Photo by Scott Graham

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to our local beach community in North Carolina.  I had been down there three weeks earlier when the town decided to close the beaches, forcing people to leave town or stay off the beach.  Staying off the beach was a bummer.  It meant walking on three foot wide sidewalks instead of the 200 yard wide beach.  It meant refraining from sitting on the sand watching the sunset.  It meant no fishing from the shoreline.  At that point in time though, few people were masked in grocery and hardware stores as very few cases of COVID-19 had been reported along the coast.  Fast forward three weeks, now the beach is open and the town is allowing short term rentals.  As a result, this past weekend looked a lot like a typical summer weekend pre-Coronavirus with the exception that many more people in grocery and hardware stores were wearing masks.  So I found myself wondering, how did the decision makers decide to reopen the beach?  North Carolina is still on “stay at home” orders until May 11th. Is the state using different data than the town?  I decided to do some research and found this official COVID-19 death count table from the CDC as of May 1st.   

This is the same CDC that in March posted that all people who tested positive for COVID-19 and died would be classified as COVID-19 deaths. On April 7, Dr. Birx said the federal government is continuing to count the suspected COVID-19 deaths, despite other nations doing the opposite.

“There are other countries that if you had a pre-existing condition, and let’s say the virus caused you to go to the ICU [intensive care unit] and then have a heart or kidney problem,” she said during a Tuesday news briefing at the White House. “Some countries are recording that as a heart issue or a kidney issue and not a COVID-19 death. “The intent is … if someone dies with COVID-19 we are counting that,” she added.

If you looked at the CDC table, you would see that COVID-19 deaths as of May 1 were at 37,308, yet the official media death toll as of May 4th is 68,087.  Lastly, through May 1, according to the CDC, we had over 64,000 pneumonia deaths where only a little over 16,000 were deaths with COVID-19.

In life and in business we rely on data to make decisions.  In life if we are getting a physical or feeling poorly, we let lab data determine our treatments. In business we look at revenue, expenses, profit, and backlog to make decisions on business health and strategy. We use data to drive our cars, buy goods, educate, and decide mostly everything we do. We use data because we trust it. In the case of COVID-19, how can we trust the data and therefore use it when our media is reporting one thing and the CDC is reporting another?  For the most part, most countries have shut down their economies using questionable data.  Is COVID-19 really that dangerous?  No deaths are good deaths; however, per the CDC, if you have COVID-19 and die from a heart attack, you are a COVID-19 death. 

Most of us would never run our businesses without reliable data, yet we allow our political leaders to dictate what we do based on their data.  We then criticize some governors who are opening sooner or closing later.  How can we criticize if we don’t have reliable data?  

I urge all of you to follow your business data and make decisions.  I also urge you to research all COVID-19 data to help you strategize the future of your business. Please don’t make decisions based on one form of data.  As I’ve illustrated above, the COVID-19 statistics cannot be taken as fact.  Research, get some sunlight, and take your Vitamin D3

Jim Baker

Jim Baker

Sumus was founded by Jim Baker, an entrepreneur with 27 years’ experience bootstrapping and growing his business organically and through acquisition, to share his experience by providing advisory services around Board representation, Organization and Branding Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions, Value enhancement and Exit strategy.