Actually I should have titled this post as “Journalism, the lost profession“, but the #Ebola hashtag is much more trending.
On the 26th of September I dealt for the first time with the Ebola hoax as soon as the CDC published its fear mongering prediction of the upcoming end of human species, promplty spread around the globe by the mass propagandists, such as The New York Times. I explained how the CDC manufatured the emergency leveraging on the peak rate of new weekly infections in the last 3 weeks of September, which accounted roughly 650 new weekly cases of ebola infections. As I clarified, the apparent ramp up of ebola cases could be easily be explained:
the period of observation is too short, and what the numbers really “measure”, is the development of the observation system and not the development of the epidemologic system to be observed.
CDC misinterpreted (ignorance or bad will?) the actual data and made projections that simply have no basis. I teach Maths, among other things, but anyway my conclusion would be drew by any mathematician or statistic expert.
What is more worrying is that these data should have been questioned by any reasonable person, but they haven’t.
If Ebola exists since 1976 and it has always been contained, how can it become an emergency, 38 years later?
And if the outbreak could lead to 1,4 millions infections in just 4 months, why international organizations and the US do not quarantine people travelling from the West Africa?
The point is that “reason disappears as fear takes the scene”.
Despite the evidences that there was no reason to assume an international emergency and the history of Ebola outbreaks demonstrating that is was possible to contain them, uninamously, the mass (establishment) media kept propaganding fear, day after day.
A acouple of days ago, media outlets mainstreamed the news according to which the Ebola outbreak could reach, by the end of this year, the figure of 10,000 new cases per week. Below just a few example of articles spreading this nonsense information:
African Union News – 15 October 2014
Zerohedge – 14 October 2014
The Advertiser – 15 October 2014
The New Haven Register – 14 October 2014
Top World Headlines – 15 October 2014
…and the list could go on and on; same unfoundend content, almost identical headlines.
On the 14th of October I published a second post, explaining that also this new figure had no ground, as well the former, and the actual new Ebola cases per week were decreasing, from the 650 weekly new cases (end of September) to 530 new weekly cases (mid October), making reference to the official WHO report published on the 10th of October.
Today the WHO has just published updated figures (this and this). The WHO report on the 26th of September, on top of which the CDC produced its infamous fear mongering projections, took in consideration probable and confirmed cases of Ebola. In this latest report WHO publishes new histograms merging “confirmed” and “probable” cases with “suspected” cases; suspected cases account anything compatible with Ebola early symptoms (but can also be symtoms of other deseases such as malaria, flow, etcetera).
Lack of coherence or desire to keep numbers high? Let’s not digress, because, anyway, the new “colourful” histograms do a good job to me.
In the graph above, you have the Liberia case histogram (Liberia is the Country in the spotlight) from the latest WHO report. As you can see, the number of the new weekly “confirmed” ebola cases (orange ones) reached their top figure in mid September, they have dramatically decreased and are now around 10 (in mid September the figure was 250), despite the report admits it lacks some data from October the 12th. The the new weekly “probable” ebola cases (green ones) have decreased and are now around 100. The suspecetd cases are the only ones that keep being almost constant, so far, but apparently they do not translate in probable or confirmed cases. If the blue does not translate in green, and the green does not translate in orange, that simply means that, statistically, most of them were not ebola cases.
The “confirmed cases” figure, as well the cumulative figure, teach us one simple thing; As the Ebola monitoring system develops the outbreak figures tend to sabilize.
The figures of some of the other Ebola affected countries show slighlty different patterns with very litttle figure of “probable” and “suspected” cases and higher fiugres for the trend of “confirmed” Ebola cases. This of course is not possible; “probable” and “suspected” cases must outnumber the “confirmed” cases, and the reason this is not happening in the histograms is because of lack of laboratories and bad accounting.
This is the reason for the disclaimer:
Data are based on official information reported by Ministries of Health up to the end of 12 October for Guinea and Sierra Leone, and 11 October for Liberia. These numbers are subject to change due to ongoing reclassification, retrospective investigation and availability of laboratory results.
Some may argue that the different patterns do not allow to draw closed conclusion, and I agree. But if that is the case how it comes that the media assume acceptable a prediction of 10,000 new cases per week, on the ground of such unstable and unreliable datasets?
So let’ stick to the facts. The compound overall figure of new weekly “pobable + confirmed” cases is decreasing. The observation period is short and undermines the evaluations on trends, making hard any projection on the long range. There is a lack of laboratories and bad accounting. Some patterns diverge, but the most coherent one (Liberia which hosts the highest number of laboratories) shows that new weekly confirmed cases are falling.
How is likely that we get from less then 600 new weekly cases to over 10,000 in 10 weeks? On which ground?
Let’s be clear Ebola is a grave concern and the death toll is increasing every day. And urgency is needed. But , one question arises. How the media, united, come to the conclusion that there can be up to 10,000 new weekly Ebola infections by the end of this year? How is it possible that the whole media system has fallen in the pitfall of journalistic fallacy, by spreading a blatant lie one month ago, and doing the same one month later? This is simply insane.
Money, ignorance or lack of integrity? All? You choose. Whatever the answer is one word explains everything.
Just a note in reference to my first post on this topic; the elections schedulled for mid October in Liberia, have been postponed.