May 31, 2020

Wendy Bell Has Spoken! The Crisis Is Officially OVER! Halle-Frickin-lujah!!!

Yes, yes, I know Yeats described this weekend (if not the past few months/years) pretty much to a T:
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
But instead of contemplating the possible end of the Republic, let's look at how Wendy Bell's still going to get some people killed. This was found yesterday on her Facebook page:
Covid is officially over. Signs on the floor are gone. Santized carts are no more. Limits on chicken, scratched.

Like the Israeli mathmetician said and our governor never heard... the cycle is 70 days. [Misspellings in original.]
Of course, she's completely and dangerously wrong.

The NYTimes has a page dedicated to Covid-19 statistics (numbers, graphs and so on) and as an intro:
Though the number of new deaths has been curving downward, the virus continues to circulate widely within the United States. As states move to partly reopen their economies, thousands of new cases are still being identified each day and true normalcy remains a distant vision.
And, as of this writing (May 31, 2020), The Times lists sixteen states and Puerto Rico where the rates are, contrary to Bell's ringing endorsement of normality, increasing; California, Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Utah, Arkansas, Puerto Rico, Maine, West Virginia, Vermont, Wyoming, Montana, and Alaska.

There are only seventeen states (and the District of Columbia) where the rates are decreasing; New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Connecticut, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Kansas, Delaware, Washington D.C., Oklahoma, South Dakota, Oregon, and North Dakota.

Every place else is described as "where new cases are mostly the same."

So about a third of the states are decreasing, about a third are increasing and about a third are "mostly the same."

How is that "officially over", Wendy?

Initially I thought (giving her the benefit of the doubt as I am nothing if not fair - even to vile and cruel human beings) that perhaps Bell meant that the high anxiety over the virus was over. But take a look at her next sentence:
Like the Israeli mathmetician said and our governor never heard... the cycle is 70 days. [Again, the misspelling is Wendy's.]
What could THAT mean?

This, from April:

A prominent Israeli mathematician, analyst and former general claims simple statistical analysis demonstrates that the spread of COVID-19 peaks after about 40 days and declines to almost zero after 70 days — no matter where it strikes, and no matter what measures governments impose to try to thwart it.

Prof Isaac Ben-Israel, head of the Security Studies program in Tel Aviv University and the chairman of the National Council for Research and Development, told Israel’s Channel 12 (Hebrew) Monday night that research he conducted with a fellow professor, analyzing the growth and decline of new cases in countries around the world, showed repeatedly that “there’s a set pattern” and “the numbers speak for themselves.”

While he said he supports social distancing, the widespread shuttering of economies worldwide constitutes a demonstrable error in light of those statistics. In Israel’s case, he noted, about 140 people normally die every day. To have shuttered much of the economy because of a virus that is killing one or two a day is a radical error that is unnecessarily costing Israel 20% of its GDP, he charged.

So you'll understand why the fence-sitting Bell would automatically agree with this non-medical expert.

Professor Ben-Israel claimed victory a few days ago:
An Israeli professor who made waves in early April for insisting that the coronavirus will play itself out after 70 days regardless of intervention levels says that he has been proved right, and that claims the virus will return in force for a second wave are just speculation.
However in the same article:
Many medical professionals have raised their eyebrows over Ben-Israel’s claims. The public health expert Nadav Davidovitch, asked to comment for this article, said he agrees with Ben-Israel’s sentiment that “hysteria” must be avoided but added: “He is an excellent scientist, yet he has no clue about epidemiology and public health.”
I am neither a mathematician nor a medical expert but I can add/subtract 70. So let's assume that what Wendy Bell inexpertly assured us is true - that the "cycle is 70 days" and that Professor Ben-Israel is true - that the number peaks in 40 days and "declines to almost zero" in 70.

Today is May 31, 2020 and 70 Days ago was March 22. So if today is the end of the cycle, then the beginning of the cycle must've been sometime around March 22, right?

So let's see how the numbers match this timeline from the NBC.

By March 22, there were already about 400 deaths in the US as people had been dying for about a month by that point.  So that can't be right, right? That couldn't have been the beginning of the cycle, right? With 400 dead already by that point.

So let's start from the other end. When did people start dying in the US?

NBC's timeline sets that at February 29. 70 days later was May 9. By that point about 73,000 US citizens had died.

Currently about 33,000 more people have died since then. With many many more to come. If the "peak" is 40 days, what's 40 days after February 29?

That would be April 9, when only about 16,500 people had died. Since that "peak" 83,500 more people have died. How is that a "peak"?

What am I missing here? The 70 day cycle (with a 40 day peak) doesn't square up with the data in the US.

But here's the danger: What happens when one of Wendy's faithful listeners believes her? What happens when that person doesn't do any social distancing? Why would they, right? The cycle is over, right? WENDY BELL SAID SO!

How many of her faithful followers are going to get sick because they believed her? How many of those will die?

If she's lucky the numbers will be close to zero. Let's all hope Wendy Bell is lucky.