Wednesday, April 08, 2020

"This Is Their New Hoax"

The Fox Trump-Is-God Network spent many weeks repeating and repeating a torrent of lies: the coronavirus was no different than the seasonal flu, the US would have next to no cases, it was merely a political distraction, a hoax invented by the Do-Nothing Democrats, a scare tactic promoted by the Lamestream Media, a pathetic, last-ditch attempt to derail Donald Trump's re-election bid.

Yet these far-right commentators also said Democrats would cheer if millions of Americans died from the virus, which, if the virus was truly irrelevant, a hoax, and merely a seasonal flu, would never happen. Expecting any consistency to these inane and imagined conspiracies is a silly pipe dream.

But then Dear Leader could not ignore the pandemic any longer. He declared a national emergency and started saying that up to 200,000 Americans could die. His propaganda minions had to quickly pivot, claiming this was some serious shit, it was no joke, and only The Chosen One could save the country from ruin.

They told their viewers that they had never described the virus as a hoax (though they had done exactly that non-stop for hours every single day for two months right up to the day before they got their new marching orders). They started claiming that the impeachment hoax distracted Trump from focusing his laser-like big brain on the virus. But that excuse fell apart as soon as you looked at a calendar, and it was quickly abandoned.

Now, there is a new "hoax" in town. In the last few days, conservative commentators, such as Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, Brit Hume, and Mark Levin have been questioning the official death toll from the virus. All of them are suggesting the numbers could be inflated in a new attempt to bring Trump down by painting him in the worst possible light.

Hume has tweeted that New York's "fatality numbers are inflated", stating it as a fact. He has also claimed that Dr. Deborah Birx said that anyone who dies with Covid-19 is recorded as a Covid-19 death, despite any other ailments they might have had. That's a distortion of Birx's statement. She said if someone is in the hospital for treatment for the virus also "had a pre-existing condition" that eventually caused the individual to die, that still would be counted as a virus-related death.

Hume also cited a "very informative" thread started by someone whose bio identifies him as an "investor" and "extreme salesman" that suggested cooked numbers. The "extreme salesman" also thinks the virus could be a "leaked bioweapon".

Tucker Carlson stated on the air: "When journalists work with numbers, there sometimes is an agenda." ... Ah, those nefarious numbers. They are like witchcraft. (And like those pesky facts, they tend to have a liberal bias.)

Limbaugh, who previously dismissed the coronavirus as the "common cold", wondered, on April 2: "What if we are recording a bunch of deaths to coronavirus which really should not be chalked up to coronavirus?"
People die on this planet every day from a wide variety of things. But because the coronavirus is out there, got everybody paranoid, governments are eager, almost, to chalk up as many deaths to coronavirus as they can because then it furthers the policies they have put in place by virtue of their models.
Levin tweeted yesterday that he has "suspected this for weeks". He has said:
I cannot find anywhere the definition of what it means to die from this virus. In other words, if I go into the hospital and I already have a very, very bad heart, and I'm not given a whole lot of time, and then I get this virus, and it puts me over the edge, is that counted as dying from heart failure, heart disease, a heart attack, if you have one, or the virus? I don't know.
Of course, neither Levin nor Limbaugh nor anyone else on the far-right will actually bother to investigate that theory, see if it has any merit. It would be quite a scoop if they uncovered actual evidence of inflation. But they know their new talking point is bullshit. (Or most of them do; some are actual morons.) They are entertainers - nothing more or less - and this is what they have to do to stay relevant, to keep people tuning in.

(Trump and the far-right media did the same thing after Hurricane Maria. As the death toll got close to 3,000, Trump claimed that count was fake and an attempt to attack him politically. His media sycophants took it from there.)

The facts is the US death toll is almost certainly understated. On April 5, the New York Times  reported that hospital officials, doctors, public health experts, and medical examiners across the country are all saying the official death stats do not account for many people. Different states (and even different counties within a state) have inconsistent protocols and limited resources.

Mark Levine, the chair of the New York City Council Health Committee, replied to Hume directly, saying the city's death toll "is certainly an undercount".
Only people who die at home who are known to have a *positive coronavirus test* have the disease listed as the official cause on their death certificate. We know there are many others going uncounted.
An estimated 180-190 people are dying at home every day in New York City.

Craig Spencer, a New York City emergency room doctor and the Director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center:
Alternatively, it may also mean that hospitals are near capacity, so ERs are discharging patients we would've absolutely admitted a week or two ago.
Donald Trump was asked on Tuesday about the accuracy of the death count:
I think they're pretty accurate on the death count. Somebody dies, I think the states have been pretty accurate. ... No, the death counts, I think they are very, very accurate.
Orange Foolius's opinion is very likely to change over the next few days, once 12-15 hours of Fox have seeped their way into his "very, very large brain". Perhaps he will ease into this new lie slowly, by suggesting the counts in "blue states" are being inflated.

(If deaths in those states are more common, it's because Trump is deliberately not sending supplies to states he knows he cannot win in November. He is making sure the limited equipment goes to important swing states.)

1 comment:

allan said...

"Tucker has gone all on arguing that the curve is flattening and mortality predictions are decreasing not because of social distancing and public action but because COVID-19 just isn't that bad."