They say 24 hour is a long time in politics, but in the modern world of viral pandemics, it is even longer.
The rapid shifts in government policy are unsettling, personally and economically.
The current media onslaught on terms such as “deadly virus” and “killer disease” is fear-mongering and spreading panic which way more contagious than any virus.
Pictures of army trucks in Italy removing dead bodies look alarming. So many dead they can’t cope right? Or maybe it is because funerals per se are banned and anyone who has died of any cause at the hospitals has to be cremated. That means all the deceased must be removed from the hospital and the army have to do it as funeral directors are not allowed.
The hourly death count is also an electric cattle prod to the amygdala.
If they did that with flu, people would never leave the house.
In the US, since the start of flu season in October, the estimated number of influenza-like illnesses is between 36 million and 51 million with an estimated 22,000 to 55,000 flu deaths.
It all comes down to statistics, and you know what they say about those….“there are lies, damned lies and statistics”.
The stats are only as good as the data they are made with.
We need to know as best we can, how contagious is it and how lethal is it?
This is impossible to answer accurately because the data used to create the statistics on SARS-CoV-2 is completely unreliable and incomplete.
Patients who have been tested for SARS-CoV-2 are disproportionately those with severe symptoms and bad outcomes.
How many people in China and Italy are walking around with immunity from asymptomatic previous infection? How many had symptoms akin to common colds & seasonal flu and recovered but remain untested?
If we add these to the statistics the death rate % would drop massively from the current estimates which vary from 1-4 %.
“If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza, rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS.” – Dr Fauci NEJM
Also, we have to consider the current death rates will be seen by people of all ages, but the majority of those who have died are elderly.
In Italy they have a disproportionate levels of population over 60 years old (29%) and above 80 who are very vulnerable it is 7%. Thus the fatality rate in Italy is currently 8%.
This is not to minimise the loss of life but to remind ourselves that this is always the case with all viruses. The elderly are always more vulnerable to infection. In care home settings the death rate from a SARS coronavirus outbreak in 2003 was 8.4%. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
But also note the symptoms in the staff members, look familiar? It should look like they have a virus that is stimulating their immune system, like a common cold or seasonal flu virus.
In countries like Germany and South Korea where the population is younger, the death rates are far, far lower, 0.18 % in Germany. But there are of course many variables involved not simply age.
In the case of the Diamond Princess cruise ship where passengers were quarantined, the death rate was 1%, but this was a largely elderly population. Prof John Ioannidis projected the data from the cruise ship onto the US population and suggests a death rate of 0.125%, though he acknowledges the data is very thin and the rate could be as low as 0.025% or as high as 0.625%.
His main concern (and mine) is that we (your governments) are making massive decisions that will echo through generations but with massively flawed data fueling mass hysteria.
Whatever the total number of deaths we end with is, the subsequent economic challenges we face could be catastrophic.
Suicides increased by 6.8% during the 2008 recession. Will the fabric of society with mass unemployment hold? Civil unrest? war?
How many older patients will lose all fitness and muscle by not going out and subsequently die from falls?
It is a complex emotive subject.
For now, I would recommend reading some of the following articles to gain some perspective
Remember to check in on any neighbours that are unable or afraid to go out,