By J.B. Handley, CHD Contributing Writer
If you’re hoping the COVID-19 pandemic will go on forever, this post may disappoint you. And, I get it. We have gone frothing-at-the-mouth nuts over a slightly above-normal virulence virus, with a unique and obvious age-distribution pattern that should have made containment easy and panic completely unnecessary. And, if you’re living in the United States, like I am, you probably think my declaration that this pandemic is “over” to be somewhere between wishful thinking and incredibly premature, and I hear you, too, although forgive me if I’m not sure you’re the one thinking clearly, given some of the things I’ve recently read. I promise to support my assertion with data, and the wisdom of people far more expert than me who are having a harder time being heard in the present climate of…bats#@t crazy.
I’m 50 years old, and I’ve noticed that younger people seem particularly scared of COVID-19, they are the ones I typically see biking and hiking with masks on, and this survey really corroborated that point:
Daniel Horowitz wrote a great article about this survey titled, New study: Millennials think their risk from COVID-19 is exponentially more than the true threat.
I thought that survey was bad enough, but a different survey by Kekst CNC asking different questions revealed a simply astonishing figure: Americans over-estimated the TOTAL number of compatriots who have died from COVID-19 by 200-fold! When asked the question (in mid-July), “How many people in your country have died from the Coronavirus?”, Americans responded “9%,” which would be roughly 30,000,000 people, versus the actual number of 151,000. No wonder people are panicked (and wildly, wildly misinformed.)
Great, so we can at least agree on three points: 1) Society has lost its collective mind over a virus, and 2) younger people wildly overestimate the risk of dying from COVID-19, which creates a vicious cycle with Point #1, and 3) Americans have wildly overestimated how many people have died from COVID-19.
1. Infection Fatality Rate: The “IFR”, unlike the “Case Fatality Rate” that is more often quoted in the news, is the ACTUAL fatality rate of COVID-19. In order to accurately forecast the IFR, you need two bits of data: total deaths, and total people who have had the virus. The second data point is harder to find, because so many people are asymptomatic, but the most reliable data I have found is in this meta-analysis by Stanford’s Dr. John Ioannidis titled, The infection fatality rate of COVID-19 inferred from seroprevalence data. What does the paper conclude? A median IFR of 0.25%. It’s hard to make this point strongly enough: a virus with an IFR this low would never, ever merit the response we’ve seen from health authorities and elected officials. COVID-19 is hardly a “once in a century pandemic” as some try to say, it’s a strong flu bug, nothing more.
2. Death rates by age stratification. The best science I have seen showing IFR by age is this study titled Assesssing the Age Specificity of Infection Fatality Rates for COVID-19: Meta-Analysis & Public Policy Implications. Check out this chart:
3. Herd Immunity Threshold. Since my previous blog post, when I wrote about Herd Immunity Threshold in detail, it’s becoming even more clear that the “H.I.T.” of COVID-19 is very likely in the 10-20% range, rather than the 60-70% range that was originally thought. It would be impossible to overstate the importance of this difference, because it supports exactly WHY COVID-19 has already reached herd immunity in most of Europe, and WHY we’re almost done here in the U.S., too. Here’s one new paper, Herd immunity thresholds for SARS-CoV-2 estimated from unfolding epidemics.
The conclusion that COVID-19’s H.I.T. is between 10-20% is gaining wide acceptance, and it’s being borne out in the real world as countries everywhere are watching deaths from COVID-19 simply dry up, as the virus runs out of new people to infect. The obvious explanation for WHY the H.I.T. for COVID-19 is far lower than thought is that many more of us are naturally immune to COVID-19, because our T-cells carry immunity based on the fact that we’ve all been exposed to many corona viruses, which is commonly called a cold.
4. Lockdowns don’t work. Getting politicians involved in trying to fight the normal course of a viral illness will hopefully be seen my historians as one of the silliest things we ever chose to do. In simple terms, a virus is gonna be a virus. As Dr. Gupta explains, “The epidemic is an ecological relationship that we have to manage between ourselves and the virus. But instead, people are looking at it as a completely external thing.” Said differently, like every other virus, COVID-19 is here to stay. Lockdowns provide politicians with an “illusion of control” but the data is rolling in that they have been useless, and even The Lancet, one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals, has weighed in. Titled, A country level analysis measuring the impact of government actions, country preparedness and socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes, their conclusions are pretty stark, and depressing for those of us who have undergone lockdowns:
“Government actions such as border closures, full lockdowns, and a high rate of COVID-19 testing were not associated with statistically significant reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.”
© July 30 2020 Children’s Health Defense, Inc. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.