In grade school in the early 1960s teachers taught the concept of karma, that our fates are decided and so out of our hands.

Looking down from a winding road at a crashed bus, a man was asked if guardrails could have prevented the terrible crash and resulting loss of life.

"Quite possibly, but it is karma," he replied.

Global statistics starkly show that the United States, compared to other affluent nations, is performing poorly in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in more cases and more deaths in relation to population than any other nation in the world.

And the high numbers aren't the result of the U.S. testing more, it's a result of leadership ignoring its scientists and physicians and not following a clear and aggressive policy.

“From the very beginning, this outbreak has really been mismanaged in terms of what the government response should have been,” Johns Hopkins infectious disease specialist Amesh Adalja told a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reporter for the article, “The lessons Canada can take from the U.S.’s mishandling of Covid-19.


On President Donald Trump's assertion that the U.S. case count is high because of more effective testing, that's partially true, but not in a good way.

In the U.S., one in 17 tests positive. In Canada, that ratio is one in 110.

The United States lagged well behind Canada and most other developed nations in taking the COVID-19 threat seriously, and began aggressively testing much later as well.

Had the testing begun at the outset, cases would have been identified as they occurred. By starting the testing later, you get the cumulative total, resulting in a higher positivity rate, the ratio of positive results to tests administered.

According to Johns Hopkins, if a positivity rate is too high, "it may indicate that the state is only testing the sickest patients who seek medical attention and is not casting a wide enough net to know how much of the virus is spreading within its communities."

A low rate of positivity in testing data can be seen as "a sign that a state has sufficient testing capacity for the size of their outbreak."

The World Health Organization recommends a positivity rate of five percent or lower for a period of at least 14 days before giving consideration to easing social distancing restrictions and reopening economies.

As of 3 a.m. EDT today, 24 U.S. states have positivity rates higher than five percent, including Idaho, ranked the tenth highest. Arizona, Florida and Nevada are the top three, in order, with Arizona above 20-percent. Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, has a 100-percent positivity rate.

"When I look at the U.S. scenario, it's almost like watching a train wreck in slow motion, because a lot of it is quite predictable, mostly because they were really, really behind on getting testing started," Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious disease physician at the University of Alberta, told the CBC. "They're expanding their testing now, but the percent positivity of their test is still going up, which is horrifyingly scary."


Montana daily COVID-19 count

Nations that practiced what their scientists and physicians preached, enforcing social distancing, masks and personal hygiene from the outset are now slowly easing out of the constraints and restrictions.

The U.S., having started late and ended early, may now have little choice but to reinstate even more strict isolation protocols for a longer period of time or, as is more likely given the current political climate, simply watch on as a virus takes its full toll.

Meanwhile, Montana, with a population of 960,566, about seven folks per square mile and one of the nation's lowest positivity rates, added 56 more COVID-19 cases between 10 a.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. today, six of them in Flathead County, bringing the total count to 919. Of them, 609 have recovered and 22 have perished.


Idaho daily COVID-19 count

Idaho, with a 2020 population expected to surpass 1.75-million and a density of about 20 people per square mile, has not updated its case counts since Saturday, but last counted 171 new cases to bring the total count to 5,319. The next update is 5 p.m. today.

Just north of us, British Columbia, with a 2019 population of 5.07-million just under five people per square kilometre (about 13 per square mile), counted 10 new cases Friday for a total of 2,878 cases. Of those, 2,545 recovered and 174 have died.

The U.S. count as reported by the Centers for Disease Control is 2,504,175 as of Sunday, up 44,703 from the day before, with 125,484 deaths, 508 on Saturday. As of 8:33 a.m. today, Johns Hopkins reports 2,557,980 total U.S. Covid-19 cases and 125,864 dead and 685,164 recovered.

In Canada, 218 new cases were reported Sunday. Johns Hopkins this morning reports 105,293 total cases, with 8,583 deaths and 68,562 recovered.


British Columbia daily COVID-19 count

Worldwide, 10,189,350 have been infected with novel coronavirus, with 502,802 dead and 5,167,274 recovered.


Mike Weland has been a journalist since serving as battalion Hometown News specialist in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division beginning in 1979. He is publisher, editor and reporter at, which he launched in March, 2018.

(4) comments


KVT is such a garbage fake news rumor mill. We should take up a collection to finance Weland to emigrate to the country he fawns over so much. It’s obvious he feels like a fish out of water here. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was only here to subvert the sentiments of our community.

Mike Weland Staff
Mike Weland

I'm sorry you feel that way, but I am also sorry that courtesy and neighborliness are apparently not in your lexicon in a venue in which you can hide behind a pseudonym and throw such baseless accusations without a shred of foundation. I wouldn't be surprised to find you're more of a newcomer here than I am based on your apparent idea of the sentiments o f our community, as by your rudeness you obviously do not know them.


I'm not sure what the correct description of this piece is (TDS, editorial masked as a news article, or just a heavily flawed argument) so I'll just call it fake news. This is a fake news article. What's the quote popularized by Twain? "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

First, I'm genuinely sorry that someone taught you that karma was a real thing in school. That's pretty awful. There are other explanations to why bad things happen to good people and it has to do with a larger discussion about faith.

Second, karma has nothing to do with our current situation - unless karma is a euphemism for China.

Third, the name of one politician is named in this piece - Donald Trump. I'm all for accountability, so name dropping is fine. But where is the name Andrew Cuomo - the Democrat governor from New York? You know, the guy who decided to mandate that COVID-infected patients MUST be admitted to nursing homes. Nursing homes where 42 percent of fatalities have come from. Over forty percent. So you use statistics to try to show how poorly America is doing and say that 125,864 people have died while stating that it's due to a "result of leadership ignoring its scientists and physicians and not following a clear and aggressive policy." Sanitation, masks, and social distancing are useless when we stuff infected people into nursing homes that kill over 50,000 elderly. Write that article.

You think we should have more aggressive policies? If we lock everyone down for 3 more months and destroy the economy completely, would that be karma? If the economy is SO bad that everyone wants to elect Biden, would that be karma? If we genuinely want to save lives, let's stop playing politics and keep infection away from the elderly and our most at-risk. We can do that without permanently damaging our entire restaurant, manufacturing, and service sectors.

Testing is great but it doesn't cure COVID. Numbers are good to have but they dont keep infected patients out of nursing homes.

COVID has a 99% survival rate. I could leave it there but that's what you call dishonest statistics. When you're over 50, the survival rate goes down and keeps plummeting. That's not karma either.


Please show me where in the state or U.S. Constitution our "leadership" is given the authority to take "aggressive" measures to force our businesses to close and to remain in our homes due to a virus? They can make recommendations and urge us to abide by them, but their constitutional authority falls short of being able to force us to follow it.

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