“They lie to us, we know they're lying, they know we know they're lying, but they keep lying to us, and we keep pretending to believe them” - Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
Often they do it subtly. Here’s one typical example.
David Frum writes for The Atlantic and has nearly 1 million Twitter followers. Yesterday he posted the following tweet:
That is a single pairwise comparison using the most recent week of data.
In fact, Missouri had 28 deaths a day on average over the period. Spain had 38. So, as he implies, Missouri had a higher ratio of deaths than Spain over this week. To be precise, 57% higher. Okay.
Frum doesn’t look at Covid deaths overall. See this information below. Now Missouri has had 195 deaths per 100,000 people. Spain has had 183. Again, Spain is doing better. But the difference is modest.
Divide 195 by 183 and you get 1.065574. That’s how much worse Missouri has done than Spain.
But there’s more. Frum says, “The difference is vaccinations”.
He has no evidence of this. This is a multivariate scenario. Many correlations and causations. Feedback. Unclear data.
Frum explains, “Missouri is 48% fully vaccinated; Spain above 80%. Which is why Spaniards are living in safety, and Missourians are dying unnecessarily and preventably”.
First, if vaccines are helping, they aren’t helping much. That is a big difference in vaccination rates for a tiny difference in death rates. Granted, vaccines have not been available for the full pandemic. Still, Frum is overreaching.
Next, and most devastating to Frum’s case, are factors like obesity. We now know this is the major determinant of Covid survival rates.
On a quick search, I see Missouri suffers from 35% obesity in adults. In Spain that number is 22%.
We can do a calculation to control for obesity as an explanatory variable of the two populations’ Covid death rates. The hypothesis is that once you control for obesity, Spain will have a worse death rate than Missouri. And the theorised reason is that natural immunity is wonderful.
Using an eyeball test, at a minimum, the likelihood that Missouri is doing worse than Spain after controlling for obesity is unfathomable.
I wonder if Frum has gone through this thinking. Or if he can defend himself. The onus is on him.