9 Discerning Updated & Sourced Facts About Coronavirus

DISCLAIMER – THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THE DISCERNING MAN COLUMN DO NOT REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF HEROIK MEDIA OR ITS AFFILIATES.

There is a lot of fear, panic porn, and optimism shaming getting blasted in a highly politicized news media climate.  Despite the whole world being focused on this issue right now, most of the media is not focused on what matters to most people at the moment. Namely, giving you the specific information that will be more relevant to you and your family’s situation (risk associated with age), diving into the real constitutional and financial issues of 2/3 of the crisis (economy dying and questionable public policy).

As always, the goal here is to help you get Mission Ready For Life – this requires a discerning look at the facts and realities, and shining light on dark and formidable issues so we can DTFW – Do The Formidable Work that needs doing

We have to look at 4 fronts:

1. Get real, raw and relevant – and adjust to re-assessed Covid19 threat to human life, whatever that may mean. This must be done within the scope of rule of law and consideration for inalienable freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. Yes, even and especially in times of crisis and fear, we must temper our efforts through a legal lens. Medical experts alone may recommend solutions that do not work on our operating system. These lead to other problems (as we’re seeing). Given the fragile state of things, it becomes essential to have a cross-disciplinary, and holistic view when it comes to developing reasonable public policy to fight the pandemic.

2. Address the public outcry and claim of government overreachTo fast forward things, we will assume there exists some intersection where government interference, shutdown, and infringement on civil liberties presents more of a threat to the public, the economy, mental and physical well being. We may debate what that point is, but it does in fact exist.  Part of this discussion means  having reasonable debate about the issues, without censorship, allowing for peaceful protest, even if it makes other people scared and uncomfortable, and  even if people choose to risk their lives, and yes, even if their presence could risk others lives. There is no right to a germ free public life – and this is important to bear in mind. Also,

3. Reassess the economic impact relative to the re-assessed threat to public health, and begin navigating the restart immediately at whatever level that may mean. I say immediately, as it appears, the re-opening will happen slowly and reluctantly and take considerable time. Also since unemployment funds are running out and state governments cannot ensure adequate compensation to protect citizens’ livelihood, they therefore must allow the citizens to seek means of their own compensation in the marketplace.

4. The new normal will be hyper-competitive war time marketplace for business – developing alliances, systems, and battle plans to meet the moment is the ultimate issue we need to focus on, but we can’t get here until we address the other 3. If we get too distracted in the debate over the other three, we may have little left in terms of energy and brain cells to address this 4th, and the most formidable front the country and the world has ever seen.

1st Front

COVID-19 Sit-Rep

1. What is the real fatality rate/ CFR (Case Fatality Rate)? What’s the latest science telling us? What do the Experts Believe?

April 22nd, 2020

Perhaps, it doesn’t get any more relevant than these 2 local, California doctors discussing the COVID-19 stats, what they’re seeing locally, what they’re hearing, what they’re discussing with the Hospital Executives, and what they know about immunology and microbiology.  This 54 minute video sums up everything, better than much of the other material in this post. So if you look at only one thing – watch this.

March 26th, 2020

“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%)Dr.  Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., New England Journal of Medicine

2. Does everyone have the same level of risk? For example, is a 20 year old have the same Case Fatality Rate, as a 75 year old? NO.

April 22nd, 2020

The overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19.

“The recent Stanford University antibody study now estimates that the fatality rate if infected is likely 0.1 to 0.2 percent, a risk far lower than previous World Health Organization estimates that were 20 to 30 times higher and that motivated isolation policies.

This is risk isn’t the same for all ages or levels of health. We’ll use New York’s numbers since they will be the scariest. 

  • For those under age 18, 0.01 percent per 100,000 people under the age of 18 require hospitalization. 
  • Ages 18-44  0.1 percent per 100,000 people require hospitalization
  • Ages 65-74 Only 1.7 percent were hospitalized.

(Source)

March 30th, 2020

“Consistent with previous research, the new study also found that the death rate varied greatly by age. While the death rate was around 0.0016% in 0 to 9-year-olds, it increased to about 7.8% for people who were age 80 and above.

The researchers also found that nearly 1 in 5 people over the age of 80 infected with COVID-19 were likely to require hospitalization whereas only 1% of people under 30 were likely to be hospitalized.” (Source LiveScience.com) (Lancet Infectious Diseases Study)

This is an important bit, as the media seems to only want to cover the aggregate stat 1.2% etc. instead of breaking it down by age or pre-existing condition. This additional layer of depth allows you to make a more informed choice, like whether to risk going out to work to feed your family and keep your home, or whether to call for a younger volunteer to shop and sanitize for you. By removing this information, the media is removing your informed decision making ability. So it’s important to seek out these details, because they are out there!

3. How many people have it or had it? How long has Covid19 been here? 

30X-80X more people than we thought Depending on which study you refer to. This is what leads us to believe that the virus has been here before and far less lethal than projected.

The answer here is we don’t know. However, 2 new studies suggest that COVID-19 is way more prevelant by orders of magnitude (30x-40x on the low end). This would suggest it may have been here before we knew about it. 

April 20th, 2020

Early antibody testing in L.A. suggests that COVID-19 infections greatly exceed documented cases. (USC News)

April 17th, 2020

Our findings suggest that there is somewhere between 50- and 80-fold more infections in our county than what’s known by the number of cases than are reported by our department of public health,” Dr. Eran Bendavid, the associate professor of medicine at Stanford University who led the study – Source (ABC news) (Study)

4. What are the current projections / updated models predicting?

The U.S. Government, CDC, seem to be running on multiple, varying models. The model you’ve likely heard about the most is the IHME model, shown below that predicts 60,308 deaths by August 4th, 2020. 

However, the CDC, has multiple models that they are showing, featured in the image below as of 4/21/2020, which keeps them covered for any number of scenarios.

The famous Dr. Fauci, lowered the White House estimated death toll to 60,000, (source). He didn’t however explain explicitly which model he was basing this projection on.

6. WHY DID ITALY’S NUMBERS CHANGE?

You no doubt heard about Italy’s coronavirus death count, and that famous 10% number. It turns out, according to Italy’s own Minister of Health, Professor Ricciardi, “The way in which we code deaths in our country is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus.”

“On re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12 percent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 percent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity – many had two or three,” he says (Source Telegraph UK). That would take Italy’s fatality rate down to 1.2%…not 10%

7. What about New York’s Numbers? 

When it comes to death, Doctors are usually held to a very high standard for accuracy and specificity…unless you’re New York during this crisis. According to Kaiser Health News, ReutersThe New York Times and Others, New York added 3,700 “probable” cases. These are un-tested not confirmed, some of them could have been regular flu deaths, but we won’t know. This seemingly tiny detail is exactly the type of non-scientific political move that throws models off, and edits the numbers. 

Let’s talk about New York…

“In New York City, an epicenter of the pandemic with more than one-third of all U.S. deaths, the rate of death for people 18 to 45 years old is 0.01 percent, or 11 per 100,000 in the population.

On the other hand, people aged 75 and over have a death rate 80 times that. For people under 18 years old, the rate of death is zero per 100,000.”

Of all fatal cases in New York State, two-thirds were in patients over 70 years of age; more than 95 percent were over 50 years of age, and about 90 percent of all fatal cases had an underlying illness. Of 6,570 confirmed COVID-19 deaths fully investigated for underlying conditions to date, 6,520, or 99.2 percent, had an underlying illness.

If you do not already have an underlying chronic condition, your chances of dying are small, regardless of age. And young adults and children in normal health have almost no risk of any serious illness from COVID-19.”

Protecting those at risk, the elderly and immunosuppressed people greatly reduces the possibility of hospital over-crowding. 

What NYC COVID19 Data tells us about those who need hospitalizations:

  • For those under age 18, 0.01 percent per 100,000 people under the age of 18 require hospitalization. 
  • Ages 18-44  0.1 percent per 100,000 people require hospitalization
  • Ages 65-74 Only 1.7 percent were hospitalized.

Even early WHO reports noted that 80 percent of all cases were mild, and more recent studies show a far more widespread rate of infection and lower rate of serious illness.

Half of all people testing positive for infection have no symptoms at all. The vast majority of younger, otherwise healthy people do not need significant medical care if they catch this infection.

Bottom Line We have a clearly defined population at risk who can be protected with targeted measures.

Source

NUMBER FUDGING IS not just HAPPENING IN New York. This is what was happening in Italy and elsewhere too.

8. What incentive would hospitals, doctors and governors have to falsely elevate the numbers?

According to the CDC’s modified guidelines, “In cases where a definite diagnosis of COVID cannot be made but is suspected or likely (e.g. the circumstances are compelling with a reasonable degree of certainty) it is acceptable to report COVID-19 on a death certificate as ‘probable’ or ‘presumed.’ “

This is not how these determinations are typically made. Death certificates normally require a great degree of precision and specificity. Dr. Scott Jensen, a Minnesota family physician who is also a Republican state senator, said the following:

“The idea that we are going to allow people to massage and sort of game the numbers is a real issue because we are going to undermine the [public] trust,” he said. “And right now as we see politicians doing things that aren’t necessarily motivated on fact and science, their trust in politicians is already wearing thin.”

“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.”

 (Source)

9. What is the cost of human life to ongoing economic crisis?

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, if unemployment hits 32%, about 77,000 Americans may die as a result (of suicide and drug overdose). This number does not reflect the deaths from starvation or criminal acts of violence likely to increase with such significant economic loss.

CONCLUSION

 

These are the facts and issues we need to drive more consensus on before we move on to the other issues. As this first front dictates our public policy and affects fear and panic levels in society. 

The Lack of Good Journalism Made This A LOT Worse. 

It’s a sad day when it takes citizen journalism to round up these facts and present them to the public. The media seems to be benefiting both in ratings and political agenda from its current reporting. The best case scenario, they are dragging their feet as they reconcile these facts and figures to put these numbers together.

Politically, the COVID-19 numbers appear to be politically inconvenient for a political effort to unseat the president in the upcoming the election. It is worth noting that there is a major perception that VP Joe Biden is a relatively weak candidate to go against Trump, and this is why many were hoping (sad but true), that this crisis would torpedo President Trump’s chances at re-election.  And there are many, many people who desperately want that to happen, apparently more than they want to report the facts, or put in place reasonable public policy that protects and serves society. They have exacerbated the situation, deviated from scientific norms, and even reasonable public policy. I personally do not believe this has all been a conscious effort, but there is certainly, reasonably, some of that going on here. There is a degree of this that does indeed, have all the semblance of the most expensive game of Wag The Dog in our country’s history.

Regardless if due to panic, ineptitude or bias, the failure of the mass media can’t go overlooked. The combination of the election cycle, potential public policy SNAFU’s, and the media’s apparent bias or allergy to science here, is no longer a partisan issue. This affects every American. It’s time we at least try to digest and debate what these numbers are telling us and how they should shape our public policy as we navigate this crisis.

We are to the point when the policy to address the virus, is itself a greater threat to human life, the economy, and society itself. It’s time to turn around and reign it in a bit.

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