We are not capturing the right data to define the impact of COVID-19 on our health.

COVID-19 data shows us that 25 to 80% of people have had the virus and experienced no symptoms.  There are too many things wrong with the statistics identifying the threat COVID-19 on our health.

In early April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 25% of people probably had COVID-19 but showed no symptoms. A couple of days later, Iceland reported 50% of people tested by deCODE had no symptoms. A few days later, another study revealed that 44% of people had asymptomatic COVID-19. Less than a month later, researchers reported that 81% of a cruise ship had contracted COVID-19 without symptoms.

The problem of defining the lethality of a disease is to know how many people have it, and how many people die from it. There are three problems I see with establishing a death rate for COVID-19. The first is that it favors the elderly demographic. The second is that you cannot determine who has the disease without testing. The third is that there are many concerns that people die from, or with, or because of COVID-19.

The death rate among those over 80 years of age is roughly 15%. The 70-79-year-old group shows a range of 7.5-9.5%. The death rate for those in the 60-69-year-old demographic is about half of the 70-79-year-old group. The higher death rates associated with age are averaged into the total population.

There were some situations where nursing homes were not protected well enough to prevent infection and large numbers of the patients died. These conditions significantly increased the daily death count. Many elder-care facilities that adequately protected their patients from COVID-19 and normal age-related deaths have occurred not due to the virus.

We must protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19. One of our local churches does an ID check on people entering. You are not allowed to enter the church if you are over the age of 65. I think this is a good thing. Asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 can easily infect older parishioners.

If a disease kills one person out of a hundred, the death rate is one percent. If it kills one person out of a thousand, the death rate is 0.1%. Studies have shown that fifty to eighty percent of those tested have had COVID-19 and did not know it. However, that was when testing was limited. Studies from Stanford University and the University of Southern California have shown the actual number of people exposed to COVID-19 is fifty to eighty times – not percent.

How do you assess a death rate to a disease when most of the population might have had it and few are tested? Unless everyone is tested, how do you know? At best, it is an educated guess. It seems that educated guesses are being updated weekly.

We see reports that huge increases in new COVID-19 cases every week. Today, I reviewed a CNN article from June 5, 2020, stating ‘coronavirus cases rising faster than ever’. The worldwide daily rate of confirmed cases has risen to over 100,000. This is attributed to new testing in the Caribbean Islands, Latin, and South America.

Worldometers.com is my source for statistics on COVID-19. June confirmed new cases averages above 100,000. However, daily deaths have been decreasing from highs above 8,000/day in April to just under 5,000 daily for the first five days of June worldwide. I see the headlines of massive increases in new cases of COVID-19, but I do not see the confirming increases in hospitalizations and daily deaths.

Is the real death rate 0.1 percent which would equal seasonal influenza? Or is it much lower? We cannot determine how many people have had the disease. We certainly have not been concerned to any level about the tens of thousands of deaths annually in the United States because of seasonal influenza. And most of those seasonal influenza deaths are from the elderly.

My third premise is that we do not know if a person died from COVID-19 or with it. COVID-19 deaths seem to take stage center for any death over the past three months. It does not seem to matter whether a patient died of heart failure, pneumonia, or other cause if they happened to be treated or suspected of having COVID-19.

If you do not know how many people actually died from COVID-19, how can you know the true death rate? You cannot! The deaths get added into the totals and the statistics for COVID-19 rise. I believe when we look back to this time a year from now the numbers of heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, diabetes, and other deaths will be significantly less than in previous years.

Did those people die from COVID-19 or did they die with COVID-19? If they died from COVID-19, then those deaths should be counted. If they died of a specific cause (heart attack, pneumonia, etc.) and happened to have COVID-19 also, those deaths should not be counted. Yes, COVID-19 might have been a contributing factor, but it was not the cause of death. I am sure there are medical authorities who will argue.

I believe we are and have been looking at the tip of the iceberg regarding people with COVID-19. We do not know how many people have had it. We will not know for months or even years. Random testing will confirm a suspect level, but again it is an educated guess. We are basing economic and health decisions on factors we cannot confirm.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com


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