Must Read If You’re Tired Of COVID-19 Propaganda!

The Imprimis article below brings a whole new understanding, and a great deal of clarity, to the COVID-19 pandemic chaos that has at least half of the world living in fear of leaving their homes while the other half is trying to pick up the pieces of their wrecked lives and move forward the best they can!

I am not downplaying the severity of the coronavirus, however it’s also not a “one size fits all” disease. Medicine and common sense can and must work together to beat this pandemic.

It’s a longer post than most but you won’t be disappointed.

A Sensible and Compassionate Anti-COVID Strategy

Jay BhattacharyaJay 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.

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.

In some places, of course, the fatality rate was higher: in New York City it was more like 0.5 percent. In other places it was lower: the rate in Idaho was 0.13 percent. What this variation shows is that the fatality rate is not simply a function of how deadly a virus is. It is also a function of who gets infected and of the quality of the health care system. In the early days of the virus, our health care systems managed COVID poorly. Part of this was due to ignorance: we pursued very aggressive treatments, for instance, such as the use of ventilators, that in retrospect might have been counterproductive. And part of it was due to negligence: in some places, we needlessly allowed a lot of people in nursing homes to get infected.

But the bottom line is that the COVID fatality rate is in the neighborhood of 0.2 percent.

2. Who Is at Risk?

The single most important fact about the COVID pandemic—in terms of deciding how to respond to it on both an individual and a governmental basis—is that it is not equally dangerous for everybody. This became clear very early on, but for some reason our public health messaging failed to get this fact out to the public.

It still seems to be a common perception that COVID is equally dangerous to everybody, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a thousand-fold difference between the mortality rate in older people, 70 and up, and the mortality rate in children. In some sense, this is a great blessing. If it was a disease that killed children preferentially, I for one would react very differently. But the fact is that for young children, this disease is less dangerous than the seasonal flu. This year, in the United States, more children have died from the seasonal flu than from COVID by a factor of two or three.

Whereas COVID is not deadly for children, for older people it is much more deadly than the seasonal flu. If you look at studies worldwide, the COVID fatality rate for people 70 and up is about four percent—four in 100 among those 70 and older, as opposed to two in 1,000 in the overall population.

Again, this huge difference between the danger of COVID to the young and the danger of COVID to the old is the most important fact about the virus. Yet it has not been sufficiently emphasized in public health messaging or taken into account by most policymakers.

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.

Mental health problems are in a way the most shocking thing. In June of this year, a CDC survey found that one in four young adults between 18 and 24 had seriously considered suicide. Human beings are not, after all, designed to live alone. We’re meant to be in company with one another. It is unsurprising that the lockdowns have had the psychological effects that they’ve had, especially among young adults and children, who have been denied much-needed socialization.

In effect, what we’ve been doing is requiring young people to bear the burden of controlling a disease from which they face little to no risk. This is entirely backward from the right approach.

4. 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.

The Declaration reads:

As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection.

Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings, and deteriorating mental health—leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.

Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.

Fortunately, our understanding of the virus is growing. We know that vulnerability to death from COVID-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young. Indeed, for children, COVID-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.

As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all—including the vulnerable—falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity—i.e., the point at which the rate of new infections is stable—and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.

The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.

Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19. By way of example, nursing homes should use staff with acquired immunity and perform frequent PCR testing of other staff and all visitors. Staff rotation should be minimized. Retired people living at home should have groceries and other essentials delivered to their home. When possible, they should meet family members outside rather than inside. A comprehensive and detailed list of measures, including approaches to multi-generational households, can be implemented, and is well within the scope and capability of public health professionals.

Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sports, and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.

***

I should say something in conclusion about the idea of herd immunity, which some people mischaracterize as a strategy of letting people die. First, herd immunity is not a strategy—it is a biological fact that applies to most infectious diseases. Even when we come up with a vaccine, we will be relying on herd immunity as an end-point for this epidemic. The vaccine will help, but herd immunity is what will bring it to an end. And second, our strategy is not to let people die, but to protect the vulnerable. We know the people who are vulnerable, and we know the people who are not vulnerable. To continue to act as if we do not know these things makes no sense.

My final point is about science. When scientists have spoken up against the lockdown policy, there has been enormous pushback: “You’re endangering lives.” Science cannot operate in an environment like that. I don’t know all the answers to COVID; no one does. Science ought to be able to clarify the answers. But science can’t do its job in an environment where anyone who challenges the status quo gets shut down or cancelled.

To date, the Great Barrington Declaration has been signed by over 43,000 medical and public health scientists and medical practitioners. The Declaration thus does not represent a fringe view within the scientific community. This is a central part of the scientific debate, and it belongs in the debate. Members of the general public can also sign the Declaration.

Together, I think we can get on the other side of this pandemic. But we have to fight back. We’re at a place where our civilization is at risk, where the bonds that unite us are at risk of being torn. We shouldn’t be afraid. We should respond to the COVID virus rationally: protect the vulnerable, treat the people who get infected compassionately, develop a vaccine. And while doing these things we should bring back the civilization that we had so that the cure does not end up being worse than the disease. 


So much wisdom and common sense here!

My wife and I proudly signed the Great Barrington Declaration and would like to encourage you and your circle of friends to do the same.

We must keep the heat on the politicians, scientists, and medical community who continue to use COVID-19 as a political tool to scare people into submission and advance their socialist agendas.

See you next week for more Wisdom Matters!

The REAL Truth About COVID-19 Is Finally Surfacing…Why Just Now?

No matter what the issue is, it’s getting to the point where we must do our own research and then make the best fact-based decisions we can regarding our futures and the future of America.

The article below makes my case on just one of the critical issues impacting American families today, COVID-19.


CDC: Just 6% of Covid Deaths Occurred Without Co-Morbidities

This past week the CDC finally seemed to get fed up with the coronavirus hysteria that has existed in this country since March.

First, the CDC released new guidelines saying there was no need for asymptomatic people to get tested if they were otherwise young and healthy. That’s even if you were exposed to someone who had tested positive for the virus.

Then the CDC put up on their official website the following details for people who have covid symptoms: “If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, call your healthcare provider first. Most people will have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care and may not need to be tested.”

So, yeah, the CDC is telling you to treat covid like any other illness. Stay home if you’re sick, you’ll probably be fine. That’s because for most people covid is a mild illness. If, however, you get sick enough to need treatment, go seek treatment.

This is the advice we should have had since March. And in retrospect we should have never, ever shut down at all. (In fact, if New York governor Andrew Cuomo hadn’t been the worst political leader this century, we probably wouldn’t have ever panicked in the first place. New York was such a disaster that the rest of the country panicked based on their incompetence. An incompetence, by the way, that led to the worst coronavirus response in the entire world.)

But this was the final kicker that also went up on the CDC website:

“For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.”

This illuminates what I have been saying for a long time, there’s a big difference between dying WITH COVID and dying FROM COVID.

94% of people are dying with covid, per the CDC, not because of it. In fact, not only are people dying with it, they are dying with covid and an average of 2.6 additional conditions or causes of death.

This would mean roughly 10,000 deaths are directly attributable to covid alone.

Because right now if you have terminal lung cancer, kidney and liver failure and covid, you are counted as a covid death.

Now, this doesn’t mean covid can’t be dangerous, it can. But it’s almost exclusively dangerous among those with extremely ill health, that is multiple serious co-morbidities, or extremely advanced age.

Now, to be fair, what we still don’t know is what percentage of people who have died with covid in 2020 would otherwise be alive if this virus had never existed. That is, it’s possible there are likely more than the roughly 10,000 people who are listed as dying from covid alone who have died with covid and another illness.

Maybe if covid never existed those people could have survived their co-morbidities and might still be alive today. (Although this raises an interesting question, if covid was the tipping point illness for many very sick people with multiple co-morbidities, wouldn’t the number of elderly people dying in later months this year and next year likely be lower than normal? Because those very ill people had their deaths accelerated by a few months due to covid? That seems likely to me.

We don’t know the answer to this question and we can’t just look at excess death data either because, and this is the really unfortunate part of our shutdown madness, there is now strong evidence that locking down our country cost us more years of life in this country than we gained.

This is according to the incredible work being done by the Ethical Skeptic Twitter account. (You should all go follow him for his charts and analysis of covid data).

Remember, the average age of death from covid in this country is older than the average age of death in this country overall. Meanwhile the people who are dying in excess numbers from something other than covid due to our lockdowns are much younger. These are much younger people dying of suicides, drug overdoses, from declining to seek medical care for fear of covid.

And this is a MONSTER story. A story which, not surprisingly, almost no one is telling.

We shut down our country to protect very old people from covid yet the deaths of much younger people from other causes are actually costing us more years of life, by far, than the years of life we are protecting. And this doesn’t even count, by the way, all the disastrous impacts from children being kept out of school for months at a time.

There’s been a tremendous rise, for instance, in domestic abuse and, likely, child abuse during the lockdown as well. And it also doesn’t count the very real economic costs of tens of millions of lost jobs, which will echo through poor families for years and years.

Let’s just be clear here: outside of nursing homes — which comprise nearly half of our deaths in this country despite only having .6% of our population — there is zero reason for any lockdowns to still exist in this country.

Zero.

It’s well past time for everyone to be back at work, school, and playing sports on all levels from little league to pro sports. And if you don’t want to do that because the media has terrified you, that’s your choice, you can stay in your house buried under the covers forever, but the rest of the us need to get on with our lives, you can’t hold us hostage any longer.

Unfortunately this isn’t happening because covid is now the entire basis for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. Meaning instead of these facts being debated and discussed in a rational manner, Biden has tied his entire campaign to stoking more fear based on the false idea that we’re all in tremendous danger from the coronavirus.

Even if it’s not true at all.

Worse than that, the media, which ostensibly exists to speak truth to power, has also completely embraced the fear porn narrative as well.

Which is why our national response to the coronavirus is the biggest failure of truth, logic, and honesty since the Vietnam War.

It’s time for you, me, and everyone else with a functional brain to get back to our normal lives.

Which is exactly what I’m doing.


And it’s exactly what I’m doing too.

That being said, I will still honor and follow the COVID-19 guidelines set by the various businesses and institutions I choose to frequent, hoping and praying they will also see the wisdom in getting back to “normal” very soon.

See you next week for more Wisdom Matters!

Houston, We Have A Problem!

This post is relatively brief again because the links highlighted below offer a great deal of relevant information for you to read and consider.

Most importantly, I will be taking some time away from my trusty computer as my wife and I celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary next week. It may take me a while to sober back up from all the festivities!!! Just kidding!

 

We thank God daily for His grace, mercy, and loving hand on our marriage and on our entire family these many years. Our journey has certainly had its ups and downs but through it all He was and still is faithful to sustain us.

And to my wife: If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t hesitate one bit with just a few changes and improvements on my part! I Love You Babe, Always Have, Always Will.

To God be the glory.


Per Wikipedia, “‘Houston, we have a problem’ is a popular but erroneous quotation from the radio communications between the Apollo 13 astronaut John (“Jack”) Swigert and the NASA Mission Control Center (“Houston”) during the Apollo 13 spaceflight, as the astronauts communicated their discovery of the explosion that crippled their spacecraft.

The words actually spoken, initially by Jack Swigert, were ‘Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here’. After being prompted to repeat the transmission by CAPCOM Jack R. Lousma, Jim Lovell responded, ‘Uh, Houston, we’ve had a problem.’

Since then, the erroneous phrase ‘Houston, we have a problem’ has become popular, being used to account, informally, the emergence of an unforeseen problem.”

So What’s The Problem?

Well, it goes without saying that COVID-19 has been “the emergence of an unforeseen problem” for the entire world that has unquestionably turned all of our individual worlds upside down in so many ways!

Unfortunately, there are some sub-problems that are emerging concerning options people diagnosed with COVID-19 may have available to mitigate the symptoms of the coronavirus.

First, the fight over Hyroxychloroquine. President Trump touted the drug at a press conference in early March. In late May, the atmosphere became more charged when the medical journal The Lancet published a study showing that patients taking Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 had a 34% increased risk of dying and a 137% increased risk of a heart arrhythmia. It was used by some to criticize Trump’s promotion of the drug. The study was later retracted when the data it used turned out to be fraudulent.

The debate was rekindled when America’s Frontline Doctors held a press conference saying they’d successfully treated COVID-19 patients with Hydroxychloroquine. The presser went viral after hundreds of thousands of people, including Trump, shared a video of it. Soon, the video was pulled by YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter on the grounds that it spread misinformation about the coronavirus. Twitter even suspended the account of Donald Trump Jr. after he shared it.

My question is, who made YouTube, FB, and Twitter the experts on what is medical “misinformation” and what isn’t? Something smells very fishy here!

It’s a very long and detailed read but you can view the entire Hydroxychloroquine White Paper HERE and decide for yourself.

Next, the debate over when a viable vaccine will be ready for the general population. The big question that has many people up in arms is, “Will the vaccine be mandatory?” You can view the entire 12-part series on Why So Many People Are Choosing Not To Vaccinate HERE and again, decide for yourself.


See you in a couple of weeks for more Wisdom Matters!

COVID-19 Public Service Announcement

In case you missed the latest communication from the White House on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the information below, copied from one of the online news outlets, offers a brief overview of President Trump’s 3-phase plan.

I have also included a link at the end of this article which provides the complete details of the official 3-phase plan.


President Trump’s 3-Phase Plan For Reopening America

President Donald Trump’s new guidelines for reopening parts of the country recommend states and localities confirm a two-week downward trend in coronavirus symptoms and documented cases before starting to ease lock downs while assuring hospitals have adequate capacity and robust testing in place.

The administration envisions states or localities meeting those criteria each time they progress through three phases. It’s not prescribing target dates for meeting each phase, and officials acknowledged restrictions could snap back if there’s a resurgence in cases.

Here’s how the new guidelines envision easing social distancing restrictions:

Phase one: Restaurants, movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship and gyms can reopen if they observe strict social distancing. Elective surgeries can resume when appropriate on an outpatient basis.

Schools currently closed should remain closed and visits to senior living facilities and hospitals should be prohibited. Bars should remain closed. High-risk individuals should remain at home.

Phase two: Schools and organized youth activities like camps can reopen. Nonessential travel can resume, and people can start circulating in parks, outdoor recreational areas, and shopping centers while avoiding gatherings of more than 50 individuals unless unspecified precautionary measures are taken. Restaurants, movie theaters and other large venues can operate under moderate social distancing rules.

Vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place, and employers should continue to encourage telework whenever possible. Common areas where people congregate in close quarters should be closed. Bars can operate with diminished standing-room occupancy.

Phase three: Vulnerable individuals can resume public interactions but practice social distancing. Employers can resume unrestricted staffing of workplaces. Large public venues can operate under limited social distancing rules. Visits to senior care facilities and hospitals can resume.

The document also outlines “core state preparedness responsibilities,” including having adequate testing and screening, the ability to supply enough protective gear and medical equipment, and plans to surge intensive care beds, if needed.

The big picture: It leaves the final say in any loosening of restrictions to state and local officials, adding that governors should work on a regional basis to progress through the phased recovery.

The document repeats past federal guidance on personal hygiene including urging people to wear masks or face coverings when in public. Employers should consider temperature checks, social distancing, and doing their own testing and contact tracing. It urges barring anyone with symptoms from returning to work until they are cleared by a medical provider.

Here’s the link to President Trump’s Official 3-Phase Plan for opening up America again.


Praying you and your families are staying safe and well during these trying times, and for better days ahead real soon!

See you next week for more Wisdom Matters!