I don’t know why, but Friday’s briefing was moved up to today, perhaps just to drive me crazy. This was one of the worst briefings ever in terms of misinformation. We got a new voice, with the intonation of doom, Assistant Commissioner Huff. Give that man a Prozac. The pathetic attempts to keep people terrorized are getting ridiculous. And no one gave the state epidemiologist her meth dose, as I prescribed. I think it should be a requirement that everyone who participates in these briefings is hooked up to a lie detector throughout, which in turn is connected to a visible display with bright flashing lights every time they lie. Prairie Island would be hard pressed to keep up with the electricity demand. Better yet, maybe a little aversion therapy to prevent the lying, a gentle 200 volt shock should do the trick.
And I want to be straightforward, it is increasingly clear that the state is desperate and is just flat out resorting to lies, evasion and trickery. I have tried to give them some leeway for managing a difficult situation, but we are long past that now. I admire a few members of the press corps for at least occasionally asking a tough question, but they fail to follow up aggressively, especially when they know they are being lied to. Somehow people need to understand what is really happening in this state.
Here are the current main lies. And yes, I believe these people sit around in a room and decide exactly what to say and what buttons to push, and don’t worry about the data or truth. The big message today was about a plan to do massive “no barriers” testing. Why? It is simple, the state isn’t finding enough cases to sustain the panic, even with kids back in college and El-hi schools, people going back to work, Sturgis, Labor Day, etc. In fact, they apparently can’t even dredge up very many people who want or need to be tested. So let’s do a lot more testing, with all the fake “positives” that will generate. You would think they would leave well enough alone and try to give credit to the mask mandate.
What is the supposed rationale for more testing, according to the ASSistant Commissioner for Being the Voice of Doom? Increased levels of community spread. Not true, according to the state’s own weekly CV-19 report. Look at page 30. Unknown contacts in the community hasn’t changed for weeks. Neither has known contact in the community. Know what is rising–congregate care cases, what happened to the BATTLE PLAN. This is your own data and you are lying about it. Next reason, a spike in cases. Not true at all according to the state’s own case table. In fact, pretty low cases in the last couple of weeks. (Where are those damn motorcyclists when you need them?) And contradicted by the actual Commissioner later in the briefing when she said that cases were at a “stable” level. What no spike? Need to do a better job of keeping the message coherent. (The Governor also apparently believes we are on a “mesa” as he put it.) Okay, so maybe there isn’t a spike here, but look at our neighboring states–Iowa, the Dakotas and Wisconsin were specifically named; we might get the cooties from them.
Even the NYTimes gave up on the Midwest hotspot meme after one half-hearted attempt. The data just doesn’t support it. Again, please go look for yourself at the historical data by state on the COVID Tracking site. (CTP Site) There is no massive surge in cases, hospitalizations or deaths, an occasional modest rise at worst. Let me do the quick rundown, in the interest of maintaining good relations with our neighbors and not besmirching their reputations (okay, maybe except for a certain region of Wisconsin). Sorry to go into all this detail, but it is important to understand that these officials are lying.
Iowa–cases have been in the same pattern for weeks. Hospitalizations, declining over the last two weeks. Deaths, must be on a date reported basis because we get a big day (meaning more than 10) and then a bunch of low days. The average hasn’t changed for weeks.
South Dakota–cases have risen from a very low level to a still fairly low level. New hospitalizations also have risen from a very low level to double digits a day. Deaths, again looks like date reported, very low levels have increased slightly.
North Dakota–a modest rise in cases in recent weeks, a few more new hospitalizations, which must be very brief stays because the total number hospitalized has barely budged, so few deaths it is hard to see any pattern, but certainly not a meaningful rise.
Wisconsin, our twin (the bad one). Cases have been lumpy, there is a rise in the last two weeks, which apparently based on some county data I saw is due to those matriculating at that ultimate party school, the University of Wisconsin at Madison. (A side note, a very good friend then from NYC had a son who went to Wisconsin, but only lasted a year or so. He called me about two months after the son’s freshman year started to ask me what the hell was wrong with that school, all his son did was party and drink. I explained that that was the only degree available at the University.) New hospitalizations, slight rise over the last two weeks. Deaths, very lumpy, no change in average number.
So not the mammoth surge in cases our briefers keep trying to scare us with. By the way, I am even more annoyed at our officials because apparently they started giving new daily hospitalizations to CTP but aren’t giving it to us.
Our state officials know all this data, so they are lying. A lie, in case they need reminding, is when you knowingly don’t tell the truth. An evasion, or a half-truth, or a misrepresentation is when you say something and intentionally leave out other facts that are necessary to actually understand the truth. And as the final justification for expanded testing, the voice of Mordor used the well-trod asymptomatic spread defense. Show us, just show us the data. Any data, please. Or stop saying this. I think if they could, they would test everyone, every day.
A question was asked about Mayo doing its own modeling and the reporter had done his homework and talked to the Mayo modelers, who said they were impressed with how stable the level of cases had been in Minnesota and that they weren’t seeing any rise due to Labor Day. The Commissioner responded by saying well yes, they respected Mayo, and cases may be stable, but they were stable at a high level. I think the Commissioner again may want to check her statistics. Cases on a daily basis have actually floated around a fair amount in the last few weeks and on a normalized testing basis, they aren’t close to May. If we were testing in May like we do now, with May’s far higher positivity rate, we would have had as many as 3000 cases a day. And then another big lie–well we haven’t seen Labor Day cases because the incubation period is 14 days and we really need to wait four weeks!! I am not sure these people even know what an incubation period is. But the CDC says it averages 6 days, with a tight range for the vast majority of cases. So we would have seen the cases by this past Monday at the latest. Ain’t happening. Again, a flat out lie regarding Labor Day cases, just like we got with Sturgis.
That is enough recapitulation. I believe the state is now actively engaged in a campaign to try to justify continued draconian shutdown measures. I believe the antibody survey is designed to show low prevalence to scare people into believing there is still a very high chance they could get infected and sick. I believe the expanded testing push will produce a majority of true false positives and low positives that are clearly not infectious. The state will use these “cases” to maintain the lie about a high level of transmission and cases. None of it is true.
If the state wants to be transparent, require double testing of any positive from a cycle number above 30, really above 25. Do your own study of cycle number versus culture positivity. Release the contact tracing data that shows any, any at all, asymptomatic spread or that shows spread from younger persons to the old and vulnerable. Do an independent audit of hospitalizations and deaths to verify that the cause really was CV-19. They won’t do any of this because it doesn’t support the message and the game plan and because the data to support the lies isn’t there. The Incompetent Blowhard can’t afford for people to see that the Blowhard has no clothes. And speaking of, my awful duty in the next post is to review an interview he deigned to give to the newspaper that does everything it can to make him look good and stay in office. At least the reporter conducting the interview is willing to ask difficult questions, so stay tuned.