NIH Head's Shocking Innumeracy
By David Henderson
I think traditionally people kind of considered, well, you know, kids aren’t going to get that sick with this. It [sic] more than 400 children have died of COVID-19. And right now we have almost 2,000 kids in the hospital, many of them in ICU, some of them under the age of four. So anybody who tries to tell you, well, don’t worry about the kids, the virus won’t really bother them, that’s not the evidence. And especially with delta being so contagious, kids are very seriously at risk. And it’s up to all of us to do everything we can to protect them, as well as we’re trying to protective everybody else at the same time.
This is Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes of Health, being interviewed by Chris Wallace of Fox News on Sunday, August 15.
400 children have died of COVID-19 in 1.5 years. Compare that to overall fatalities. As Don Boudreaux points out at CafeHayek, this is “a paltry 0.76 percent of the total number of children deaths in America (52,672) over the same time period.”
Chris Wallace did not follow up with any question, let alone a skeptical question. That’s more forgivable because we expect our news people to be innumerate. But it’s shocking for a leading health professional, for whom data should be his bread and butter, to stir fear where little is justified.
Look at this part of his bio from the NIH site:
Dr. Collins is an elected member of both the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2007, and received the National Medal of Science in 2009. In 2020, he was elected as a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (UK) and was also named the 50th winner of the Templeton Prize, which celebrates scientific and spiritual curiosity.
That curiosity was certainly not on display in this interview.
The picture above is of Collins.