According to The New York Times coronavirus report, as of Sunday, April 19, 2:48 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, there were 35,676 COVID-19 deaths in the United States. Of those deaths, 18,690 were in the New York metropolitan area.
That means that more than half (52 percent) of all deaths in America have occurred in the New York metropolitan area.
What makes this statistic particularly noteworthy is that the entire death toll for 41 of the other 47 states is 7,661. In other words, while New York has 52 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in America, 41 states put together have only 21 percent of the COVID-19 deaths. And all the 47 states other than New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have less than half (48 percent).
Now let us imagine that the reverse were true. Imagine that Georgia and North Carolina—two contiguous states that, like the New York metro area, have a combined total of 21 million people—had 18,690 COVID-19 deaths, while metro New York had 858 deaths (the number of deaths in North Carolina and Georgia combined).
Do you think the New York metro area would close its schools, stores, restaurants and small businesses? Would every citizen of the New York area, with the few exceptions of those engaged in absolutely necessary work, be locked in their homes for months? Would New Yorkers accept the decimation of their economic and social lives because North Carolina and Georgia (or, even more absurdly, Colorado, Montana or the rest of what most New Yorkers regard as “flyover” country) had 18,960 deaths, while they had a mere 858?
It is, of course, possible. But I suspect that anyone with an open mind assumes that New Yorkers would not put up with ruining their economic and social lives and putting tens of millions of people out of work because of coronavirus deaths in North Carolina and Georgia, let alone Montana and Idaho (and, for the record, I would have agreed with them).
Lest we forget, even the underwhelming non-NYC numbers are themselves grossly inflated:
The IHME model is considered the gold standard. In mid-March, without social distancing, they predicted 2.2 million American deaths. By early April they reduced their death projection to 100,000 to 240,000 assuming social distancing measures in place. Their April 17 update now projects 60,308 deaths, 3% of their original prediction.
What changed? Social distancing was in already in place when the death predictions dropped by a factor of four. For perspective, 61,000 Americans died in the 2017-18 flu season.
The CDC had its own models predicting gloom and doom. In mid-March they projected 160 million to 214 million infected and 200,000 to 1.7 million deaths. Did that leave President Trump any choice but to hit the off switch on the U.S. economy? What if the models were wrong?
Another factor influencing models is the death count from this coronavirus. Projected deaths determine projected need, as in the ventilators mentioned above. How accurate are the death counts?
Task force member Dr. Deborah Brix, on April 7, said the U.S. government is classifying the death of any patient who tested positive for coronavirus as a coronavirus death, regardless of any underlying health conditions that genuinely killed them. If one has a heart attack, and happens to test positive for the virus, he or she will be classed as a coronavirus death. Garbage in, garbage out.
Going further, New York City is including in their death counts, “people who had never tested positive for the virus but were presumed to have died of it.” Data by presumption? Models based on presumption?
What the hell, why not? Julie Kelly brings it on home for us.
Tests show about 434,000 Americans have contracted the disease so far. Only a few states indicate COVID-19 symptomatic activity; most of the country now is quiet.
Would those facts frighten you into government-ordered submission? If the United States had a population of 300 million and 48 states, would the fact that 18,000 people—sadly, mostly elderly and already sick patients—succumbed to the virus over a period of nearly two months warrant an ongoing lockdown that is destroying the economy, overwhelming unemployment rolls and food bank lines, shutting down schools and colleges for five months, and bankrupting small businesses?
Would it justify increasingly despotic orders from power-grabbing politicians to stop Americans from going to the beach or hosting dinner parties in their own homes let alone canceling graduation ceremonies and weddings and funerals?
Of course, it would pose a public health concern; strategies to mitigate the spread of the virus, particularly among the most susceptible, would be necessary. Plans to prevent a bigger outbreak later in the year would be appropriate.
The coronavirus crisis in the United States is largely a New York City crisis. One reason why many governors are afraid to fully reopen is over the fear that virus-carrying New Yorkers will flee to their largely unimpacted states.
Happy beachgoers in northern Florida are not a threat; subway commuters in New York City are. The fact that there is outrage over the former and not the latter speaks volumes about the politicization of this travesty while we remain under house arrest for the foreseeable future.
Wall it off. Should Air Force One ever go down inside…well, hey, we can always call in Snake Plissken.