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Orwellian Headlines & Un-Sensational Statistics

Transcript of the above video:

As the title and the thumbnail for this video would suggest, we are talking about the lockdown again, the overall situation here in Bangkok, greater Thailand. I came upon an article, I saw this in the print edition. I have actually got the print edition here, the Bangkok Post, Tuesday August 3rd, 2021 and the title is: Public Urged to Follow the Rules, that was the headline. "Public Urged to Follow the Rules". I thought that was an odd headline, but okay. I have done some videos on I think some of the, I don't know the journalistic narrative on this whole issue has been somewhat condescending to say the least but within that I am going to go ahead and quote from because I pulled out my notes on this and did it all online. Again, public urged to follow the rules. Quoting directly: "Dr. Kiattiphum Wongrajit, Public Health Permanent Secretary said that,” and let's be clear this is the Public Health Permanent Secretary, quoting further: "said that both infection and death tolls were trending close with Government modeling and it would only take a small swing further in the direction of prudence to bring COVID-19 under control in Thailand." I thought that was notable but more importantly I thought this was really interesting. "He said that as 75 - 80% of deaths were among the elderly with underlying health conditions, this was the demographic the Government was concentrating on vaccinating as its top priority."

That was a really interesting notation there, and again Bangkok Post, I urge folks to go check out that article. There is a lot of information in there but I found that really compelling. Again I want to quote that again: "He said that as 75 to 80% of deaths were among the elderly with underlying health conditions, this was the demographic the Government was concentrating on vaccinating as its top priority." And that certainly makes sense. We have seen a lot of information out there about how that has worked, that has been a good tactic to use in other countries. When I heard this I thought to myself, WOW, 75 to 80% of deaths were among the elderly with underlying health conditions.

So we are going to pull out some of these numbers and this is actually from Johns Hopkins University,, pulled up Thailand. Total deaths according to them and this is the most recent data they have got is: 6,066 total deaths okay. So presume conservatively 75 to 80% were among the elderly with underlying conditions. So that number is 4,549.5 of 6,066, so the total deaths of the non-elderly folks with underlying health conditions presumably would be that other 25%. That total to date and bear in mind these numbers go all the way back into March, April of 2020, the total number there is 1,516.5 deaths as of the most up-to-date numbers we have got right here. Now I am definitely not saying that elderly and infirm deaths are something to be ignored. That isn't it all what I am saying; it is terrible and certainly we need to deal with that and I am certainly not saying that it is anything trivial that 1,516.5 people died in the 18 months going back to March 2020 or however many months it has been at this point. What I am saying is again what I have been saying and I am sure many people that are watching these videos probably think of me as something of a broken record, it would be nice to see a little bit more of the cost-benefit analysis being done with respect to this overarching policy because again we have just extended these lockdowns further. It is having a devastating impact on the economy. This latest round, it really does beg the question whether or not most of these businesses are even going to come back or if so how many of them come back. Now the one nice thing in Thailand is Thai businesses, as anybody has seen here, they can be set up very ad hoc and kind of on a "shoe string" and get things going again.

Just as a comparison to understand these numbers because I know there are folks that may otherwise want to be tourists here to Thailand and it freaks them out when they see our press, I just want to be clear, Thailand as far as total confirmed cases again, according to Johns Hopkins University,, total confirmed cases in Thailand is 736,522; total deaths is 6,066. That means the percentage rate of death is 0.8% and most importantly, to many minds is the death per 100,000 as that allows you to compare other countries. Deaths per 100,000 in Thailand is 8.71; the United States is showing 35,739,551 total cases with 616,718 total deaths and then that is a 1.7% case fatality rate and they are looking at total deaths per 100,000 as 187.89. Again, comparing the United States to Thailand is a little bit like comparing apples and oranges but deaths per 100,000 are deaths per 100,000. Perhaps maybe a better example from the West might be the United Kingdom. Total cases in the United Kingdom, 6,070,873; total deaths, 130,585 that is a 2.2% case fatality rate and they are looking at deaths per 100,000 of 195.39. Again, nobody is pointing fingers or anything.

My point is there has been a lot of sensationalism in my opinion, a certain level of hysteria sort of surrounding all of this issue here in Thailand. I don't know what the answer is precisely but I do know lockdown has had a severe impact on the economics here and you can see that daily not to mention other issues. On top of that, when you start looking at these numbers and again this is from, Johns Hopkins University, when you start looking at these numbers and then you really start drilling down into it and understand, yeah the elderly and those with underlying conditions, it certainly makes sense that those folks need to have as much mitigation in place as possible but for the overall population, I think there is some argument to be made that perhaps this whole thing is not quite the threat to the general population that perhaps a lot of the press headlines make out and this is especially an acute thing to think about when you are looking at the cost in terms of the economy from these initiatives and you are comparing it against the benefits. It is just in my opinion once you start looking at it from that perspective, especially the knock on impacts, the long term ramifications, especially for here in Thailand and the folks here in Thailand, the economic ramifications of this could really reverberate for a number of years and it could really have negative consequences. Hopefully maybe a more nuanced approach to looking at this whole issue, folks will come up with that sooner rather than later.