As our governor and her unelected cadre of bureaucrats march out another three week revisiting of a lockdown just in time for the purely American gathering and feasting holiday known as Thanksgiving (not to mention the business' holiday on Black Friday), everybody needs to reconsider what we have learned since last winter about Covid-19. Rather than regurgitate the scary stats and 'facts' our governor and her token doctor (with no training in epidemiology or virology) portray as reasons to shut down schools and economies, I will present a well-researched and well-written overview of the actual dangers of the novel coronavirus by Jay Bhattacharyam, a Professor of Medicine at Stanford University.
You can read the full essay here, or if you would rather see a summary of his work, I offer the following abstracts of the four points he makes.
1. The COVID-19 Fatality Rate: In March, leading medical bodies (the WHO and the CDC) estimated that about 3% of people who were exposed to Covid-19 died. The author was part of the Santa Clara antibody tests which found Covid-19 antibodies were much more widespread than then thought, fifty times more prevalent, making the fatality rate at most 0.2%. This was not an anomaly, 82 similar studies from around the world had that 0.2% rate as its median. This makes Covid-19 about twice as deadly as your average influenza season, and practically comparable to a year with a strong strain of influenza.
2) Who Is at Risk?: The author notes that Covid-19's victims are not all the same. A child is 1000 times less likely to die than a 70 year old who contracts it. For the young, Covid-19 is much less dangerous than the seasonal flu. Policy makers rarely take this into account and treat everybody as if they had the same risk
3. Deadliness of the Lockdowns: Lockdowns had never been tried for control of viruses in the past and were put in place so as to not have patients overwhelm hospitals. Hospitals never have come close to being overwhelmed, however, 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.
Immunizations have been put off, leading to the possibility that those diseases and viruses may have a resurgence in communities, cancer screenings and therapies have been put off increasing the fatality rate with that health issue. Young adults have contemplated suicidal thoughts at levels unheard of before due to the isolation and loss of control over their lives-- despite they have little to fear from the virus.
4. Where to Go from Here: The author and two other epidemiologists with different backgrounds came together and concluded that the widespread lockdown policy has been a devastating public health mistake. They issued a declaration expressing a logical alternative that incorporates all of what scientists and stats have discovered about Covid-19. Simply expressed, they ask to protect the vulnerable and allow the rest of society to carry on with the common sense precautions of staying home when sick and exercising better hygiene. This will allow the vulnerable to eventually be safe once herd immunity is attained in a community.
Herd immunity is not a strategy—it is a biological fact that applies to most infectious diseases and comes into play even if a vaccine is perfected. Many governors operating on a host of unknowns in March of 2020 chose lockdowns and nonsensical, draconian rules. Now that we have a lot of information and data to work from, adopting a new batch of lockdowns and nonsensical, draconian rules as if the knowledge gained was all for naught is pure folly and detrimental to public health. Exactly as it was before.