Burns and Allen 05/14/2020

Photo by Everett/Shutterstock (10306285a) George Burns and Gracie Allen recording a N.B.C. radio show, 1937, Historical Collection

Gracie:  I see in the paper where the TestIowa initiative is using a new test that will reduce the incidence of coronavirus.

George:   A test surely can’t prevent it.  You must mean a vaccine or treatment, right?

Gracie:  No, they say the test itself will.

George:   How do they know the test is what’s reducing the incidence of the disease?

Gracie:  It’s already been used in Utah and produced just half as many positive tests as the other two tests they were using.

George:   Wait a minute!  You say half as many positives with the new test.

Gracie:  That right it’s called “flattening the curve.”  That’s why Iowa and Nebraska have decided to switch to the new test.

George:  OMG.  Say goodnight Gracie.

Gracie:  Goodnight Gracie

Editorial note:  Well she’s right it will lower the curve.  So will the administration’s decision change the way we count cases and deaths.  It’s true counting cases is mostly guesswork when such a small sample has been tested.  But whether we undercount or over-count we’ve got to stick with the plan otherwise we’ve got a mess.  Imagine what your house would look like if the carpenter who built your house switched from metric to feet half way through the job.