Recent debates and disagreements with close friends and family about the COVID19 pandemic have indicated a couple of things to me. First, I have not been effective in the way I presented my arguments, and second, many people have neither the time nor interest in seeking scientific facts. So here’s an attempt to remedy both. It’s important to remember that for issues/challenges where scientific data and research are available, our individual opinions are irrelevant. Unless we can disprove the existing science, what we think or feel holds no weight. We’re entitled to our own opinions; not to or own facts.
This is a short summary of why I believe the failed policies of economic shut-down and blanket isolation mandates represent a gross mishandling of the virus, and consequently, serious infringement of human rights. The following are pertinent facts I’ve located, and also a few important questions left unanswered by governments, health authorities and the media in most countries.
Important COVID-19 Facts
- Most importantly: whenever faced with any type of problem, any leaders’ responsibility is to a) gather as much factual data as is available, b) determine the true risks associated with the problem, c) decide and effect a response commensurate to mitigate that risk
- COVID19 is not anywhere near as risky to human health and life as were SARS, MERS, and certainly not a virus like Ebola.
- Per that logic, most governments have attempted to kill a mosquito with a bazooka, and the unanticipated peripheral damage has been significant
- Media continue to only report confirmed cases, and sometimes nominal deaths, and rarely even the Case Fatality Rate (CFR), which regardless is the least reliable indicator of true death experience. It greatly overestimates the true death rate. But sensationalism sells more media.
- What we should be tracking and hearing about daily is the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR), as that gives a more accurate picture of risk of death. ““Now, numerous studies — using a range of methods — estimate that in many countries some 5 to 10 people will die for every 1,000 people with COVID-19. “The studies I have any faith in are tending to converge around 0.5–1%,” says Russell.” Nature https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01738-2
- The governments, health agencies and mainstream media (MSM) continually broad-brush the death statistic, implying there is an equal death risk distribution across all age groups. This is blatantly false. Data from many studies (see below) clearly show that the most severely ‘at-risk’ population globally is that of seniors, most of whom have medical pre-conditions. Yet that is exactly the population whom our governments have completely failed to protect, while instead severely impeding the rights and freedoms of the majority, who face minimal risk of death.
- “One of the first studies to account for the effect of age was posted on a preprint server last week. The study, based on seroprevalence data from Geneva, Switzerland, estimates an IFR of 0.6% for the total population, and an IFR of 5.6% for people aged 65 and older.” Nature https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01738-2
- One of the first and worst hit countries is Italy, with early available data that most other countries ignored. Why has the MSM and government messaging failed to tell us that the extremely high death rate in Italy can be attributed to a high relative percentage of seniors in their population (at 22%, the oldest country in Europe) and that 96.43% of their tragic 35,000+ deaths were of people 60 years of age and older, with 77% between 70 and 90? (Scroll half way down the Euronews link below for the Italy COVID-19 death rate by age distribution chart.)
“In 2019, Italy was the European country with the largest percentage of elderly population. That year, 22.8 percent of the total population was aged 65 years and older.”
- Far from using the Italian data to focus on those most vulnerable seniors, other governments decided to treat the virus as equally dangerous for everyone. They could easily have educated the public of the danger to seniors, devoted huge financial, equipment and staffing resources to that sector, isolated them with care and comfort, protecting them until a very low risk herd immunity in the general public was achieved. But they did the opposite, ignoring that segment until it was too late for many of them. In New York, Governor Cuomo passed a by-law that actually caused the deaths of many seniors, only to back-pedal and reverse it when he realized the damage it caused. https://nypost.com/2020/05/12/calls-for-independent-probe-of-gov-cuomos-nursing-home-policies/
- Globally, testing continues at differing rates in different countries. Testing is the key to defining the correct denominator in the IFR, because it identifies all categories of confirmed cases, asymptomatic people, those with viral anti-bodies (e.g. they had the disease and overcame it naturally), and those who did not catch it. In other words, a truer picture of the actual spread and fatality of the virus. Estimates now indicate that number could be as high as 80% of the population.
“At least 15,007,291 total cases were recorded, with 617,603 deaths and 8,351,373 people reported to have recovered from the disease. The number of reported infections reflects only a fraction of the actual number of cases, as many countries are using tests only for tracing purposes or do not have sufficient resources to conduct extensive testing campaigns.” EuroNews July 23,2020
Using the above global numbers of July 23, the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) would be 617,603/15,007,291 or 0.041 or 4.1%. If the 80% infection rate (IFR) estimate is accurate, the denominator grows to .80 X 7,700,000,000 (global population), or 6,160,000,000. Dividing 617,603/6,160,000,000 gives a death ratio of 0.0001, or 0.01% (one hundredth of one percent). Does this or any number close to it justify the egregious response of global governments shutting down the economy and forcing long-term isolation of the majority of society for whom the true risk of death or serious illness is extremely low?
In summary, I am not dismissing or belittling the deaths of those whose lives COVID-19 has claimed. When I take my 86-year-old uncle to the hospital for a check up. I follow the full rigorous protocol to minimize his risk. I am saying that our governments, for various reasons including incompetence, ignorance, and possible conflicts of interest, have completely overblown and mismanaged this crisis, actually causing more deaths among the seniors population than were inevitable, and that we have been misled by them, health agencies like WHO, CDC and NIAID, and the mainstream media as to the true facts, perhaps to deflect attention away from the mismanagement.
While my research indicates there may be more nefarious reasons at play (follow the money), at this stage it is only my opinion, and I won’t burden you with that unless and until I have facts to validate it. If you choose to respond to this, please only direct me to other facts I may have overlooked. In these matters where scientific facts are available, opinions, including mine are meaningless.
After writing this article, I stumbled upon this interview of two veteran Oxford epidemiologists, who review the very same science, challenges, and policy failure I’ve alluded to above. So perhaps listen to their explanations if mine does not suffice. If 45 minutes is too long, please at least consider the last 6-7 minutes about effective policy going forward.
Important Unanswered Questions to Ponder
- Why, 7 months into this pandemic, with plenty of actual data available, are we still hearing about only the confirmed Cases, with deaths and death rates only sometimes mentioned as an afterthought? Why no mention of the data shown here?
- Why is there no reporting on “excess deaths” (e.g. those above the normally experienced pre-COVID deaths from annual viruses)?
- Why have some countries (e.g. Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea) managed to contain the virus without shutting down their economies, and in some, without mandatory social distancing? They’re living proof that effectively managing the virus was possible without the sledge-hammer approach of many governments.
- Why do we not regularly receive updated data on the cases and death rates by age group? For the IFR? If I was able to provide it, why not governments, Health agencies, MSM?
- Why do we hear nothing about the peripheral damage the shutdown is causing: rising suicide rates, anxiety, stress, potential trauma to young children, bankruptcies, evictions, financial-related stress. Who is measuring this damage, especially to children, as a comparative to the risk of COVID damage, to guide future policy?
- Why, if masks are truly effective, do those who choose not to wear one, pose a health risk to those who do wear one? Does the mask work or not?
- Why, after 7 months and a proliferation of scientific COVID-19 White papers, do we still not know whether the virus was lab created? Yes, it makes a big difference.
- Why are the budgets of supposed regulatory agencies like the CDC, FDA and NIH in the US funded up to 50% by the very pharma companies they’re charged with regulating?
- Why do each of those agencies have financial interest through patents and royalty arrangements in any developed vaccine?
- Despite much controversy and disagreement within the scientific community regarding vaccines, and their effectiveness, even for the regular annual influenza, why the rush to develop a vaccine. (Follow the money).
- Finally, why after 40 years of scandal, deceit, lies and unconstitutional acts by our government, business and media ‘leaders’ that clearly proves they cannot be trusted, do we trust what they’re telling us about COVID-19?
- I don’t.