seven of those victims actually had “serious pre-existing medical conditions.” WTH?! Do I see any eyebrows raising yet?
Now two of the three WSJ reporters actually have either a degree and/or experience in business and economics. Yet, none of these reporters apparently found anything suspicious in the Chinese statistics to follow-up on, so I’ll just continue.
The financial, economic, trade, political, military and cultural centers of China are located in Beijing, Singapore and Shanghai. Again, Beijing has a population of 21.5 million, Singapore has 5.6 million and Shanghai has 24 million for a total of 51.1 million people. The current population of New York state is 19.4 million and New York City is 8.4 million. This means that the city of Beijing along has a greater population that all of New York by 2 million people and Shanghai surpasses the state by 5 million. City to city population comparisons indicate that Beijing is over two and a half times larger than New York City and China’s financial and trade center Shanghai is three times larger. Yet both Chinese megacities with similar congested combined report only 747 total COVID-19 cases with only 15 total deaths?! Amazing, considering that currently the City of New York reports a total of 6,182 deaths from Coronavirus.
So what is “suspicious,” you ask?
For one thing, COVID-19 came from the very province where Beijing is located; yet they report less than 600 total cases and only eight deaths and they have had the virus months longer than we in the U.S.
Next, the demographics of the Chinese and American megacities are similar in population congestion and contamination factors. Add to this, all four cities are world financial, economic, trade, cultural and travel centers with people coming to them from all over the world to conduct business and tourism. Have you noticed how many COVID-19 cases are travel-related? Yet, only a total of fifteen cases from the most traveled to and from cities in China? Have I piqued your skepticism yet?
If China has been accurately reporting their COVID-19 deaths, then why are other news sources such as Time Magazine and the Washington Post reporting that Chinese funeral homes in Wuhan alone have had many thousands of cremation urns delivered to them? Why is there a blackout of Internet and cellular service in China? Why are international medical teams being denied access into China? Why is the Chinese information ministry working overtime to rewrite the narrative on how COVID-19 emerged? And why are American reporters reporting on the virus being told to leave China? So much for transparency.
So, next time some idiot like Jim Acosta, CNN, MSNBC, The NY Times and now unfortunately the Wall Street Journal, want to play the “stats game” to make our country look bad; or stands up in front of the President to embarrass him and his medical team with a ridiculous “Gotcha” question, just remember that this generation of “reporters” don’t have two brain cells to rub together.
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