Saturday, April 25, 2020

Main Stupid Media

I was at Mom's yesterday and most of today.

I was listening to the news as she bounced from station-to-station. Mom is a new junkie.

One of the stations (CBS, maybe) breathlessly listed hypertension, obesity and diabetes as risk factors.

From memory, they claimed

50% of the patients on ventilators had high blood pressure
40% were obese
30% were diabetic.

Let's look at those predisposing conditions in turn.

According to the CDC, 45% of the population has hypertension under the new, more stringent guidelines implemented about a year ago. Source

According to the CDC, "The prevalence of obesity (in the United States) was 42.4% in 2017~2018." Source It should be noted that a person who is 5'-9" tall and weighs 203 pounds is considered obese.

According to the CDC, about 10% of the population has diabetes and another 20% has a made-up condition called "pre-diabetes". Added together they come to 30%.

The term "risk factor" suggests that the person with that characteristic is at HIGHER risk of having a problem. Yet, on the face of it, the people ending up in the hospital and on ventilators don't look any different than the base, United States population. 50% HT vs 45% base-rate. 40% obese vs 40% base rate. 30% diabetic vs 30% baserate (if you lump in pre-diabetic).

But if...
But if by "hypertension" they mean severe hypertension like systolic pressures of +150mm Hg

and if by "obese" they mean BMIs over 40 (or our 5'-9" person must weight more than 270 pounds)

and if by diabetes they mean real, diagnosed diabetes and don't lump in pre-diabetic...

Well, then they should say so. Numbers like that have predictive capability. For example, 10% of adult Americans are severely obese so if 40% of the people plugged into ventilators are severely obese then that means they have a four times greater chance of C-19 problems than the general population.


  1. In other words, the same group of people who need to be vigilant during every flu/cold/virus season in the past. Add in, people of advanced age, previous lung problems, cancer patients, cardiovascular problems and screwed up immune systems.

    I fit in several of those categories. The hysteria all of a sudden for this go-round makes very little sense. Except, from what I've been reading, somebody was playing with the genome of this particular virus and it got away from them. Fortunately, we are not dealing with 'The Stand' this time.

  2. Stupid? Maybe, but how have they gotten this far being influential and low IQ? I suspect the news is chosen and reported to achieve a purpose, since most outlets present the stories fairly uniform. If I don't really want to read up on something to get to the bottom of it, I just assume everything on tv is way off from being accurate. Which means I don't trust them. The last news and commentary reporter I trusted was Paul Harvey.

  3. This may.not be involved in the above statistics but my wife was reading that metformin is either directly affecting the disease or is contraindicated for some of the treatments and leads to a higher mortality rate. As I understand it metformin is used for the prediabetic patients especially those who are obese.

    1. Howard, I hadn't heard anything about metformin but ACE inhibitors like lisinopril, which most diabetics take for high blood pressure seems to compound the problem. Ah! It appears that a combination of metformin and antimalarial drugs increase the death rate in mice by 30-40%. Either one appears okay by itself but not together. Metformin is also used by people with a diagnosis of diabetes by itself or in combination with other medications. I use it with ACTOS, others use it with glipizide.

    2. I have A-fib and take lisinopril and a calcium channel blocker both of which have been implicated so I'm high risk. Living in rural Alaska makes it some what easier to distance from people. Our daughter who works in the local General store shops for us and drops things off. Stay healthy.


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