28 February 2020

Narrative Fail: We're Missing Some Coronavirus Cases.

One of the most important questions the serious analyst can ever ask is the simple "Does this make sense?" In my career as a Voice and Data Engineer it is a crucial step in any diagnostic process--if the data and reported symptoms do not fit together into a coherent description of a situation, it is absolutely certain that something is missing.

Above all else, data must make sense. Hypotheses must fit the data to become theories--and they must fit all the data. When something does not fit, that incongruity is where our attention is properly focused.


In assembling and digesting the media reports about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic (yes, it is a pandemic even though the WHO still dithers and dickers about using the "p-word"), a glaring incongruity stands out: we are missing cases. More precisely, we are missing large numbers of severe cases and pneumonias. Based on the "official" data, there should be far more severe cases reported than there are.



21 February 2020

COVID-19 As A Bioweapon: Conspiracy Theory Or Fact?

The reflexive derisive insult the legacy media routinely applies to stories of which is disapproves is "conspiracy theory". Such stories, we are told, are the mere deluded ramblings of the misinformed and the uninformed. Such stories, we are told, are the ludicrous efforts by the paranoid the prey on the prejudices of the public. Such stories, we are told, are journalistic garbage.

Yet we cannot ignore such stories, because often the "conspiracy theory" narrative turns out to have more substance than the narratives of the legacy media. We must not forget that it was the "conspiracy theorists" at alternative media sites such as ZeroHedge that first drew the world's attention to the coronavirus, while the legacy media has been a primary purveyor of misinformation and pro-China propaganda. 

Today's "conspiracy theory" can all too quickly become tomorrow's substantive fact.

We must bear this in mind when considering the most disturbing "conspiracy theory" we have yet on COVID-19: that the virus is a laboratory construct, a bioweapon released either by accident or by design.

18 February 2020

Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here? Only If We Listen To "Experts"

Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate"
Dante Alighieri, I
nferno, Canto III line 9

"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here." 

Some would deem that a fitting sign to hang in the concourse of Beijing Capital International Airport, given China's current Dante-esque state:
Keep in mind all of this has taken place in China within just the past three weeks, since the beginning of February.

Yet if China is truly on a descent into Dante's Inferno, it is not traveling alone. A veritable globalist caravan seems intent on making the journey with them.

13 February 2020

COVID19 Outside China Shows Value Of Early Response

The statistics surrounding the coronavirus erupting out of Wuhan, China, officially labeld COVID19, and more colloquially known as "Wuhan Coronavirus" paint a grim picture. As of this morning (Thursday, February 13), there were nearly 60,000 cases in China alone, and over 1,000 deaths:
In China:
59,804 cases
1,367 dead
5,911 recovered.

Case Fatality Rate ~ 18.7% 
Outside China:
581 cases
3 deaths
75 recovered

Case Fatality Rate ~ 3.8%
While even the fatality rate outside of China is an alarmingly high rate (epidemiologists blanch at any fatality rate greater than 2%), the variance between the cases inside China and outside China are quite remarkable--enough so as to warrant closer inspection as to why.

One thing these numbers illustrate is the importance of early interventions and responses, both at the personal and public health levels.

08 February 2020

Coronavirus Costs Lives Now. China Closure Will Cost Jobs Later

The Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic is not merely a serious public health crisis in China. With currently 80 cities and over 400 million people under lockdown, it is better to think of it as a public health catastrophe.

Wuhan, Guangzhou, Wenzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai--the list of cities brought literally to a complete standstill reads like the top of the list of China's most populous cities. The Wuhan Coronavirus has quite literally shut China almost completely down.

The official numbers (which are at this point highly dubious) paint a grim picture for China: over 34,000 confirmed cases, over 6,000 of which are serious or critical, and over 700 deaths. Just over 2,000 have recovered from the disease. Against the total number of cases, the deaths represent just over a 2% mortality rate. However, against the number of patients reported as recovered, the mortality rate is a grim 26%--if that ratio holds, as those 34,000 cases resolve towards either recovery or fatality, the ultimate number of deaths in China could easily top 9,000.

Yet, as bad as the disease is, its economic impact is likely to be even worse. Between the disease and the lockdowns and quarantines instituted by Beijing in an effort to contain the disease, virtually the whole of China's economy has been shut down

07 February 2020

Speech Or Silence: Facebook Will Now Decide For You

I begin by reiterating a truth I have stated numerous times, and yet must state again: Free Speech is not merely a legal right, but a moral imperative.

We have a moral duty to speak out on things that matter. We have a moral duty to listen when others speak out. We have a moral duty to ensure others can be heard. This is a duty we owe ourselves, for if we do not speak out, if we do not listen, if we do not enable others to be heard, we have no hope of ever having all the information we need to make good decisions about our lives and our communities.

We must have Free Speech or we can not ever be a Free People. This is the order of things.

Yet, in the wake of the most significant global public health crisis since SARS in 2003, one with the potential to become the worst pandemic since the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918, the social media giants Facebook and Twitter have taken it upon themselves to ensure that Free Speech is the one thing we can never have. When it comes to the Wuhan Coronavirus (officially titled 2019-nCoV), they will decide what we can see, what we can year, and what we can think.

06 February 2020

Tencent Proves Legacy Media "Journalism" Not Worth A Dime

Mark Twain pithily observed in his autobiography that "there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." China's official reports on the 2019-nCoV coronavirus sweeping that country may very well be a combination of all three--and the legacy media is enabling Chinese mendacity at every turn.

As of this posting, the number of reported confirmed cases in China is 28,023, with 563 reported deaths. The vast majority of cases are in Wuhan, in Hubei Province, where the disease originated: 19,665 reported confirmed cases, and 549 deaths. There are nearly a thousand cases each in two of China's most economically important provinces, Zhejiang and Guangdong--and yet no reported deaths.

As disconcerting as these official numbers are, marking as they do the spread of the disease from just around 50 reported cases a little more than a month, there has been a persistent undercurrent of stories suggesting they are a fraud, and that the real numbers are far, far worse. This was made plain on February 5, when Taiwan News reported that Chinese social media giant Tencent's "Epidemic Situation Tracker" page had, on February 1, briefly showed statistics ten times the official reported numbers:
On late Saturday evening (Feb. 1), Tencent on its webpage titled "Epidemic Situation Tracker" which showed confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (2019nCoV) in China standing at 154,023, 10 times the official figure at the time. It listed the number of suspected cases as 79,808, four times the official figure. 
The number of cured cases was only 269, well below the official number that day of 300. Most ominously, the death toll listed was 24,589, vastly higher than the 300 officially listed that day.

01 February 2020

Coronavirus: The Latest Legacy Media Epic Fail


Whoever said "better late than never" did not work in journalism. They certainly did not cover a fast-moving story such as the coronavirus epidemic sweeping China and threatening the rest of the world.

Yet the legacy media has been tardy if not downright derelict in covering several significant aspects of this ongoing event. It was alternative media and social media that first called attention to the existence of the virus, officially named 2019-nCoV (also referenced as nCoV2019). It has been the alternative media and social media that has highlighted serious shortcomings and outright deceptions by Chinese officials and the state-run media.