MSM reporting of US COVID-19 mortality rate: An exercise in 'How to Lie with Statistics'

A book published 66 years ago and still in print is an essential reference for understanding most of the data that you see about the pandemic afflicting the world today.  Written by Darrell Huff and illustrated by Irving Geis, How to Lie With Statistics is both sardonic and a serious lesson in the abuse of math for propaganda.  Whether or not it was studied by our Trump-hating media anxious to make the U.S. look bad, some of its lessons are being employed. 

A few days ago, we learned that the mortality rate from the coronavirus is lower than touted by the "experts."  Much lower.  As in, similar to the season flu.

Now, thanks (again) to Matt Margolis at PJ Media, we see that the United States has a comparatively low mortality rate.  But downstate New York has the worst.

Curiously, when the media hounded Trump for weeks about testing, they kept screaming about "per capita" testing rates compared to South Korea.  But now you hear not a word about "per capita" rates when it comes to mortality.

Why?

Because the hard numbers make the United States look as though it's fared much worse than the rest of the world.  That's because idiots in the mainstream media lack the skill or the will to apply basic math.  As Margolis notes, it's quite easy to see that we've done an incredible job.

The first list uses data from May 24 and shows total deaths of the ten hardest-hit countries.  As you can see, using raw numbers, the United States appears to have fared the worst as countries are ranked in descending order.

1.USA (96,046)

2.UK (36,757)

3.Italy (32,735)

4.Spain (28.678)

5.France (28,218)

6.Brazil (22,013)

7.Belgium (9,280)

8.Germany (8,275)

9.Iran (7,417)

10.Netherlands (5,841)

But when Margolis adjusts the numbers to reflect per capita rates, the death rate per million people changes dramatically, as noted below.  You can see that we drop way down on the list.

1.Belgium (791.76)

2.Spain (573.38)

3.UK (558.95)

4.Italy (524.58)

5.France (415.90)

6.Sweden (391.87)

7.Netherlands (338.01)

8.Ireland (309.86)

9.USA  (288.74)

10.Switzerland (226.80)

Then Margolis does one final calculation.

Because our numbers are distorted thanks to Cuomo's and de Blasio's incompetent "leadership," downstate New York has a disproportionate number of deaths compared to anywhere else in the country.  So Margolis recalculated the list by removing the numbers from downstate New York and making it like a separate country.  Here's how that turned out.  As you can see, downstate New York is worse than any European country, and the United States mortality rate drops.

1.Downstate NY (1,771.86)

2.Belgium (791.76)

3.Spain (573.38)

4.UK (558.95)

5.Italy (524.58)

6.France (415.90)

7.Sweden (391.87)

8.Netherlands (338.01)

9.Ireland (309.86)

10.USA sans downstate NY (233.44)

There are three additional factors that would cause our mortality rate to drop even more.

First, the United States wouldn't even be on the top ten list if countries that are underreporting (China, Iran, Soviet Union) provided accurate data.

Second, we're over-reporting deaths from the coronavirus that have nothing whatsoever to do with the virus.

And third, since we're not doing massive antibody testing, we have no idea how many Americans were infected.  That figure would cause our mortality rate to drop even more.

But the media keep screaming about the hard numbers (conveniently no longer interested in "per capita" data), and I've yet to see anyone from the administration pushing back nor our elected officials making this point.

This is not to minimize the number of those who have died from this virus that communist China thrust upon the world.  But when speaking about how we have fared, how well Trump has addressed this pandemic, and how well our health care system took care of people, it's important to be accurate and clear.

The administration needs to be pushing this information out.  Americans need to know the truth, not only about what Trump has done (against so many odds), but also about how miserably Cuomo and de Blasio failed.

A book published 66 years ago and still in print is an essential reference for understanding most of the data that you see about the pandemic afflicting the world today.  Written by Darrell Huff and illustrated by Irving Geis, How to Lie With Statistics is both sardonic and a serious lesson in the abuse of math for propaganda.  Whether or not it was studied by our Trump-hating media anxious to make the U.S. look bad, some of its lessons are being employed. 

A few days ago, we learned that the mortality rate from the coronavirus is lower than touted by the "experts."  Much lower.  As in, similar to the season flu.

Now, thanks (again) to Matt Margolis at PJ Media, we see that the United States has a comparatively low mortality rate.  But downstate New York has the worst.

Curiously, when the media hounded Trump for weeks about testing, they kept screaming about "per capita" testing rates compared to South Korea.  But now you hear not a word about "per capita" rates when it comes to mortality.

Why?

Because the hard numbers make the United States look as though it's fared much worse than the rest of the world.  That's because idiots in the mainstream media lack the skill or the will to apply basic math.  As Margolis notes, it's quite easy to see that we've done an incredible job.

The first list uses data from May 24 and shows total deaths of the ten hardest-hit countries.  As you can see, using raw numbers, the United States appears to have fared the worst as countries are ranked in descending order.

1.USA (96,046)

2.UK (36,757)

3.Italy (32,735)

4.Spain (28.678)

5.France (28,218)

6.Brazil (22,013)

7.Belgium (9,280)

8.Germany (8,275)

9.Iran (7,417)

10.Netherlands (5,841)

But when Margolis adjusts the numbers to reflect per capita rates, the death rate per million people changes dramatically, as noted below.  You can see that we drop way down on the list.

1.Belgium (791.76)

2.Spain (573.38)

3.UK (558.95)

4.Italy (524.58)

5.France (415.90)

6.Sweden (391.87)

7.Netherlands (338.01)

8.Ireland (309.86)

9.USA  (288.74)

10.Switzerland (226.80)

Then Margolis does one final calculation.

Because our numbers are distorted thanks to Cuomo's and de Blasio's incompetent "leadership," downstate New York has a disproportionate number of deaths compared to anywhere else in the country.  So Margolis recalculated the list by removing the numbers from downstate New York and making it like a separate country.  Here's how that turned out.  As you can see, downstate New York is worse than any European country, and the United States mortality rate drops.

1.Downstate NY (1,771.86)

2.Belgium (791.76)

3.Spain (573.38)

4.UK (558.95)

5.Italy (524.58)

6.France (415.90)

7.Sweden (391.87)

8.Netherlands (338.01)

9.Ireland (309.86)

10.USA sans downstate NY (233.44)

There are three additional factors that would cause our mortality rate to drop even more.

First, the United States wouldn't even be on the top ten list if countries that are underreporting (China, Iran, Soviet Union) provided accurate data.

Second, we're over-reporting deaths from the coronavirus that have nothing whatsoever to do with the virus.

And third, since we're not doing massive antibody testing, we have no idea how many Americans were infected.  That figure would cause our mortality rate to drop even more.

But the media keep screaming about the hard numbers (conveniently no longer interested in "per capita" data), and I've yet to see anyone from the administration pushing back nor our elected officials making this point.

This is not to minimize the number of those who have died from this virus that communist China thrust upon the world.  But when speaking about how we have fared, how well Trump has addressed this pandemic, and how well our health care system took care of people, it's important to be accurate and clear.

The administration needs to be pushing this information out.  Americans need to know the truth, not only about what Trump has done (against so many odds), but also about how miserably Cuomo and de Blasio failed.