Dave Trabert is a lobbyist, not a scientist. He claims that real scientists are fear-mongering about COVID-19, aided by Gov. Kelly. Trabert is spokesperson for the radical libertarian think-tank Kansas Policy Institute. It is backed by the Wichita Koch brothers, who have opposed all forms of government other than criminal justice and national defense. Unsurprisingly Trabert’s counter-fear-mongering gets everything wrong: science, economics, policy and simple facts.
Policy: Trabert falsely compares COVID-19 with pneumonia. Pneumonia deaths have many disparate causes, have no simple policy solutions and are stabilized. COVID-19 deaths have a unified cause, are expanding all out of control and have known policy solutions.
Economics: Trabert apparently believes that most parents are willing to send kids to dangerous schools and that most people are willing to shop in infected stores in order to revive the economy during a raging epidemic.
Science: Trabert claims that the COVID-19 PCR test cutoff level is set too high because it allows some false positives and overtreats some individuals. He neglects to point out that minimizing false positives leads to maximizing false negatives — which means sending thousands of infected people away untreated and passing the disease on to others.
Trabert also claims that COVID-19 deaths may be overstated. The scientific consensus is that they are understated.
Facts: Contrary to Trabert, KDHE Secretary Dr. Norman is looking at a variety of indicators and not simply new case counts. Trabert also claims "data manipulation" but fails to provide a single example.
It is true that we need a careful discussion of the costs and benefits of various policy measures. This kind of politicized screed against all policy as such prevents rather than advances that discussion.
David Burress, Lawrence