VOICE OF REASON AND HARD DATA


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It’s not as though the hard evidence to combat the hype of media and politicians hasn’t been provided.
On 17 March, Dr. John Ioannidis, Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health at Stanford University School of Medicine, published the below excerpts in the journal Stat from the International Statistical Institute:
“The current coronavirus disease, Covid-19, has been called a once-in-a-century pandemic. But it may also be a once-in-a-century evidence fiasco….
Reported case fatality rates, like the official 3.4% rate from the World Health Organization, cause horror — and are meaningless. Patients who have been tested for SARS-CoV-2 are disproportionately those with severe symptoms and bad outcomes. As most health systems have limited testing capacity, selection bias may even worsen in the near future.”
Dr. Ioannidis, whom we quoted in the 31 March Trends Journal, specializes in population health and pandemics such as COVID-19. He estimated in mid-March, based on the data at hand, a death rate close to 0.05 percent.
Dr. Ioannidis continues:
“A population-wide case fatality rate of 0.05% is lower than seasonal influenza. If that is the true rate, locking down the world with potentially tremendous social and financial consequences may be totally irrational. It’s like an elephant being attacked by a house cat. Frustrated and trying to avoid the cat, the elephant accidentally jumps off a cliff and dies….
[With] lockdowns of months, if not years, life largely stops, short-term and long-term consequences are entirely unknown, and billions, not just millions, of lives may be eventually at stake.”
Hard Data or Crazy Numbers?
A recent study out of Belgium confirms another important insight we have noted in the Trends Journal: doctors, hospitals, and eldercare homes are regularly reporting COVID-19 as the cause of death not by fact, but by assumption.
Belgium, a relatively prosperous, high-standard-of-living nation with a good health system, has been ranked as having the highest death rate from COVID-19 of any country in the world.
 
Belgium reported that more than 50 percent of the deaths there were in eldercare facilities.
Only 4 percent of reported deaths, however, were confirmed by a coronavirus test, while 96 percent were only “suspected” of dying from the virus.
Belgian virologist Dr. Marc Van Ranst responded to these findings: “If you count everyone who dies in our 1,500 care centers, it’s as if no one ever dies from something else anymore. Then you get crazy numbers.”
The questionable strategy of counting those suspected of dying from COVID-19 as actual deaths is happening in many places to hype up the “crazy numbers.”
In our 14 April Trends Journal, we reported that Scott Jenson, a medical doctor who also happens to be a Minnesota state senator, held up a state Department of Health letter directing physicians to list COVID-19 as the cause of death even for those not tested but just assumed to have had it.
Dr. Jenson stated, “I worry about that sometimes we’re so darn interested in jazzing up the fear factor that sometimes people’s ability to think for themselves is paralyzed.”
Dr. Jenson also noted that in the U.S., it pays to pad the coronavirus death numbers: “Right now Medicare has determined that if you have a COVID-19 admission to the hospital you’ll get paid $13,000. If that COVID-19 patient goes on a ventilator, you get $39,000; three times as much. Nobody can tell me, after 35 years in the world of medicine, that sometimes those kinds of things [have an] impact on what we do.”
And, as for those most at risk, a 22 April Wall Street Journal report shows that the virus has killed over 10,000 in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes.
But the actual number is likely much higher. This is because many states, including Washington – where the virus first struck and one out of five nursing homes were hit by the disease and more than 200 deaths have been linked to them in early April – have not yet disclosed numbers of actual virus deaths from elder care facilities.
Moreover, virtually omitted from the mainstream news is the CDC report that states: “Eight out of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults 65 years or older; risk of death is highest among those 85 years or older. The immune systems of older adults weaken with age, making it harder to fight off infections. Also, older adults commonly have chronic diseases that can increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19.”
 

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