July 8, 2020

Wendy Bell Puts Her Audience In Covid-Danger. Again.

Today KDKA Radio's own Angel of Death, Wendy Bell, had some very interesting things to say about how not-so-very serious the coronavirus is. In doing so, she puts her adoring public in some serious danger.

[Note: as of this writing, the CDC is reporting that 131,065 US Citizens have died from the virus. This is a very serious danger.]

And this is what Wendy said about how not-so-bad it is (this is about 1:55 in) and how the public should be not-so-worried:

Yesterday in the United States with a population of 330 million there were 23,397 new cases Covid. How does that impact you? How does that impact your life?

You're going to get this virus, ladies and gentlemen. You're going to get it. You can wear a mask. You can stay at home. You can be afraid of the world. You can listen to the news, have panic attacks. Or you can go live your life.

You're going to make it through this virus. 99% of you are going to make it through this virus.

See? It's nothing to worry about, right? You're going to get the virus and 99% of you are going to make it through. That's what she said. That is exactly what Wendy Bell said.

This past week, we heard Donald Trump say nearly the same thing at The White House:
Likewise, testing — there were no tests for a new virus, but now we have tested over 40 million people.  But by so doing, we show cases, 99 percent of which are totally harmless.
Granted, he said 99 percent of the cases are "totally harmless" and she said simply that "you're going to make it through." They're not exactly the same, of course, but each is just as misleading and just as dangerous to anyone who accepts the factoid as fact and then lives their life accordingly (as Wendy suggests we all do).

Let's start with some of the Trump fact-checks and work our way back to Wendy.

The NY Times:
Experts say the president appears to have seized only on a death rate estimate of 1 percent or less that does not capture the entire impact of the disease, and excludes a multitude of thousands who have spent weeks in the hospital or weeks at home with mild to moderate symptoms that still caused debilitating health problems.
And the rest of the "entire impact of the disease" that Wendy Bell fails to inform her audience:

And the death rate does not capture all of the harm caused by the disease. As many as 15 to 20 percent of known Covid-19 patients may require hospitalization, and of the group admitted, 15 to 20 percent are transferred into intensive care, according to some estimates.

In addition to hospitalization, another consideration that would complicate what defines harmlessness is the long-term implication for so many who have recovered or are still struggling to regain their pre-Covid lives.

Patients fortunate enough to survive a lengthy hospitalization and weeks in an intensive care unit or on a ventilator face a long road to recovery. Many will suffer debilitating long-term effects, including impaired lung function, neurological problems and cognitive deficits, and some may require lifelong care and not regain full independence.

Some patients have prolonged courses of illness, with fevers and weakness that lasts for weeks on end; the disease has also been linked to strokes that can be disabling, and much about how the disease affects the immune system long term is still unknown. Residual symptoms such as continuing shortness of breath, muscle weakness, flashbacks and mental fogginess can persist for some time.

From the AP:
In his latest of many statements playing down the severity of the pandemic, Trump declared that 99% of cases of COVID-19 are harmless. That flies in the face of science and of the reality captured by the U.S. death toll of about 130,000.
And then there's this conversation of Fox News between Neil Cavuto and Dr. Qanta Ahmed. Cavuto was finding Trump's math lacking and the Dr. agreed:  
She also went on to point out that many of those who survive the disease will be left with long-term lung damage.

Cavuto wondered aloud if Trump was giving people a “false sense of security,” adding that he wasn’t sure that was the president’s intent.
Reuters had this posted yesterday about some of the long term damage facing Covid-19 survivors:
Scientists warned on Wednesday of a potential wave of coronavirus-related brain damage as new evidence suggested COVID-19 can lead to severe neurological complications, including inflammation, psychosis and delirium.
Long-term lung damage, strokes, neurological problems and cognitive deficits, psychosis and delirium. These are just some of the effects facing some of the people that the virus doesn't kill.

But you're going to make it through this, says Wendy. She either knows the truth and just chooses not to inform the public how bad it might be for some of them who're going to get the virus or she hasn't bothered educating herself before misinforming her many devotees. Either way, she's heightened the risk for many of them.

Here's the thing. I've written this before but let me reiterate. Lots of people listen to Wendy Bell. Some even to be informed about the events of the day. How many people listening to Wendy today came away thinking that the virus is not serious enough for them to worry about? How many of those people will get sick because they put themselves in harms way? How many of those sick people will be sick enough to have to go to the hospital? And finally, how many of those will die? All because they listened to KDKA Radio's Angel of Death and acted as if the virus is no big deal.

How does this reality make you feel, Wendy?

You do know that the virus does not care about your feelings, right?