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Muddling through the misinformation

Published by marco on

The article CDC study finds c. 78% of people hospitalized for COVID were overweight or obese by Mark Crispin Miller contains the following text and the link below it.

“A study from the CDC, reported by CNBC, and yet it slipped right down the memory hole, despite—or because of—the further light it sheds on the entire COVID narrative, which has millions of slim, healthy people tightly masked and terrified of human contact.”

The article he linked, CDC study finds about 78% of people hospitalized for Covid were overweight or obese by Berkeley Lovelace Jr. (CNBC), is nearly deliberately incorrect.

Miller is—a (former?) professor of media and propaganda studies at NYU—pushing a narrative that the authorities are exaggerating the pandemic for their own purposes. It’s unclear what those purposes are, but they’re assumed to be nefarious. Destroying the economy and livelihoods is just part of the master plan to … we don’t know.

At any rate, Miller just uncritically spews stuff like this into his blog (to which I’d initially subscribed because I saw a good interview with him on Useful Idiots, where he seemed rational, but now remain subscribed to keep my thumb on the pulse of this Querdenker foolishness. It’s a good way of seeing what sort of factual basis underlies many of the claims that you hear repeated uncritically (and without sources)..

Miller recently published a link to an absolutely scammy web site run by a “doctor”/blogger who wanted you to sign up for his web site before you could even read a single sentence. This is the kind of scam that these MLMers love—if they weren’t pissing away their money on stuff like this, they’d have houses full of egg-scramblers that they have to try to sell to other idiots, even further down the MLM chain than them.

He just published another quick blog Most governments that banned the AZT “vaccinations” have resumed them (he rarely writes more than a sentence or two) indicating that “[t]hat piece was, sad to say, inaccurate.” He didn’t apologize for misleading people by not doing any research whatsoever. He didn’t even try. I’d followed his initial link and, within at most a minute, I was able to ascertain that the guy to which he’d linked (a Dr. Mercola) was full of shit. Also, AZT is an AIDS treatment, not AstraZeneca; he can’t even bother to get the few words in his title-only blog right.

But then he’s off to the races again with a link to “This is a new Holocaust”: Israeli doctor finds that the toll of Pfizer’s COVID-19 “vaccine” is far greater than the official figures indicate, which links to an article that concludes that ““The data in the table, rather than indicating the vaccine efficacy, indicate the vaccine’s adverse effects,” the authors conclude.”

They’re claiming that everyone else in the world has read the data incorrectly. Instead of being around 90% effective, the vaccines cause “adverse effects” in around 90% of inoculants. I’m surprised they didn’t just claim that it kills 90% of inoculants instead because, sure, why not?

Anyway, back to the CNBC article. It lists some “key points” at the top, including that “About 78% of people who have been hospitalized, needed a ventilator or died from Covid-19 have been overweight or obese” and that “Just over 42% of the U.S. population was considered obese in 2018, according to the agency’s most recent statistics.” This is either deliberately manipulative (my bet) or just shoddy research or stupidity (always possible).

The author bothered to find the Obesity and Overweight (CDC) study from 2018 with the latest numbers on America, but then misquoted them. The percentage of the population that is “overweight, including obesity is 73.6%, which isn’t really that far off from the 78% of people who were strongly affected or killed by COVID. It’s not even really statistically significant, probably. But who’s going to write an article titled “COVID seems to affect fat people the same as skinny people”?

It took me 30 seconds to find that article from the CDC. It was the top hit after I searched “what percentage of americans are overweight or obese” in DuckDuckGo.

It’s horrifying that such a large percentage is obese or overweight, don’t get me wrong, but that’s another story. There doesn’t seem to be a story about obesity and COVID, unless you deliberately compare apples to oranges for clicks.

Another link from Miller that he seems to be uncritically forwarding without having read (succumbing to the allure of clickbait that happens to agree with what he already thinks) is the “study” Facemasks in the COVID-19 era: A health hypothesis (National Center for Biotechnology Information). It looks very authoritative and starts with the following abstract,

“Many countries across the globe utilized medical and non-medical facemasks as [a] non-pharmaceutical intervention for reducing the transmission and infectivity of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). Although, [sic] scientific evidence supporting facemasks’ [nice job!] efficacy is lacking, adverse physiological, psychological and health effects are established. Is [sic] has been hypothesized that facemasks have compromised safety and efficacy profile [sic…and what?] and should be avoided from use. [sic] The current article comprehensively summarizes scientific evidences [sic] with respect to wearing facemasks in the COVID-19 era, providing prosper [sic] information for public health and decisions making. [sic]”

This abstract has so many typos and grammatical errors, there’s no way this was peer-reviewed. I can spare myself the job of reading the rest. I’d included it in my reading list to see what new information they’d brought to light about the efficacy of facemasks. The abstract is already a minefield of errors, so what’s the point of even reading the study?

The most recent one that Miller breathlessly posted as “proof” that the media was ignoring how ineffective the vaccines are is Despite vaccination success, Hungary sets daily record COVID deaths (Euro News), which writes,

“Hungary is suffering a devastating surge in COVID-19 deaths, despite the fact it has the highest vaccination rate in the European Union. […] It set a new daily death record on Wednesday with 302 fatalities and currently has the highest weekly death rate per one million inhabitants in the world.”

They try to make this sound bad, but Hungary’s COVID-19 situation has been very bad for a number of weeks—and deaths rise when the hospitals are full. Once again, a quick check of some readily available resources, like the Health Data for Hungary (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)), their hospitals are running at near capacity, exactly the conditions under which COVID illnesses are most likely to lead to death.

A check of Fälle, Impfungen, Übersterblichkeit: Corona-Zahlen weltweit (SRF) shows that Hungary has managed to fully vaccinate 9% of their population—and they really only ramped up at the end of March (just a couple of weeks ago). While it’s a tragedy that so many people are dying, it’s not because the vaccine doesn’t work. It’s because not enough people have gotten it.

The vaccine doesn’t magically protect the 91% of the population that hasn’t been vaccinated. Neither can you stretch that 9% to the 70% needed for anything like herd immunity. Those 9% are protected. Good for them. Having the “highest vaccination rate in the EU” sounds impressive until you see it’s only 9%. That means that they’re the leaders in a very slow-running and pathetic race. The conclusion that EuroNews and Miller draw from their few atoms of data and a strong reluctance to fact-check is completely unsupported by the evidence.