Peter, you appear to be making the same error nearly all US citizens seem doomed to make: you're confusing a political perspective with a data-driven perspective. In reality SARS-CoV2 is not a political phenomenon; treating it as one inevitably results in poor analysis, which is the case here. While low-IQ Trumpies can simultaneously believe that covid-19 is (i) a hoax, and (ii) also a cunning Chinese plot to weaken the USA, it's also the case that liberals appear to believe it is their duty to be terrified by what is, in reality, an insignificant threat. This is what a dispassionate analysis of the data tells us.

The data tells us that even in the hardest-hit nations, the excess per capita mortality rate attributable to covid-19 is less than one-tenth of one percent. This is nearly an order of magnitude smaller than daily deaths from smoking and obesity-related diseases. Furthermore, the data also shows us that for all the hysteria generated by the mass media, the pandemic's impact on health is negligible. When we look at Sweden and Switzerland and the Netherlands, all of which did not enforce dramatic measures, we see what we expect with any epidemic: an initial spike in mortality as the very old, weak, and sick die; then a decline to near-zero or zero deaths even as new infections occur. Meanwhile the countries that yo-yo from one lockdown to another experience cumulative mortality rates that ultimately end up equal to or greater than those of the aforementioned nations. Furthermore, the three nations mentioned above are now beginning to see slightly lower-than-average mortality rates for August, which means that the early deaths were simply brought forward by a few weeks.

Trump and the Republican Party may be repellent, stupid, abhorrent creatures but pretending that a negligible disease is a stick with which to beat them is a strategy doomed to fail while creating even greater confusion and fear among the general population.

Remember: numbers without context tell us nothing. Only when we provide context we can see the real significance. Let’s say that today’s figure of 186,000 deaths is under-counting, which I suspect may be true given that 86% of US citizens are fat and an astonishing 40% are obese, and obesity is known to be a major risk factor for complications from SARS-CoV2. In addition, around 70,000,000 US citizens lack access to basic health care, either because they are uninsured (28 million) or can’t afford even a single co-pay (around 40 million). So we’d actually expect the mortality numbers to be around 850,000 by this time. Let’s inflate the official figures to reach a hypothetical 250,000 deaths from covid-19 so as to avoid the accusation of under-counting. What does this hypothetical number represent? Oh dear: 0.076% of the population. In other words: less than one-tenth of one percent of the total population. This is consistent with data from every nation around the planet. Meanwhile nearly ten times that many die daily from self-inflicted diseases, yet we don’t scream hysterically about this, we don’t blame the orange moron for the problem (which consumes half of all US health care spending, over one trillion dollars per year), and we don’t think it’s a useful political club with which to bludgeon opponents. What we do is this: we don’t even notice.

The hard fact is that the mass media, with its reliance on creating sensationalist content with which to grab eyeballs, has accidentally orchestrated a global panic that has led people to do immensely stupid things. We’ve thrown 250,000,000 of the world’s most vulnerable people into starvation and exposure to lethal diseases (WHO data, July 2020). We’ve thrown hundreds of millions into acute financial distress. And we’ve almost certainly ushered in a new era of fascism/populism because fiscal distress always results in right-wing demagogues coming to power. Trump, Orban, Bolsonaro, Brexit, Modi, et al are here because of the relatively mild financial crisis of 2008; it isn’t difficult to imagine the horrors to come from this self-inflicted Second Great Depression we’ve rushed ourselves into.

Occasionally Trump says something that, astonishingly, isn’t a lie. Reacting as if it were a lie undermines the liberal/progressive position and is flat-out stupid. If Trump says “the sky is blue” and liberals scream that really truly it’s actually bright pink all the time, even at night, that just makes liberals look ridiculous and irrational. Which is precisely what the generic liberal narrative about SARS-CoV2 achieves.

So yes, you’re correct: the data tells the true story. It’s a shame you weren’t able to see it but instead simply ended up repeating the political commentary that’s currently message du jour for US liberals.

When we escape from the trap of identifying with one or another political positions we can begin to see clearly; until then, it’s all just a series of distorting fun-house mirrors.

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