Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Coronavirus - sloppy, biased NY Times

I have been receiving daily emails containing briefings from The New York Times. The one that came Monday written by a David Leonhardt says the following. 

"Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have claimed that the rise in confirmed U.S. cases is largely the result of more tests. That’s not true, as The Times explains. The U.S., which once trailed Europe in per capita overall deaths, has now endured many more." 

The last sentence about deaths is irrelevant to what Trump and Pence said about tests.

The Trump-Pence claim was trivial but indubitably true. Neither Leonhardt nor The Times article show it is false. Is he trying to say that more confirmed cases are not a result of more tests? The Times article mentions a higher rate of positive tests. That shows a lower rate of positive tests is false, but Trump-Pence did not claim such lower rate.

The email showed a graph of Covid-19 deaths per million residents for the USA, Europe, and Canada. It showed the USA at about 385, Europe at about 295, and Canada at about 225. Below the graph says: "Source: Johns Hopkins University The New York Times."  Why is it not simply Johns Hopkins University? As this shows, John Hopkins does not show numbers for "Europe" -- whatever that means -- only individual countries. In other words, The New York Times concocted the 295 to slur Trump and Pence. 

When I looked at the numbers a few minutes ago they were as follows per million (10 times the per 100,000 numbers shown by John Hopkins):

Belgium 852, UK 657, Spain 607, Italy 575, France 447, Netherlands 355, Switzerland 230, Portugal 152, Germany 101.

The first 5 are all higher, some much higher, than the USA's 385 and countries 2-5 have large populations. How does one aggregate all of them and get 295? With junk math, cherry-picking, or lying with statistics!

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." -- Mark Twain 

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