Monday, July 27, 2020

Copy of my Facebook post regarding COVID-19

In regard to COVID-19, there is a matter that should be of great importance to everyone, which is the death rate of the disease. A few days ago I looked at the official number of cases and deaths and came up with a death rate of 3.55% for the US, 4% for the world, and 4.5% in my home state of Indiana. There is a John Hopkins website that shows the same thing. However, the number of deaths tends to lag behind cases by 2 to 4 weeks, so these numbers could be slightly low.

Unfortunately, there are a great many people, mostly in conservative media, who are claiming that the death rate is only 0.3%. They are constantly saying that this isn't much different than the seasonal flu. This number is being quoted so frequently that I tried to find some information to verify it, but I can't find anything. Even Bill Gates said that the death rate is less than 1%, but I can't find anything to back that either.

I think that this idea of a low death rate comes from a California study a couple of months ago that found that there were ten times as many positive tested cases in a sample population than what was predicted. So the argument was made that if there were ten times as many cases then the real death is ten times less. The problem is that the California study was criticized for its methodology. They did not do random sampling but instead asked for volunteers to be tested. The problem is that volunteers probably don't represent the population as a whole, and likely include many people who think that they may be infected.

It has also been pointed out that unknown cases could mean unknown deaths from COVID-19. Just because you have unknown cases doesn't necessarily mean that the death rate is lower.

So there seems to be much discussion about asymptomatic people because the argument seems to be that if there are a large number of asymptomatic cases then the death rate must be lower. However, studies from Wuhan and Italy both indicate that the number of asymptomatic cases is only around 40%. In addition, there are articles all over the place saying that asymptomatic people can still spread the disease.

In regard to unknown cases, I'm going to argue that it really doesn't matter. The number of *known* cases is still growing at apparently an ever-increasing rate, and those people are still dying at a rate of around 4%. About 3 days ago I noticed from official numbers that 100,000 people had died from COVID-19 worldwide in 12 days. That is around 34 times the number of deaths from 9-11, and we spent trillions of dollars fighting wars because of 9-11. As long as the number of known cases keeps increasing and those people keep dying at a significant rate, then this pandemic is a still serious problem.

There seems to be some resistance to mandates to wear masks. I don't consider wearing a mask to be an infringement on my freedom. It is the equivalent of wearing a hard hat in a construction zone.

I am appalled at how many people are espousing conspiracy theories in regard to COVID-19, especially in regard to a potential vaccine. A small part of the problem is that many politicians are trying to politicize the pandemic, so this contributes to people distrusting public officials and their motives.  

Best wishes,

John Coffey

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