Covid-19: ‘Relatively no effect on deaths in the United States’

The statement

‘Johns Hopkins published this study on Sunday which posits that Covid is nowhere near the disaster we’re being told it is. I would summarize it for you or offer pull-quotes but honestly you just have to read it yourself because it’s mind-blowing. The original article is now deleted from the Johns Hopkins website … for some reason. Luckily the internet is forever and it’s available via the Wayback Machine.’

Following are just  two paragraphs from that article:

‘According to new data, the U.S. currently ranks first in total COVID-19 cases, new cases per day and deaths. Genevieve Briand, assistant program director of the Applied Economics master’s degree program at Hopkins, critically analyzed the effect of COVID-19 on U.S. deaths using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in her webinar titled “COVID-19 Deaths: A Look at U.S. Data.”


These data analyses suggest that in contrast to most people’s assumptions, the number of deaths by COVID-19 is not alarming. In fact, it has relatively no effect on deaths in the United States.’

The source

Doc Holliday, writing about Professor Genevieve Briand (

Dr Genevieve Briand is Assistant Director for the Master’s in Applied Economics program at Johns Hopkins University. 

On 22 November 2020 the Johns Hopkins News-Letter reported on a webinar presented by Briand entitled ‘COVID-19 Deaths: A Look at U.S. Data.’

Four days later the News-Letter removed the article from its website.  The reasoning?

‘It was brought to our attention that our coverage of Genevieve Briand’s presentation ‘COVID-19 Deaths: A Look at U.S. Data’ has been used to support dangerous inaccuracies that minimize the impact of the pandemic.  We decided on Nov. 26 to retract this article to stop the spread of misinformation, as we noted on social media. However, it is our responsibility as journalists to provide a historical record. We have chosen to take down the article from our website, but it is available here as a PDF.’

My take on it

I agree with ‘Doc Holliday’ that the article is well worth reading.  This is precisely the sort of analysis that we need in order to restore some perspective to the discussion. 

Universities are supposed to be seats of learning, and discovery, and debate.  This censorial behaviour does not honour that purpose.  What it does do is protect and enshrine the status quo, and serve vested interests.

Is it coincidental that JHU hosted ‘Event 201, A Global Pandemic Exercise’, in October 2019?  The participants in that simulation exercise openly discussed the challenge of keeping public commentators ‘on message’.  Strategies include social media becoming active participants that can ‘flood the zone’ in order to displace discordant information.  (And we have certainly witnessed that.) 

But who gets to decide what is accurate?  Clearly not ourselves, if that option is being taken out of our hands.

Finkel: blueprint for destruction?

The quote?

“The Finkel report is a blueprint for destruction — of the Australian economy and destruction of the Liberal Party.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would do himself a huge favour if he dumped the irrevocably flawed Finkel ­report immediately. Moreover, he would save the nation and his party from obliteration.

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel presented a document which only highlights how ridiculous Australia’s political and media classes have been with their kneejerk responses to the ­global Green-Labor ­inspired hysteria over the ­intensely ­disputed claims of global warming.

His report fails at every level.”


The source?

Piers Akerman ( )


My take on it?

If you are relying on the oft-quoted 97% consensus, don’t.  You can’t prove science by polling:

“In fact all sceptics that I know of that that work in this business, all are part of that 97 per cent because the 97 per cent includes people who think humans have some influence on climate.  Well that’s a fairly innocuous statement. The question is, How much?  And How much influence makes all the difference in the world if you’re going to be basing policy decisions, carbon taxes, regulations, legislation, whatever, on them.  It makes all the difference in the world exactly how much warming we can expect due to human activities.”  (Dr Roy Spencer, US Senate Hearing, 2013)

The research paper famously quoted in 2016 by then-President Obama (Cook et al: ) in fact misquotes the IPCC in its opening paragraph.  Cook et al say:

Climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that humans are causing recent global warming. The consensus position is articulated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) statement that ‘human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century’.

The IPCC actually says (eg ):

‘It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.’

Five prefacing words make all the difference.  Cook et al present something as proven fact;  the IPCC presents it as a probability.   The latter at least reflects science;  the former is mis-representation.

The cause of any such global warming is disputed:

“The IPCC has been almost totally silent on potential natural explanations for global warming.  Oh they mention a couple of external influences such as volcanic eruptions and small fluctuations in solar output as possible minor players.  But they have totally ignored the 800-pound gorilla in the room – natural internal chaotic fluctuations in the climate system.” (Dr Roy Spencer, US Senate Hearing, 2008)

The quantum of that postulated warming has reportedly been exaggerated:

“We have discovered why previous sensitivity estimates have been so high and so uncertain.  They have been contaminated by natural cloud variability.  And we have even developed two methods of removing that contamination.  An analysis of six years of our latest and most accurate NASA satellite data reveals evidence of very low climate sensitivity.  When translated into an estimate of future global warming it would be less than less than 1°C by 2100, well below the range of the IPCC’s estimates of future warming.”  (Spencer, 2008, op cit)

One might well ask, Why the blame, and why the exaggeration?

“In the early days of the IPCC I was visiting the Head of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy – the Director, Dr Robert Watson, who later became the first Chairman of the IPCC. He informed me and a work associate with me that since we now had started to regulate ozone-depleting substances under the 1987 Montreal Protocol, the next goal in his mind was to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning.  This was nearly twenty years ago.  There was no mention of the scientific basis for that goal.   So as you can see, from the beginning of the IPCC process it has been guided by desired policy outcomes, not science.”  (Spencer, 2008, op cit)

Our land abounds with nature’s gifts, including high grade coal.  The reigning paradigm will devalue those assets and sell them off cheaply, to be burned overseas where pollution controls are generally less stringent;  or leave them in the ground, sacrificing our comparative advantage and general prosperity while the smoke cloud from a myriad of Indian buffalo dung fires continues to waft across southeast Asia:

“If they can take something as beautiful as the science that Isaac Newton created and pervert it to the point where it can cause us to cause the deaths of billion of people by withdrawing their energy supplies, then we have failed.”  (Dr Art Robinson, founder of the Petition Project (‘31,487 scientists say No to alarm’), International Conference on Climate Change, 2014)

The science is not being given a fair hearing.  A visit to Youtube will turn up multiple cases of institutional scientists who have been muzzled by their employers and/or ridiculed by nay-sayers for expressing non-aligned points of view.

The reigning paradigm closes out the opportunity to evaluate all relevant emerging technologies, including coal and nuclear, on their merits.

Environmental protection is important to me, but it is not my only goal. I am all for so-called renewable and ‘clean’ energy sources (Who isn’t?), and the technological advances in these areas are exciting.  Their candidature does however need to be considered honestly and in objective terms, including true cost, free of cross-subsidisation, free of spurious alarmism, and cognisant of the ongoing need for reliable and affordable base load electricity, whatever its source.

I don’t think of carbon dioxide as dirty, or dangerous.  It’s what plants use in order to make biomass and oxygen.  If they have more, they do better, and so do we.