Democracy Has Prevailed.

July 31, 2020

Yesterday - Barack Obama On The Trump Administration

He could not have been much clearer when he said:

Bull Connor may be gone. But today we witness with our own eyes police officers kneeling on the necks of Black Americans. George Wallace may be gone. But we can witness our federal government sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators. We may no longer have to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar in order to cast a ballot. But even as we sit here, there are those in power are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting — by closing polling locations, and targeting minorities and students with restrictive ID laws, and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision, even undermining the Postal Service in the run-up to an election that is going to be dependent on mailed-in ballots so people don’t get sick.

Now, I know this is a celebration of John’s life. There are some who might say we shouldn’t dwell on such things. But that’s why I’m talking about it. John Lewis devoted his time on this Earth fighting the very attacks on democracy and what’s best in America that we are seeing circulate right now.

Full transcript here.

July 29, 2020

KDKA Radio's Wendy Bell Is On The Wrong Side Of This Story. (Yea, I'm Just As Shocked As You Are!)

Did you happen to catch this story?
A video featuring a group of doctors making false and dubious claims related to the coronavirus was removed by Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube after going viral online Monday.

The video, published by the right-wing media outlet Breitbart News, featured a group of people wearing white lab coats calling themselves "America's Frontline Doctors" staging a press conference in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC.
Of course, KDKA Radio's Wendy Bell sees it a little differently. to her, it's not about truth. It's about censorship:

Unsurprisingly, Wendy was not entirely accurate with what the Facebook spokesman said. From this Yahoo piece, we find this tweet:
So let's ask Wendy's question:
Should these social media platforms be able to censor such information?
If the information is false, presented to the public as scientific/medical fact and could lead to lotsa people becoming sick, then hell, yea.

From the NYTimes:
“Misinformation about a deadly virus has become political fodder, which was then spread by many individuals who are trusted by their constituencies,” said Lisa Kaplan, founder of Alethea Group, a start-up that helps fight disinformation. “If just one person listened to anyone spreading these falsehoods and they subsequently took an action that caused others to catch, spread or even die from the virus — that is one person too many.”
But then again, this is Wendy Bell we're talking about here. KDKA Radio's Angel of Death thinks we'd all be better off if everyone got the virus as it'll bring about "herd immunity" (forget about the hundreds of thousands who'd have to die in the process).

But let's fact-check some of the claims of this video:

FDA has concluded that, based on this new information and other information discussed in the attached memorandum, it is no longer reasonable to believe that oral formulations of HCQ and CQ may be effective in treating COVID-19, nor is it reasonable to believe that the known a nd potential benefits of these products outweigh their known and potential risks.
Wearing a mask in public is a good idea:
COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice (e.g., while shouting, chanting, or singing). These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Recent studies show that a significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 lack symptoms (are “asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (are “pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Then there's the credibility of the group, America's Frontline Doctors.

From CNN:
According to the website for America's Frontline Doctors, the group is led by Dr. Simone Gold, a Los Angeles-based emergency medicine specialist who has previously been featured on Fox News for her views that stay-at-home orders are harmful. Gold told the Associated Press in May she wanted to speak out against stay-home orders because there was "no scientific basis that the average American should be concerned" about Covid-19.
So we can see why KDKA Radio's Angel of Death would be pushing for this group.

Then there's Dr Stella Immanuel herself. This from The Daily Beast:
Before Trump and his supporters embrace Immanuel’s medical expertise, though, they should consider other medical claims Immanuel has made—including those about alien DNA and the physical effects of having sex with witches and demons in your dreams. 

Immanuel, a pediatrician and a religious minister, has a history of making bizarre claims about medical topics and other issues. She has often claimed that gynecological problems like cysts and endometriosis are in fact caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches.

She alleges alien DNA is currently used in medical treatments, and that scientists are cooking up a vaccine to prevent people from being religious. And, despite appearing in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on Monday, she has said that the government is run in part not by humans but by “reptilians” and other aliens.

Wendy, you know a few medical doctors, right? You've even mentioned on air that your husband is a medical doctor. Why don't you ask him whether this is a credible source for medical information and whether the information itself is credible.

Can you do that, please? Does your husband, the doctor, trust this other doctor who says that alien DNA is used in medical treatments or does he trust the FDA? Does he trust the judgement of the doctor who says that dream-sex with demons is a cause of endometriosis or does he trust the CDC?

What does he say about the use of masks in public? About hydroxychloroquine as treatment of Covid-19? About the need for everyone to get infected so that we'll have herd immunity?

And please let us know what he says.

The health and well-being of many members of your audience may depend on it.

July 27, 2020

And Now A Word From A Conservative Combat Veteran

The Constitution is a sacred document.

A document for which Donald Trump shows no respect.

July 25, 2020

KDKA Radio's Wendy Bell Misleads Her Audience With Numbers. Again.

On Friday, KDKA Radio's very own Angel of Death (Wendy Bell) used some incomplete numbers to reassure her adoring fans that schools are indeed safe for kids and that there's little, if anything, to worry about in reopening the schools for them this fall.

Indeed, sez Wendy, the people who rely on "science" and "numbers" to help with their decisions are going to get it wrong because they're using the wrong numbers.

By the way, this is what Wendy Bell looks like when she's ridiculing other people's numbers. Those are her irony air quotes.

Wendy Bell's air quotes

Unfortunately, it's Wendy whose numbers are wrong (or at least grossly incomplete). And in doing so (as in everything else she does), she's giving her audience a false sense of security regarding Covid-19

Given the high stakes this is, to say the least, dangerous and irresponsible.

This is what Wendy does - she finds some demographic numbers here at kids count [dot] org. It's a distribution of how many five to fourteen year-olds are there in the United States, how many fifteen to twenty-four year-olds are there and so on. She then maps those groupings onto the CDC mortality numbers for each group.

I have to say that she's a bit messy with her numbers, to be honest. For example she says that there were 3.2 million infants (age 0-1) in this country in 2018 but the source that she uses actually says it's 3.848 million for 2018.

It's not a big deal for your final point, Wendy, but if you're claiming to have "the real numbers" you really should make sure that what you say on air faithfully represents what your source says.

Kinda makes your research sloppy when you get simple stuff like this wrong.

In any event, Wendy boils all those numbers down to this factoid: there have been only 226 deaths from Covid-19 out of a total population of about 103 million student aged (0-24 years) Americans.

That's the beginning and end of her "See? it's safe to reopen schools!" argument (she throws in some "seasonal flu" statistics for old times sake, too).

Here's what she leaves out (and this is the dangerous part):
  • The virus is extremely contagious. So even if it doesn't kill very many high school students, those high school students who are infected, can infect lots of other people - some of whom will get sick and some of those will die.
  • The virus can still do a great deal of damage to school age kids without killing them.
Important stuff, right?

I am wondering if Wendy bothered to look into each idea. If she did, perhaps she missed this from The New York Times:

In the heated debate over reopening schools, one burning question has been whether and how efficiently children can spread the virus to others.

A large new study from South Korea offers an answer: Children younger than 10 transmit to others much less often than adults do, but the risk is not zero. And those between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as well as adults do.

The findings suggest that as schools reopen, communities will see clusters of infection take root that include children of all ages, several experts cautioned.

See that, Wendy? If you chose to limit the discussion to the worst case scenario (deaths among student age people), you can effectively avoid any discussion of how, say, high schoolers can transmit the virus to others who may then get sick and die.

Two new studies released this week shed some light on how a rare but potentially deadly syndrome affects children exposed to COVID-19.

The studies, one of which was led by Boston Children's Hospital, were both published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers found that the coronavirus-related illness known as multi-system inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C, appeared to be caused when a child's immune system overreacts to the virus and inflames other systems in the body.

Did you miss this one, Wendy? There was no mention of it to your fans.

Each of these is what's known as a sin of omission. You only tell part of the truth and in doing so you're giving your audience a flawed picture of reality.

Did you know about these studies and yet chose not to inform your audience about them? Or did you not do the research needed to find them?

In either case, you're misleading your fans, Wendy. And as a result some of them may get sick.

I'll ask it again, how are you OK with this?

And I'll ask KDKA Radio the same thing: How are you OK with Wendy Bell putting her listening audience at risk but giving them incomplete or flawed information regarding Covid-19?

This is not a matter of opinion. The public health depends on it.

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.

July 19, 2020

While Claiming To Deliver Her Audience "The Truth" Wendy Bell Misleads It Instead

In her monologue this past Thursday KDKA Radio's Angel of Death delivers a case study in, to use a figure of speech, cherry picking the data in order to illustrate something that doesn't exist.

It's a rather complicated dishonesty that furthers my over all point about Wendy and her audience: the more her audience believes her, the more she puts us all at risk.

Let me get the stupid stuff out of the way first: KDKA Radio's Wendy Bell doesn't seem understand that a figure of speech is not a literal statement. That should be enough to undermine her credibility but if the whole "on the fence" thing didn't do it, this certainly won't.

Back to Wendy's oratorical ignorance. She spends a few incredulous moments on Pennsylvania Governor Wolf saying that "The virus makes the rules."

The actual quotation can be found at KDKA:
“This is the virus speaking,” he says. “The virus is making the rules here, we’re just trying to anticipate what those rules are and doing what we can to reduce the risk that virus is going to do a lot of damage to Pennsylvania.”
On air she curiously responds with: "Wow. Can you completely absolve yourself of all responsibility?" and then goes with a family metaphor, "That's my 12yr old son...who spilled milk everywhere and blamed the milk for jumping out of the jug."

I am not really sure how Wolf's figure of speech leads to Wendy's objection but then again I'm not doing Afternoon Drive on KDKA Radio. I live in a reality-based community where people understand metaphors and their usage. In any event, her objection to the figure of speech blocks her from seeing the rest of the passage (where Wolf says he's trying to reduce the risk of a virus that's still going to do a lot of damage).

As part of the rant, Wendy cherry-picks the recent histories of Sweden and Finland in order to show that school closings don't raise the risk to the children in those schools (and in doing so, she leaves out a big part of the story).

As she uses some very specific numbers she makes it so easy to dig down to the shallows of her research. As best I can tell, her entire Sweden/Finland argument is based on this one piece in Reuters. Everything she said on the air is found here:

The report, which has not been peer-reviewed, found that during the period of February 24 to June 14, there were 1,124 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among children in Sweden, around 0.05% of the total number of children aged 1-19.

Finland recorded 584 cases in the same period, also equivalent to around 0.05%.

“In conclusion, (the) closure or not of schools had no measurable direct impact on the number of laboratory confirmed cases in school-aged children in Finland or Sweden,” the agencies said in the report, published last week.

Before we continue we should point out that Wendy leaves out this part:
Sweden’s death toll of 5,572, when compared relative to population size, far outstripped those of its Nordic neighbours...
Sweden has a population of about 10 million and Finland about 4 million. Indeed, using the Coronavirus data at Johns Hopkins for Finland and Sweden and compare them to population size we get for overall Covid-19 deaths:
Sweden: 549 deaths/million
Finland:   59 deaths/million
So, unless I am mistaken, while the different reactions of Sweden and Finland to the virus (mandatory masks, social distancing, school closings, etc) had little if any effect on the health of the children, it did bring about a 9-fold increase in overall death in the population.

KDKA Radio's Angel of Death left that part out when pushing for school openings, didn't she?

How is this OK with KDKA Radio?

Then there's the big part of the argument - how the uptick in cases is due to the fact that there's been more testing. We already dealt with this for Allegheny County, the last time we heard Wendy use this Trump talking point.

The Washington Post has dealt with this question nationally:
But a closer look at the state of testing in the United States shows that this theory is dangerously wrong. To understand why, we have to look not just at the number of tests each state is doing, but at the positivity rate of those tests. In combination, those two metrics give a sense of whether infections are rising, declining or holding steady. And in too many states, the dispiriting answer is that the virus is racing ahead of public health measures to contain it.
But let's look at Wendy's data. She compares two discrete days (always a red-flag for cherry picking, by the way): June 5 and July 15.
  • June 5: 7,259 tests and 449 positives (abt 6%)
  • July 15: 20,372 tests and 994 positives (abt 5%)
As with the Sweden/Finland data above, Wendy uses some very specific numbers. A google search points to a single source: a newspaper in Erie County. But take a look at each:

June 5:

In Pennsylvania, there were 443 additional positive cases reported today, for a total of 74,385 total cases. So far, there have been 5,886 deaths statewide, with 69 occurring since yesterday. 424,201 patients have tested negative to date, with 7,259 tests since the previous day. So far, 70% of PA's positive cases have recovered (up one percent since yesterday).

So far so good. But look at the same summary page from July 15:
Outside of Erie County's statistics, Pennsylvania, saw 994 additional positive cases reported today, for a total of 97,665. So far, there have been 6,957 deaths statewide, with 26 deaths reported in the last 24 hours. 870,984 Pennsylvanians have tested negative to date, with 20,372 negative tests yesterday.[Emphasis added.]
You'll note that she got the number wrong. 20,372 was just the number of negative tests, not the total number of tests.

It's a minor point, to be sure. But Wendy, if you're promoting yourself as a source for "the truth" don't you think your numbers should be solid? And why are you picking off numbers from an newspaper in Erie County anyway instead of a more official source?
However, had you looked at the data from John Hopkins (a more official source) you'd've found this:

See that blue line that goes way up the page in April and then heads down until early June and then starts to rise in the middle of June? That's the seven-day rolling average of positive tests. Take the number of positive tests and divide it by the total number of tests and do a 7 day rolling average you'll get that line.

And look, Wendy. The rate is going up.  From a low of 3.3% on June18, the rolling average rises to a rate of 5.4% on July 15.

By cherry picking from a date with a higher rate than that low point, you're effectively hiding the upward motion of that blue line, aren't you?

And that means you're lying to your audience. Again.

How many people in your audience will believe you when you say that you're giving them the truth (in this case that there's no "uptick" in the positivity rate) and how many of those will be putting their lives and the lives of their families at risk because of it?

How are you OK with that?

How is KDKA Radio with you?

July 17, 2020

When a MAGA-hat Tries To praise Trump's Response To Covid-19

Next time a MAGA-hat tries to deflect from Trump's mishandling of the Coronavirus by screeching "But he banned all the flights/travel from China!"

Here are a few things to discuss (if possible) with said MAGA-hat:
  1. He did not ban all the flights from China. On January 31 of this year, he issued a proclamation that reads in part:
    NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 212(f) and 215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1182(f) and 1185(a), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, hereby find that the unrestricted entry into the United States of persons described in section 1 of this proclamation would, except as provided for in section 2 of this proclamation, be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and that their entry should be subject to certain restrictions, limitations, and exceptions.
    Section 1 reads:
    The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the People’s Republic of China, excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.
    And section 2 lists the exceptions which include US Citizens, non-citizen children/spouses of US Citizens and so on.

    Furthermore, the restrictions were not placed on anyone traveling from China but simply those who'd been in China in the previous 2 weeks. Take a look:
    Consistent with applicable law, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Transportation, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall ensure that any alien subject to this proclamation does not board an aircraft traveling to the United States.
    See that? It "any alien...does not board an aircraft traveling to the United States" regardless of their departure point - the only limit are those non-section 2 folks who'd been in China.

    Not a ban on travel from China.

  2. 40 days later, on March 11 he issued a similar "ban" on travel from Europe.

  3. By then, it was too late for NYC.
    To limit SARS-CoV-2 introduction, the United States restricted travel from China on February 2 and from Europe on March 13, 2020. By March 15, community transmission was widespread in New York City (NYC).
    The sequence from March 2, 2020, (the earliest positive sentinel specimen collected) clustered with early sequences from Europe and United States (Group B), which also cluster with sequences from China. No sentinel sequences were directly connected to sequences from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak originated. This was unanticipated, given that most sentinel EDs were used by patients residing in ZIP codes with a high proportion of Chinese speakers. Rather, the sequence analysis suggests probable introductions of SARS-CoV-2 from Europe, from other U.S. locations, and local introductions from within New York. Domestic airport screening and bans on foreign nationals traveling from China were implemented on February 2;*** however, similar travel restrictions from the Schengen Area in Europe were only implemented March 13.††† Although travel restrictions are an important mitigation strategy, by the time the European restrictions were implemented, importation and community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 had already occurred in NYC. [Emphasis added.]
So how many people in NYC died because of Trump's failure?

July 16, 2020

Wendy Bell - On Vaccines (KDKA Radio's Angel of Death Never Fails To Shock-Surprise)

There's this conversation of a few days ago.

KDKA Radio's Wendy Bell is talking to KDKA's fitness expert Aubrey Worek, though the discussion is not about exercise. It's about vaccines - specifically, the future Covid-19 vaccine and how the evil guv'ment is gonna be evil and force you to take it.

Wendy about 2 minutes in says (note: when I put the Wendy-words in quotation marks, it's Wendy doing her cutesy air-quote thing):

It's about what this government here in Pennsylvania (and you know everywhere else has their own) what they can do under an “emergency order to protect our safety” to you and your ability to choose for yourself.
And Wendy's guest says this:

I'm here to raise awareness of these forced vaccine laws. They're popping up in more and more states. And I want to make myself abundantly clear. I'm not fighting against vaccines. I'm happy that they're being developed but everyone should be given full information about this vaccine and allowed to make choice on whether to take it or not. So everyone that wants a vaccine should be able to get it. I appreciate the hard work that the medical community is doing towards this effort.
Here's the thing: whenever someone disavows an anti-vaccine position but adds "but everyone should be given full information..." it's an anti-vaccine position.

Call it anti-vaxx lite.  It's roughly analogous to the "Teach the controversy" argument of those looking to insert Intelligent Design/old Earth creationism into the nation's science curriculum.

Don't fall for it.  Especially given the reasons given by Wendy's guest:

So what this does is it takes a lot of the power from the people by not giving them a choice. And really whether or not to take a vaccine is a highly personal choice.

The medical risks are well documented.

And Wendy reiterates the guv-ment threat:

Under “the guise of safety." And this is what we're going to have to do in order to reopen. You're going to have to roll up your sleeve and take it. That's horrifying.
Vaccines are risky and they're gonna force you to take them in order to reopen! Ee-ville!

Later, Wendy says:

So let me get this straight. So we have a virus that 99% of the people manage just fine. So what we're really doing is asking the many to take the risk when what we should be doing is taking all of that making a vaccine to prevent or protect the 1% who are the most fragile in this predicament. Am I wrong? What am I missing?

Wendy, I think you're missing a complete understanding of how/why vaccines are made.

Oh, and that "99% of the people manage just fine" is still a dangerous lie.  Don't trust me?

Here's the NIH:
The current scientific literature documenting COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is scattered. But one large report from China, issued in late February, described roughly 44,000 people with confirmed cases of COVID-19. Although most had mild symptoms of the disease, nearly 20 percent were critically ill with lung injury that made breathing difficult. Among the critically ill, many experienced cardiomyopathy and catastrophic arrythmias, prompting a call for more research to study the outcomes and long-term health problems that many patients will face.
Lots of people will get through an infection with little more than bad memories of a few bad weeks. Others will have some permanent damage - you're continued touting of this "99% will be fine" is simply medically incorrect.

Another part of Wendy's anti-vaccine argument is based on her "misunderstanding" of vaccine production. Her guest lays out (with Wendy's approval) the argument here:

We're watching more and more mandates happen in 2020 and what a mandate really does is shift the risk. It forces someone else to take a risk. So therefore we're putting a majority of the population at risk of injury from a rushed vaccine. [Emphasis added.]
It's as if they don't understand the three phase process of testing vaccines. Or if they do, they're withholding that information from the public in order to scare them with guv'ment stories.

From the CDC:
Clinical development is a three-phase process. During Phase I, small groups of people receive the trial vaccine. In Phase II, the clinical study is expanded and vaccine is given to people who have characteristics (such as age and physical health) similar to those for whom the new vaccine is intended. In Phase III, the vaccine is given to thousands of people and tested for efficacy and safety.
 Trust the science. Wendy Bell doesn't.

The real weird thing about the Angel of Death's argument here is how it meshes with her "herd immunity" argument.

She's on record touting herd-immunity as a defense against the virus - omitting the very human cost of such, "more than a half million" US deaths from the virus.

But a vaccine that's gone through the 3 phase process to test the its efficacy and safety is just too risky.

Does Wendy Bell understand anything about science? How many people are going to get sick because they think she's telling them the truth?

How is KDKA Radio OK with this?

July 12, 2020

Wendy Bell Lies About AOC, George Flynn and is STILL Pushing Herd Immunity [UPDATE]

In her monologue today, KDKA Radio's Angel of Death (Wendy Bell) was asking the rhetorical question "Whom do you trust?"

It was her attempt, I suppose, to undermine the credibility of the mainstream media, medical experts, the mainstream media and the covid-19 data.

Oh, and the mainstream media - which she said should be the place you can trust to tell you the truth.

Which is very interesting because in that 10 minute long monologue, she made a number of huge factual errors.

Let me first start with this:

15,000 new cases of Coronavirus in Florida today alone. This is breaking news. This is all over the headlines. This is what happens with a virus, ladies and gentlemen.

Instead of it being “Breaking News! 15,000 people have now tested positive in Florida!” We should say, “Florida is--",

I think, isn't it the third most populous state in the United States of America? 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? As we anxiously await the arrival of a vaccine?

Shouldn't the headline be: "15,000 people have tested positive and our medical systems are not being over run. And our mortality rate is south of a quarter of a percent. And we know that children don't even realize that they have Covid? And very rarely do they ever have any adverse effects?

Wendy Bell is still pushing herd immunity. Does she not understand the cost of it? I wrote about it a few weeks ago. I quoted Johns Hopkins with this:
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.]
That's even if it's possible. This was in the news today:
People who have recovered from Covid-19 may lose their immunity to the disease within months, according to research suggesting the virus could reinfect people year after year, like common colds.
Did you miss that, Wendy? Shouldn't you be, I dunno, more fully informed about the virus before opining about it to your vast audience that trusts you down to your toenails? How many are going to get sick and die because of your (at best) incomplete knowledge of the pandemic?

In any event, KDKA R's A of D, in celebrating more infections (because it gets us closer to "herd immunity") is also calling for the deaths of a half million Americans to be the cost of it.

How is KDKA Radio OK with this??

Then there's this bit of dishonesty from Wendy. In asking about whom to trust, she asks:

How about lawmakers? Did you guys see the tweet put out by [Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez]?

Ladies and gentlemen, I didn't share the tweet because I couldn't confirm that she actually sent it.

It was something to the effect of, "Look we need to keep businesses shut down as long as possible. We need to smash the economy as long as possible so Donald Trump doesn't get reelected again."

I think several people, several million people losing their jobs and businesses is far more important than Donald - than us having Donald Trump as a president again. That was out as a tweet that she had deleted. I looked into that.

I can't prove that, I'm not so sure she said it. It's a scary notion that a lot of folks are suspecting.

Look at how carefully Wendy asserts, and yet still tries to distance herself from the assertion. There was a tweet put out and deleted by AOC but Wendy can't confirm it was actually sent but goes with the story anyway.

Had Wendy actually "looked into" it, she would have found this:
Social media users are circulating a fabricated tweet allegedly from U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.), in which she says that governors should maintain COVID-19-related business restrictions through November in order to prevent Donald Trump’s re-election. Ocasio-Cortez never tweeted this.
This is Reuters (a most reliable news source) dated June 24, 2020.

Wendy, are you still "not so sure" that AOD tweeted it? This was fact-checked two and a half weeks ago.

Then there's this: Wendy's questioning the reliability of Covid-19 statistics and asks:

Did you guys know that George Floyd is a Covid death? George Floyd, who we all watched on that horrifying video take his final breath. He's a covid death because he tested positive for Covid. Even though Covid isn't what killed him!
Wendy? Angel? Did you do any research before going on the air? If you had, you would have seen this:

In a week when the attention of Americans abruptly shifted from a paralyzing coronavirus pandemic to outrage over the deaths of black people in police custody, they learned that while George Floyd survived one threat, he was unable to live through the other.

Floyd tested positive for coronavirus in April, and again following his death last week after he was restrained by police in Minneapolis, final autopsy results show.

But the virus played no known role in his death and he was likely not contagious, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office said in its final report Wednesday.
This is CNN, dated June 4, 2020.

Wendy, that's thirty-eight days ago.

Wendy, how is KDKA Radio OK with letting you on the air coughing out this much misinformation while actually complaining about how much misinformation is floating around?

No really, I want to know how your bosses are OK with this.

UPDATE: Would you be shocked to discover that KDKA Radio's Wendy Bell is not the only right-wing pundit to push the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lie?

Well, she's not.

Fox's Brian Kilmeade did it too.

But at least he had the decency to apologize for it (even though he got the name wrong):
Hey, KDKA Radio, has Wendy Bell corrected herself on the air about her AOC lie? If not, when will she?

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?

July 7, 2020

This Is Still Happening On Trump's Watch

From The CDC (check back later and the numbers will be higher). Covid-19 deaths:


And yet there's this from the NY Times:
President Trump dismissed the severity of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States over the weekend, downplaying the impact of the disease and saying that while the testing of tens of millions of American had identified many cases, “99 percent” of them were “totally harmless.”
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 then there's this:
We've seen this locally
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.
That's our very own angel of death, KDKA Radio's Wendy Bell. In the amount of time it will take for the necessary number of people to be infected so that "herd immunity" to be a defense, a half million people will be dead.

But even that might be a problem. From Mayo Clinic:
However, there are some major problems with relying on community infection to create herd immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19. First, it isn't yet clear if infection with the COVID-19 virus makes a person immune to future infection.
And half a million dead US Citizens is still OK with them.

July 5, 2020

A Quick Fact-Check Of Wendy Bell (SPOILERS: She's Either Lying OR She's Incompetent)

So how long into a Wendy Bell monologue do you need to go before you catch her in a lie?

I am sure there are days where she rants fact-free and thus, by definition, can't be lying (because she's not actually communicating any facts). But this past Thursday, it only took about a minute.

About 48 seconds in, she says:

Now, I gotta say I heard something from the governor earlier this week. It was Tuesday. It was on KDKA morning show with Larry and Kevin. They had the governor on and usually in his verbal spaghetti, we don't get a whole lot of answers. This wasn't that different.

But he said something that was unusual and this was in response to our county executive here in Allegheny County, deciding that because of a spike in the numbers [Wendy uses air quotes here], not a spike in hospitalizations, not a spike in deaths not a spike in anything other than, “Oh more people are testing positive because we're testing more people.”

Kinda weird how that kinda connects...

This is a lie.

If the current "spike in the numbers" was simply due to "testing more people" then the percentage of those being tested would be the same regardless of the numbers of people being tested (you following me, Wendy? It's simple arithmetic.)

But if we go to get the numbers (here) we find something at odds with Wendy's version of reality.

06/13/2020: About 0% of those tested were confirmed cases (2 out of 408)
06/14/2020: About 2% of those tested were confirmed cases (7 out of 294)
06/15/2020: About 1% of those tested were confirmed cases (11 out of 874)
06/16/2020: About 2% of those tested were confirmed cases (22 out of 1047)
06/17/2020: About 2% of those tested were confirmed cases (20 out of 908)
06/18/2020: About 4% of those tested were confirmed cases (27 out of 758)
06/19/2020: About 3% of those tested were confirmed cases (24 out of 851)
06/20/2020: About 5% of those tested were confirmed cases (27 out of 596)
06/21/2020: About 7% of those tested were confirmed cases (26 out of 391)
06/22/2020: About 5% of those tested were confirmed cases (59 out of 1254)
06/23/2020: About 6% of those tested were confirmed cases (101 out of 1579)
06/24/2020: About 7% of those tested were confirmed cases (98 out of 1462)
06/25/2020: About 10% of those tested were confirmed cases (103 out of 1088)
06/26/2020: About 10% of those tested were confirmed cases (121 out of 1251)
06/27/2020: About 11% of those tested were confirmed cases (116 out of 1027)
06/28/2020: About 8% of those tested were confirmed cases (78 out of 973)
06/29/2020: About 9% of those tested were confirmed cases (151 out of 1743)

While there is a marked increase in the numbers of tests (from 408 on June 13 to 1743 on June 29) there is also an increase in the percentage of those tested who test positive (from about 0% on June 13 to about 9% on June 29).

So when Wendy Bell says "more people are testing positive because we're testing more people" she is factually incorrect.

Numbers don't like, Wendy. You do, but the numbers don't.

There is, of course, another possibility here: Perhaps Wendy Bell simply didn't bother to check the numbers. Perhaps Wendy Bell went on the air and just didn't do her homework before telling her sizeable audience something that wasn't true - and what she told them could endanger their health.

If she chose to misinform her audience, she's lying. If she didn't bother checking and went on the air anyway, she's just incompetent.

Either way, people are going to get sick because of it.

Shame on you, Wendy Bell. And shame on KDKA Radio for letting her misinform her public.

July 2, 2020

On Why We're Here.

This is what he said:
Right now, right this moment, there are Americans who are alive and who are healthy who will be dead by the fall. And there are Americans who already died who did not have to. All because of the failures of our government and more specifically, the president of the United States.

There is no other conclusion you can reach at this point,” he continued, noting how “we have lost every last charitable explanation for failures.

At this point, there is nothing left to say but that Donald Trump has gotten Americans killed and is going to get even more Americans killed in unfathomable numbers.
And then there's this:
What Trump said:
Trump: I think we're gonna be very good with the coronavirus. I think that at some point that's going to sort of just disappear, I hope.

Reporter: You still believe so? Disappear?

Trump: Yea, I do. I do. Yea, sure, at some point. And I think we're going to have a vaccine real soon, too.
Why we're here.