The Spectator: How deadly is the coronavirus? It’s still far from clear

Much has been said about how we calculate coronavirus death rates. One way is to divide Covid-19 deaths by the number of cases. Another is to divide Covid-19 deaths by the number of infections. The results can be wildly different.

There is another subtlety that affects the calculation: How deaths are reported.

Imagine a population in which 50 million people die each year of all causes. If that number spiked by 5,000 in a given year, would you be concerned enough to suspect the emergence of a new disease agent? For a 0.0001 spike, probably not.

The opposite effect also applies. Suppose you fabricate an new cause of death — Z — and doctors start using it on death certificates. It may seem that Z accounts for some or all of the 5,000 spike when in fact the spike is statistically insignificant (you can’t attribute it to Z).

And if the rules for reporting Z are slightly different for different populations, you run into a whole new set of problems, particularly when attempting to compare Z in one place with Z in another.

Dr. Lee addresses this notable issue, among others, in his Spectator piece.

It is not the point that Covid-19 is a hoax but, rather, that the maturity of the science is extremely low at present. Dr. Lee says (speaking of Britain), “We have decided on policies of extraordinary magnitude without concrete evidence of excess harm already occurring, and without proper scrutiny of the science used to justify them.”

One thought on “The Spectator: How deadly is the coronavirus? It’s still far from clear

  1. A few points that were not really addressed

    The 1918 flu casualties were over two years and three waves, of which the second was the deadliest since it was a mutation. The U.K. prediction a few weeks ago for 2.2 million deaths in the US was also over a couple of years.

    The Swine Flu was determined to be infectious only a day or so before onset and 5 to 7 days after symptoms appeared. COVID19 is infectious up to 7 or more days before symptoms appeared. With slow testing and delayed results, that is a significant issue. Never mind the delay in closing events, stores, etc.

    If the mortality was not so different as normal rates, then Spain would not be storing bodies in ice rinks.

    We are only into the third month plus a few days since being publicly aware and a little less since the first cases were diagnosed here.

    I think the key is going to be instant, accurate testing. Up until now it is sporadic, chaotic and slow.

    And this will be a stopgap until the vaccine.

    Liked by 1 person

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