Covid-19 Isn't As Deadly As First Thought

May 3rd, 2020 / Hillary K Bainny
| Social Distancing Campaign

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Uganda has to face Coronavirus not hide from it. How long can you hide under Lockdown? 2 more weeks? 4 weeks? Uganda's deaths and the low death toll in Africa show the virus is not as deadly as first thought. We need end this lockdown or ease it!!!! The extension cure can be worse than the disease.

According to data from the World Health Organization, the Coronavirus mortality rate was pegged at 3 to 4%, however, recent data has shown that the mortality or fatality rate is in fact much lower, under 1%. This new scientific information means that the actual death rate attributed to COVID-19 is actually in the regular flu zone. Depending on the study, the real-world results are in the approximately 0.1% - 0.5% death rate and is not a remarkable death rate in comparison to other past conditions that were considered pandemics.

New data from random antibody tests conducted in New York State suggest that as many as 2.7 million people statewide have had the coronavirus. That along with the just over 15,000 deaths that have occurred leads to a fatality rate for the virus of 0.5% according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

University of Miami, in Florida recently concluded its preliminary COVID-19 study, which found over 165,000 Miami-Dade residents (or 6%) had antibodies, nearly 16x the number of cases reported by the state health department. This puts the fatality rate at 0.14%. This (antibodies) indicates a past infection by the novel coronavirus, dwarfing the state health department’s tally of about 10,600 cases, according to the preliminary study.

The study was and is being taken by randomly selecting county residents to volunteer pinpricks of their blood to be screened for signs of a past COVID-19 infection, whether they had tested positive for the virus in the past or not. The goal is to measure the extent of infection in the community.

Personally, I strongly feel the tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be entering the containment phase. Tens of thousands across the globe have died, and Ugandans are now desperate for our policymakers who have the courage to ignore the panic and rely on facts. 

Leaders must examine accumulated data to see what has actually happened, rather than keep emphasizing hypothetical projections; combine that empirical evidence with fundamental principles of biology established for decades; and then thoughtfully restore the country to function.

The overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19. The recent Stanford University antibody study now estimates that the fatality rate if infected is likely 0.1 to 0.2 percent, a risk far lower than previous World Health Organization estimates that were 20 to 30 times higher and that motivated isolation policies.  

In New York City, an epicenter of the pandemic with more than one-third of all U.S. deaths, the rate of death for people 18 to 45 years old is 0.01 percent, or 10 per 100,000 in the population. On the other hand, people aged 75 and over have a death rate 80 times that. For people under 18 years old, the rate of death is zero per 100,000. It is important to note that the average age in Uganda is 15!!!

Of all fatal cases in New York state, two-thirds were in patients over 70 years of age; more than 95 percent were over 50 years of age; and about 90 percent of all fatal cases had an underlying illness. Of 6,570 confirmed COVID-19 deaths fully investigated for underlying conditions to date, 6,520, or 99.2 percent, had an underlying illness. If you do not already have an underlying chronic condition, your chances of dying are small, regardless of age. And young adults and children in normal health have almost no risk of any serious illness from COVID-19.

Protecting older, at-risk people eliminates hospital overcrowding. We can learn about hospital utilization from data from New York City, the hotbed of COVID-19 with more than 34,600 hospitalizations to date. For those under 18 years of age, hospitalization from the virus is 0.01%, or 11 per 100,000 people; for those 18 to 44 years old, hospitalization is 0.1%. Even for people ages 65 to 74, only 1.7% were hospitalized. 

Even early WHO reports noted that 82% of all cases were mild (currently, this stands at 98% and only 2% are in critical condition), and more recent studies show a far more widespread rate of infection and lower rate of serious illness. Half of all people testing positive for infection have no symptoms at all. The vast majority of younger, otherwise healthy people do not need significant medical care if they catch this infection. In Africa alone, of the 44,984 confirmed cases, only 130 are in critical condition.  Only 4 African countries have double figures of patients in critical condition. South Africa has the highest number at 36. 

Vital population immunity is prevented by total isolation policies, prolonging the problem. We know from decades of medical science that infection itself allows people to generate an immune response - antibodies - so that the infection is controlled throughout the population by "herd immunity." Indeed, that is the main purpose of widespread immunization in other viral diseases - to assist with population immunity. In this virus, we know that medical care is not even necessary for the vast majority of people who are infected. It is so mild that half of infected people are asymptomatic.

Sweden is using this strategy and though controversial, it has been effective - by transmitting the virus to others in the low-risk group who then generate antibodies, they block the network of pathways toward the most vulnerable people, ultimately ending the threat. Extending whole-population isolation would directly prevent that widespread immunity from developing.

We need an appropriate policy, based on fundamental biology and the evidence already in hand, is to institute a more focused strategy like some outlined in the first place: Strictly protect the known vulnerable, self-isolate the mildly sick and open most workplaces and small businesses with some prudent large-group precautions. This would allow the essential socializing to generate immunity among those with minimal risk of serious consequence, while saving lives, preventing overcrowding of hospitals and limiting the enormous harms compounded by continued total isolation. Let's stop underemphasizing empirical evidence while instead doubling down on hypothetical models. Facts matter.

It is also important to note that recently, the White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said that data from a coronavirus drug trial testing Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug remdesivir showed “quite good news” and set a new standard of care for Covid-19 patients. Fauci said the median time of recovery for patients taking the drug was 11 days, compared with 15 days in the placebo group.  The results suggested a survival benefit, with a mortality rate of 8% for the group receiving remdesivir versus 11.6% for the placebo group, according to a statement from the National Institutes of Health.

RemdeSivir has shown some promise in treating SARS and MERS, which are also caused by coronaviruses. Some health authorities in the U.S., China and other parts of the world have been using remdesivir, which was tested as a possible treatment for the Ebola outbreak, in hopes that the drug can reduce the duration of Covid-19 in patients.

Please, do not let this slide. Uganda cannot withstand the continued and deliberate destruction of our way of life, livelihoods and finances. This destructive path is being guided by FEAR which is NOT borne out by current statistics regarding the infection and death rates due to the Coronavirus. Real science is showing that this is not what it was presented as. And, though some may say that quarantine helped flatten the curve, we won’t know for sure until a full analysis is done at a later date. But, what we do know now is that all the models and expectations were grossly over exaggerated and did not come even close to the apocalyptic destruction we were promised by the models.

It is time to stand up for the facts and conclusions that all of this new data presents. 

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