The Delta strain — it’s new! It’s highly infectious! It’s deadlier than ever!

Except, only two of those statements are remotely true.

That’s not to say, of course, that Delta, any more than earlier strains of the Wuhan bug isn’t infectious or deadly. Of course, it is: but, if we were to believe the Podia of Truth, Delta is the Black Plague and Spanish Flu combined. Which is utter nonsense. It’s dangerous, yes, but is killing far fewer people than earlier strains.

We know this because we have the data. Every now and then a glimmer of the inconvenient data leaks through the iron curtain drawn by the media and politicians.

Tens of thousands of people have been infected with the Delta strain of COVID-19 in NSW, but the outbreak has not been as deadly as those last year, data shows.

The relatively high death rates of 2020 can probably be sheeted home to a number of factors. Most notably, this was a novel disease, which medicine had little idea how to deal with. There was no vaccine: and, leaving aside arguments about the vaccine’s rapidly waning efficacy, much less the ethics of all-but forcing people to submit to them, it’s clear that at the least the vaccines ameliorate the severity of infection. Meaning that the heavily vaccinated cohort of elderly is less likely to get sick and die.

It’s also a grim fact that Covid seems to be a horribly spectacular “harvester”: that is, it particularly attacks people already at death’s door, and shoves them over the threshold with brutal efficiency. The vaccines seem to be pretty good at reigning that in.

But it’s also pretty clear that Delta is far from the Grim Reaper on Steroids it’s been painted as.

While 153 people have died from the virus since NSW’s Delta outbreak began on June 16 — and many more are expected — that number is far lower than last year[…]

That fatality rate is falling as more people become infected, but less die from the virus.

At a death rate of 3.4 per cent, more than 1,000 people would have died in NSW since June.

So, the death rate has dropped dramatically: good news, right? Except that good news is the last thing the Branch Covidians want getting out.
Cue the Fear Porn.

After a woman in her 30s with no pre-existing health conditions died from COVID-19 last month, NSW Australian Medical Association president Danielle McMullen said: “Any death from COVID-19 is tragic, and particularly one of someone taken so young, I think is a really strong reminder to all of us that COVID-19 is a serious illness.”

ABC Australia

But any natural phenomenon has outliers. The existence of a tiny proportion of people with scrambled sex chromosomes does not disprove that nearly all people fit the binomial distribution of XX/XY: making sex indeed binary, not a “spectrum”. Similarly, the rare cases of young healthy people dying from Covid does not disprove the fact that nearly all of its victims are very old, very sick, or most likely both.

Yet, people I’ve spoken to are utterly convinced that “Delta is killing young people this time”.

As the data shows, children are at almost negligible risk from Covid. For adults under 60, the data has barely shifted. It should also be noted that this is Case Fatality Rate data: this is the proportion of deaths among confirmed cases of the disease. In other words, the people who actually got sick.

But we’re daily bombarded with the number of infections: the number of people returning a positive result to a test.

These are not the same numbers. Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Speaking of damned lies and statistics…

A new report card on Australia’s health during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic has found that if we had experienced the same crude case and death rates as Canada, Sweden or the UK, by early this year the nation would have suffered between 15,570 and 48,145 deaths.

The Australian

As I always warn: when a media report claims that a “study says…” always assume that it doesn’t.

And this one certainly doesn’t.

Like most “modelling” used to try and scare the pants off us, it’s a case of garbage in, garbage out. The “modelling” simply took the fatality rate for a bunch of different countries and scaled them up or down to Australia’s population. As if Australia is somehow identical, geographically, climatically or demographically to those countries.

But, hey, who cares how crude the “modelling” is, just so long as it keeps us terrified and compliant?

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Not Quite the Grim Reaper We Were Told to Expect

Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In last decade or...