Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Science Free Perceptions

This seems to be a common problem in modern America, and the most science free of all appear to be the ones who tout science like a totem for their politics. Below is the first portion of a much longer blog. I offer this mostly for the graphs.

They Blinded Us from Science

July 28, 2020

Our Fixed Income CIO Sonal Desai unveils the first insights from the new Franklin Templeton–Gallup research project on the behavioral response to the COVID-19 pandemic and implications for the recovery: we find a gross misperception of COVID-19 risk, driven by partisanship and misinformation, and a willingness to pay a significant “safety premium” that could affect future inflation.

The first round of our Franklin Templeton–Gallup Economics of Recovery Study has already yielded three powerful and surprising insights:

  1. Americans still misperceive the risks of death from COVID-19 for different age cohorts—to a shocking extent;
  2. The misperception is greater for those who identify as Democrats, and for those who rely more on social media for information; partisanship and misinformation, to misquote Thomas Dolby, are blinding us from science; and
  3. We find a sizable “safety premium” that could become a significant driver of inflation as the recovery gets underway.

Misperceptions of risk

Six months into this pandemic, Americans still dramatically misunderstand the risk of dying from COVID-19:

  1. On average, Americans believe that people aged 55 and older account for just over half of total COVID-19 deaths; the actual figure is 92%.
  2. Americans believe that people aged 44 and younger account for about 30% of total deaths; the actual figure is 2.7%.
  3. Americans overestimate the risk of death from COVID-19 for people aged 24 and younger by a factor of 50; and they think the risk for people aged 65 and older is half of what it actually is (40% vs 80%).

These results are nothing short of stunning. Mortality data have shown from the very beginning that the COVID-19 virus age-discriminates, with deaths overwhelmingly concentrated in people who are older and suffer comorbidities. This is perhaps the only uncontroversial piece of evidence we have about this virus. Nearly all US fatalities have been among people older than 55; and yet a large number of Americans are still convinced that the risk to those younger than 55 is almost the same as to those who are older.

This misperception translates directly into a degree of fear for one’s health that for most people vastly exceeds the actual risk: we find that the share of people who are very worried or somewhat worried of suffering serious health consequences should they contract COVID-19 is almost identical across all age brackets between 25 and 64 years old, and it’s not far below the share for people 65 and older.

The discrepancy with the actual mortality data is staggering: for people aged 18-24, the share of those worried about serious health consequences is 400 times higher than the share of total COVID deaths; for those age 25-34 it is 90 times higher. The chart below truly is worth a thousand words:

Our question asks about fear of serious health consequences, not fear of death, but the evidence to-date indicates that the two follow a very similar age distribution; indeed the CDC has clearly stated on its website that “Among adults, the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at the highest risk.” Recent concerns of possible adverse long-term consequences are by necessity speculative, since we obviously do not have long-term data yet.


  1. Be nice if they do a similar survey among Dr., Pharmacists, health researchers on HCQ.

    Science is being used as a cargo cult by the left, and amplified by the media and Internet giants.

    The more I find out and the so called science behind this hysteria, the more the related parties pushing this credibility decreases with me.

    The lack of good information frustrates me. I am taking vitamin D and Zinc, be nice if my family could get HCQ, especially my parents that are very high risk.

    Supposedly these projections have been better:

  2. Some people in government and media promote misinformation and panic to terrify Americans into accepting totalitarian control. Other people, even those who are intelligent and informed, have either been deceived or are just going along to get along.

    I had a conversation about HCQ and mask mandates with an MD who I know well. He's as smart and honest as you're likely to find. It went like this:

    Me: Some doctors think that HCQ can help Covid-19 patients.

    Him: They're just giving anecdotal evidence. We need more rigorous studies.

    Me: But if HCQ might help, is cheap and has low risk, then why not use it?

    Him: If we did that, then there wouldn't be enough HCQ for people with other diseases. (Really? You're going there?)

    Me: What about the mask mandates? Is there evidence that consumer-grade masks actually help?

    Him: It makes sense that they would help by reducing the spray of droplets when someone coughs.

    Me: (Should have said, but didn't think of it) Where are the rigorous studies that show mask mandates actually help?

    Him: (Probably would have said) There aren't any, but it makes sense that they would help.

    In other words, you need rigorous studies before you can use HCQ, but you can require everyone to go around masked all the time based on nothing more than someone's WAG.

  3. back when I took PoliSci classes, there were social (or soft) sciences, which were very 'soft' sciences with a lot of leeway to find what people wanted to find, and hard sciences, like physics and chemistry, that used the 'scientific method' to find hard, provable truth. Somewhere along the way, the hard sciences became soft, and the studies are used for fund-raising and they started using partial results and statistics to fill in the blanks as social sciences did. Here, they got adopted wholesale by the 'political scientists' to give complete disinformation and manipulate people.

  4. Does anyone see the meaning behind AOC's 1 minute speech? Nobody is talking about her" I second the nomination of Bernard Sanders". Biden drops out, falls out whatever. Am I wrong or does it just take 2 to nominate one for President. Pretty sure its just two. Mark tell me i'm wrong, because I'm thinking this has been set up from the start.

  5. And Mark, look back threw the first night of the Dems convention and tell me who put up Bernie Sanders nominations first vote. AOC was the second vote.

    1. Sorry, ya gotta explain it. Just got back from the store and tryna catch up on things.

    2. Not certain, but I believe the fact that Sanders came into the convention with a certain number of delegates out of the primary automatically generated the nomination and AOC was simply seconding what the system had created as part of the process.

  6. I'm beginning to think this isn't a contingency plan, but the main plan to begin with. Biden never was going to be on the ticket, its a ploy to get normal Dems on board then shift Joe out for Bernie at the end and not give the Republicans time to attack Bernie to draw away votes. The mail in ballots are not for the people who normally vote its for the young that never show up, Bernies kiddos. If you lose 1/3 of the votes to Bernie being dropped on the ticket , you get double that from his young votes that wont go vote or mail in for Biden. But will mail in for Bernie.

  7. Utube AOC Democratic Convention Speech, and listen to the whole 1 min speech again. this is a well planned swap thats fixing to happen.

  8. More on the COVID Hoax: