Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Reject the Lies, Damned Lies, and (false) Statistics about the COVID-19 epidemic

Imagine someone said: “Every year, a certain number of people die in traffic and it doesn’t matter if you educate 6-year olds or teenagers and how well-designed driving lessons are. The number stays the same.” Would you believe her? Of course not! But if she was a professor, an expert in statistics, and had a dozen graphs to prove her point? Still not!

If the professor had a Ph.D. in Philosophy and a BSc in Physics and Math, was an Army Major General, chair of a Space Agency and a National Council for Research and Development, head of a Security Studies Program at a University, and a former Member of Parliament? Still not!

Now, if you find that she was not pained by the loss of life in traffic but rather by all the costs of these educational efforts? Then you would have the shameless motive for saying such utter nonsense.


In real life, we have in Israel a professor with a Ph.D. in Philosophy and a BSc in Physics and Mathematics, who was a Major General in the IDF, chairman of the Space Agency and a National Council for Research and Development, head of a Security Studies Program at Tel Aviv University, and a former Member of Knesset for the extreme left Kadima Party.

He prior declared that he’s pained by … not the loss of life or the potential loss of life from COVID-19 but by the losses in the economy. “We are paying NIS 100 billion a month because of this closure.”

And then he comes with a theory (that he doesn’t test) that, no matter what one does, lockdown, social distancing or nothing, the epidemic will die down in 8 weeks. A dozen graphs must prove his absurd point.

I’ve warned you about this before. Smart people with no epidemiological insight and with financial and political biases and possibly vain motives.


The greatest “sin” in statistics is cherry-picking: that you select examples that make your stats come out the way you want. So, I only have to show one prominent example that does not fit his wishful “thinking.”

The example is quickly found. China. Followed by two more.

COVID-19 is short for CoronaVirus Disease 2019. The first infection was at the end of November 2019. The Chinese extreme 10-week lockdown lasted until the end of March 2020. Not 8 weeks. 4 months = 17 weeks!

Another glaring example that the professor leaves out. Taiwan. Six cases. Not 6%. Six cases on 23.6 million people!! Nothing 4 weeks exponential growth of the epidemic, 2 weeks plateau, 2 weeks disappearance. Why? Good anti-epidemic measures. No curve to flatten.

Israel is also an example where the disaster was contained early by the professor’s political opponent, Netanyahu. Of course, the lockdown did produce an enormous saving of lives. You don’t need statistics for that. One example suffices. If I’d have continued my normal life, I would have been infected and would have had a reasonable chance to die from it.

Now, it is possible that in Iran and Turkey, where the authorities did nothing to stop the epidemic, the infection ‘also’ dies down in 8 weeks. But that is not because it mysteriously would have no ‘power’ anymore to infect but because so many people then have been infected (and sent to bed to heal or die) that the virus won’t find uninfected people so easily anymore. But at what cost! Thousands of unnecessary deaths.

Reminds me of a joke our Dutch peerless politically genial standup comedian Wim Kan made during the Cold War. “Russians are experimenting with a sheep and a lion in one cage. It goes very well. Really. It goes very well. It cost a lot of sheep but it goes very well.”

You don’t need lockdown. An epidemic tempers out in 8 weeks anyway. Yeah. And then we would have had, like in Italy, Spain, the UK, and the US, thousands of deaths. For the economy, so it’s worth it? Scandalous!


The author knows statistics and their tricks but is totally clueless about 101 epidemiology, so he treats countries as uniform unites. Anyone with a little sechel (brains) can understand that, now the infection numbers in Israel are falling, some Arab villages in the North still need to go on total lockdown immediately because they just had an infection explosion.


Well-respected news outlets should not blindly trust anyone’s statistics, even from people with the highest qualifications. Rather, journalism is to ask uninvolved statisticians what they think of the statistical proofs.

I know that most journalists are great at language and for some reason by default often have trouble with 1 + 1 (It must be about 3), let alone, sophisticated math and statistics. That’s when you ask specialists. A journalist doesn’t just report. Not racist opinions, not capitalist opinions, and not scientific opinions — especially not when uttered by politicians who are opponents of the government they criticize and have self-declared financial and likely self-promoting motives for their positions.


But maybe I showed above that the greatest statistical nonsense doesn’t need a specialist to debunk it. A little common sense will go a long way.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe too, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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