Some are funny, some are silly, some are offensive, some are poignant, and some are dangerous. The ones that are dangerous are ones that I want to focus on. The dangerous memes are the ones either outright lying or telling a half-truth. Here we will be focusing on COVID related memes.

This meme is true, but it does not tell you the whole story of the numbers. 10 million people did contract TB and 1.5 million people did die, but just not in the US, it was worldwide (WHO). In 2018, a little more than 9000 people contracted TB in the US and 70% of them were non-U.S.-born people (CDC). In 2017, 515 deaths were attributed to TB.

COVID-19 was a novel (new) virus and no one knew what to expect or how the body was going to handle it. I understood flattening the curve because of this. However, the media and politicians are still spreading fear over something we know a lot more of now.

Numbers matter. When they are used properly they will inform, when they are incorrect they are dangerous and disingenuous. For more on this read Pandemic Panic.

Again, there is truth in this meme. From April 2009 to April 2010, CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases, 274,304 hospitalizations, and 12,469 deaths in the United States due to the Swine flu (H1N1 virus). CDC also estimates that 151,700-575,400 people worldwide died from Swine flu during the first year the virus circulated (CDC).

As of the date of publishing this, there have been 5.8 million cases and 179k deaths in the US from COVID (CDC).

I know there are conspiracies about the number of deaths but let’s take them as they are. If we were to look just at the numbers it would seem that the COVID looks less communicable but more deadly than the Swine flu. However, looking at the numbers from official sources show that COVID has a higher infection and mortality rate. Also, the swine flu was categorized as just that, “the flu”. COVID, while it has flu-like symptoms, is not the flu.

The communicableness (not sure that is a word) of diseases is given a number based on its basic reproduction or replication from one person to another. The R0 (pronounced R nought or R zero) is how infectious a pathogen is. The R0 is measured as the expected number of cases directly generated by one case in a population where all individuals are susceptible to infection ( The R0 value of the Swine flu (H1N1) is 1.5 and COVID-19 is likely to be 5.7 (CDC).

US cigarette deaths last year are estimated at 480,000 deaths per year. Obesity deaths 300,000. Cancer deaths 606,880. Diabetes 1.6 million. Flu 34,200. Starvation deaths are few in the US but 9 million worldwide. War deaths in the US in the last 20 years 5700. Suicide 48,000. Medical errors 250,000. That’s over 3 million dead versus 179k deaths in the US from COVID (CDC). So you can see where this meme came from. I am not making light of death. While death is tragic, it is in some instances preventable, but it is always unavoidable.

The original goal of the government was to flatten the curve to help the medical industry not be overwhelmed. We did that so let us get on with our lives and open up the economy. Flattening the curve was not supposed to decrease the number of infections or death as some seem to think. That number was always going to stay the same. Will there be continuing infections and deaths? Yes. Does that mean we should shut down our livelihoods and who we are as humans? Humans need contact with other humans. We are social creatures who need to have connections. Along with this human need, it does seem that our rights as individuals guaranteed by the Constitution have been infringed, specifically the freedom to peaceably assembly (e.g. work and worship). Others, such as fines or being charged with a crime for not wearing a mask seems a little ridiculous.

I err on the side of freedom, let us get back to something of normality. The one good thing from the shutdown is that it has brought families closer together, but not all people have great families to turn to. Due to the loss of human connection, despair, and anxiety, and the media pushing panic and fear there are reports that there are higher amounts of abuse, drug use, and suicides. It does make me think that the cure might be worse than the disease.

Pandemic Panic


A lot of people are throwing the word “pandemic” around like they know what it means and what it is. It’s a simple regurgitation from the media, politicians, and the medical industry, so why wouldn’t we be saying it. It is a pandemic, but what does it mean? What is the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic? We should look at the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic, and the flu virus and the coronavirus. First, an epidemic affects many people at the same time and spreading from person to person in a locality where the disease is not permanently prevalent ( A pandemic is more serious and is defined as a pandemic disease is an epidemic that has spread over a large area, that is, it’s “prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world.” The WHO more specifically defines a pandemic as “a worldwide spread of a new disease” ( The word novel in novel coronavirus just means that is is a new coronavirus, and because it’s new we do not did not know how it was going to behave, spread or affect us.

Mark Twain said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Always be leary about statistics and numbers, they can be confusing and misleading depending on how the information is gathered, who is gathering it, who is using the numbers, and how they are being used. As you can see, there are a number of areas where stats can be skewed. Stats are good and useful if they are gathered unbiasedly, with good questions or good methods to gather the information. Unfortunately, many are not so forthright in their gathering of information. They use it to support an idea or claim, not as unbias information or facts. This is why I am striving to link all the webpages I gathered my information.

Due to the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu being similar and both being viruses I will be comparing COVID-19 and flu numbers.

If I was to say that COVID-19 25x more deadly than the flu I would be correct, but also misleading in a way that causes fear, anxiety, and panic.

As of 8/20/2020, in the US there have been 5,506,929 total cases of COVID-19 and 172,416 deaths. That means that COVID-19 has a mortality rate of 3.13% (CDC Current COVID numbers). Death by flu numbers from the CDC from 2010-2019 average about .13% chance of death. These numbers are based on those who catch the virus. Now if we were to look at the death by population it would be COVID-19 at .05% and the flu at .002%. With either set of numbers, you can say that the mortality rate of COVID-19 is 25x (or 125%) higher than the flu. If all you heard was that the death rate for COVID-19 is 25x higher than the flu, what would you think or how would you react? While any death is tragic, the numbers can be skewed to make them seem worse than they are. Whether it’s 125%, 3.13%, or .13% it’s good to know where the numbers are coming from and what they mean.

From the World Health Organization TB (tuberculosis) is a bacteria that infects 10 million and kills 1.5 million worldwide (WHO). That’s a mortality rate of 15% or 4.8x higher than even COVID-19. However, there is no panic over TB because it’s known and it’s an epidemic (local) not a pandemic (global). In 2018, out of the 10 million cases worldwide a total of 9,025 were reported in the US and 70.2% of those cases occurred among non-U.S.-born people (CDC). Some say that this is a pandemic because it is worldwide, but an epidemic because the larger number of cases are highly localized. However, we don’t think much about TB because we aren’t told to and in the US it’s generally not a big deal.

The CDC stated that the “percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia, influenza, or COVID-19 for week 33 is 7.8%. This is currently lower than the percentage during week 32 (12.6%); however, the percentage remains above the epidemic threshold and will likely increase as more death certificates are processed” (CDC). From tabulating the numbers above it looks like the mortality rate of 7.8% is data pulled from those who have been infected by pneumonia, influenza, or COVID-19 and not based on population.

In a fast-paced world, it’s hard to do your own research and get down to “brass tax” on all the information swirling around us. We should be able to trust the media and there was a time when journalists and news anchors were trusted. When they gave us facts and we formed our own opinions, but the media has become complicit in panic porn and clickbait instead of actually reporting the news. They push opinions and narratives to sells ads and subscriptions to pay their salaries and bills. This might seem a very nihilistic view but it’s not wrong. However, that is another topic.