This is a disaster

A formula I frequently resort to when confronted by a Trump supporter condescendingly pontificating about the worldwide pandemic and why I’m a “libtard” and don’t know what I’m talking about, typically goes something like, “I refuse to take instruction on why the world’s best medical experts are wrong from a guy who can’t be bothered to learn the difference between their, there and they’re.”

Donald Trump’s recent tweet excoriating the CDC for supposedly over-stringent guidelines for reopening schools is a case in point. Yes, my dictum about from whom I’m willing to accept instruction extends to the president of the United States. If the shoe fits, as the saying goes. The only surprise is that, in the case of Donald Trump, the shoe fits so often and with such Cinderella perfection.

It comes down to who you’re going to accept your information from. Here’s your choice: a worldwide community of dedicated men and women who are experts in epidemiology and who’ve spent their lives studying and working at the best clinics, medical schools and teaching hospitals in the country or a game show host. Do you really need the weekend to think about it? If so, you are much to be pitied. If not, and your knee-jerk answer is “Donald Trump,” then I can only add that maybe there really is something to this natural selection stuff Darwin was forever banging on about.

America is in big trouble, and those selfsame medical experts are aware of it. America is adding new coronavirus cases, not by the hundreds or thousands but millions. According to the numbers we’re about to add our fourth million coronavirus case on or about the 27th of July. These numbers are accruing not just regularly but faster and faster. Put another way, the coronavirus motor car isn’t just doing 60, it’s on its way up to 90 and a hundred and beyond, and at a clip that has us pinned to our seats. It’s what physicists call acceleration.

We reached three million new cases on Monday. New cases are accruing at nearly 50,000 a day, well ahead of schedule. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has once again revised its death projection to 200,000 by late October. The problem with this metric is that it’s constantly being revised upward and that upward revision never seems to take into account acceleration. In mathematical terms they are only looking at the instantaneous slope of the curve and not the curve itself. They keep treating it like the curve is linear when in fact it’s geometric, or possibly even exponential.

But the news is even worse than that. I understand their impulses. They don’t like bad news and they want to keep their jobs. But the facts remain: the number of new coronavirus cases are simply the ones we know about. The truth of the matter is new cases are accruing at (conservatively) five times the known amount, and possibly as much as ten times. In other words, we may not just be on our way to four million new cases, we may be on our way to forty million new cases. And no end in sight.

The number of deaths from coronavirus is a trailing indicator, meaning it’s the last statistic that’s (understandably) gathered on a collection of patients. First they catch it, then days or even weeks pass before they become symptomatic, then they worsen, are hospitalised and die. Right now we’re in the “catch it” phase with a lot of brand new cases coming as a direct result of Trump’s headlong rush to reopen the country. Trump has a deadline. He needs positive figures going into November and he’s prepared to crawl over the corpses of dead and soon-to-be dead Americans in order to get there.

For the second day in a row American deaths from coronavirus are once again at around a thousand per day instead of what it was at for a while, around two or three hundred a day. That number is climbing again in response to Trump’s lack of leadership and mixed messages about social distancing and mask wearing. He’s made coronavirus a political point of conflict. Wearing or not wearing a mask, for example, has become a way of asserting one’s politics.

If we all lived at the North Pole and wearing or not wearing clothing were a political statement, where conservatives refused to have their human rights infringed by the wearing of clothing, I would be all for it. But unfortunately it’s more a case of when your neighbors don’t wear clothes that suddenly means your clothes start to disappear as well. That’s the unfair bit, and that’s why many innocent people will die. They will die not because they’re stupid, but because they came in contact with someone who is. All thanks to the Emperor and his proverbial missing clothing.

There’s more bad news, I’m afraid. The worst news is there may not even be any herd immunity at the end of all this. In the case of coronavirus, as much as 80% of us must become infected before we can be regarded as herd immune. The problem with that is we don’t know for sure yet if you can’t get coronavirus more than once. If you can then there is no herd immunity. What there is instead is a second huge wave, only next time it will involve a weakened herd with many more comorbidities thanks to coronavirus. In other words, if coronavirus didn’t kill us the first time it will have a better chance the second time, thanks to all the physiological weaknesses it left us with from the first pass.

Still think Biden is “just as bad as Trump?” If so then there’s no hope for you. This is a message for the sane: let’s get rid of this bastard in November. We’ve got enough worries ahead without having to endure a second fatal term of this child raping, murdering bastard. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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