It's amazing how she manipulates the numbers, all to "prove" that the numbers of projected deaths due to the Coronavirus have been manipulated to control you.
KDKA Radio should be ashamed by allowing her a platform. This isn't political opinion. This isn't a First Amendment issue. She's misleading her audience. And it's going to get some of them killed. Not only that, it's likely to lead to some of the rest of us dying as well.
Shame on KDKA Radio. This is more important than your ratings.
But let's get back to teh crazie.
Bell starts by setting up her baseline:
Back on March 18th, the Imperial College of London, these are the wizards of brilliance, yes? The smartest people, very intelligent folks. Crunching the numbers, looking at this thing and they're saying, 2.2 million deaths in the United States, ladies and gentlemen.This is her first mislead.
How do I know?
Well let's take a look at what the Imperial College of London said and I'll show you.
The report that she's babbling on about (actually dated March 16 - but that's the least of her problems) contains this sentence:
In total, in an unmitigated epidemic, we would predict approximately 510,000 deaths in GB and 2.2 million in the US, not accounting for the potential negative effects of health systems being overwhelmed on mortality.[Emphasis added.]Do you see it? I italic/bolded the part that Wendy Bell misunderstood, passed over or otherwise decided not to tell you.
What do you think "unmitigated epidemic" means? It means that if no one did anything to stop it, then you'd see 2.2 million deaths. If you were in doubt about this, the report's next sentence makes it clear. It begins with:
For an uncontrolled epidemic...[Emphasis added.]The report was describing what would happen if there was no attempt to control the spread of the virus.
So what does Wendy Bell do next? She sets up her argument that the numbers can't be trusted, that the guv-ment is lying to you!:
But wait a minute. March 31st after Governor Wolf shuts down the entirety of Pennsylvania, right? These numbers are projected down quite a bit. A hell of a lot.Don't worry, you'll see it in a minute. Back to her rant. Where does that last number come from?
The new projected death rates are between 100,000 and 240,000 people.
That would be Drs Fauci and Birx. This reporting is from The The NYTimes:
The top government scientists battling the coronavirus estimated on Tuesday that the deadly pathogen could kill 100,000 to 240,000 Americans as it ravages the country despite social distancing measures that have closed schools, banned large gatherings, limited travel and forced people to stay in their homes.Does Wendy Bell not actually read her own monologuing research? The message is very clear: with the social distancing measures, the number that could have been as high as 2.2 million is projected to be much lower - somewhere between 100,000 and 240,000. They also say that as that's still too high, they'll work to reduce it.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, and Dr. Deborah L. Birx, who is coordinating the coronavirus response, displayed that grim projection at a White House briefing, calling it “our real number” but pledging to do everything possible to reduce it.
As dire as those predictions are, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx said the number of deaths could be much higher if Americans did not follow the strict guidelines vital to keeping the virus from spreading. The White House models they displayed showed that more than 2.2 million people could have died in the United States if nothing were done.
But to Bell, there doesn't seem to be a reason to discard the first number for the second. There's only a passing reference to it happening "after Governor Wolf shuts down the entirety of Pennsylvania."
Completely missing (gee, I wonder why) is the message that without the social distancing, the dead would number in the millions.
Now let's look at the rest of Bell's numbers. Take a look at her bullshit board, (that's her term, though Bell herself calls it "BS" - newsflash: I completely agree with her.):
We have some very specific numbers and some very specific dates, don't we? This is a good thing, google search-wise.
The more specific a number is, the easier it is to find it on the internet. And these numbers are a good example as it looks like their source is this 21 page report from the Decision Sciences Institute - specifically pages 16-17.
Take a look and see for yourself. Go find her very specific numbers and then marvel at what Wendy Bell filtered out for you:
Beyond simple reporting, the data on Covid-19 is also used to generate forecasts that are used to shape public policy. It was the Imperial College model (Ferguson et al., 2020) that created serious concerns in the US and caused policy makers to react (Bruce-Lockhart, Burn-Murdoch, & Barker, 2020). That model predicted that left unchecked, the disease would result in 2.2 million deaths in the US, and 510 thousand in the UK. This report was a major impetus for the strict measures taken in the US and around the world (Adam, 2020). These projections were subsequently downgraded based on government actions, and the modeler told the UK Parliament that UK deaths would likely be under 20,000 (WSJ, 2020b). [Emphasis added.]Let me stop here. Do you see what Wendy Bell completely glossed over? I'll clarify for you (and her):
[L]eft unchecked, the disease would result in 2.2 million deaths. [Snip] These projections were subsequently downgraded based on government actions...Now back to the report:
While widely criticized, this change can be justified based on the significant actions taken by governments. A more focused assessment of the issues related to data quality can be derived from an analysis of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE) models and was believed to be the source of White House estimates of 100,000 to 240,000 US deaths (Kesslen, 2020; Leary, Calfas, & Ping, 2020). This model was also subject to significant revisions (Wan & Johnson, 2020). Over the course of a little more than a week, in early April, well after serious mitigation efforts had been implemented across the country, the IMHE issued three different versions of its model.All Bell's numbers are there. In order. I'll leave it to you to decide if I found her source. Seems pretty solid to me.
The aggregate death count in the first model had a mean of 93,530 and a confidence range of [36,697, 177,866]. Within a week IMHE issued two revisions. The first downgraded the estimate to a mean of 81,766 on a confidence range of [49,430 , 136,401], a decrease of 12.6%. In the announcement accompanying the April 5th update to the model, IMHE cite the use of additional data, beyond the initial data from China (IMHE, 2020a). Just two days later they issued a further downgrade to a mean of 60,414 with a confidence range of [31,221 , 126703], a decrease of another 26.1%. Over the course of a week the total estimate was downgraded by 35.4%. The press release associated with the April 7th downgrade specifically identifies some of the reliability issues with the data highlighted in this analysis, such as inconsistent reporting (IMHE, 2020b). [Bell's numbers are emphasized to make them easier to see.]
In any event, we need to take a step back to grasp Bell's argument here. She starts with a position that ("Numbers don't lie") that she then seeks to discredit by pointing out how much they do. And then once she's "made" her case, she then states that the now-shown to be unreliable numbers are actually being implemented in order for the government to gain control. Over you.
Numbers do lie.However, the conclusion of the report says something very different:
And when numbers are allowed to shut down an entire economy, the greatest economy this world has ever known, and when governors continue to hold the power and to squeeze you to prevent you from going out and clawing back any semblance of survival financially, with a job.
What you're talking about isn't a pandemic.
What you're talking about is control.
And that's exactly what's going on, ladies and gentlemen.
Covid-19 has created a significant world-wide health and economic crises. Driven by the intense interest globally, web sites have popped up with near real time data on the number of individuals infected and the number of deaths. Comparisons are made across geography and across time and reported like the scores in a sporting event or the prices on a stock exchange. Newspaper headlines regularly report when a country achieves a milestone or takes the lead in some metric. The data reported is used to produce models and the output of those models are used to shape public policies. Governments across the United States, and across the world have taken unprecedented actions, in good faith, to minimize the public health impact of the pandemic.Take a look at what I emphasized. That's exactly what Wendy Bell did here. I wonder if she even knows.
The point of this paper is not to question those actions, but rather to point out the uncertain and unreliable nature of the data.We regularly teach our students to treat uncertain data as uncertain and report out levels of confidence. While confidence levels have been reported for forecasts, they have essentially been ignored by the media and the public. Furthermore, the actual data on cases and deaths have been reported as deterministic point values. When models are updated based on newer data, the revisions are used to discredit the model and the modelling process. Many lessons will be learned from the Covid-19 pandemic, but one thing that needs to be considered is the way in which data is collected and reported in future outbreaks. [Emphasis added.]
The not-only sad but screamingly scary part here is that a segment of the population will believe Wendy Bell's bat-shit crazie monologue (and I haven't even gotten to the part where she equates Covid-19 with the flu) and they'll go about their lives as if nothing is wrong - content in the notion that the numbers the lamestream media has told them are simply manipulations done in order for the government to exert more control over their lives. Patriotically emboldened, some may then ignore shelter in place and do exactly what they want to do, exactly as they always have done. Wendy Bell said it's about control, right? I'm not going to let the government control me that way!
Of course, this will spread the virus and more Americans will die because of it.
Shame on KDKA Radio for giving Wendy Bell this platform. History won't be as forgiving when all this is over.