we live in the age of the political weathervane, the drama-llama sound bite, and of the subjugation of epidemiology and public health policy to partisan political poo flinging.
this means that now, more than ever, we need to remember who said what and hold them accountable. we cannot let them fade into the noise of the past, their panicky prognostications lost to memory. we need to assess their motives and their prescience and make judgements about their credibility.
we need to decide “should i ever listen to a word this person says again?”
clearly, no one can debunk all the hyper-aggressive fear mongering of the last 16 months, but we can all chip away at it, so let’s start: here’s that lovable loser and skateboarding moppet beto o’rourke carrying political water by making extreme claims about texas.
in furtherance of his own sputtering political career and to push his party’s doctrine of “thou shalt have no freedom cuz science™” we have accusations of “signing a death warrant.”
that’s an extreme claim. does it have extreme evidence to back it?
the “beto male” spoke on march 2nd, so it seems fair to start our look there when abbott opened texas. being a helpful gato, i have inserted some green lines into the data (sourced from NYT )
cases have dropped from 7259 to 3097, -57% in the 8 weeks since. (all figures are 7 day MA)
hospitalization is down 50%.
the curves are classic gompertz, opening had no effect on slope, and texas has massively outperformed the US as a whole over that period.
US cases are down 25% and hospitalizations down 20% in the same timeframe.
if there was a texas death warrant in here somewhere, i sure do not see it.
ahh, but maybe the sneaky texans stopped testing and contrived a false case rate trend by modulating sample rate? nope.
testing is actually WAY up from 52k to 107k. it more than doubled.
meanwhile, testing in the US is up 2%. so this variance is actually much wider than the raw data would suggest once you adjust for sample rate. (an issue about which i am a notorious stickler)
so, texas cases really dropped 79% vs 27% in the US once you adjust for testing level.
this is not a “death warrant” this is “proof of life.”
the endless hectoring about “opening society and giving people their lives back = death” is not helpful. it’s not science. it’s not moral. it’s not even honest.
these people are falling on their faces by doubling down on the same failed claims and by both doubting vaccines and doing everything in their power to increase vaccine hesitancy and reduce perceived benefit by moving the goalposts yet again to “vaccinate but mask and distance and no you cannot have your life back.”
they do this because it costs them nothing. it’s a one sided bet. if they claim the world is ending and then something bad happens, they win big. but if they wet their pants over nothing and spread baseless hysteria, by the time the facts come out it’s 30 news cycles later and everyone has forgotten they ever spoke.
the only way to stop this mendacious manipulation is to make sure it is not a one sided bet. there has to be a price to pay for claiming the sky is falling and then not having it fall. so let’s all take care to be sure that there is.
the society we save may be our own.