Trenton, N.J. – As COVID-19 continues to spread across the nation, newspaper and television, “death meters” are reporting different rates of lives lost. Also, the coronavirus projection used by the White House to warn the country could face between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths has drastically reduced. According to the National Review, the estimates of hospital beds needed have decreased by 58 percent, and the death forecast by 12 percent. So, who is responsible for this math mess up?
By all accounts, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is responsible for the “official” death toll of the virus. However, multiple models have been used by both the media and the White House. One such model is the HME model, produced by the University of Washington, updated its numbers over the last day to show that projected deaths in the state decreased from 93,531 to 81,776, and the projected total bed shortage fell from 87,674 to 36,654. These are staggering reductions!
According to the CDC, the fast-spreading novel coronavirus is almost certainly killing Americans not included in the nation’s growing death toll. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counts only deaths in which the presence of the coronavirus is confirmed in a laboratory test. “We know that it is an underestimation,” agency spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said. However on Monday, the CDC Director downplayed the coronavirus models, and said the “death toll will be much lower than expected.” With shortages of testing available in some areas of the country, who gets counted, and who doesn’t? If a patient displays all the signs of symptoms of COVID-19 and fails to register a “positive” test, does their death get counted in the final tally? It would appear not!
However on Monday, the CDC Director downplayed the coronavirus models, and said the “death toll will be much lower than expected.”
Perhaps one of the most significant issues in the coronavirus death count is concerning individuals who die infected with the virus but also suffer from other preexisting health issues such as respiratory issues, heart disease, and diabetes. Last week the White House estimated that 100,000 to 240,000 Americans might be killed by COVID-19, far exceeding the nearly 60,000 combat troops who died in the Vietnam War. Scientists said they did not know how the White House had arrived at its projection, and the White House has declined to provide details.
The death toll has become a heavily politicized benchmark. Trump’s defenders claim the official number is inflated because it includes all deceased people who tested positive for COVID-19, even if there was another cause of death, such as a heart attack or an accident. On the onset of coronavirus in the country, many news agencies reported the age of many of the victims. Of those reported, many ranged in their 70s, 80s, 90s, and yes, even their 100s. Like so many that died before them, many of these individuals had underlying health issues, and many more of them were current residents of nursing home facilities.
The White House continues to urge Americans to be cautious of their surroundings and to act appropriately during this national crisis. CCN reported this morning that NE governors saying signs that socials distancing guidelines may be working. Would our nation not be better off focusing on action instead of squandering over the lost souls taken by this virus? While numbers do matter and lives are most important, for the sanity and the progress of our nation, using numbers to scare our people into submission is not beneficial!
As these numbers continue to change, Americans must continue to use caution in their action. While the CDC and other governmental agencies may continue to focus their efforts on numbers, Americans must remind themselves of a quote from a long-ago Americans author. Mark Twain said there were “Lies, dammed lies, and statistics” when he described the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments.
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