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Stanford Epidemiologist Claims Coronavirus Crackdown Based on Bad Data

Stanford Epidemiologist Claims Coronavirus Crackdown Based on Bad Data

“If we had not known about a new virus out there, and had not checked individuals with PCR [virus] tests, the number of total deaths due to ‘influenza-like illness’ would not seem unusual this year.”

public domain, CDC image

This is a very interesting take. You have to wonder how many people already suspect this.

The College Fix reports:

Stanford epidemiologist warns that coronavirus crackdown is based on bad data

“If we had not known about a new virus out there, and had not checked individuals with PCR [virus] tests, the number of total deaths due to ‘influenza-like illness’ would not seem unusual this year. At most, we might have casually noted that flu this season seems to be a bit worse than average.”

This was not written by some right-wing crank claiming coronavirus is a conspiracy to deny President Trump a second term, or an excuse to bring down capitalism.

It’s from a sobering and illuminating essay by Stanford University epidemiologist John Ioannidis, co-director of its Meta-Research Innovation Center, published in the life sciences news site STAT.

The coronavirus-driven crackdowns on public life by state and local political leaders are being made in a data vacuum, Ioannidis warns, and extreme government measures to prevent infections may actually lead to more deaths.

“The current coronavirus disease, Covid-19, has been called a once-in-a-century pandemic,” he says. “But it may also be a once-in-a-century evidence fiasco,” with policymakers relying on “meaningless” statistics based on unreliable samples:

Three months after the outbreak emerged, most countries, including the U.S., lack the ability to test a large number of people and no countries have reliable data on the prevalence of the virus in a representative random sample of the general population. …

Patients who have been tested for SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19] are disproportionately those with severe symptoms and bad outcomes. As most health systems have limited testing capacity, selection bias may even worsen in the near future.

The one situation where an entire, closed population was tested was the Diamond Princess cruise ship and its quarantine passengers. The case fatality rate there was 1.0%, but this was a largely elderly population, in which the death rate from Covid-19 is much higher.


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The Friendly Grizzly | March 23, 2020 at 8:33 am

Day by day, this press-induced panic will crumble more and more under the pressure of calm heads and actual evidence. Does anyone want to give an estimate as to when calm will return? I give it May 1 at the outmost.

    April 15 is now my date. In addition, from this evening’s briefing, it looked like Trump had read this piece. He talked about the cure possibly being worse than the disease and causing more deaths. He seemed quite interested in the death rate being 1%, instead of the 3-4% originally thought it might be. I suspect that Trump is looking at reopening things ASAP.

    Hopefully, he will not cave to the Christmas tree of unrelated things the Dems are trying to add. I would personally suffer a lot of extra hardship if Trump could put his foot down on this garbage in Washington and run the Dems out of town.

    The_Mew_Cat in reply to The Friendly Grizzly. | March 24, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    I would put it way past May 1 for one simple reason – hordes of infected New Yorkers have been flocking to beaches in states where the beaches are still open.

    view from Guam in reply to The Friendly Grizzly. | March 28, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    People really need to learn math. Media heads are throwing out numbers without understanding what they are talking about! It is called comparing apples to oranges. This is like going to a liberal college and taking a poll and concluding that Bernie will win the US election with 98% of the vote. Those idiot college kids don’t represent all of America.

    To arrive at a mortality rate, you need a numerator and a denominator. Both are being misapplied!

    The denominator is all persons that have been exposed to Corona. Not just those bad enough to be tested. Until recently we didn’t even have a standard test. The reason 80+% of the population does not test positive for Corona is probably they have already been exposed and the human body has produced antibodies! In Jan. 2020, a flu sweep the US. Guess what, it was probably Corona. Since 98% of folks recover without any hospital or doctor visit, we all chalked it up to the standard flu.

    It was only after the Trump impeachment hoax concluded, that the media went all hysterical on Corona. Reporting every positive case as proof that the end of the world is here.

    The other factor is the numerator (deaths from Corona). The vast majority of folks that have died had massive underlying health issues. One interesting stat is that 80% of the folks that died “with Corona” would have died within a year even if they have not contracted Corona.

    So, yes, if you are elderly or have serious underlying medical issues, you should fear Corona (and all other respiratory illnesses). This is called apples versus oranges. Don’t apply the stats of the very ill (a very small group) to the entire healthy population!

    An example. My liberal friends are making hay about a 66 year old Virginian that recently died “with Corona”. He made the news because he was down playing the seriousness of Corona. He actually died of double pneumonia (both sets of lungs filled with fluid). What they didn’t tell you was that his wife was traveling with him, and she too had pneumonia. Yet she did not test positive. Seeing as she was by his side the entire time up to when he collapsed and was isolated at the hospital, it appears they caught pneumonia (common symptom from some another source). He then probably caught Corona at the hospital. Yet it will now be played as “died from Corona”.

    Everyone has been hysterical about Italy. The average age of persons dying with Corona was 80 years old. Almost all of them would have died within a year even without Corona.

    So even the numerator is being way overstated. Corona may have been a contributing factor in the death, but it is rarely if ever the only factor.

    So, when you overstate the numerator and understate the denominator, you end up with sensational headlines. Dig a little deeper. Your source of mass media news has an agenda. When they say someone has died, put it in context of how many other folks die daily from other sources.

Well, no kidding.
But, the Dems went all in, they need to make POTUS look worse than Biden. This was a golden opportunity, that is backfiring in a massive way. The more we read, the more we learn. People are livid over this,and rightly so. There was no reason for this massive shutdown.

Calm will not return. There are more myths and science denial over Corona than over Climate.

We needed these two weeks, if to do anything, to either commandeer, or build isolation – think reverse quarantine – for the elderly and those with compromised lungs (e.g. COPD) or immune systems, and put them in positive pressure rooms (air flows through a hepa filter in and pushes things out), if they test negative, but a negative pressure room if they test positive. Give them a tablet or laptop or TV and appropriate access.

Some people who are or appear healthy will die. They do so of the flu, but also great shape athletes drop over dead of heart attacks too. But these will make the headlines even if they are 0.001% of the total.

This is a repeat of the AIDS/HIV tragedy. “Everyone can get AIDS” was the buzzword because the LGBTQ community was fearful of it being ignored because it was mainly gay promiscuous men and IV drug users. So soccer moms got lots of attention.

Generally, this is NOT a very bad virus. It doesn’t kill or even sicken healthy children or teens. Many probably had it and are immune but we aren’t testing for antibodies so we don’t know. Similarly in healthy adults, most will have NO symptoms or something buried in the small allergies, mild coughs and runny noses we ignore. We want these to get Covid-19 as soon as possible so they will be immune and NOT transmit the virus. Then we can let the vulnerable out of quarantine.

This would still be russian roulette, but with boxes of 5000 blanks and one live round. If we don’t, we will kill our elderly. In Italy the average age of a victim is 81. Note that ordinary life expectancy for a man is 76.

Oh, and calling all feminists. Men are 2x as likely to get the virus, so the men should be allowed to stay home while the women do the cop, firefighter, consruction, garbage, and such things.

    lwmarti in reply to tz. | March 23, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    If you look at the WHO’s mortality data, men die of pretty much everything at a higher rate than women do. Testosterone is great for some things, like being big, fast, and strong. But it also degrades your immune system. Being a man is just inherently more dangerous.

    The last time that I looked at the WHO data (probably over 10 years ago), the only things that women die of at a higher rate are things like breast cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer,…

I have suspected this from the beginning. I got my flu shot this year.

I was linking this guy last week. First saw him referenced at AoSHQ.

healthguyfsu | March 23, 2020 at 2:24 pm

Unless I’m missing an explanation why they are so vulnerable, Italy unfortunately debunks his hypothesis.

While it’s true that the virus is not severe, it is novel and there is no natural built-in immunity for almost anyone. Those who would die of opportunistic infections are intersecting with a very opportunistic infection that can infect them all too easily.

    Chuckin Houston in reply to healthguyfsu. | March 23, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    Sorry for down vote. My fat finger was going for reply.

    The death rates for COVID-19 are all over the place. In Italy 9.5% of those infected have died. In the US it’s 1.2% and in Germany it’s 0.4%. And, Germany has over 29 thousand confirmed cases so their toll should statically significant. The death rate in Italy is 24 times Germany.

    lwmarti in reply to healthguyfsu. | March 23, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    No need for a downvote, people. It’s a legitimate point. And there’s a discussion of it here:

    There is no natural immunity to someone else’s transplanted organ, yet the recipient’s body fights it and fights it and fights it. People with transplants are on immuno-supression therapy for the rest of their lives.

    There is no natural immunity to a lot of things. Our immune system isn’t a static device such as an organ; it is constantly patrolling for invaders and manufacturing antigens to combat them.

    And, by the way, on the Princess Diamond – if there was ever a vehicle for mass infections – only 17% of the passengers came down with the coronavirus. The other 83% did not. If there is no natural immunity, why weren’t they infected?

      The_Mew_Cat in reply to ss396. | March 24, 2020 at 9:03 pm

      Why weren’t the other 83% infected? That could be random chance. Maybe they weren’t trapped in that petri dish long enough, were more careful to wash their hands, had an outside cabin without recirculated air, serviced by a different air duct, etc..etc. The real question is would all of them have gotten infected if they were still trapped on that ship, or would some have native resistance?

      maybe we will find out in the next controlled experiment – Rikers Island.

“If we had not known about a new virus out there, and had not checked individuals with PCR [virus] tests, the number of total deaths due to ‘influenza-like illness’ would not seem unusual this year. At most, we might have casually noted that flu this season seems to be a bit worse than average.”

@John Ioannidis … Yeah … right … you wouldn’t have known s**t about it because you stuck your ugly mug in the sand. Ignorance is bliss isn’t it … you stupid fool.

The best “controlled experiment” to date is the Diamond Princess – where everyone was stuck in the petri dish for weeks and everyone was tested. The death rate there was a bit less than 1%. This is still pretty ominous when you extrapolate it to the whole country. If you assume a death rate for the whole population of 0.8%, that means 2.6 million deaths if everyone gets it, and 600K deaths if only 25% of the population gets it. And we will know soon enough. The estimates in this article say there are 2 million infected today and there will be >20000 dead by April 15. We will know if he is right soon enough.