A Sensible & Compassionate Anti-COVID Strategy

valley ranch

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JAY BHATTACHARYA Professor of Medicine at Stanford University,


ay Bhattacharya is a Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, where he received both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in economics. He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economics Research, a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and director of the Stanford Center on the Demography and Economics of Health and Aging. A co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration, his research has been published in economics, statistics, legal, medical, public health, and health policy journals.


The following is adapted from a panel presentation on October 9, 2020, in Omaha, Nebraska, at a Hillsdale College Free Market Forum.

My goal today is, first, to present the facts about how deadly COVID-19 actually is; second, to present the facts about who is at risk from COVID; third, to present some facts about how deadly the widespread lockdowns have been; and fourth, to recommend a shift in public policy.

1. The COVID-19 Fatality Rate

In discussing the deadliness of COVID, we need to distinguish COVID cases from COVID infections. A lot of fear and confusion has resulted from failing to understand the difference.

We have heard much this year about the “case fatality rate” of COVID. In early March, the case fatality rate in the U.S. was roughly three percent—nearly three out of every hundred people who were identified as “cases” of COVID in early March died from it. Compare that to today, when the fatality rate of COVID is known to be less than one half of one percent.

In other words, when the World Health Organization said back in early March that three percent of people who get COVID die from it, they were wrong by at least one order of magnitude. The COVID fatality rate is much closer to 0.2 or 0.3 percent. The reason for the highly inaccurate early estimates is simple: in early March, we were not identifying most of the people who had been infected by COVID.


Case fatality rate” is computed by dividing the number of deaths by the total number of confirmed cases. But to obtain an accurate COVID fatality rate, the number in the denominator should be the number of people who have been infected—the number of people who have actually had the disease—rather than the number of confirmed cases.

In March, only the small fraction of infected people who got sick and went to the hospital were identified as cases. But the majority of people who are infected by COVID have very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. These people weren’t identified in the early days, which resulted in a highly misleading fatality rate. And that is what drove public policy. Even worse, it continues to sow fear and panic, because the perception of too many people about COVID is frozen in the misleading data from March.



Read more: https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/sensible-compassionate-anti-covid-strategy/
 

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So how do we get an accurate fatality rate? To use a technical term, we test for seroprevalence—in other words, we test to find out how many people have evidence in their bloodstream of having had COVID.

This is easy with some viruses. Anyone who has had chickenpox, for instance, still has that virus living in them—it stays in the body forever. COVID, on the other hand, like other coronaviruses, doesn’t stay in the body. Someone who is infected with COVID and then clears it will be immune from it, but it won’t still be living in them.

What we need to test for, then, are antibodies or other evidence that someone has had COVID. And even antibodies fade over time, so testing for them still results in an underestimate of total infections.

Seroprevalence is what I worked on in the early days of the epidemic. In April, I ran a series of studies, using antibody tests, to see how many people in California’s Santa Clara County, where I live, had been infected. At the time, there were about 1,000 COVID cases that had been identified in the county, but our antibody tests found that 50,000 people had been infected—i.e., there were 50 times more infections than identified cases. This was enormously important, because it meant that the fatality rate was not three percent, but closer to 0.2 percent; not three in 100, but two in 1,000.

When it came out, this Santa Clara study was controversial. But science is like that, and the way science tests controversial studies is to see if they can be replicated. And indeed, there are now 82 similar seroprevalence studies from around the world, and the median result of these 82 studies is a fatality rate of about 0.2 percent—exactly what we found in Santa Clara County.

Read More: https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/sensible-compassionate-anti-covid-strategy/
 

flowerbug

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from the start the consistent message has been how to keep the health-care system from getting overloaded with sick people. if the system gets overloaded then the quality of care goes down which means more people die than would otherwise have happened.

with a really low rate of deaths you would think that this whole pandemic would not have been a problem right? except that isn't the whole story. the complication rate is higher than the death rate. while each of those sick people are in the ICU that means that some other person can't be using that space until either they are dead or they get better enough to be sent home.

what i want you to do RV is look at the number of ICU beds in your state/area and the population and figure out the actual math of this situation. the complication rate is often provided in the statistics as are often the number of beds available.

in MI the hospital bed capacity issue is not the number of beds in the hospital overall but the number of ICU beds and what it means to actually staff those ICU beds and still be able to manage the rest of the hospital along with what happens when the staff is also getting sick. if you only have a few patients in the ICU things are mostly ok, start increasing those numbers and quality of care for everyone decreases.

it's not about control of the population for some political idealistic goal it is about an actual health-care issue of not wanting people to die that otherwise would not have had to die simply because they got sick at the wrong time.
 

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3. Deadliness of the Lockdowns

The widespread lockdowns that have been adopted in response to COVID are unprecedented—lockdowns have never before been tried as a method of disease control. Nor were these lockdowns part of the original plan. The initial rationale for lockdowns was that slowing the spread of the disease would prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. It became clear before long that this was not a worry: in the U.S. and in most of the world, hospitals were never at risk of being overwhelmed. Yet the lockdowns were kept in place, and this is turning out to have deadly effects.

Those who dare to talk about the tremendous economic harms that have followed from the lockdowns are accused of heartlessness. Economic considerations are nothing compared to saving lives, they are told. So I’m not going to talk about the economic effects—I’m going to talk about the deadly effects on health, beginning with the fact that the U.N. has estimated that 130 million additional people will starve this year as a result of the economic damage resulting from the lockdowns.

In the last 20 years we’ve lifted one billion people worldwide out of poverty. This year we are reversing that progress to the extent—it bears repeating—that an estimated 130 million more people will starve.

Another result of the lockdowns is that people stopped bringing their children in for immunizations against diseases like diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and polio, because they had been led to fear COVID more than they feared these more deadly diseases. This wasn’t only true in the U.S. Eighty million children worldwide are now at risk of these diseases. We had made substantial progress in slowing them down, but now they are going to come back.

Large numbers of Americans, even though they had cancer and needed chemotherapy, didn’t come in for treatment because they were more afraid of COVID than cancer. Others have skipped recommended cancer screenings. We’re going to see a rise in cancer and cancer death rates as a consequence. Indeed, this is already starting to show up in the data. We’re also going to see a higher number of deaths from diabetes due to people missing their diabetic monitoring.


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Dr. Professor or Medicine at Stanford University
Where to Go from Here

Last week I met with two other epidemiologists—Dr. Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University and Dr. Martin Kulldorff of Harvard University—in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The three of us come from very different disciplinary backgrounds and from very different parts of the political spectrum. Yet we had arrived at the same view—the view that the widespread lockdown policy has been a devastating public health mistake. In response, we wrote and issued the Great Barrington Declaration, which can be viewed—along with explanatory videos, answers to frequently asked questions, a list of co-signers, etc.—online at www.gbdeclaration.org.



www.gbdeclaration.org.org
 

Beekissed

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Right now our state's news is hyping this corona like crazy, acting like it's really killing people off like flies and we should all be concerned. 598 deaths by Covid so far!!!!!!!!! Now, remember, that's since it was first "discovered" around March, so not even just for this flu season. So, this is deaths over an 8 mo. time span, roughly.

Deaths by flu last year by this time and that's just usually concentrated in "flu season", with the advent of fall and going into winter...maybe from Oct. to Feb~2,100. So in a few months 2,100 died from flu but over half a year, only 598 died of the big C. Keep in mind that they are calling everything a Covid death, which I experienced right in my own family, when a clear PE in a 23 yr old with no other symptoms was called covid until the family demanded an autopsy report. Think of how many are listed as covid and they simply are not, or they are in the elderly who were already dying of co-morbidities, much like in flu.

That's 0.03% (Covid) vs. 0.11% (flu) in my state of 1.8 million people, IF the Covid numbers are honestly reported, which we know they aren't, so it's likely not even 1/4 of those 598 were actually killed by Covid alone, if that.
 

catjac1975

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Right now our state's news is hyping this corona like crazy, acting like it's really killing people off like flies and we should all be concerned. 598 deaths by Covid so far!!!!!!!!! Now, remember, that's since it was first "discovered" around March, so not even just for this flu season. So, this is deaths over an 8 mo. time span, roughly.

Deaths by flu last year by this time and that's just usually concentrated in "flu season", with the advent of fall and going into winter...maybe from Oct. to Feb~2,100. So in a few months 2,100 died from flu but over half a year, only 598 died of the big C. Keep in mind that they are calling everything a Covid death, which I experienced right in my own family, when a clear PE in a 23 yr old with no other symptoms was called covid until the family demanded an autopsy report. Think of how many are listed as covid and they simply are not, or they are in the elderly who were already dying of co-morbidities, much like in flu.

That's 0.03% (Covid) vs. 0.11% (flu) in my state of 1.8 million people, IF the Covid numbers are honestly reported, which we know they aren't, so it's likely not even 1/4 of those 598 were actually killed by Covid alone, if that.
Though many do not die from it, many do not recover from it. My niece had it at the beginning, March I think. She has the brain fog to a very serious degree. Along with many of the other symptoms. A child in my small town has been hospitalized for 2 weeks. His 70 year old babysitter is on a ventilator. It would not be wise for anyone to think of this as the flu. Believing all the anti covid hype has been deadly for many.
 

ninnymary

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from the start the consistent message has been how to keep the health-care system from getting overloaded with sick people. if the system gets overloaded then the quality of care goes down which means more people die than would otherwise have happened.

with a really low rate of deaths you would think that this whole pandemic would not have been a problem right? except that isn't the whole story. the complication rate is higher than the death rate. while each of those sick people are in the ICU that means that some other person can't be using that space until either they are dead or they get better enough to be sent home.

what i want you to do RV is look at the number of ICU beds in your state/area and the population and figure out the actual math of this situation. the complication rate is often provided in the statistics as are often the number of beds available.

in MI the hospital bed capacity issue is not the number of beds in the hospital overall but the number of ICU beds and what it means to actually staff those ICU beds and still be able to manage the rest of the hospital along with what happens when the staff is also getting sick. if you only have a few patients in the ICU things are mostly ok, start increasing those numbers and quality of care for everyone decreases.

it's not about control of the population for some political idealistic goal it is about an actual health-care issue of not wanting people to die that otherwise would not have had to die simply because they got sick at the wrong time.
Very well said Flowerbug.

Mary
 

Beekissed

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Though many do not die from it, many do not recover from it. My niece had it at the beginning, March I think. She has the brain fog to a very serious degree. Along with many of the other symptoms. A child in my small town has been hospitalized for 2 weeks. His 70 year old babysitter is on a ventilator. It would not be wise for anyone to think of this as the flu. Believing all the anti covid hype has been deadly for many.

And even many more do recover from it just fine. My whole family had it back in January, from littlest kids to my 86 yr old mother. No news reports hyped on the many, many, many who had it, doctored it at home and recovered from it just fine. The fact that no one is talking about those who had it and recovered as per normal for any virus is a problem. When they only talk about deaths, hospitalizations, and stories such as yours, then it causes fear driven reactions by all who listen to the one sided reports.

That fear is even more deadly than the virus, IMO. It has a far reaching trickle down affect that has killed many elderly in nursing homes, many people who couldn't handle the isolation restrictions and committed suicide or other violence against themselves and others, and the loss of aid to other countries that depend on our healthy economy for food and medical services.

Believing all the covid hype has been deadly for many.
 
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