making COVID-19 look "much worse" than Spanish flu with a little Wikipedia revisionism

Zenaan Harkness zen at
Wed Mar 11 05:40:59 PDT 2020

WHO, CDC and Wikipedia revisionism FTW :D

How to make COVID-19 look "much worse" than the Spanish flu, with a little Wikipedia revisionism:

  Wikipedia Slashes Spanish Flu Death Rate

    ... The trouble with that is the higher range of this [REVISIONIST] estimate (50 million as 2% of total cases) gives a figure of 2.5 billion total cases. Which is higher than the entire population of the world at the time! (1.8 billion).

    So something is clearly amiss.

    Worse still, the WHO is the only source we have found so far that claims a death toll of 20 million. Most sources, such as the CDC (and see here), broadly agree that between 50 million and 100 million people died of the Spanish Flu (although one recent study wildly differs, see below). In order for 50-100 million deaths to be 2-3% of total cases there would have had to be 2.5 billion – 5 billion cases.

    Obviously totally impossible.

    Clearly there is something wrong with that newly revised figure of 2-3%. The only way to make it work is to also dramatically revise downward the number of deaths. And indeed there’s evidence of editors trying to do that on Wiki with someone citing a December 2018 study
    which used a controversial
    “new methodology” to establish a mortality figure of just 17 million. Given that this number has previously been estimated for India alone, this is remarkable revisionism.

    ... Why the sudden decision to vastly downgrade the estimated CFR for the 1918 pandemic and source to a rather obscure WHO article that doesn’t even focus on that issue? And, more importantly, why does this extreme downgrade still exist on the page even when editors are pointing out the impossibility of the figures?

    At least this new editorial policy by Wiki is well-timed for those looking to stoke fear, and unfortunate for those trying to bring reason to bear. It allows the media and others to cite the newly downgraded 2-3% CFR as evidence that COVID19 is as dangerous as, or more dangerous than, the Spanish Flu and will end up killing millions. That’s some nice clickbait right there.


More information about the cypherpunks mailing list