NPR proves once again, critical thinking is dead in America
An analysis done by NPR supposedly "proves" that people who live in counties who voted for Trump are 3X more likely to die from COVID than people who live in counties who voted for Biden. Impossible!
A friend sent me this NPR story this morning claiming Trump counties have 3 times the COVID death rates than counties who voted for Biden and that misinformation was the cause.
Stunning. This proves critical thinking is dead in America. If you had any doubts before, you can now put those doubts aside. The NPR article is all you need.
The only thing this article “proves” is that you cannot trust what you read in NPR anymore. They are completely captured by the false narrative. I cannot figure out why Twitter isn’t banning them for spreading misinformation.
On the face of it, their claims are simply preposterous.
There are two major claims:
There is a 3X death difference from COVID. We don’t even have to look at their source data to show this is impossible. We just have to read the article and think critically.
They also said that the difference was due to “misinformation.” Whoa! Where is the data showing correlation? No data. Where is the Bradford-Hill analysis proving causality? None there as well (since if you don’t have the evidence it’s super-hard to prove causality).
If you analyze with best-case vaccine efficacy assumptions, you can’t get to their numbers… not even close
Let’s assume the very best case that the vaccine is 100% effective in protecting against death, fair enough? That’s a VE=1 for protection from death (not from infection).
From the chart, it looks to me like the average rate of vaccination in Biden counties is 73% and the average rate of vaccination in Trump counties is 52%. Let’s say that they are correct (I’m not saying they are correct, just basically agreeing to make my point).
Now, let’s assume the VERY best case that if you got vaccinated, that you simply cannot die from COVID.
With me so far? Great!
Now let’s do the math per 100,000.
The chart shows we had 95 deaths for people in Trump counties on average. So that would suggest that if nobody was vaccinated that the death rate would be nearly double 95/(1-.52)=198. Now, let’s look at the death rate we’d get for the 72% vaccinated. Only 28% of those people would die, so 55 deaths.
So 95 deaths for the Trump group, 55 deaths for the Biden group. 95/55 = 1.72.
That’s not 3. It’s not even close to 3.
We did the BEST possible case and we couldn’t get close to their number.
Let’s analyze it the other way. That doesn’t work either.
We can do a query in the article:
So when everyone gets vaccination, there are 42 deaths per 100K.
Say the vaccines were 80% effective in stopping death. So that’s basically 200 dead people with no vaccine. So our Trump group at 50% vax rate of an 80% effective vax would be 100+ 20= 120 dead.
So we got a factor of three that way, but we only got there if 100% of the people were vaccinated in the Biden group. Whoops!
If you analyze using more “realistic” numbers, their claim is even more preposterous
Now, can we use REAL numbers? The best numbers for lives saved are always in the DB-RCT trials. We have one for Pfizer which showed that the vaccine saved a net total of 1 life for ever 22,000 fully vaccinated people. There were two placebo COVID deaths, and only one COVID death in the vaccinated group: a 50% reduction in death rate.
Let’s see how our numbers work out now with this more reasonable assumption (which again, I’m not conceding is correct).
I’m going to just round the numbers to make the math easier. 100 dead in the Trump group and a more realistic 50% effective death reduction vax. That means that we would have started with 100/.75=133 people dead with no vaccine. So if we had (optimistically) a 75% vaccination rate, then 133*.75=100 people of which only 50 would die plus the 33 who didn’t get vaxed and die. So 83 people would die. So 100/83=1.2 or a 20% better outcome for the Biden group.
Again, that’s even worse (as we knew it would be). It’s not even close to the factor of 3 claimed.
In short, you can’t make the math work here.
And then there is the confounding about the dates chosen, and the different demographics. Where is the analysis of that? It doesn’t exist. Just handwaving.
Why is NPR hiding the data?
Where is the data to be made available for people to check their work? Normally, data on a study is made available to researchers. Where is the NPR data they assembled? Not published. Why not? Because they want to make it harder for anyone to check their results, that’s why. Why else would this not be public?
To their credit, there is a search box. I typed in my own county, “Santa Clara County” which is a pretty big county in California. Not found. Hmmm….
Where is their analysis of the confounders? I’d like to see the data on that one.
What happens if you pick a different start date? Silent on that one.
As for ascribing this difference to “misinformation” instead of demographics, time period of the study, etc…. well that analysis is complete hand-waving with nothing to back it up.
I’m sure my followers will point out even more in the comments… this is just my first reaction.
NPR is not telling you the truth. They are promoting misinformation. When is NPR going to start being honest with us?
Finally, I’ll have a lot more respect for NPR once they run a story on how mask wearing is pure political theater. Mask wearing is completely obvious to anyone who still has a working brain. Where’s the NPR story on that one? Doesn’t exist! There are only two randomized trials on mask wearing and both of them showed masks do nothing as I’ve pointed out before (Bangladesh study and generic masks don’t work).
When is NPR going to come clean on something so completely obvious?
Answer: They aren’t going to. They’ll just avoid it.
Or perhaps the NPR staff will agree to challenge us in a debate? No way. I’d bet the farm on that one. They are afraid of being held accountable for what they write, just like the rest of the mainstream media and medical community.
I’m sure my followers will add more insights into the NPR study in the comments.
Here are some of my favorite comments:
this peer-reviewed study, "Increases in COVID-19 are unrelated to levels of vaccination across 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States" https://rdcu.be/cCJfT, makes a mockery of the NPR article.
If that were really true, the elites would would just let covid rip
NPR were the ones promoting the articles “debunking” the lab leak theory
You convinced me at, "NPR".
I can't remember when I DID trust information from NPR. Remember, Steve, the reason people go into journalism is because they can't do math.
It cracks me up that NPR is regarded as a factual news outlet. I catch them in falsehoods all the time, so often that I was thinking of doing a newsletter called NPR Watch, because it's literally every other day that they either flat out lie, or blatantly misrepresent the facts. I would have no shortage of material. To hear them report, you would NEVER know that Biden's vax-mandate for 100-employee businesses got blocked.
67% of the US population voted in last election. I live in a red county. I'm way right of Trump, hence, I have never voted for him. I'm not vaccinated and never will be. I must assume, NPR did not factor into their report my class of the electorate. I saw the report when it first ran and thought how totally ignorant it was.
Funny how ‘conspiracy theorists’ come over-prepared with stats, data, and evidence, whilst the mainstream news offers nothing more than empty, non-sensical claims. I guess they know most people don’t read beyond headlines. People who really want the truth obviously read not just the headlines, but also between the lines, and all the way to the tiny print on the bottom where it says who funded the article.
That's because The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given over 24 million to NPR.