By Horatio Kemeny|2020-11-08T19:49:24-08:00November 8th, 2020|Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Politics, Science of COVID-19|Tags: Ontario, British Columbia, Vancouver, Masks, Numbers, Data, U.S.A., Graphs, Covidiots, Second Wave, Nunavut, Vancouver Island, Freedom Fighter Rallies|5 Comments
No new local numbers today or tomorrow (or Monday), so while we wait in limbo to collectively answer the question, “How are we doing?”, here’s a different sort of thing to do with numbers. I thought I’d mention this because it’s a good one to have when you’re bored or have nothing to do.
Actually, wait… there’s a big difference between being bored and having nothing to do… actually, it’s more like we all, always, have something to do – something we should be doing, something that’s been on the backburner for a while… something left to do for a rainy day or long weekend. Whether we actually feel like doing it is a different story, and sometimes we want (ie. need) something relatively mindless.
A few months ago, my friend Elaan pointed me towards such a thing… and I both thanked her and cursed her for it… because it was interesting, immersive, and I wasted hours – many hours – on it.
It’s very simple… there’s this website with a button that says [Make paperclip]. Click the button… your inventory of paperclips just went from 0 to 1. Bang on it a bit… each click produces one more. And you’ll notice there’s public demand for your paperclips, and by [lower] or [raise] the price, you can manage the inventory… perhaps find a good balance between price and demand. All along, keep clicking and making paperclips.
When you’ve saved up enough money, you can buy an autoclipper. Now you can worry about other things (the price, buying more wire… marketing upgrades which boost demand)… anyway, by virtue of a few clicks that create paperclips, you’re soon running a business.
How big can you grow it? Keep at it, though I’m warning you… you may end up wasting a lot more time on it than you intended.
That being said, I’m not sure it’s wasted time… you’ll engage your brain, you’ll learn a lot… and those 100 things that need doing… they all waited this long; they can wait a bit more. This is, after all, Thanksgiving Weekend… let’s not forget to thank ourselves too. We’ve earned it, and if that means a little bit of time put towards growing a virtual paperclip empire, so be it. And if you waste all weekend doing so, don’t blame me… it’s not entirely my fault. But do let us all know how far you got… and how long you kept at it…
Here you go:
The next time some yahoo tries to convince you that this virus only has a death rate of zero point zero something, feel free to refer to this… I will pick the U.S. as an example because even the doctored, minimized and understated White House data presently implies this:
U.S. population: 330,000,000
Closed cases: 4,029,000
We know that more people than what’s documented have actually had the virus, most of them without even knowing it. How relevant is that? It’s important, of course, because the more people have actually had it, the less lethal it ultimately is. Some people, like the zero-point-zero something crowd, would like you to think it’s no worse than a common cold or flu, but let’s see how the math shakes out.
At face value, given these numbers, the deaths-per-case number (195k ÷ 6.5M) = 2.98%
Relevant to that is the actual closed-cases percentage… ie, if you actually are known to have gotten this virus, what’s your outlook?
3,833,400 ÷ 4,029,000 = 95.15% recover
195,200 ÷ 4,029,000 = 4.84% die
But ok… if everyone who’s known to have the C19 virus at this moment had it miraculously disappear, that’d imply a 3% death rate. That’s obviously nonsense, but let’s go with it. And if ten times as many people actually had it than what was known, that number drops to 0.3%.
How does that compare to the flu? In 2019, the CDC estimated 35.5 million cases… resulting in 34,200 deaths. That’s a 0.10% death rate.
What about colds? I’m not even going to factor in deaths from the common cold… because it’s ludicrous. Some 18,000 people in the U.S. have died from complications of a common cold… since 1979. That’s less than 500 a year. Nothing more than a rounding error.
Again, this supposes that the virus magically disappears instantly. The “the flu kills more people per year” argument fails to address a rather relevant issue; Covid-19 is very much still here, and is still killing thousands of people a day. In the U.S., where they’ve only had perhaps 6 or 7 months of it, it has already killed five times as many people as an entire annual flu season. And it’s not done yet.
Finally, 195,000 ÷ 330,000,000 = 0.06% — which, if the virus vanished and the deaths stopped instantly, is theoretically the lowest number you could ever get for U.S. deaths. Today’s death count divided into today’s population, and not a single death more. To get to the 0.02% number that the crazies insist upon, the virus would have to vanish instantly, and the U.S. would need to have a population of more than a billion.
So… all you “it’s just a bad cold” or “it’s just a flu” people – kindly, stop. I don’t think you realize how silly you sound relaying “facts” that you insist on believing; it’s complete and utter nonsense, and you should be ashamed of yourself for propagating it, and further ashamed for buying into it… and then accusing others of being the blind sheep following some hidden agenda. You’re the sheep, and you and your herd will suffer greatly if you don’t smarten up… and you’ll unfortunately take a few of the rest of us with you.
There is no “dark side” of the moon… but given tidal locking, there is a near side and a far side… with the near side always facing earth, and the far side forever pointed away from us. It gets plenty of light… we just can’t ever see it.
And if you happen to be orbiting the moon, when you’re flying over that far side… that’s when there’s the radio blackout. Apollo 11 famously began their LOI (Lunar Orbit Insertion) rocket burn while orbiting the far side, which made for a very nervous group of people in mission control.
Several minutes later, communications was re-established and telemetry data was received, and everything looked perfect, much to everyone’s relief.
Going into the weekend these days feels like that. We’re totally blind to data, so all we can do is wait 70 hours till we re-establish contact with the BCCDC spaceship, and Commander Dix and Pilot Henry. The data going into it is about what’s to be expected these days.
We’re headed to Whistler one last time; the last gasp of summer… and I’ve seen license plates from Alberta, Saskatchewan and California… and tons of traffic. There’s a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam 10km… which is where I’m posting this from. I’ll update the graphs and data later with the complete picture… but note… we won’t get the real complete picture until we come out from the far side on Monday at 3pm.
To be honest, not great numbers today, if you’re looking at new cases… as we head into the weekend, today’s new-case counts are the highest ever, here in B.C… and in Alberta as well. The only positive thing about that, one would hope, is that it serves as a wake-up call. We’re presently heading in the wrong, direction… albeit slowly. And now is the time to address it. We can at least appreciate the transparency with which we’re handed this information. That’s not the case everywhere.
The U.S. election is 67 days away, and Donald Trump needs to make sure things look as good as possible during that time. All other issues aside, his continued waffling and ineffectiveness with respect to managing the pandemic (the U.S. response is now ranked 2nd-worse on the planet, only slightly better than the U.K.) has made him look awful, no matter what he says. His insistence that things are going well, and it’ll soon be over and all that… most people are wising-up that this is far from the truth.
He’s taken two significant steps in trying to put lipstick on this particular pig. One is that the testing data no longer goes directly to the CDC. It goes to the White House, where it’s compiled, curated and released to the public. The other is his strategy of testing less… because, you know, the less you test, the less positive results you get… and the better it looks. Duh.
The combination of those two things has led to a significant decline in positive test results.
If you average the number of positive tests in the U.S. (and Canada, in [brackets], whose population is about 1/9th the size), starting a month ago, the 4 subsequent weeks were:
Wow – those are some great American numbers… look at that downward trend, even as Canada, at best, stays flat… or goes up a bit. Let’s hope some aide doesn’t jokingly suggest to The President to cut testing altogether… because what’s better than zero positives!
Of course, when reality checks in, things look a little different. Here are the daily deaths averages for those same time periods:
Remarkably consistent. No matter how you try to hide the numbers with respect to this disease and its spread, it’s hard to hide the deaths. Those numbers are beyond the reach of the White House to “manage”.
The President of the United States may not be aware that there are two things in life that are a certainty… death and taxes. You can’t escape either….and history will not be kind in exposing his attempts to cheat on both.
On one hand, I’d like it if B.C. and Alberta, like they used to, reported numbers over the weekend… it’d help keep things up to date… and I like accuracy. On the other hand, if one or both resorted to that, it’d imply things are getting out of hand enough that it’s important to do so… which means, for now, I guess we’re happy to have to wait for Monday. Even today’s U.S. numbers look suspicious (I’ll correct everything later, or tomorrow).
Even so, unraveling the weekend data into component bits isn’t always easy when, sometimes, single clumped numbers are reported on Mondays. “356 new cases and 5 deaths since Friday.” Great… Where? Who? When? This is like the mechanic saying, “Yeah, we fixed everything… that’ll be $4,500” and you asking “What and why!? What did you do? Where’s the breakdown of the parts and labour??” and they say, “Yeah… well, don’t worry about it… it’s kind of technical and very complicated.”
I do worry about it; even if I don’t understand what they’re talking about… even if it’s complete B.S…. “Yeah, see… the muffler bearing was rubbing up against the flywheel bracket… and your car… it’s a model without an exhaust impeller, so we had to machine not only the suspension elbow and rotary pistons, but also replace the fuel pump linkage.” I’d prefer that nonsense to just a single final obscure total.
Speaking of cars… here’s the story of my first car…
I bought it in 1986. I’d been saving up money over the years, and was actually still a couple of thousand short for what I wanted… when, that Summer — and all the racetrack people here will appreciate this – I hit the Sweep Six. This is the wager at the track where you try to pick the winning horse in six consecutive races. It’s obviously hard to do, and very lucrative when you manage it. The few thousand dollars I picked up for that put me over the top.
I paid cash, exactly $9,200 for that new red Ford Mustang LX, and over the next 12 years, put over 280,000km on it. I could write a book on all the memories that car provided me.
By 1998, it was time for a new car… and I’d been so happy with this one, the next one was also a Mustang… a blue 1998 GT.
The old one sat in my parents’ driveway for a while… my intention was to sell it privately, thinking I could get a lot more for it than the trade-in value that I’d been offered. It sat there for weeks… months… my parents over time wondering when I’d remove it, gently asking when I’d sell it, implying in stronger language that it’s time to get rid of it, and finally telling me to get it the hell out of there already.
One summer morning in 1998, I decided it was a good day to do this: I would drive up Kingsway, which is littered with used-car lots, and simply sell it to the first place that would offer me what I was after. I wanted $2,000 for it (yeah, I know, ha ha).
The first place offered me $500 cash. I was offended and laughed at that. The guy laughed back.
The next place didn’t want it. Nor did the place after that. And after that… place after place, not interested, or ridiculous low-ball offers like $100 or $200.
By then, I’d reached the intersection of Kingsway and Victoria. That’s the intersection where the McDonalds is, but kitty-corner to that, there used to be the best Indian food in town, a restaurant called Rubina Tandoori. I had a sudden idea… for sure I was going to spend a bunch of money there in the future; why not trade the car for some Rubina credit?
So I wandered in there and spoke to guy who greeted me, and explained my offer… $1,000 of Indian food credit for the car. He didn’t know what to think, but he went and got his father, the owner of the place.
Then the three of us went outside, where the two hummed and hawed and inspected the car… they popped the hood, literally kicked the tires, scratched their chins, hummed and hawed some more, but ultimately… decided they didn’t want it. I dropped my offer down to $500 worth of credit but they still didn’t want it. And that was that.
I did U-turn, went back to the first place, and told the guy I’d take $500. Nah, he said… I changed my mind. I don’t want it.
So back on the road I went, past Rubina, heading towards Burnaby and New West, and zero luck. I got all the way to the end, and to say I was upset about how this day had turned out… would be an understatement.
Give up or continue? It was now late afternoon… I decided to give it one more shot, and crossed the bridge into Surrey. I stopped at the first lot I found, and while waiting for someone to attend to me, an older lady who was there looking for a car approached me. She offered me $400 for the car. I’ll take it, I said.
“Well, I only have $200 cash with me, but I can give you some post-dated cheques.”
“Sure”, I said… “No problem.” Ha ha.
Conveniently, she had all the necessary papers to sign over the car… so we filled it all out, right there on the hood of the car, signed everything… and that was that. I sold my car for $200 in cash, $200 in cheques, and a ride to the SkyTrain.
But the story doesn’t quite end there.
First of all, the cheques all bounced, and I was unsuccessful in tracking her down… so I guess I actually sold the car for $200. But that’s not all.
About a year later, I got a frantic call from an insurance agent in Surrey. Apparently, this woman was trying to renew the insurance on the car… but couldn’t, because the car was still in my name. Whatever paperwork we’d done didn’t properly transfer the car to her, and she’d somehow been driving my car, with NO insurance, for a year. I hightailed it over there and signed what was needed.
Many great memories with that car… and I still have the license plates, hanging on the wall in my garage: SWEPT 6
Look, I managed to write a whole update without mentioning Trump… and barely mentioning the pandemic. Sometimes, it’s nice to set aside the present day and dig up some good old memories. There are plenty to choose from. And there are also plenty of new ones, waiting to be made.
Short (and early!) update today, because I won’t be around till later.
All of the Canadian numbers, including B.C., are updated and accurate. I always post the U.S. data with the 5pm numbers so that the rolling 24h picture reflects reality, so these are a bit off. I will correct and re-upload the graph and numbers sometime later today.
EDIT: Updated 5pm numbers and graphs.