Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The CDC confirms remarkably low coronavirus death rate. Where is the media?

Daniel Horowitz

Most people are more likely to wind up six feet under because of almost anything else under the sun other than COVID-19.

The CDC just came out with a report that should be earth-shattering to the narrative of the political class, yet it will go into the thick pile of vital data and information about the virus that is not getting out to the public. For the first time, the CDC has attempted to offer a real estimate of the overall death rate for COVID-19, and under its most likely scenario, the number is 0.26%. Officials estimate a 0.4% fatality rate among those who are symptomatic and project a 35% rate of asymptomatic cases among those infected, which drops the overall infection fatality rate (IFR) to just 0.26% — almost exactly where Stanford researchers pegged it a month ago.

Until now, we have been ridiculed for thinking the death rate was that low, as opposed to the 3.4% estimate of the World Health Organization, which helped drive the panic and the lockdowns. Now the CDC is agreeing to the lower rate in plain ink.

Plus, ultimately we might find out that the IFR is even lower because numerous studies and hard counts of confined populations have shown a much higher percentage of asymptomatic cases. Simply adjusting for a 50% asymptomatic rate would drop their fatality rate to 0.2% – exactly the rate of fatality Dr. John Ionnidis of Stanford University projected.

More importantly, as I mentioned before, the overall death rate is meaningless because the numbers are so lopsided. Given that at least half of the deaths were in nursing homes, a back-of-the-envelope estimate would show that the infection fatality rate for non-nursing home residents would only be 0.1% or 1 in 1,000. And that includes people of all ages and all health statuses outside of nursing homes. Since nearly all of the deaths are those with comorbidities.

The CDC estimates the death rate from COVID-19 for those under 50 is 1 in 5,000 for those with symptoms, which would be 1 in 6,725 overall, but again, almost all those who die have specific comorbidities or underlying conditions. Those without them are more likely to die in a car accident. And schoolchildren, whose lives, mental health, and education we are destroying, are more likely to get struck by lightning.

To put this in perspective, one Twitter commentator juxtaposed the age-separated infection fatality rates in Spain to the average yearly probability of dying of anything for the same age groups, based on data from the Social Security Administration. He used Spain because we don’t have a detailed infection fatality rate estimate for each age group from any survey in the U.S. However, we know that Spain fared worse than almost every other country. This data is actually working with a top-line IFR of 1%, roughly four times what the CDC estimates for the U.S., so if anything, the corresponding numbers for the U.S. will be lower.

As you can see, even in Spain, the death rates from COVID-19 for younger people are very low and are well below the annual death rate for any age group in a given year. For children, despite their young age, they are 10-30 times more likely to die from other causes in any given year.

While obviously yearly death rates factor in myriad of causes of death and COVID-19 is just one virus, it still provides much-needed perspective to a public policy response that is completely divorced from the risk for all but the oldest and sickest people in the country.

Also, keep in mind, these numbers represent your chance of dying once you have already contracted the virus, aka the infection fatality rate. Once you couple the chance of contracting the virus in the first place together with the chance of dying from it, many younger people have a higher chance of dying from a lightning strike.

Four infectious disease doctors in Canada estimate that the individual rate of death from COVID-19 for people under 65 years of age is six per million people, or 0.0006 per cent – 1 in 166,666, which is “roughly equivalent to the risk of dying from a motor vehicle accident during the same time period.” These numbers are for Canada, which did have fewer deaths per capita than the U.S.; however, if you take New York City and its surrounding counties out of the equation, the two countries are pretty much the same. Also, remember, so much of the death is associated with the suicidal political decisions of certain states and countries to place COVID-19 patients in nursing homes. An astounding 62 percent of all COVID-19 deaths were in the six states confirmed to have done this, even though they only compose 18 percent of the national population.

We destroyed our entire country and suspended democracy all for a lie, and these people perpetrated the unscientific degree of panic. Will they ever admit the grave consequences of their error?



Coronavirus, Gun Violence, and Lame Leftist 'Logic'

In order to attempt to stop a pandemic that kills far less than half of one percent of those who contract it, including a statistically infinitesimal percentage of those under 65, most of the world conducted a massive, overreaching, draconian lockdown effort that threw millions into poverty, shuttered businesses for good, disrupted critical supply chains, demolished liberties, and left much of the global economy in ruins that will take years, if not decades to rebuild. To call this ongoing absurdity an overreach is to put it mildly, but overreach is the term that seemingly has defined everything we’ve done attempting to stop a virus that has terrified people far beyond what its capabilities would suggest.

As more and more data comes to light, it’s becoming increasingly clear that, had we decided to employ a more measured approach like that of Sweden, we would not only have flattened the curve and not overwhelmed hospitals, but we would also be much further along toward the ultimate goal of obtaining herd immunity from the virus. Yet instead, we chose to burn the proverbial house down to deal with an ant infestation. We sank the ship to kill the rats below deck. We nuked the desert to get rid of a few scorpions. We … well, you get the picture. Instead of taking steps to isolate and protect the vulnerable, we closed schools, shuttered businesses, and essentially locked healthy people in their houses for months.

We tried an approach that hasn’t been tried in the entire history of pandemics, and we failed miserably. “But but but, the curve was flattened and deaths were kept to a minimum,” you say. To which I would argue that the curve would have been flattened anyway with a more measured approach and, while we may have had a few more deaths, we would be well on our way to herd immunity with a life-sustaining economy not completely off the rails. Instead, now we’re talking about having to wear facemasks for years and dealing with a potential second wave that could make our overlords force us to repeat this whole lockdown nonsense again in the Fall.

Most lockdown critics blame both right and left for the initial shutdowns, and I certainly understand where they’re coming from (though I’d like to humbly point out that I’ve been on the ‘right’ side of history on this since the beginning). Much was unknown, and some thought the death rate could reach as high as five percent. Though it’s obvious that President Trump wanted to do the right thing from the start, he was likely told by his advisors, especially the medical ones, that he would have blood on his hands if he erred on the side of inaction here. Fair enough. Were any of us in his situation, maybe we would have done the same thing, even if we didn’t want to.

So yeah, both sides are at fault to some degree, but those on the left have clearly been the ones loathe to learn from the world’s mistakes. Exhibit A? How about blue-state governors all across the land holding on to their newfound godlike power like it’s the last “hot & ready” Krispy Kreme doughnut? Of course, it’s not like any of us are surprised by this. Sadly, such tendencies towards overreach when dealing with a problem is par for the course with leftists. Give them a hammer, and everything looks like a nail.

No, their almost pathological desire to stick with the notion that locking down an entire population is an effective, long-term strategy for dealing with coronavirus isn’t surprising at all when you think about it. After all, they’ve taken the same approach toward gun violence for years. Just ‘ban’ guns, they reason, and gun violence will magically disappear. Instead of a functional, freedom-oriented society where good people have the right and means of self-defense, leftists would impose draconian gun legislation on the law-abiding, leaving the criminals, who have no intention of following gun laws, the ability to prey on society at will.

We all know that schools have been among the most vulnerable places for gun violence, for a variety of horrible reasons. However, instead of locking them down and protecting them with good people with guns, like trained teachers, principals, and resource officers, leftists reason that it is somehow easier to make guns magically disappear from the entire country.

Follow their twisted logic to protecting the vulnerable, particularly those in nursing homes, during the coronavirus pandemic, and you’ll see the tragic irony. We knew right from the beginning that this virus affected the elderly and sick to a greater degree. However, instead of locking down nursing homes from the start, certain blue-state governors, most notably New York’s Andrew Cuomo, mandated that they not be allowed to refuse COVID patients. And of course, what literally everyone knew would happen is exactly what DID happen - thousands more died than otherwise would have. In other words, the governors of New York and Pennsylvania “protected” their citizens from coronavirus by locking down the healthy and sending sick people into the one place everyone knew should be protected.

It makes absolutely zero sense, just like their approach to guns. But when has leftist “logic” ever squared with reality?



Cutting More Red Tape Will Aid Recovery

President Donald Trump's biggest accomplishments, in our view, are two stellar Supreme Court nominations, major tax cuts across the board, and a commitment to deregulation. Of the latter, the Wall Street Journal editorial board remarks, "The Trump Administration's long parade of deregulation — on everything from Title IX, to net neutrality, to environmental-impact statements, to joint employers — is among its biggest achievements."

Throughout the COVID-19 shutdown, the Trump administration has worked to eliminate or waive regulations that hinder mitigation efforts. On Tuesday, the president made a significant move to continue this record. The Washington Times reports, "Mr. Trump signed an executive order, in his first Cabinet meeting since the crisis hit, that directs federal agencies to rapidly use all emergency and 'good cause' authorities to find red tape that can be rescinded or temporarily waived to promote job creation and economic growth. In addition to cutting regulations, the president's order instructs Cabinet agencies to 'consider exercising appropriate temporary enforcement discretion' for the good of the recovery."

Moreover, federal agencies should "determine which, if any," of the 600 deregulatory actions taken during the pandemic "would promote economic recovery if made permanent."

"Typically when our country has faced a crisis, Washington responds by grabbing more power," said Russ Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget. "President Trump understands that to get the economy moving, the power needs to be given back to the people and entrepreneurs. If a bureaucratic rule needs to be suspended during a time of crisis to help the American people, we should ask ourselves if it makes sense to keep at all."

Trump's rationale is surely influenced by his own career as a businessman. "I want you to go to town and do it right," he told members of his Cabinet. "It gives you tremendous power to cut regulation. We're fighting for the livelihoods of American workers, and we must continue to cut through every piece of red tape that stands in our way."

Many of the deregulation efforts are small in isolation. According to the Journal, they include: "Truck drivers hauling emergency supplies have more flexibility about hours on the road. Seniors on Medicare can consult doctors by iPhone. Colleges can ramp up distance learning without the usual red tape."

But regulations are also a sort of "death by a thousand paper cuts." Most regulations don't result directly in job losses, but the accumulation of them means business owners are busier obeying government fiat than they are serving customers, making widgets, or hiring new workers. Regarding the reopening, as long as businesses "have attempted in reasonable good faith" to meet guidelines of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), for example, the bureaucracy has been instructed to lay off. Small moves like that will also accumulate and make it easier for businesses to recover from the pandemic shutdown.

Trump concluded, "With millions of Americans forced out of work by the virus, it's more important than ever to remove burdens that destroy American jobs." Can we get an "amen"?



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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