Sunday, June 21, 2020

Interesting Data From Sweden, Italian Specialist: CV Weakening

Coronavirus Mortality Study in Sweden Is Consistent with US Study – Confirms Overall Mortality Not Much Different Than a Bad Seasonal Flu

On June 18, 2020, Dr. Richard Cross, PhD, provided us the following information related to the China coronavirus in the United States.  We were given his permission to share sections of his report:

When it comes to the COVID-19 event, we have been experiencing a serious case of tunnel vision. As we focus on the day to day increase of COVID-19 things could look pretty grim, but as we take a step back and look at the comparative total mortality here in the US, things aren’t much worse than a bad seasonal flu, like that last seen in 2017-18. If you take the New York City region out of the mix, the rest of the country is cumulatively well within the expected mortality.

The estimated death toll from COVID-19 is on track to exceed 120,000 US deaths in the next few weeks. Yet, the majority of COVID-19 related deaths have been concentrated in the New York/New England region which to date includes nearly 50 percent of all COVID-19 deaths nationwide; the hospitals in this region were strained but not overwhelmed in the middle of April. The coronavirus’ effect on New York City has been especially telling if you examine the departure from expected cumulative mortality trends over the last four years in the CDC fluseason cycle.

We avoid looking at the COVID-19 counts, and rather focus on total mortality (by all causes) since this perspective avoids the diagnostic uncertainty of determining the exact cause of death, and does not rely on sampling problems associated with COVID-19 testing or potentially inflated death estimates from the virus.

This study is brilliant because it takes out the CDC’s confusing directive that stated that all deaths should be counted as coronavirus deaths, even if the cause may have been another condition. By counting all deaths, no matter the cause, we can clearly see the impact of the coronavirus on the nation and based on these results we see that the coronavirus was ‘not much worse than a bad seasonal flu’.

Dr. Cross’s study goes on to suggest that the mortality rates across the nation are not much different in normal years because “the vast majority of COVID-19-related deaths occur in people who from an actuarial perspective would have died this year or soon thereafter from a pre-existing morbidity.” This makes sense because the elderly by a large percent were the ones who died from the coronavirus. If the elderly are proportionally expected to die anyways, the fact that they died from the coronavirus rather than another cause, kept the overall mortality rates similar to other years.

The study concludes that the media was responsible for the fear caused during this time period:

Much of the COVID-19 fear was sustained by media repetition and focus on daily and weekly COVID-19 infection rates and putative COVID-19 mortality that spiked in April. Daily and weekly mortality changes are quite variable, and the COVID-19 mortality estimates are partially confounded with total mortality, whereas cumulative weekly estimates of total mortality are highly regular. The growth pattern for COVID-19 mortality was shown day after day, but it was never placed within the context of the total cumulative mortality, and this gave rise to the impression that all the COVID-19 deaths were in fact directly caused by the disease, along with an additional false impression that the COVID-19 mortality was pushing the total mortality well above average for the year. These impressions turn out to be false.

Today we have similar data from Sweden prepared by Dr. Cross.  According to data found in Sweden the number of deaths this year in Sweden are not materially greater than previous years and are actually less than mortality data from the 2016-2017 years:

Sweden just released it’s completed Week 35 Total Mortality, at 64.4k.  This is marginally lower than Week 35 Total Mortality in 2016-17, at 64.7k.  Sweden did not lock down this year during the COVID panic.  Also, Sweden’s population has increased year over year for the last few decades.

This data provides support for the position that lock downs may not be the best actions to take to combat the China coronavirus.

Overall, these numbers are not surprising. The China coronavirus impacted the US and other countries like Sweden little, when taken into context with the nation’s overall mortality 

COVID-19 is weakening, could die out without vaccine, specialist claims

The coronavirus has weakened over time, and it could die out without the need for a vaccine,

 a leading Italian infectious diseases specialist told The Telegraph.

The coronavirus outbreak has spread all over the world, infecting millions of people and resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths. As a result, it has sparked a major effort by researchers from all over the world to work to develop an effective vaccine.

But according to Prof. Matteo Bassetti, head of the infectious diseases clinic at Italy's Policlinico San Martino hospital, this may not be necessary.

Bassetti explained to The Telegraph that the virus has changed in recent months.

"The clinical impression I have is that the virus is changing in severity," he said.

"In March and early April, the patterns were completely different. People were coming to the emergency department with a very difficult to manage illness, and they needed oxygen and ventilation, some developed pneumonia.

"Now, in the past four weeks, the picture has completely changed in terms of patterns. There could be a lower viral load in the respiratory tract, probably due to a genetic mutation in the virus which has not yet been demonstrated scientifically. Also, we are now more aware of the disease and able to manage it.

"It was like an aggressive tiger in March and April, but now it's like a wild cat. Even elderly patients, aged 80 or 90, are now sitting up in bed, and they are breathing without help. The same patients would have died in two or three days before.

"Yes, probably it could go away completely without a vaccine. We have fewer and fewer people infected and it could end up with the virus dying out."

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