Covid 19: The Trouble With Coronavirus
[Disclaimer: I am not medical qualified and if you feel unwell you should always seek medical advice]
Coronavirus has seemingly thrown the world into disarray as countries around the globe apparently struggle to contain the outbreak of this novel strain of an otherwise common viral infection. The World Health Organisation (WHO) have declared the COVID 19 pandemic and in the UK the government has convened another Cabinet Office Briefing Room A (COBRA) meeting, the highest level of emergency planning, to deal with what the mainstream media have been quick to call a deadly virus.
As the public panic buy and new terms like "self isolate" and "social distancing" emerge from the government's response to COVID 19, the politicians and the mainstream media (MSM) are united in their certainty that abject fear is warranted. So let's consider the information they've used to make their determination and ask if it justifies the alarm and the draconian legislation bobbing up in its wake.
Fear Fear and More Fear
The MSM, global authorities like the WHO and the UK Government have seemingly gone to great lengths to terrify people to death in response to the claimed COVID 19 pandemic. The new Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, announcing a £30 bn investment package to tackle the "emergency," invoked the spirit of the Blitz saying "We will get through this together." Prime Minister Boris Johnson presented the government's "action plan" outlining how the government would protect us against what it calls "a significant challenge for the entire world."
It's a crisis, a pandemic, an emergency! According the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney this threatens not only our lives but also an economic shock as the world struggles to cope with the horror. This message was hammered home by Prime Minister Boris Johnson who spoke to the MSM after the COBRA meeting today. Speaking about minimising the suffering he told the nation:
"I must level with you. Many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time."
With the MSM claiming hundreds of thousands of British people could die and the WHO saying they are deeply concerned about "alarming levels of spread and severity" it's no wonder the public are scared witless. So it's a shame no one remembered to tell the public about the promise of an inexpensive and widely available treatment for COVID 19.
Today (12/03/2020) there are 596 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and sadly 10 people have died. COVID 19 appears to be a nasty infection with a higher mortality rate than most other forms of more common diseases, such as influenza. The current UK mortality rate of 1.7% is 17 times higher that we might expect from the flu.
Putting this into perspective, currently there are about 120,000 cases of COVID 19 that have been diagnosed world wide. However, this oft quoted ever increasing number is itself somewhat deceiving. It takes no account of the tens of thousands who have fully recovered nor does it inform you that the rate of new infections are dropping sharply in China.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), of the total number of people infected, nearly 4,300 are said to have died. Which suggests a mortality rate approaching an alarming 3.6%. This is considerably higher than indicated by Chinese Studies which have reported mortality rates varying between 1.4% and 1.7%. So we might immediately wonder where the WHO's statistics are coming from.
While this suggests a higher mortality rate than influenza the numbers aren't even comparable. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) estimates, in the U.S. alone, flu has conservatively caused 34 million illnesses, 350,000 hospitalisations and at least 20,000 deaths this season so far.
The UK Office of National Statistics recorded 7,551 alcohol related UK deaths in 2018 and 6,507 people committed suicide. Yet the government doesn't consider alcohol a national emergency and mental health services remain underfunded and largely forgotten. The annual number of deaths from coronary heart disease, for people under the age of 75, is more than 40,000 per year. Though again government doesn't consider this a "crisis" either. Public Health England (PHE) estimate influenza kills 17,000 people annually in the UK.
If we consider the alleged scale of mortality from COVID 19 it barely registers on the charts. The monumental level of fear doesn't remotely reflect objective reality. But reason for scepticism doesn't end there.
Lies, Damned Lies & Statistics
On page 12 of the Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) the research team reports that those at the highest risk of mortality are older people with underlying illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer. Each one of which can also be fatal in their own right. There are odd anomalies in the data too. For some unknown reason, overall mortality in Wuhan was reported as 3.8% yet mortality elsewhere in China was 0.7%.
Speaking earlier today the UK Governments Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty stated that he estimated about 1% of infected people could die. He based this upon the Chinese data. He also revealed that there is no test for people who have may have been infected but have no symptoms, which makes calculation of mortality rates practically meaningless.
Like China the UK's approach is only to test people who present with symptoms following medical consultation and advice. Therefore as most infected people will recover at home, claims about mortality rates need to be treated accordingly. South Korea have tested their population more extensively. As a result their COVID 19 mortality rate is 0.6% far lower than the alarming claims of the WHO. There is good reason to treat the WHO's statistics with caution.
Whitty also stated, based upon the Chinese data, that mortality rates increase significantly for the high risk groups. The Joint WHO team claimed this was as high as 22% in China for the over 80 age group and between 7.6% and 13.2% for the over 60's and high risk co-morbidity group. Perhaps this accounts for the wild variance between Chinese study data and the WHO's reported 3.6%, but it seems unlikely. How much credibility we can give these figures is doubtful.
In Annex D of their report, published only two weeks ago, the WHO listed what they called their knowledge gaps regarding COVID 19. They don't know how it started, aren't sure how it is transmitted and are uncertain about it's shedding mechanism. They don't know what the social, economic and environmental contributing risk factors are nor how seasonal variability affects it. The Chinese RT-PCR tests diagnosing it were found to be unreliable as the specificity of identifying nucleic acids were vague. Therefore so are their statistics.
Chinese statistics were further confused by a lack of RT-PCR testing kits. They switched to scanning the lungs for 'signs' of the virus. This saw recorded infection rates jump by nearly 15,000 in a single day though this was entirely the result of administrative changes and no reflection of reality. Since then most Chinese patients have been tested using CT scans which show symptoms which "indicate" the presence of COVID 19 but don't test for it. Casting yet more doubt on the statistics the UK government are apparently basing their response upon.
For those familiar with the term, we appear to be moving into the territory of "all the hallmarks" of COVID 19. The UK government have opened up RT-PCR testing centres across the country so hopefully they won't run out of test kits and the statistics will be more informative.
What About The Good News?
If you've been exposed to the MSM's coverage of COVID 19 and have taken the political statement to heart, then, in all probability, you are extremely worried about the pandemic. As we have just discussed, perhaps cause for alarm isn't quite as well founded as we are led to believe. While the post COBRA statements earlier today painted a dire picture, one thing notable from the press conference was the absence of the relatively good news on COVID 19. News the MSM seem incapable of reporting. The WHO-China joint team also noted in their report:
"[Mortality] has reduced over time to 0.7% for patients with symptom onset after 1 February. The Joint Mission noted that the standard of care has evolved over the course of the outbreak."
So good quality care looks like it can make a big difference.
The foggy statistics, clearly shifting narrative, always focused upon maximising fear and panic rather than encouraging calm reflection, the apparent (claimed) lack of knowledge about COVID 19 and strange anomalies in mortality and infection rates, depending on who you listen too, have left some in the medical profession bemused and perhaps a little annoyed. The noted epidemiologist Tom Jefferson, writing in the British Medical Journal said:
"I often get stopped in the street, or in a bar, or the gym, and asked about COVID 19..... There is....one question that my Italian friends often ask me to which I have no answer: how is this different from the seasonal influenza-like illnesses we are used to?.....Well, the virus serotype is new, sure, but is that enough to justify the frenetic media attention?......Perhaps the death rate, the ratio of confirmed cases to deaths, could explain the furore? It seems to be anything between 0.18% to 4.9% (depending on where you look), on average below that of other coronavirus outbreaks. And deaths seem to be concentrated in older age groups and in people with pre-existing morbidities.......So I cannot answer my nagging doubts, there does not seem to be anything special about this particular epidemic of influenza-like illness."
Most remarkably, for some seemingly inexplicable reason, the MSM and the government haven't told you about the strong likelihood of relatively simple, low cost effective treatment for COVID 19. Instead they seem fixated on working with their corporate partners to produce an extremely expensive vaccine.
One of Europe's most respected and published experts in infectious diseases Prof Didier Roult, has made it abundantly clear that COVID 19 can be successfully treated with the widely available, relatively inexpensive anti malaria drug Chloroquine. Chinese authorities have established it's effectiveness and Japanese trials are nearing completion, demonstrating very promising results.
Of course it is wise to exercise the precautionary principle. Government advice to stay at home if you are sick and do what we can to limit the spread of COVID 19 makes sense. However, pulling a sicky is practically a British sport and reasons for abject fear and social upheaval are not evident.
The next time you turn on the telly to endure the never ending fear porn or read a scary COVID 19 headline in an MSM propaganda rag; when you hear a politician or financial expert claim this is a global disaster and we all need to self isolate in our socially distanced micro verses please remember to believe nothing you hear and half of what you see. Then, if you feel well enough, get yourself out in the sunshine, meet up with friends and have a laugh.
Take it easy you hoopy froods.