From the Pastor: Not Denying Virus, Decrying Lies
This week I read a supposed news article put out by News Channel 8. The small headline was simply “BY THE NUMBERS” in all caps, followed by the real headline three times as large, “How likely are you to contract* coronavirus in Tampa Bay crowds?” I am going to print most of the article below minus all but Hillsborough County data. Note that has been updated once at the time I write this. After you read it, I will comment a bit more on something that should have been caught and corrected by the writer or the editor the first time or, at the very least, should have been corrected in the update. It is so blatantly wrong and repeated so often that it could only be put there on purpose in order to bring even more hysteria to the readers.
Posted: Jul 28, 2020 / 04:04 PM EDT / Updated: Jul 29, 2020 / 08:30 AM EDT
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — How great is your risk of contracting* COVID-19 in a crowd in the Tampa Bay area? As most businesses in the state reopen and coronavirus cases continue to surge in Florida, that’s the question many want to know. Scientists in Georgia now have a database to assess the risk of contracting* coronavirus after attending events of various sizes. The database assesses the risk for every county in the country. Using public health data, researchers with the Applied Bioinformatics Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology developed the interactive map to account for widespread gaps in U.S. testing for the coronavirus. The virus can easily spread between people who display mild or no symptoms of illness. Risk assessments change daily, but WFLA.com took a look at the risk of contracting* coronavirus in the Tampa Bay area counties as of Tuesday, July 28.
Risk with 10 people: 41%
Risk with 50 people: 93%
...[I]n assessing the risk of events with at least 100 people – such as a concert or wedding – the database found residents of most Tampa Bay area counties had at least a 99% risk of becoming ill* with coronavirus. “The issue of understanding risks associated with gatherings is even more relevant as many kinds of businesses, including sports and universities, are considering how to reopen safely,” said Professor Joshua Weitz from the School of Biological Sciences.
OK, now back to my commentary. According to this article and based on its statistical numbers, every single person in our parish should have already contracted the coronavirus many times over while at our church, while at the grocery store, and while at the XYZ YOUNAMEIT place. Yet that hasn’t happened. How could the numbers be so far off? I clicked through to the Georgia database this story is supposedly based on and discovered something that was easy enough to spot. It wasn’t small print. It wasn’t written in a foreign language. It wasn’t typed out in code. It couldn’t have been missed by anyone with journalist credentials or even a 5th grade reading and comprehension level. Therefore I have to conclude that it was seen, understood, and completely twisted for the purpose of causing panic in those who are already stressed out about the coronavirus. Here are the first two written sentences of the database page. “This map shows the risk level of attending an event, given the event size and location. The risk level is the estimated chance (0-100%) that at least 1 COVID-19 positive individual will be present at an event in a county, given the size of the event.” Did you see it? These data are showing the risk that one person in the crowd could be sick with covid. NOT the percent chance of people getting sick. WFLA indicated above at least 6 times (I marked them with *) that the data were showing, and I quote from the opening sentence, “your risk of contracting COVID-19 in a crowd”. Yes, YOUR risk (scared you, right?) of contracting the virus, not the risk that one person out of that crowd might be infected with the virus! Is this a big deal? You betcha. Even if one person is infected in the crowd, you may not be anywhere close to him, may not touch any surface he has touched, may not breathe any air he has breathed. It may very well be that absolutely NOBODY will get sick from that one statistical person in the crowd. But that is not a scary story. YOU WILL DIE IF YOU GO TO A WEDDING is a scary story. But it is not a true story. (Oops, it rather indicates that each person attending a wedding with 100 people has a 99% chance of becoming ill of this disease so deadly that we have had many of our moral and civil rights taken away. I don’t want to be accused of exaggerating here!)
This is not an isolated example. They are, to put it biblically, Legion. Is it any wonder that thinking people are so skeptical of our “unbiased” media, our tyrannical politicians, and our “experts” of all sorts? Is it any wonder that they look at such things as “mask mandates”, wherein millions of people in this area have been forced to wear masks in public places for six weeks now with no subsequent drop in covid “cases” that have an incubation period of 2 weeks maximum, and doubt those who say that masks are effective? Ask the Boy Who Cried Wolf where constant public lies will get you even when you finally tell the truth.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka