I’m sure this will not be a popular posts for many who support our Governor Gretchen Whitmer and her 73 Executive Orders and Stay at Home order extensions, but I’m going to do it anyway!
I think we need to get our state reopened at a much faster pace than she is planning on. We have achieved the goal of “flattening the curve” and I have the numbers to prove that. I think we are being presented with numbers to make things appear worse than they really are. While the numbers are accurate, I think they are being presented to us in a deceiving way to make things seem worse than they might really be.
I’M A NUMBERS GUY
No matter what the situation is, I have always wanted to look at the “numbers” — the data to support the case.
Over the years I’ve learned that by presenting just the numbers you want, you can pretty much create whatever story you want…you just have to find the right combination of numbers to get the results you need.
And I’m not talking about falsifying any numbers. Using the data you have, you can present just about any case you’d like.
Let me show you what I mean…
Every day the state’s website gives us the total number of new confirmed cases a couple of different ways:
You’ll notice the red line shows a cumulative total of cases. That number is always going to grow upward. It will n ever go down as it is the total number of confirmed cases over time (not the total number of ACTIVE confirmed cases).
The blue bars show us the number of daily confirmed cases. You will notice how those numbers go up and down and occasionally spike from time to time. What those numbers DON’T show us is a baseline. They DON’T show us how many tests are given each day to get that many positive confirmed cases. There is a reason for that…the number of daily tests changes from day to day. On April 1st, they performed 5,531 tests. On May 1st they tested 11,405 people…double the amount, but yet they only show us the number of positive results. Last Wednesday, 13,530 tests were performed. A little deceiving? I think so.
Every day (in the Coronavirus summary at the top of the blog) I post information from WDIV in Detroit. They are keeping track of the number of tests administered and the results. Using their data you can come up with what I think is actually a more true representation of what is happening… What PERCENTAGE of those being tested are coming back positive and how is that trending?
Using the data that is available from March 16th through May 6th I have created a graph showing the PERCENTAGE of positive cases that come back every day, regardless of how many people are being tested.
Notice how those numbers are trending downward very significantly. The highest percentage of tests coming back positive happened on April 6th, with 41.3% of those testing coming back positive. As of Wednesday, May 6th, only 8% of those tested had positive results.
LOOKING AT THE BIG PICTURE
I will admit that when you see the total number of confirmed cases at 46,326 people that is a pretty damn big number. But let’s step back and zoom out a little bit.
The total population in Michigan in 2019 was listed at 9,986,857 people. According to available data, as of Wednesday, 267,845 of all the people in Michigan have been tested for the Coronavirus. Dialing it down even more…there were a total of 46,326 confirmed cases. Of those people, unfortunately 4,393 have passed away (and my thoughts and prayers to anyone who has lost a loved one or friend). As of last Saturday we were told that 15,659 people had recovered from the virus.
So if you take the 46,326 confirmed cases and subtract out the deaths and recovered cases, that would be 26,274 current confirmed cases that we know about. That’s .26% of the state’s population that has the Coronavirus from the numbers we are being provided.
Here is what that looks like…
That’s a pretty small little piece of the pie that is shutting down our state.
LEGISLATING FOR STUPIDITY
It has often been said that you can’t make laws to protect the stupid.
I think our state shutdown in a prime example of that.
The Governor is making us all stay home because of the people out there who won’t take the precautions to protect themselves. So, now we all have to worry about protecting others.
I’m going to be very selfish here. I’m going to protect ME. I’m going to do what is right for ME. It’s not my responsibility to look after you and make sure you are safe and protected. Sure, if I were a parent, I would be responsible for my children, but as adults it is each man and woman for themselves.
And the very people that the Governor is worried about protecting — those too stupid to take safety precautions on their own — are the same very people who won’t listen to her order to “Stay at Home” anyway. So at that point, why bother with locking everyone else down and killing our economy?
“BUT WE ARE SAVING LIVES”
I always seem to get the argument that “we are saving lives” by locking down the state…
How many people have lost their jobs because of all of this?
1.3 million people in our state have filed for unemployment. Remember when I told you our state population was 9,986,857 people? That means that almost 8% of the population has filed for unemployment since this all began.
How many of these people will be in financial ruin? How many will lose their cars and homes? How many can’t pay their rent? How many people have put everything they’ve had into starting a business that is now closed and will never re-open? How many people are tapping into any retirement funds they may have just to survive?
The bad financial situation that many will suffer will obviously bring on depression for many. Some may go so far as to take their own lives because they feel there is no way out.
So, in the long run…are we really saving lives? Or just delaying the passing of some? And then there is the burden of dealing with debt collectors for many months to come as you try to play catch up on your bills that you couldn’t pay. That is if you even have a job to go back to when this is all over.
UNEMPLOYMENT IS A JOKE
I know there are some out there that will say, “well there is government assistance like the stimulus check or unemployment to help out these people”.
Don’t even get me fired up on this one!
I know several people (including myself), that are still waiting for their stimulus check.
As for unemployment, I know people that have been struggling to get that assistance for weeks and haven gotten no where.
I consider myself fortunate. I did get some unemployment! Not that it really helps much. It’s a very flawed system and here’s why…
In my case, selling real estate is my main income. I am a licensed realtor in the state of Michigan. When Governor Whitmer deemed real estate as a non-essential business back in March, it pretty much put a hold on any buying or selling of homes. Usually the months of March, April, and May are the busiest months of the year in the real estate world…not this year.
Without going into too much detail of my personal finances, I am losing probably on the low side, $3,000-4,000 a month in income by real estate not being an essential business. (We were allowed to get back to business last Thursday.) I also have part time income (including working at the radio station) and other jobs I have been working for a couple of years now along with being a realtor.
As far as unemployment goes, oh sure they will help me out to try to make up for the $3,000-4,000 monthly loss…with a total of $112.33 (after taxes) in unemployment benefits for the last six weeks. That’s $18.72 per week in assistance! Gee thanks! Now I’m good at stretching a dollar, but I don’t think I can stretch about $20 into $3,000!
And I won’t be back to making what I made in real estate anytime in the near future. With so many people out of work, people will not be buying or selling homes. Unfortunately, many may be losing their homes. Who is going to be able to get a mortgage when they are currently not working, and don’t know if they will even have a job in the coming months?
“BUT WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE”
Part of the reason for keeping everyone at home is the fear of what will happen with the number of cases of the Coronavirus in the future if everyone is back out and about.
Sure, we don’t know that answer. We do know that answer about what will happen to our economy if this keeps going.
With every passing day, we lose more businesses that have to permanently close their doors. We have often said we don’t like how the big box stores and online companies are taking over… Well guess what, those are going to be about the only things that can survive the longer this keeps going.
There are often stories about how many people live paycheck to paycheck. Now, most of these people have to live with NO paycheck for over six weeks. What happens to these people and their finances? How many will be homeless? How many will have to file for bankruptcy? How many will have exhausted what savings they may have had or maybe needed to tap into their retirement just to keep their head above water during this time?
And what about those bills they couldn’t pay? Those creditors aren’t going away. They will be hounding these people for months or years to come as people try to rebuild their lives.
HOW LONG WILL IT BE?
The current Stay at Home order goes through Thursday, May 28th. I personally think we will see it extend through the month of June. “Independence Day”, will have a new meaning for all of us this year.
With every passing day, our future gets dimmer and dimmer. We can’t go on like this. We have to get things back opened up and get our lives back to the new normal we are all going to have to live with. Each day makes it worse…not better.
The bottom line here is just make sure you take the precautions needed to stay healthy. Stay at home if you can, social distance yourself from others, wear a mask if you feel inclined to do so (although I find myself touching my face way too much while wearing a mask — not sure if that is counter productive for me), wash your hands, and do what YOU need to do to protect yourself.
This isn’t about protecting each other anymore. We don’t need the Governor telling us what we can’t do anymore. We need to do the right thing and protect ourselves, take precautions and get things going.
“The longer we wait, the longer it is going to take to recover — if we even can.” That statement rings true not only for the Coronavirus, but our future as well.
OK, I’m stepping down and putting my soapbox away now!
If you have any comments on the above stories, please leave your remarks below…