For days, many prominent Americans -- primarily on the Left -- have been sharing context-free graphs purporting to show how the United States is in the worst shape on any country on earth, as it pertains to Coronavirus. As I've mentioned before, such sophistry has relied on using raw numbers, rather than adjusting for population, as well as taking China's statistics at face value. For many reasons, the latter course of action, is extremely foolish and ignorant, which someone ought to tell at least one major official in Canada. But the former point is crucial, too. When basic statistical best practices are applied, it becomes clear that even although we certainly have our struggles, and there have been American failures at each level of government, we are hardly in dead last place:
Growth in total confirmed #COVID19 cases as a percent of total population by country: U.S. versus Spain and Italy. (Indexed to days since the first 100 cases were confirmed in each country). U.S. is still early, but on slower relative trajectory when compared to Italy and Spain. pic.twitter.com/KBCxGN2apq— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) April 2, 2020
This is tragic news for Italy and Spain (relatedly, read this story about how a single soccer match played an outsized role in accelerating the ongoing Coronavirus disaster in both countries), but it helps put things in perspective here at home. As usual, people looking to score political points against President Trump are overplaying their hands. There's some fair material to work with on this front, no doubt, but they're resorting to fact-challenged hyperbole. Unfortunately, while a large majority of Americans are on board with stay-at-home, distancing and hygiene guidance, Dr. Deborah Birx said at Thursday's briefing that their data indicates a lack of compliance that's delaying the country's curve-bending mission:
Dr. Birx: Our data makes clear that not every American is following the CDC guidance, inhibiting/delaying our ability to bend the national curve.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) April 2, 2020
Follows this with a call to action: Effectively, get with the program. Now.
Meanwhile, here's a metric on which the United States is on relatively strong footing, despite some of the headlines to the contrary (which is not to say that shortages aren't real and serious):
This is one area where our system was far superior to every European country, other than maybe Germany. https://t.co/EVfQFpN1Ci— Pradheep J. Shanker (@Neoavatara) April 2, 2020
And thanks to massive movement from the government and private sector, far more ventilators are on the way, and being produced. As for projected deaths, the Washington Post published a story last night that had social media chirping. Many people, once again mostly on the Left, were spouting wild and contradictory theories. Some suggested that Doctors Fauci and Birx were underplaying the numbers to help Trump's PR strategy. Others said they could be overplaying the expectations...to help Trump, by allowing him to claim victory if the true number ends up being lower than expected. It's all unhinged nonsense, as is the intense hatred toward and conspiracies about these experts within some right-wing quarters. Twitter, too often, is a cauldron of polarized, bile-drenched ugliness:
The piece says there are internal conflicts about the modeled estimates’ accuracy, opacity/confusion about how they’re developed, and that Fauci has said models are only so useful because of fluctuating variables. Both Fauci & Birx have mentioned models’ limits at briefings.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) April 3, 2020
Another strange "scandal" zooming around the media is the dearth of patients on the USNS Mercy and Comfort, much of which is deeply misleading about the stated purpose of those ships. Even Mayor DeBlasio is being more reasonable about this issue than many in the press. Also, read this thread about how the media piled on Sen. Tom Cotton, distorting his argument, for stating something that may yet turn out to be true, according to scientists. Reflexively stampeding toward anti-Republican narratives is not helpful when it comes to reliable, credible reporting. I'll leave you with this:
In a heartwarming tribute, hospital staff gathered to celebrate with posters and balloons as the first patient to be admitted to Virginia's Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center with a confirmed case of COVID-19 was discharged. https://t.co/QkNmrU1kPZ pic.twitter.com/E9oBrDLCii— ABC News (@ABC) April 3, 2020
May this video serve as a simple and uplifting reminder that the vast, vast majority of people who contract Coronavirus recovery and survive -- many rather easily. That's sometimes easy to forget with so much focus (rightfully) on mounting death tolls.