Social media giant’s “fact-checkers” are selling falsehoods and re-writing history
On the 5th of October, the WHO’s Dr Michale Ryan claimed “about 10%” of the global population had been infected with Sars-Cov-2. With an alleged death toll of roughly 1 million, that puts the infection-fatality ratio at roughly 0.14%.
He said it, we reported it. The maths is not disputable. And yet Facebook has flagged it as “misinformation”:
This is based on an article by Health Feedback, an “independent” fact-checker, which is shoddy, inaccurate and dishonest.
- They LIE about what Dr Ryan said.
- They cynically attempt to disguise this lie.
- They don’t understand how averages work.
- They ignore all the most recent IFR studies.
- They rely on old data for IFR estimates.
I’ll take these points in reverse order.
1. They rely on old data for IFR estimates. Their choices of data sources are incredibly poor. They cite a twitter thread from February for the IFR of flu, instead of any studies or journals.
They also cite the CDC’s IFR number for COVID, without mentioning it’s based on a “meta analysis” from May which has never been peer-reviewed and included modelling data rather than being based purely on seroprevalence studies.
2. They ignore all the most recent IFR studies. Literally dozens of studies have been done on the IFR of Sars-Cov-2 to this point, many of them published and peer-reviewed in just the last few weeks. The average IFR in these studies has been much lower than 0.68% (usually between 0.1 and 0.2).
The “recent studies” healthfeedback cite are from June at the latest. They also never mention the immunological studies which suggest up to 80% of people may already have mucosal or cellular-based immunity, potentially dropping the IFR even further.
3. They don’t know how averages work. Health Feedback claim:
the 0.14% IFR estimate fails to account for the extensive IFR variability between populations due to a different distribution of risk factors such as age, ethnicity, access to healthcare, and underlying health conditions in each population
Which is total nonsense. Of course the IFR accounts for those differences. Some people are more at risk from Covid than others, some people are at almost no risk. The IFR takes those differences into account, and produces an average overall chance of death. That’s how averages work.
4. They LIE about what Dr Ryan said. In the introduction of the health feedback article, the author writes [our emphasis]:
Ryan said that, according to the WHO’s best estimates, the virus that causes COVID-19 could have infected up to 10% of the global population.
The claim incorrectly estimates the IFR for COVID-19, because it includes recent data and assumes that 10% of the population was infected by the virus, which was the upper bound of an estimate from the WHO of the global frequency of COVID-19 infections.
And then a third time:
The claim that COVID-19 is no more dangerous than the flu is based on a misinterpretation of the WHO’s estimate that a maximum of 10%
These are all LIES.
Ryan never, ever, said it was an “upper bound”. And the author of the “fact-check” knows this, because they very carefully never quote his actual words.
In fact, they go out of their way to avoid it. The only time they quote Dr Ryan directly is when they give him space to lie about what he said, which he did on October 12th [again, our emphasis]:
I believe what I said was that many studies had demonstrated that 10% or less of people had been infected
Dr Michael Ryan didn’t say “up to 10%”, he didn’t say it was a “maximum” or an “upper bound”. And he certainly didn’t say “10% or less”.
He said this:
Our current best estimates tell us that about ten percent of the global population may have been infected by this virus.
“About 10%” is their “current best estimate”.
“Current best estimate”, or “best guess”, is a point estimation. A statistical term with a solid definition. It means the most likely value of all posited values. It is not, and never has been, a “maximum” or an “upper bound”.
5. They cynically attempt to disguise this lie. Health Feedback lied, and they know they lied. More than that, they deliberately use a secondary source to try and cover-up their lie.
They don’t link to our original article, but instead link to an archived version of Zero Hedge’s reblog of the article.
Unlike our original, Zero Hedge does not quote Dr Michael Ryan directly OR link to the audio of him speaking. This means that Health Feedback chose to link to a source which does not show up their lie. That cannot be accidental.
They also label the author of the claim as “anonymous”, and never mention either myself or OffG, despite both my name and our URL being prominently displayed on Zero Hedge.
This, again, can only be done to make sure people don’t read our original article and see that Health Feedback lied.
Health Feedback deliberately and cynically lied about the claim, and then linked to second-hand sources to cover up that lie.
Is this “fact-checking”? Or is that manipulation and obfuscation?
Who is really spreading “misinformation” here?