|From here, on Twitter.|
First look at the chart from the front page of the New York Times yesterday. The story: More Trump > less vaccine > more death. Simple, powerful narrative. (Trump is, in fact, vaccinated and has urged followers to vaccinate, but never mind...)
I’ve been following this stuff for a long time and when I saw the vax rates in the chart above, I thought “huh”? And sure enough they turn out to be wrong by a large amount.
Not my my stats. But by the stats in the New York Times itself. I’m a subscriber to their hourly-updated vaccine tracker. And according to their own tracker, the figures above are not correct. Here are (only some) of the correct figures, my corrections in red arrows.
|Y-axis is *un*vaccinated, so lower is better|
Click to enlarge
(Some of the unvaccinated rates for the Blue States will have come down as well. What the chart suggests is that all states are reducing unvaccinated rates and trending towards higher rates, whether Red or Blue). Added: I was wondering why would the NYT publish figures that are misleading and easily fact-checked. Well, one thing is they can count on most of their readers, including such respected ones as Dr Topol, not to do the fact-check, because the chart fits their priors so nicely. Also: the figures used in the chart, it seems, are from two weeks ago (that I don’t know why). Since then figures for all states have improved, with Red states (Rep) improving faster because they were further behind. As I write this, most states are close in overall vaccination rates. Could it be that the Times has an agenda here, to demonise Republicans? Surely not. They’re the “paper of record” after all. Right.
As to the smaller chart in the NYT clip above, on deaths in various counties, two comments: 1. New York State not included because of “data availability”, but it would substantially raise that Blue (Dem) line if it were included. 2. According to deaths per million since the pandemic began, Blue (Dem) states have the highest figures. (I do get that the NYT chart is for counties not states and that it’s for trailing two weeks not total deaths to date. But total deaths to date, per capita, are surely also a relevant data point, aren’t they?)
I looked yesterday at the figures for all those US states that are above the US average of deaths per million; 23 in number. Of those, 13 are Blue (Dem) states and 10 are Red (Dem). Another way of putting this is: States run by Democratic governors have most of the highest deaths per capita in the US since the pandemic began. That puts a rather different slant than the NYT front page story, doesn’t it? I mean it would be the opposite: “Covid policies are walloping Blue states”!
|Most states with above average of deaths per capita are Democrat-run|
A rather different narrative than the NYT headline above.
From Worldometer as at 28 September 2021
I’m not arguing that Republicans are vaccinating at the same rates as Democrats. They’re not. But there are also many others, including on the Left, and including Black American and Latino Americans, who are vaccinating at way lower rates than needed to control the pandemic. See here, for example.
I’m very pro-vaccine myself. We’ve all been fully jabbed here since the earliest we could. The Topol tweet above, the front page headline in the NYT, they don’t help. They divide the country. They divide the world.
The way to increase vaccine acceptance is by building trust -- as the Scandinavians have done -- and by persuasion. Not by calling people idiots, stupid, troglodytes. Glen Greenwald talks about this.
It strikes me that Sam Harris and Eric Topol and all their ilk are not helping things here. They’re dividing the country, even as they think they’re doing good. The road to hell… While the NYT, the paper of the 1619 project infamy, the erstwhile “paper of record”, publishes this tendentious tosh to signal the virtue of their readership, the uber-vaccinated.
To repeat: to reduce vaccine hesitancy, you have to convince, not criticise.