April 6 2020: It was wonderful to take a couple of days away from looking at the news. I spent the weekend reading and watching wrestling, enjoying some sort of peace. Unfortunately, the world keeps turning. So here I am again.
The madness is such that it’s hard to tell satire from reality. That’s why a lot of people took a (false) report of what Pat Robertson said was responsible for COVID-19 at face value. It’s the most Pat Robertson things to say, ever, and entirely credible that he’d say it given the other nonsense he’s spewed over the years.
Break Out the Tin Foil Hats
Among other nonsense being spread by those lacking critical thinking skills are the conspiracy theories about 5G communications and the coronavirus. Correlation isn’t causation. But at least 20 cell towers in the UK have been set on fire as this misinformation spreads around social media. The two sure feel connected.
There are actually two separate 5G theories. The first is that 5G signals weaken your immune system, and that enables the coronavirus to spread more easily and have deadlier effects. Which would be credible if people were coming down with all manner of other illnesses, and dying from things that are usually fairly innocuous. If the immunocompromised were dropping at an alarming rate and huge swaths of the population were succumbing to the common cold, they might have a case. That’s not what’s happening.
A moderately unhinged variation of the theory is that there is no virus. All of these symptoms are the result of exposure to 5G itself. Which, again, is demonstrably false. We know where the outbreaks have been. We know where 5G has been rolled out. The two maps don’t align.
This isn’t the only theory going around that COVID-19 doesn’t exist. I’ve seen it as an explanation why there are no tests. Except there are tests. There was just a shortage of them and they continue to be poorly administered or under-utilized in some places. There’s one where the fake pandemic is an excuse to inject us all with microchips under the guise of vaccinating people. Which, you know, would be a great theory if there was a vaccine. And governments were requiring people to take it. Sigh.
It’s Not Malaria
The biggest bit of hokum, though, comes directly from Donald Trump. Hydrochloroquine is being stockpiled on his orders. I don’t want to get into the whole “manufacturer Novartis paid Michael Cohen for access to Trump” bit. All I care about is that he’s touting it as a miracle cure, repeatedly saying “what do you have to lose?” You mean, aside from your life? The American Medical Association’s official response can be summed up in one sentence: “We strongly oppose these actions”.
All of That Said…
The rate of deaths in the United States is slowing down. As of this writing it’s doubling every 5 days. At one point, it was doubling ever 2 to 3. At one point I’d crunched the numbers and predicted 24,000 deaths in the US by Easter. Then things got worse, and the math told me 40,000. Right now it looks like it’s going to be a bit over 20,000, which is still less than my original calculations. That’s good.
Unfortunately, with people getting stir crazy, Trump still talking about allowing churches to open for Easter, and people refusing to stay home for any number of reasons, I would not be surprised to see a new surge in two or three weeks.