Dan Behrman Tweets Leaked Audio from White House Correspondents

2020 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Dan “Taxation is Theft” Behrman yesterday tweeted the following YouTube video of audio allegedly picked up from a hot mic before a recent White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing.  The audio features at least three White House reporters discussing the mortality rate of coronavirus and casting doubts on what has been reported for months:

REPORTER 1: You can take off your mask. The case mortality rate is like 0.1 to 0.3. That’s according to …
REPORTER 2: Is it really? That’s reassuring … Everybody here has been vaccinated anyway though.
REPORTER 1: USC and LA County Public Health came out with a study. They found that there are 7,000 cases in California. But they really believe that there are anywhere between 221,000 and 442,000 people who were infected.
REPORTER 2: Really?
REPORTER 1: Yeah
REPORTER 3: So that makes it 0.1 to 0.3?
REPORTER 1: Yeah
REPORTER 3: That’s a study they came out with or?
REPORTER 1: Yeah, it just came out today. So it suggests that the case mortality rate is about a tenth of what it seems to be.
REPORTER 2: Woah!
***CHATTER***
REPORTER 2: So it was a hoax?
REPORTER 1: No. I don’t believe it was a hoax.
***LAUGHTER***

With his Tweet, Behrman asks, “What do you guys think of this?”

12 thoughts on “Dan Behrman Tweets Leaked Audio from White House Correspondents

  1. paulie

    I don’t know if the tape is genuine. The study is. I think its biggest weakpoint is that deaths may be significantly higher than the official totals, because only people who died in hospitals (for the most part) and were tested for corona have been reported as covid deaths and because many tests give false negatives.

    But supposing mortality is 0.1 to 0.3 that’s not insignificant. With no vaccine or therapy, that’s still up to a million deaths in the US alone, and many more horrible illnesses which can easily overwhelm medical systems and leave lasting damage to the people who recover and their families. What’s more it can spread very quickly, with indications being that each person infects several others. Unchecked, the numbers mount very fast.

    Supposing the tape is genuine it’s not some kind of evidence of a conspiracy reporters are in on. They are not given any kind of special knowledge, much less wisdom. It reads to me more like people in a situation they know is dangerous trying to reassure themselves and each other that it isn’t necessarily all that bad. It’s a normal human reaction. I’ve been in situations like that and had similar sorts of conversations. It didn’t make any of my friends any more bulletproof, though.

  2. dL

    But supposing mortality is 0.1

    Easy to suppose. That’s the standard mortality rate of seasonal influenza. Your histrionics over that scenario is silly.

  3. paulie

    0.1 to 0.3, which is in itself too low because for the most part only deaths in hospitals with tests are being counted, and many tests yield false negatives. And then there’s this:

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/04/experts-demolish-studies-suggesting-covid-19-is-no-worse-than-flu/

    But even if we were to go with 0.1, it’s still much worse than the flu. It spreads more quickly, and there’s no vaccine or effective treatment. Therefore, an 80% infection rate at 0.1 deaths would still be over a quarter of a million deaths in the US in one year, several times the worst flu season in recent decades. There’s also the prolonged and severe illness many people who recover suffer through and the terror that many people experience because there’s no real protection against it so they have to always wonder if they’re next.

  4. dL

    But even if we were to go with 0.1, it’s still much worse than the flu. It spreads more quickly, and there’s no vaccine or effective treatment.

    Actually, you have it ass backwards. Seasonal influenza at 0.1 with a vaccine versus covid-19 at the same rate 0.1 sans vaccine would make the flu, ceteris paribus, more lethal. I would also add that depending on the strain of virus that dominates the flu season, there may or may not be an effective vaccine. I’m generally loathe to play message board epidemiologist, but a basic competency with middle school algebra and quick encyclopedia look up RE: the various influenza strains is all the background you need to to make that deduction.

    There’s also the prolonged and severe illness many people who recover suffer through

    Since covid-19 just hit the world months ago, your sudden expertise on covid-19 prolonged recovery illness models is just a bit dubious.

    the terror that many people experience because there’s no real protection against it so they have to always wonder if they’re next.

    I’m not concerned with people’s irrational fears. The Stanford and New York Antibody studies suggest something more like a 5 per 1000, not 1 per thousand(which would be consistent with flu). There is no evidence as of yet to suggest covid-19 is as (relatively) benign as seasonal flu. However, reading you parrot nonsense that masks are a “hope and a prayer” protection and chicken little 0.1 mortality rates is too fucking much…

  5. paulie

    Actually, you have it ass backwards.

    No, you do. Supposing the flu is at 0.1% and kills 60k people in an average year, that means 60 million people get the flu. The reason it’s not 300 million or so is some combination of herd immunity, vaccination and r (how many people each person who gets the flu infects on average). Herd immunity and vaccination don’t yet exist for covid 19, and r is higher than flu, so if unchecked it’s quite likely to infect around 300 million in the first year or two. 0.1% of that is 300k, which is substantially worse than flu. There’s also the larger prevalence of severe illness in those who recover, which is far from insignificant.

    And that’s at 0.1%. Your own estimates range to 0.3% (around a million deaths at that infection rate) and 0.5% (around a million and a half US deaths in 1-2 years from covid).

  6. paulie

    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html

    CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9 million – 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 – 61,000 deaths annually since 2010.

    So we have had on the top end of annual flu deaths from Covid 19 in the past month alone with all the extreme social distancing measures, both forced and voluntary, and the year is far from over. That’s not counting many likely covid-19 deaths which were not diagnosed as such due to lack of testing.

  7. paulie

    There’s also the prolonged and severe illness many people who recover suffer through

    Since covid-19 just hit the world months ago, your sudden expertise on covid-19 prolonged recovery illness models is just a bit dubious.

    That’s not expertise. It’s elementary reading of the news.

    I’m not concerned with people’s irrational fears.

    They’re not irrational.

    The Stanford and New York Antibody studies suggest something more like a 5 per 1000, not 1 per thousand(which would be consistent with flu).

    5 per 1000, a higher infection spread rate than flu, and no vaccine or herd immunity = very rational fear. If it infects 10 times as many people (due to faster spread rate (higher r), no vaccine and no herd immunity) and kills 5 times as many out of the ones each infects that’s 50 times the annual death rate of the flu. And that’s a very rational basis for fear.

  8. dL

    5 per 1000, a higher infection spread rate than flu, and no vaccine or herd immunity = very rational fear. If it infects 10 times as many people (due to faster spread rate (higher r), no vaccine and no herd immunity) and kills 5 times as many out of the ones each infects that’s 50 times the annual death rate of the flu. And that’s a very rational basis for fear.

    5 per 1000 would indicate a mortality rate 5 times of seasonal flu, not 50. You have no clue what you are talking about, and I would suggest if you want to play message board epidemiologist that you devote a little more effort than a simple elementary reading of the news.

  9. paulie

    5 per 1000 would indicate a mortality rate 5 times of seasonal flu, not 50.

    Again, that would only be the case if infection rates were the same. I explained why they would be likely to be ten times or so higher, which multiplied by 5 yields 50. The CDC estimate for flu infections is 9-45 million per yer. With higher r, no vaccine and no herd immunity the unchecked infection rate for covid would be quite plausibly in the range of 250-300 million, so I estimated 10 times higher to simplify that down. It could be even worse than that: taking the lower end of CDC’s estimate, it may be 30 times higher.

    if you want to play message board epidemiologist

    I don’t. But I’ve read their popular explanations of what the statistics and chances are and why they think so. If you can’t grasp how the differing infection rate or r (spread rate) change the death rate even if the mortality rate among those infected is constant, however little of a clue I have is more than you have.

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