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On Sunday Florida reported 87 new coronavirus deaths and 12,523 new coronavirus cases. Those totals pushed Florida coronavirus deaths to 4,982 and total cases in Florida to 350,047. Texas, meanwhile, presently has 4,007 deaths and 330,501 cases.
As most of the media attention over the past several weeks has focused on the increase in cases in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California, something interesting has happened, the death rate hasn’t skyrocketed to a substantial degree. Yes, it’s true deaths lag cases, but the Florida and Texas increase in cases began nearly a month ago now. (Florida cases went over 5,000 a day on June 24th and rapidly escalated to nearly 9,000 cases on June 26th, just two days later. Texas, meanwhile, first hit over 5,000 daily cases on June 22nd and grew from there to over 10,000 cases by early July.)
So we are rapidly approaching over a month since cases surged in both states, enough time for deaths to have surged in concert with these case totals.
Yet deaths, contrary to the fear porn forecasts on media and social media, haven’t remotely approached New York levels.
Indeed, as total cases rapidly approach the total case level in New York, which had more cases than any state in the country, the opposite is happening: the death rate is falling substantially as a percentage of cases in Florida and Texas.
Don’t believe me?
Right now Florida has 81% of the total coronavirus cases as New York yet just 1/8th of the death rate. Texas, which has right at 76% of the total cases as New York has done even better, presently having just 1/13th of the death rate of New York. This means the states of Florida and Texas are likely to reach — and probably surpass the total number of cases of New York, potentially even this week — yet their death rate is likely to be 1/10th, combined, of New York’s death rate.
One-tenth of the death rate!
That should be phenomenal news.
Indeed, if New York had the average death rate of Florida and Texas combined the state would have just 3,250 deaths. Instead New York has 32,552.
That’s a staggering difference. We’re talking about the difference between an average flu season of deaths in New York and one of the worst coronavirus death rates in the world.
What explains that difference? And, perhaps more importantly, why isn’t every member of the media investigating the same question, which is the single biggest question demanding an answer in the entire country?
Before we get into answering that question, let’s look at another important data point, deaths per million around the world.
The coronavirus has now been with us in this country for seven months. And it’s been a factor in the world at large for over eight months, meaning we now have a massive amount of data from around the world to examine. That also means we can begin to compare the responses of various countries and states and see how they stack up against each other.
So let’s do that, let’s look at the coronavirus rate of death per million around the world.
When you look at the data something shocking appears — five states in the northeast have a higher death rate from the coronavirus than any other countries in the world per worldometer stats. And they aren’t just higher than any other countries in the world, they are absolutely, positively, off the charts.
Coronavirus deaths per million:
1. New Jersey 1776
2. New York 1673
3. Connecticut 1233
4. Massachusetts 1221
5. Rhode Island 935
6. Belgium 845
7. England 667
8. Spain 608
9. Italy 580
10. Sweden 556
11. France 462
12. Chile 442
13. United States 432
14. Peru 394
15. Arizona 379
16. Brazil 371
17. Netherlands 358
18. Ireland 355
19. Mexico 301
20. Ecuador 299
21. Georgia 298
22. Canada 234
23. Florida 232
24. Texas 138
25. Germany 109
(In compiling this data I left out many states and additional countries to provide context, but you can go look at the data yourself here. I also added in Arizona and Georgia, two more states that have been much discussed in the media of late. California’s death rate per million, by the way, is between Florida and Texas, at 198. I added Germany because the German response to the coronavirus has been universally praised around the globe as the best of all western democracies.)
So what happened here? How in the world did New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have a worse response to the coronavirus than any country in the world? And not just a worse response, one that was nearly twice as bad as any country in the world? What’s more how have Florida and Texas, despite having case counts that are now approaching the confirmed case totals in New York and having their governors raked over the coals by the national media, ended up with a death rate roughly 1/10ths of New York’s?
These are big questions that deserve to be explored because other states may well have their own outbreaks. (There’s an argument to be made that the United States is so large and federalism principles are so strong that we’ve effectively had fifty distinct outbreaks of varying degrees of intensity rather than one nationwide outbreak). The data suggests, counterintuitively to the media narrative, that rather than criticize Florida and Texas, every other state should be emulating their responses to the the outbreak in the event their own states have case surges.
Now as a caveat, it’s certainly probable that Florida and Texas are going to have more deaths from the coronavirus over the next couple of months. But the case positivity rate in both states appears to have already peaked and it appears we are actually on the downward slope of both state outbreaks. What’s more, and perhaps most importantly, the death rate in Florida is presently 1%. (You should go look at the data from Florida yourself, which is presented in a highly readable format here.)
Watch this Florida doctor discuss the present situation in his state on CNN this past week:
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) July 13, 2020
A death rate of 1% — which would actually mean a survival rate from the coronavirus not of 99%, but actually of 99.9% since the CDC estimates we are only catching 1 in every 10 cases — would mean that in order for Florida to end up with a death rate similar to New York’s, Florida would need to have three million more confirmed coronavirus cases than they presently have.
Let me repeat that, based on the current case fatality rate Florida would need three million more confirmed cases to equal the same number of deaths as New York. At its present rate of roughly 10k new cases per day this means Florida would need to have the same number of confirmed coronavirus cases every day for the next 300 consecutive days to equal the coronavirus deaths in New York. Then, if and only if, that continued for 300 days at its present rate of infection, Florida would equal the deaths in New York sometime in May of next year.
Texas, which has a much lower death rate than even Florida would require a full year of 10,000 case days to equal New York’s death numbers.
That’s astonishing to even consider.
Put plainly, what in the world happened in the northeast and what in the world isn’t happening in Florida and Texas to make these numbers so divergent?
Again, this should be the number one question being asked by the media. What explains these massively divergent results? Why have Texas and Florida, even with a total confirmed coronavirus case loads approaching New York’s numbers, managed the coronavirus, at least so far, with a relatively small loss of life, while New York, and all the states that followed its lead, collapsed?
There are certainly many potential theories at play here. Among them: virus treatments have gotten better, the virus is now weaker, the average age of the infected has declined, you can put on your conspiracy hats and argue for hidden deaths or exaggerated death totals, you can even come up with your own hypotheses. The possibilities are legion and examining them all is what smart journalists and data analysts should be doing.
But we know at least one major part of the difference — Florida and Texas haven’t sent infected patients back into nursing homes. That’s in contrast to New York’s disastrous decision to send infected patients back to nursing homes, which led to a massive death rate spike. That decision by New York’s Andrew Cuomo, which was copied by other governors back in March and April, is the single most deadly decision made by any politician in the 21st century.
Don’t believe me?
Here are the ten states with the most fatalities per capita from the coronavirus:
1. New Jersey
2. New York
4. Rhode Island
All of the governors in these states, eight out of ten of which were led by Democratic governors, followed the lead of Andrew Cuomo back in March and April and sent infected patients back into nursing homes, likely sending tens of thousands of their residents to earlier deaths than would have otherwise occurred.
Why did Andrew Cuomo make this decision? Because he believed “expert” forecasts that predicted his state was going to need 140,000 hospital beds. The virus ended up peaking at 19,000 hospitalized patients in New York, which is less, by the way, than the number hospitalized presently in Florida with the coronavirus. So New York, at its absolute peak, had a less significant outbreak in terms of hospitalizations than Florida is having right now.
Yet rather than simply keep all his patients in hospitals, which is turned out would have enough room, New York’s governor panicked and added tens of thousands of deaths to his state’s coronavirus death rolls.
So far, because Governor’s Ron Desantis in Florida and Greg Abbott in Texas haven’t copied that decision the deaths haven’t piled up in Florida or Texas in any manner remotely similar to New York.
Is that the entire reason for the death discrepancy? We don’t know. That’s why we need a rigorous examination of all the data.
But contrary to the media praise he’s received, Andrew Cuomo’s nursing home decision was the single worst decision made by any elected official in the 21st century. Even worse than that, his decision was COPIED BY THE OTHER STATES.
Now in Cuomo’s defense he was operating with limited information and being hammered by the media fear porn at the time he acted, but I want to ask you a question, how many other media sources have you seen pointing out this massive death rate difference between New York and Florida and Texas?
Turn on the television and all you hear about is Florida and Texas and their case numbers. But why isn’t anyone actually looking at the math here and comparing the state responses and the state death rates? Because contrary to ripping Florida and Texas and their leaders, why isn’t anyone else pointing out that both states are right now providing the best model of how to respond to an outbreak that we’ve seen anywhere in the United States?
I hate to say it, but I think the reason is politics.
Florida and Texas have Republican governors and the media believes, especially in an election year, that anything a Republican does is awful.
The truth of the matter is this: the media’s fear porn and embrace of “expert” forecasts caused tens of thousands of additional deaths in this country than would have otherwise occurred if all sick patients had simply been sent to hospitals and left there.
The fact that Florida and Texas, despite their outbreaks that is leading to similar number of confirmed cases, are on pace for a death rate that is 1/10th of New York’s should be the number one story in America.
But it isn’t because that’s a positive story that tells the American public that our doctors, nurses and political leaders have become far better at dealing with the coronavirus in this country. That even if cases surge we can manage that surge with a limited loss of life compared to what happened back in March and April.
That we can put our kids back in school and return to most of our normal lives without sacrificing our safety.
That our hospitals can handle the surge and our death rate won’t correspond with the case surge.
Instead, we get none of this in the media.
It’s all fear porn all the time.
And ultimately that doesn’t help us beat the coronavirus at all. It just creates more lost jobs, which leads to more loss of life.
Facts matter, the mainstream media in this country should try using them at least occasionally.
Especially in matters of life and death.