I'm curious to know what sort of data or information you would trust.
Just now I made a quick query to Google on covid cases deaths database us . It returned a first page with links to cdc.gov, ourworldindata.org, jhu.edu (Johns Hopkins University), worldometers.info, and nytimes.com . Again on quick scan, those sources look consistent with each other to within rounding error, and for the numbers at my own state and local level, they match up with what I'm seeing in other state and local sources.
On a day-to-day basis, I use the summary at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/202 ... cases.html . That provides US-level summaries and also permits drilling down to state and county level if desired. Near the bottom of the long page is a table of links for states and other countries. Below that is the list of 116 named people who contributed to the page contents.
Can the data be wrong? Sure. There are over 3000 counties in the US, and each of those has multiple testing sites and multiple hospitals, with "countless" doctors deciding on cause of death and "countless" technicians doing the data entry. (Note: I'm using "countless" here in the same sense as Fox News: I haven't made any attempt to count, but I want to imply that the unknown number is large.)
But if the data is wrong, how do you propose to get better data?
It is an unfortunate fact of life, and I'll speak solely about myself for a moment, that virtually everything I believe is something that was told to me by somebody else. There are a very few areas -- mostly in physical sciences -- where I am both skilled and interested enough to make a small number of observations for myself. But even in those regimes, most of what I believe eventually traces to some book or article that was written by somebody else.
As a result, it is completely unavoidable that what I believe is intimately tied to who I believe, convolved with some personal set of biases about prior and conditional probabilities -- that is, "what makes sense" -- and who knows where those come from?
In a moment of hubris, I happen to believe that this awkward state of dependency is true not only for me, but also for every other human.
So I will now rephrase my sorry state: it is completely unavoidable that what you believe is intimately tied to who you believe, convolved with some personal set of biases about what "makes sense".
That might be no problem if you and I agreed on who to believe, and had similar biases about what makes sense. But we've already seen that you put great stock in some things that I think would be better labeled "parody" or "fantasy", and when I first mentioned "New York Times" a couple of months ago, your immediate response was "probably also suspect (as is anything from the NYT)". So, it's challenging to find common ground.
Adding to my confusion, you complained about one of Lou's sources that "It is just data, with no information." With respect, "information" is just data with some interpretation imposed on it. So to trust the information, you have to trust that both the data and the analysis are correct, or at least that whatever flaws there are in the data have been properly factored into the analysis of it. Again with respect, I think your analysis process is not nearly as structured, objective, and reliable as you seem to think it is.
Let me try to be clear that I agree with a lot of your points. I'm not at all sure that shutting down almost all businesses is the best way to proceed. I have a lot of sympathy for the writer in the local paper who said that we should just "open everything up again and let the chips fall where they may". That said, the way I read the data strongly suggests that the cost of that approach would be ballpark 1% total mortality, and I don't hear any general enthusiasm for knowledgeably accepting that as a short-term cost.
So that leaves us where? As far as I can tell, it leaves us with trying to dynamically manage our workplaces and personal habits so as to keep the reproduction number averaging right at 1. If it's consistently higher, then the infection rate grows and we overwhelm the medical community. If it's consistently lower then the infection rate shrinks and we relax because "we've won!" The problem right now is that the recent reproduction rate seems to have been consistently a lot higher than 1.
I apologize for spending so many words. I wish that short simple summaries were sufficient.