On the Wuhan virus, should you even listen to a leftist epidemiologist?

Marin County, a deeply limousine leftist community, is home to Dr. Larry Brilliant, an epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox.  He also partners with a well financed left-wing fund that, while it does many good things, signals its leftism with its overriding commitment to fighting climate change.

Brilliant recently appeared in teleconference for the Marin County Commission on Aging to talk about the Wuhan Virus.  Brilliant offered not only a negative perspective on the virus, but also a dishonest one, thanks to multiple lies of omission.

According to the article summarizing Brilliant's statements, the virus is still rapidly spreading, a statement that doesn't distinguish between new infections and more testing.  Brilliant also asserted that the virus has a 5% mortality rate, which may be true for the developing world and countries with socialized medicine but in American is accurate only in nursing homes (something Brilliant eventually admitted).  He cried "shame" on America for having "more than a quarter of all the deaths in the world."

And then the real dishonesty began.  Brilliant informed his listeners that:

[M]ost of the hot spots in the United States are in politically "red" states, which favored Donald Trump in 2016. Brilliant said areas where the infection rate is doubling every three or four days include: Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, southern Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona, Arkansas and parts of Texas.

What he forgot to mention is that those same places have low mortality rates, making the virus's infection and mortality rates equivalent to a bad flu season.  Brilliant eventually conceded that a quarter of American virus deaths occurred in nursing homes but forgot to tell his audience that the high nursing home death rates happened in regions in which Democrat politicians ordered that people with known Wuhan virus infections should be sent to nursing homes — orders maintained even as elderly people started dying in droves.  (See, e.g, New YorkPennsylvaniaNew Jersey, and California.)

It's difficult to take seriously someone whose biases are so plainly on display.  It's especially challenging to accept a narrative that has so many omissions it is downright dishonest if you compare that corrupt narrative to information in a leaked government report out of Germany.  The German document's countervailing facts are consistent with data, not theory:

Some of the report key passages are:

  • The dangerousness of Covid-19 was overestimated: probably at no point did the danger posed by the new virus go beyond the normal level.
  • The people who die from Corona are essentially those who would statistically die this year, because they have reached the end of their lives and their weakened bodies can no longer cope with any random everyday stress (including the approximately 150 viruses currently in circulation).
  • Worldwide, within a quarter of a year, there has been no more than 250,000 deaths from Covid-19, compared to 1.5 million deaths [25,100 in Germany] during the influenza wave 2017/18.
  • The danger is obviously no greater than that of many other viruses. There is no evidence that this was more than a false alarm.
  • A reproach could go along these lines: During the Corona crisis the State has proved itself as one of the biggest producers of Fake News.

So far, so bad. But it gets worse.

The report focuses on the "manifold and heavy consequences of the Corona measures" and warns that these are "grave".

More people are dying because of state-imposed Corona-measures than they are being killed by the virus.

Additionally, Just the News reports:

Doctors across the world are offering preliminary but encouraging reports that the coronavirus may be losing steam and becoming less deadly: a behavior observed in at least one respiratory pandemic before, and a welcome sign for a world weary of nonstop COVID-19 fears. 

The observations come from doctors in Israel, Italy, and America. (Read more here.)

Dr. Brilliant is a theorist, and, since the first day the virus appeared, the theorists have been wrong — wrong about the virus's prevalence, about the lockdown, about the mortality rate, about the treatment (including ventilators), and about hydroxychloroquine.  Indeed, as the article about Brilliant concedes, the virus may have been a coagulation disorder all along.  So when Brilliant bloviates about contagion, deaths, and "red" states, I tune him out.  Who needs him when the facts on the ground say otherwise?