I’ll Take The Over


An occupation that is currently hurting is that of the bookmaker. With professional sports almost completely shut down there simply isn’t much betting going on. Political betting is still alive and well. President Trump’s performance on Sunday night presented an over/under line opportunity for the bookmakers; whether there will be more than (the over) or less than (the under). Trump predicted 100,000 American deaths will be attributed to the coronavirus in 2020. I’ll take the over. Let’s explore.    

Sunday night Trump took to the friendly airwaves of Fox News to do a special in front of the Lincoln Monument. In Springfield, Illinois Lincoln – who was known as Honest Abe – had to be rolling over in his grave. I did not watch Trump’s show – I was reading. The Monday morning papers told the tale of the lies and misleading statements Trump made while busy patting himself on the back for a job well done, (in the Donald Dome, another day that ends in the letter “Y”.)

One statement that caught my eye and I want to discuss today is that Trump had again raised the bar on American coronavirus deaths to 100,000. Remember just a few weeks back it was none or maybe one? The latest line had been 60,000 which we blew through last week according to the official numbers (more about them later). With Trump’s track record and just our current pace, even sans a second wave in the fall 100,000 is a low estimate.

With Trump’s encouragement and inane tweets vocal protesters have been out calling for the reopening of America and the lifting of all social distancing guidelines. Basically they are saying: nothing to fear here folks, disregard the 2,000 Americans dying every day from the coronavirus.

If you want to know how bad it really is I am willing to take the over without a second wave in the fall. Considering the actions of opening up way too soon – many states haven’t even hit their peak yet – a second wave is a sure thing. When it happens – or in the worst case scenario which looks ever more likely – we don’t get a gap; blame Trump and his gun carrying supporters. (What are they going to do? Shoot the virus?)

I seldom look at the comment sections of newspapers but there is one very small paper whose comments I monitor once or twice a week. I do this because most of the comments come from far right wingers and they are actually humorous in their stupidity. One that caught my eye came from a commenter disputing the official coronavirus numbers which the newspaper in question published in their article. The commenter’s statement started with the assertion that the numbers were hugely inflated. They went on to say that doctors and hospitals were being paid three times as much if they reported deaths as caused by the coronavirus. Though never clearly stated (the English language is not the strong suit of most of the right wing commenters) but the implication is that the government, apparently via the CDC, is paying physicians and hospital to report deaths. So what this “very knowledgeable person” is saying (and more dangerously is not alone in believing) is that an Executive branch agency of Trump’s government is actually paying people/entities to inflate a number Trump is trying (with some success) to suppress. In what world can you square that or find it even remotely believable?

In reality the official numbers are demonstrably low. When comparing 2020 deaths to 2019 deaths, the increase is significantly larger than the number officially attributed to the coronavirus. Where did the rest of the increase come from? I doubt it was caused by the lack of betting action.

I real life I am not a gambling man; one of the vices that never bite me. An over wager in this case is difficult to classify as gambling in that it is almost impossible to see the element of risk involved.

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