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NYT's "Real Coronavirus Death Toll" Is Anything But

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/05/10/nyts-real-coronavirus-death-toll-anything

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Savvy DC perogi proggies advise that NY Times is government news.
We are in election season and the republicans want to retain president and senate - add the house.
The mail in ballots will reduce participation in elections because most states require that the citizen fill out the application form by a certain date. Then the ballot arrives, we vote and mail in the ballot. This is safe from computer hacking at the county level.

This evaluation of the bar graphs is very helpful.

Government controlled press is bad. We are constantly reminded of that.
What nobody (well, almost nobody) tells us is that the privately owned, profit seeking press is almost as bad.


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The possibility exists that none of the collected data related to deaths and infection rates of this virus are accurate. My daughter-in-law works in administration for a small county hospital in my state, where they (the hospital) were supposedly told to count all deaths as related to the virus, whether they were or not. Where this directive came from, she didn’t know, but acknowledged it completely skewed any data on the subject.

Side note:
I apologize to anyone who didn’t receive a response from me over the last 3-4 weeks, having a hard drive crash during a pandemic and trying to get it fixed…no fun at all.


Establishment media provides news for the Donor Class. They also brainwash their readers to hate all things progressive. You want truthful news? Turn to progressive online media outlets. That’s where millennials get their news and fact check their news. It’s also why they overwhelmingly support progressive agendas and the candidates who champion those agendas.


good to see you back. I was worried. :))

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Criminy! I’m maybe unusually dense, but I like to wrestle with stats instead of Sudoku, as a pasttime, and I can’t make heads or tails of (1) what NYT means by all these indecipherable hierographics, nor (2) what exception the author takes to their all-but opaque splatterings.

There are ways to communicate with statistical graphics. There are also textbook examples of how not to do it. I swear to God: people teach college courses in this sort of thing (more how to do it than how not to do it, we can hope). If NYT meant to mean anything, they could find someone with such skills. So why don’t they? Don’t tell me the Iron Lady – no wait, it’s the Gray Lady – she’s not party to deliberate gobsmacking of the USA polity? Heaven forfend!


Thanks, I’m still here alive and kicking, but what a pain in the arse getting this machine fixed, when you know nothing about it’s inner workings.

Listen to your entrails. They’re talking to you. (Mine are looking forward to succotash, glorious succotash: a great old Indigenous American dish – maybe somewhat chatty.)

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if it happens again, email me and I ight be able to walk you through it. Or you could just huck the offender out the window…:))

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During April a NYT article by Christina Anderson and Thomas Erdbrink about Sweden’s decision to not impose any restrictions and how Sweden had lower COVID-19 case and deaths rates than France or UK, implied that Sweden’s hands off approach was best.

The Sweden-France-UK comparison, unfortunately, is far from an apples to apples comparison. The article failed to mention that Sweden’s COVID death rate is twice that of the other Scandanavian nations, statistics that are an apples to apples comparison.

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Interesting information from your daughter-in-law. It tends to corroborate an observation made by essayist Peter Koenig. Koenig mentions “…the gross manipulation in the US of COVID-19 infections and death rates – how hospitals are encouraged to declare deaths as COVID19-deaths – for every COVID19 death-certificate the hospital receives a US$13,000 “subsidy”, and if the patient dies on a ventilator, the “bonus” amounts to US $ 39,000.”

Would you care to speculate about why hospitals might be exaggerating the death rate from covid-19? Do you find Koenig’s comment credible? If Koenig is right, then where do you suppose these coronavirus death certificate subsidies are coming from? From health insurance companies? From pharmaceutical companies? What is the purpose of over-counting deaths from coronavirus? What might be the purpose of paying hospitals to over-count deaths from coronavirus? Such madness! It seems unbelievable!

Another set of questions: Do you think that covid-19 antibodies tests will be made available to the general public? Could such tests identify individuals with immunity to covid-19? Could such tests identify individuals who pose zero risk of infecting others? (Does the presence of covid-19 antibodies in a person’s bloodstream prove that that person cannot possibly infect others?) If tests become available, and if a test could confirm that a person 1) is immune and 2) poses zero threat to others, could testing be used as a way to screen people for release from quarantine?

If antibody tests can be used to confirm immune/non-transmitter status, why might governments try to deny citizens access to such tests? And lastly, coming back full circle, why might governments and sickness-profitizing corporations be trying to artificially inflate death rates from coronavirus?

Mr. Peter Koenig " Show us the money!!! " " Show us the money transfers, the vouchers!!! Hospital or other receipts; oh I see, it’s paid every 90 days. That’s why its not a screaming headline. Like the NYT charts, Koenig could be off by a mile, but in the public domain for some reason.
Mr. Peter Koenig : Show us something please, the suspense is killing us!!!
And you, and your ifs- take them to a meatpacking plant in the Midwest or the South; and both of you replace a worker(s) for a few shifts, please. ( They need a stress break. ) Then come back and tell us about all the new life experience and wisdom you’ve gained.
As to Mr. Koenig, is Italy overcounting, too. To keep the canals clean and the tourists out of Venice, as well. A real win-win for a country dependant on tourism.
Actually I’ve heard the opposite; there’s a large undercount, by states like Florida and Georgia.
BTW " we will understand it better, bye and bye. "

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I believe that the only people who should be allowed to work outside of home, in group settings, or as delivery people, are those who have been tested for covid-19 antibodies. Do you disagree? If so, why?

If such tests are available, I believe that they should be made available at public expense to every human on the planet. Do you disagree? If so, why?

If having covid-19 antibodies in your bloodstream means that you are immune and pose no risk to others, then I believe that those confirmed by testing to have covid-19 antibodies in their bloodstreams should be released from quarantine. Do you disagree? If so, why?

Those are my logical arguments on this issue. I will be grateful to anyone who identifies logical flaws in my reasoning.

My logic could well be flawed. In addition, there are empirical questions which loom large over my logic. Perhaps antibody tests are not yet available. Or, perhaps an antibody test is available, but such a test, so far, is not able to confirm that a person with antibodies poses no risk of infecting others.

Perhaps you didn’t mean to be sarcastic or flippant. I have read many of Mr. Koenig’s essays, and he comes across as a thoughtful, insightful, credible person. Perhaps he is off base on the covid-19 issue. Even so, sarcasm and flippancy are probably not helpful. Logical analysis of public policy and answers to empirical questions about antibody testing would be helpful.

Scientists at the Mayo Clinic, among others, are working hard on the empirical questions. One can only hope that once those questions are resolved, government officials will use logic, not emotionalism, to formulate public policy on covid-19. Public policy that doesn’t rely on science and logic is manipulative, and unworthy of a free society.

Thank you for your comments and your insights.

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This the serology for Hepatitis B, also using a surface Antigen. It should be similar in Covid-19.


“Hepatitis B serologic testing involves measurement of several hepatitis B virus (HBV)-specific antigens and antibodies. Different serologic “markers” or combinations of markers are used to identify different phases of HBV infection and to determine whether a patient has acute or chronic HBV infection, is immune to HBV as a result of prior infection or vaccination, or is susceptible to infection.
Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg): A protein on the surface of hepatitis B virus; it can be detected in high levels in serum during acute or chronic hepatitis B virus infection. The presence of HBsAg indicates that the person is infectious. The body normally produces antibodies to HBsAg as part of the normal immune response to infection. HBsAg is the antigen used to make hepatitis B vaccine.
Hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs): The presence of anti-HBs is generally interpreted as indicating recovery and immunity from hepatitis B virus infection. Anti-HBs also develops in a person who has been successfully vaccinated against hepatitis B.
Total hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc): Appears at the onset of symptoms in acute hepatitis B and persists for life. The presence of anti-HBc indicates previous or ongoing infection with hepatitis B virus in an undefined time frame.
IgM antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (IgM anti-HBc): Positivity indicates recent infection with hepatitis B virus (<6 mos). Its presence indicates acute infection.
Tests Results Interpretation HBsAg negative Susceptible anti-HBc negative anti-HBs negative
HBsAg negative Immune due to natural infection anti-HBc positive anti-HBs positive
HBsAg negative Immune due to hepatitis B vaccination anti-HBc negative anti-HBs positive
HBsAg positive Acutely infected anti-HBc positive IgM anti-HBc positive anti-HBs negative
HBsAg positive Chronically infected anti-HBc positive IgM anti-HBc negative anti-HBs negative
HBsAg negative Interpretation unclear; four possibilities: anti-HBc positive 1. Resolved infection (most common) anti-HBs negative 2. False-positive anti-HBc, thus susceptible 3. “Low level” chronic infection 4. Resolving acute infection”

Adapted from: A Comprehensive Immunization Strategy to Eliminate Transmission of Hepatitis B Virus Infection in the United States: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Part I: Immunization of Infants, Children, and Adolescents. MMWR 2005;54(No. RR-16).

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Historically, someone could be tested for HBV at no cost at a public health department, it is less expensive to prevent the disease than it is to treat it. At the time, a vaccine was new and wasn’t very good. If you were tested by a physician, insurance would not cover it and you had to pay out of pocket. (and it was dependent on how the physician wrote it up) I use to work with people that were carriers. This isn’t new just more dangerous.

You bring up many questions that need answering, well above my paygrade, any answer from me on these subjects would be pure speculation, the same applies to my daughter-in-law, as she is quite low on the information pole at the hospital where she works. Many things have been done, or not done by the White House to maintain the appearance of low infection rates to allow for reelection in November, this goes against those efforts, and makes no sense to me. If Koenig is correct, this needs to be investigated, but still makes no sense at the federal level, and does the opposite as far as keeping the count low to benefit Trumps chances of reelection. Adding more confusion to this issue is the fact that this hospital is in a strong Trump supporting area of the country.
Normally I would guess that any tests for this virus would not become public to keep the infection rate numbers low, but with this information you and I have uncovered, I’m not sure anymore. There must be an angle for someone to benefit from this (the #'s rising), we need a reliable investigative reporter on this subject to be sure.

We would have better infection control standards and practices if we learned these things early on with less deadly pathogens. When we eradicate things from the environment we also eradicate some of things we can learn from and have to do it vicariously.