Peggy Noonan advertises her ignorance in this opening sentence:

This coronavirus is new to our species—it is “novel.” It spreads more easily than the flu—“exponentially,” as we now say—and is estimated to be at least 10 times as lethal.

Why is it "novel"? It *is* a form of flu, and it is *not* unique in spreading exponentially.

Noonan seems to think that 'exponentially' is some newfangled buzzword. Not so. It has a precise mathematical meaning, and the Wuhan Flu -- to use my preferred politically incorrect moniker -- is not unique in spreading geometrically (exponentially) as opposed to arithmetically.

If you have forgotten, or have never learned, the difference between arithmetic and geometric progressions, Dr. Math has a simple and clear explanation for you.

If Michael Bloomberg had given the 500 million dollars he threw away on a quixotic bid for the Dem nod to the American people, then each of us 327 million would have received one million, and 173 million would be left over to be given as reparations to the 'victims' of "Stop and Frisk." Right?

Math is hard for liberals. That must be because math is 'racist.'

Innumeracy is the mathematical counterpart of illiteracy. Here is an example that caught my eye this morning:

Curiously, there is little attempt by the GHSA to grapple with the very obvious and long-term problem—the conflict that occurs when one attempts to combine pedestrian accessibility with roads that support highway speeds. Even with smartphones locked away and all drivers drug free, there are bound to be incidents in which the operator of a two-ton object barrelling down the road does incredible damage to a defenseless human being of one-tenth the weight.

A U. S. ton = 2,000 lbs. So a two-ton vehicle weighs 2 x 2,000 = 4,000 lbs. One-tenth of 4,000 lbs = 400 lbs. Now while Americans are among the fattest hombres on the planet, weighing in at around 181 lbs on average, that's a far cry from 400 lbs.

It is always a good idea to be skeptical and run the numbers.

Ideologues love to engage in numerical inflation. A good recent example is the bogus claim that there have been 18 school shootings so far this year.

Do you remember Mitch Snyder the homeless advocate? He would make wild claims about the number of homeless in the U.S. One day he spouted some figure, I divided it into the population of the U. S. and 'learned' that something like 20% of the U. S. was homeless. Then I knew he was a bullshitter.

Innumerate people are suckers for fake statistics.

Thomas Sowell, Lying Statistics:

"Every year since 1950, the number of American children gunned down has doubled." Did you know that? It is just as well if you did not, because it is not true.

It takes no research to prove that it is not true. If there had been just two children in America gunned down in 1950, then doubling that number every year would have meant that, by 1980, there would have been one billion American children gunned down -- more than four times the total population of the United States at that time.

Yet the claim that was quoted did not come from some supermarket tabloid. It appeared in a reputable academic journal. It is one of innumerable erroneous statistical claims generated by advocates of one cause or another. Too often, those in the media who are sympathetic to these causes repeat such claims uncritically until they become "well-known facts" by sheer repetition.