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July 23, 2020

WHY I Called KDKA Radio's Wendy Bell "The Angel of Death"

First the context.

On Monday, during her her daily monolog/rant about 2:45 in, KDKA Radio's Wendy Bell said this:
Do you know somebody called me "The Angel of Death" this weekend? You know you're making some sense when the left turns on you like that. That's hurtful. You shouldn't say that to people though.
I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings, Wendy. Facts don't care about your feelings, though.

So let me lay out the reasons why I called Wendy Bell "The Angel of Death" [SPOILERS: The more people believe she's telling them the truth, the more people will die.]

The Fence

This is where it started for Wendy Bell. On April 5 (Palm Sunday for those of you who want to peer into the gaping maw of Bellian irony), she said:
We're told that we need to shut down the economy. There's a cost. Everything shuts down. But to what end? Yes, every life lost is one too many. Yes that's the talking point, that's what we're going  to say [At this point, she's doing the sort of "blah-blah" talking hand gesture that usually means "this is nonsense."] but dollars and cents boil down to, "Are you going to bankrupt America and the future for less than one percent of our population, many of whom are already ill? Or aged?"
Think for a second what Wendy said. Note that she's not advocating letting "less than one percent of our population die" for the sake of a healthier economy, just that she's on the fence about it. The fact that many of that "less than one percent" are old and/or "already ill" is somehow, for Wendy, a mitigating factor - that she'd be more inclined to shut down the economy if those being protected are young and spry.

And she said this on Palm Sunday.

The 99%

Wendy Bell has put her audience at risk with this lie a number of times. At its base, it shows that Wendy's been listening carefully to the orange vulgarity in the Oval Office as Trump has been quoted as saying:
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.
So what she's done is to assume a 1% mortality for the Coronavirus (and that in itself is questionable) and subtracted it from 100% (everyone who's infected) and BOOM! concludes that:
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.

Another time, Wendy Bell said this:
So let me get this straight. So we have a virus that 99% of the people manage just fine.
Each time she says this, she's reassuring her adoring, trusting audience that there's little if anything to worry about with this virus. Heck 99% of the people who get it will be OK.

But does everyone in that 99% make it through the virus "just fine"?

In a word, no.

While the virus can camp out in different parts of the body, it prefers to attack the lungs first and foremost. Dr. Alvarez calls the entire respiratory system “the portal of entry” for the virus. Autopsies of COVID-19 patients show that the lungs of deceased patients are often rendered unrecognizable, with the virus destroying the “lung architecture.” This kind of destructive impact has caused problems for those who survive. The most notable example is the young woman who received a double lung transplant in Chicago after being on a ventilator for two months.
Then there's this, from an interview with infectious disease and vaccinology expert Dr John Swartzberg:
[I]t has become clear that infection with SARS-CoV-2 triggers abnormal clotting of the blood in some people. This has led to pulmonary emboli, which are blood clots that travel to and damage the lungs, and strokes, which are blood clots in the vascular system of the brain. Both pulmonary emboli and strokes may have long-term consequences for these two organs.

To be sure we must be careful to point out that most of the people infected seem to, in fact recoverjust fine. But most is not all, Wendy, as the above two examples show.

Lots of people who aren't killed by the virus will still have long term medical issues from being infected and not telling your audience that will give them a dangerously false sense of security.

How many will suffer for it, Wendy?

The Herd-Immunity

Wendy Bell is a big fan of herd-immunity. One rant included this:
We understand what happens with coronavirus. People get sick. But people need to be exposed. We need to all become immune to this thing. Stop saying (she uses air quotes here) we need a vaccine, OK? We have a flu vaccine and only half the people get it. So everyone's going to rush out and get this vaccine? C'mon.
But what does the current science say about "herd-immunity" when it comes to the coronavirus?  From Johns Hopkins:
To reach herd immunity for COVID-19, likely 70% or more of the population would need to be immune. Without a vaccine, over 200 million Americans would have to get infected before we reach this threshold. Put another way, even if the current pace of the COVID-19 pandemic continues in the United States – with over 25,000 confirmed cases a day – it will be well into 2021 before we reach herd immunity. If current daily death rates continue, over half a million Americans would be dead from COVID-19 by that time. [Emphasis added.]
So when Wendy critiques the news reports about even more people being infected in Florida with these questions:
Don't we want this virus to work its way through the people so that we can be immune? So that we can develop some semblance of herd immunity?
Does she not realize that in order to develop that immunity many many more Americans will have to die?

Wendy, think for a minute. Your audience loves you. They adore you. They believe that you're delivering to them the God's-honest truth about the scary world in which they live. They trust you.

The more you deliver to them wrong information on the virus the more they'll be putting themselves at risk. As that happens, some of them will get sick and, sadly, some may even die.

All because they believe in you. You have a responsibility not to mislead them.

And yet you do. Every day.

And THAT'S why I refer to you as The Angel of Death.