Via Zerohedge

Authored by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,

Dr. Fauci and the Scarf Lady are not the only Virus Patrol miscreants spreading the Covid Hysteria and thereby empowering the authorities to keep suffocating everyday economic life and personal liberty in America.

In fact, there is a whole camarilla of current and former health officials, purported disease experts, all-purpose talking heads and other Washington apparatchiks who continue to appear on mainstream media, peddling the hoary tale that coronavirus is some kind of horror flick monster: It purportedly just keeps springing from its Lockdown grave – whack-a-mole fashion – the instant officialdom relaxes its quarantine edicts.

Call these people the “groomers” of Big Pharma, and their job is to keep public fears on the boil so that the demand for high-priced treatments, cures and preventative vaccines becomes overwhelming. And given that the Covid is now rapidly succumbing to the exhaustion of its infection cycle and the summertime sun, their exact current mission is one of bridging the gap.

That is, finding and publicizing local outbreaks and “hot spots” during the months just ahead so that the Virus Patrol will remain in full control of policy and the narrative until the Covid makes its forecasted second wave rebound during next fall’s flu season.

After all, they desperately need these hot spots to keep the aggregate narrative alive because it is visibly collapsing by the day.

Back in early May, for instance, the NYT breathlessly carried a leaked study from the Trump Administration that projected a massive surge of new infections and a near doubling of daily death rates by early June relative to levels than extant:

As President Trump presses for states to reopen their economies, his administration is privately projecting a steady rise in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths over the next several weeks. The daily death toll will reach about 3,000 on June 1, according to an internal document obtained by The New York Times, a 70 percent increase from the current number of about 1,750.

The projections, based on government modeling pulled together by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, forecast about 200,000 new cases each day by the end of the month, up from about 25,000 cases a day currently.

The numbers underscore a sobering reality: The United States has been hunkered down for the past seven weeks to try slowing the spread of the virus, but reopening the economy will make matters worse.

Needless to say, that one went down the memory hole ages ago (i.e. around Memorial Day). As of June 10, in fact, actual daily averages for the month to date were:

  • 827 deaths per day, representing a 53% decline, not a 70% increase;

  • 20,694 new cases per day, representing a 17% decline, not an 8X increase;

In other words, these Washington modelers (this one was prepared by FEMA) couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with the antiaircraft guns Chairman Kim uses to dispatch his adversaries. So to keep the Covid-Hysteria alive, they send out the hot spot “groomers”.

On of the most mendacious of these groomers is Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who was the Donald’s first FDA commissioner and is an alleged pedigreed “conservative” with a berth at the American Enterprise Institute to burnish his numerous sinecures with Big Pharma.

Gottlieb is also a CNBC regular, and yesterday, sitting astride a screen crawler which read “Texas reports second day of record hospitalizations”, he was busy promulgating the “hot spot” news about two red states, whose merely semi-craven GOP governors have belatedly attempted to get their economies back in business:

When you look at hotspot regions like Arizona and Texas, they have to be concerned, particularly areas around Houston right now. They could lose control of this very quickly,” says @ScottGottliebMD on balancing re-opening with public health.

We call bullshit!

Gottlieb was peddling a pimple on the elephant’s ass because, apparently, cable TV audiences generally and bubble vision’s especially, were born yesterday. That is, they are infantile victims of recency and confirmation biases and will apparently believe anything served up in a context-free modality.

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The truth is, there is nothing worrisome whatsoever going on in Arizona and Texas beyond the fact that the coronavirus started its inexorable spread in these interior states later than on the East and Left coasts, and is therefore cresting slightly later, as well.

But as of June 8, the count of infected cases and WITH Covid deaths in Arizona stood at 27,678 and 1,047, respectively. Those figures a hot spot do not make, nor do they offer any reason for not getting the state’s boot-heel off the economy ASAP.

Relative to the USA as a whole and the New York epicenter, Arizona’s figures per 100,000 population compare as follows as of June 8:

  • Infected cases Arizona: 375;

  • Infected cases USA: 596;

  • Infected cases New York: 1,963

  • WITH Covid deaths Arizona: 14.2;

  • WITH-Covid deaths USA: 32.3;

  • WITH-Covid deaths New York: 126.0;

In other words, Arizona’s mortality rate is less than half of the US average and only 11% of that for New York. So why is it a worrisome “hot spot” by the lights of Virus Patrol shills like Gottlieb?

Indeed, the WITH-Covid mortality rate in Arizona stands at nearly rock bottom, clocking in at at just one-fifth to one-half of the mortality rates in much as European Christendom. To wit, current rates per 100,000 include:

  • Belgium: 83.1;

  • United Kingdom: 60.2;

  • Spain: 58.0;

  • Italy: 56.3;

  • Sweden: 47.5;

  • France: 44.9;

  • Netherlands: 35.3;

  • Arizona: 14.2;

But when context doesn’t matter, of course, any pimple can be depicted as a large boulder. Thus, the number of new cases in Arizona is allegedly soaring, suggesting that the state has jumped the gun letting its citizens out of house arrest too soon.

In fact, during the first 8 days of June, Arizona reported 7,742 new cases – a figure which is sharply higher than the 2,189 new cases reported for the last eight days of April, for example.

But that gain is entirely a function of the testing rate and then some. Thus, during the June 1 to June 8 span, the state reported 62,825 new tests, implying an infection rate of 12.3%.

By contrast, during April 22 to April 30 the state reported only 15,185 new tests (one-fourth of the June figure), implying an infection rate of 14.4%.

So the state is testing a lot more, as it has been instructed to do by Washington, and such accelerated testing is generating a falling infection rate!

And that’s not the half of it. By now there are more than enough antibody tests of different US populations to be reasonably certain that in a state like Arizona with a population of 7.38 million that there have been far more infected cases than the 27,678 cases reported through June 8.

Generally, antibody tests show infection rates of 5-20% in the general population, which would imply total cases – most of which remained asymptomatic or resulted in mild illnesses – of between 370,000 and 1.5 million for Arizona.

So, actually, higher reported cases daily may mean nothing at all as to the current status of the virus among the population. More likely, it actually means that what is already there is being slowly discovered after the fact; it’s stale, irrelevant old news, not an alarming new development, to say nothing of evidence of a hot spot.

Indeed, the latter is a meaningless but loaded term, honed for TV talking points, but is incapable of conveying any meaningful information about context at all. That is, the real test is how does what’s happening with the coronavirus now compare with year-in-and-year-out illness, hospitalization, disease and mortality trends?

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Self-evidently, you do not empower the state to put its citizens under house arrest and destroy the livelihoods of millions of workers and tens of thousands of small businesses on account of a bad run of seasonal illnesses that leaves more people than usual home in bed or even heading to the hospital for treatment.

To the contrary, this whole Lockdown Nation thing is about the modern equivalent of the Black Death – the presence of a virulent killer that can takedown the young, the old, the healthy, the sick and all categories between with equal alacrity.

But, again, there is nothing to support that Grim Reaper notion in the data, and most especially not the “hot spot” flavor of the week in Texas and Arizona.

The mortality rate from all causes for Arizona for the four months from January through the end of April (latest available) is shown below.

Naturally, the total mortality rate surmounts the cause of death attribution and coding issues; and it means that unless these total death rates are significantly elevated from the norm, then nothing unusual – or at least worthy of drastic quarantine policies–is actually going on.

On a per 100,000 basis, the Arizona’s total mortality rates for the first four months of the year have been as follows:

  • 2016: 293;

  • 2017: 277:

  • 2018: 297;

  • 2019: 285:

  • 2020: 301;

The above does not indicate the Black Plague at loose. The tiny elevation in 2020 relative to the previous four years is just statistical noise!

Moreover, there is no new signal coming out of this “noise” owing to the higher testing and infection rates being reported in recent days. Again, the evidence for that is in the state’s own published data on hospitalization rates, among others.

Between March 23 and June 1, Arizona consistently reported new WITH-Covid hospitalization cases of between 40 and 60 per day on a statewide basis.

During June 3 through June 8, however, the number of new hospitalizations daily has dwindled to 34, 19, 17, 10, 4 and 5, respectively.

The last few days, in fact, have had the lowest new hospitalizations since before the Donald’s malpracting doctors triggered the Covid Hysteria on March 13.

So, hot spot my eye!

In this connection, they also keep trotting out the hoary old claim that the hospitals are in danger of being overrun with new cases – per the crawler on the screen yesterday during Gottleib’s appearance on bubble vision.

Alas, it never happened previously in Arizona and is not remotely in danger of happening now. Even during the peak of new hospitalizations between April 20 and May 8, the utilization rate of hospital intensive care beds rose from 72% to 78% and has remained at that level ever since.

Finally, it is worth noting that Arizona’s WITH-Covid mortality data show the same dramatic skew toward the elderly, as is true with the rest of the country. Fully 77% of the Covid deaths in Arizona have been among the 65 and older population, which comprises just 17% of the state’s overall population.

That fact alone, of course, militates strongly against the across-the-board stay-at-home and general quarantine orders in the first place.

The Arizona WITH-Covid mortality rate through June 9 breaks out as follows by age cohorts. That is to say, anyone under 55 years old driving to the Scottsdale Fashion Mall would have had a greater chance of being killed in an auto accident than being felled by the Covid:

Deaths Per 100,000 population:

  • <20 years: 0.1;

  • 20-44 years: 2.1;

  • 45-54 years: 7.5;

  • 55-64 years: 14.9;

  • 65+ years: 66.3;

With respect to Texas, it’s the same story. There is no “hot spot”, period.

Its reported cases and deaths through June 8 are actually far lower than those for Arizona and in the sub-basement relative to the overall USA figures, to say nothing of the nursing-home based disaster-data reported for New York and New Jersey.

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That is, the number of infected cases in Texas amounts to 256 per 100,000 or 68% of the Arizona rate, 42% of the overall USA rate and just 13% of the rate of infected cases among the New York state population.

Likewise, the WITH-Covid mortality rate through June 8 in Texas was 6.2 per 100,000. That’s just 43% of the Arizona rate, 19% of the USA average and only 5% of the New York state rate.

So Texas isn’t remotely a “hot spot” or some kind of warning about reopening too soon, and is actually a thundering rebuke of the entire Lockdown Nation narrative.

That is, Texas was late and tepid about the lockdown, and among the first to begin “reopening” in early May.

Yet its reported infected case rate of 256 per 100,000 is just 10% of the real “hot spot” rate of 2,477 per 100,000 in the five boroughs of New York City; and its mortality rate of 6.2 per 100,000 population is just 3% of New York City’s 196 per 100,000 rate.

So for crying out loud, with that kind of yawning gap and rock bottom absolute level, what is this clown, Scott Gottlieb, doing on bubble vision warning about Covid dangers in Texas?

Answer: He’s grooming the sheeples in order to keep the Killer Covid narrative alive and the money and legal immunities flowing to the drug companies chasing cures and vaccines.

It goes without saying, course, that the alleged surge in new cases reported in Texas during recent days is just as bogus as the claims about Arizona.

Yes, new cases reported during June 1 to June 8 averaged 1,416 per day or about 61% higher than the rate of 877 per day reported for April 22 to April 30. Except, the number of new tests also rose by about 60% from 113,500 to 168,500, leaving the infected rate virtually unchanged at a very low 6.7%.

Again, if you want to talk “hot spots”, try New York City. The the infected rate per test has run north of 20% in the Bronx, for example.

So the question recurs. Why are people like Scott Gottlieb out pimping the Killer Covid story in the face overwhelming evidence that it it nothing of the kind.

Perhaps, it might be noted that Gottlieb went straight from medical school to various jobs at the FDA before becoming commissioner in 2017, and then heading out the revolving door to Pfizer’s Board of Directors in May 2019.

And, yes, here’s the list of the top five firms being supported by billions from Washington in the race for a Covid vaccine, which may or may not happen, but whether safe or not will be of no never-mind to Big Pharma.

After all, Washington has already indemnified them against lawsuits; pretty much guaranteed that they can name their charge per dose; and will be doing all it can to make getting a tap on the arm from one or more of the Big Pharma competitors a mandatory duty of citizenship.

Call it what you will, but don’t call it honest capitalism. And chalk it up as still another blow to the idea of limited government and personal liberty.

The five companies are Moderna, a Massachusetts-based biotechnology firm, which Dr. Fauci said he expected would enter into the final phase of clinical trials next month; the combination of Oxford University and AstraZeneca, on a similar schedule; and three large pharmaceutical companies: Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer. Each is taking a somewhat different approach.

Read more of Stockman’s analysis here.