COVID-19 What Do We Know?
Spoiler Alert: Nothing, Absolutely Nothing that Matters
When an issue becomes especially confusing I find it helpful to play a game I call “What Do We Know?" Along with it, of course, is the corresponding question, “What Don’t We Know?” It helps me clarify the situation. Perhaps it will provide insight to you as well.
What don’t we know?
Is the antibody test valid: Does a positive antibody test indicate an infection of the coronavirus or not? Can a person test positive without being infected, and if so, what percentage of those tested will test positive without coronavirus infection? Does a positive test necessarily indicate infection, or is it possible to acquire these antibodies without “infection”?
Is the antibody test reliable: If the antibody test does indicate an infection of the coronavirus, are there false positives and false negatives with the test? If there are false positives and false negatives, which are common in tests of this type, what is the percentage of the false positives, 10%, 40%, or more?
How the virus is transmitted: As the virus began to spread in the US, reports from medical personnel indicated nearly all cases were the result of direct contact with an infected person. Do you remember, “Do not touch your face unless you have thoroughly washed your hands”? Now, the big news is airborne transmission of the virus. What is the primary system of transmission of this coronavirus? Are masks used by the general public in open spaces helpful? In general, how infectious is it, and how virulent (dangerous) is it as well, and how does that compare to the common cold and influenza?
The total number of infections: It seems there is nothing that even resembles an accurate understanding of the current number of infections or the total number of infections expected through the course of the spread of the virus.
The current number of deaths from the coronavirus: My conclusion is that the current number of deaths is undoubtedly inaccurate in every country in the world but Sweden. Some countries seem to obviously under-report the number who have died from the illness and others seem to over-report the number. When politics are this deeply involved in the management of any illness you can expect the information to be altered according to the interests of those in charge. I apologize for appearing callous while discussing the loss of human life. To best protect lives, though, accurate data is essential.
Effective treatments: Is hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine an effective treatment for some patients of the coronavirus or not? Do blood transfusions from those who have recovered from the illness help the afflicted, and if they do is it possible to use that treatment for everyone who becomes ill?
Does social distancing work: While it seems completely clear that maximum social distancing will reduce the spread of a communicable illness, is the current approach to social distancing helpful? Assuming the end goal is to reduce the number of deaths from the illness, and assuming that herd immunity is a significant factor in defeating the illness, is our social distancing helpful or not? We are, after all, not really social distancing when essentially every member of every community is connected to each other through the local grocery store.
Asymptomatic patients: First, is it possible to “contract” the illness and be asymptomatic? Second, if it is possible to contract the virus and be asymptomatic is that person contagious, and if so for how long?
What do We Know?
Government entities: While some establish extreme measures from fear that they will be accused of “having blood on their hands”, many cannot resist the temptation of exerting never before accomplished levels of control. The most dramatic examples of power plays from government officials are obviously arbitrary and without sound reason.
We also know people with the power of government, and those appointed to government positions, will claim their statements are based on fact when they have no scientific foundation. Best example: This virus will infect 40% to 70% of the population of the United States with a mortality rate of 1% to 2%. As stated in earlier articles on this site that would mean about 130,800,000 to 228,900,000 will eventually be infected, with 1,308,000 deaths as the best case scenario, and 4,578,000 deaths as the worst case scenario. Please remember, those statistics were stated as absolute fact, and measures were put in place to manage a catastrophe on that scale. No country in the world has had mortality per capita that even remotely resembles that prediction.
Media: We know media will promote the worst case scenario, that media will fan the flames of hysteria, in every way possible. They will display either staggering ignorance of the facts of the crisis or they will unashamedly slant every story to support the hysteria. The media have proven they are a completely, 100%, unreliable source of information.
So many unanswered questions, so little real information. I have become so weary of these “pronouncements” of fact, such as the necessity of social distancing for the foreseeable future or how easily the virus is transmitted by aerosol that I often must turn off the news. The quantity of inaccurate, unsubstantiated, or simply fabricated “news” is infuriating. Nearly every government official, elected or appointed, with the exception of those few who have resisted the “party line” for management of the virus, as well as the media, have absolutely less than zero credibility. Political forces have been at the forefront of the management of this illness since the beginning, and the power they have assumed over the citizens of this country must be torn from their hands. They will not release it willingly no matter the damage they do to us the people now or in the future. Power corrupts, especially with those who believe they are above the masses, who believe they are destined to control others.
I repeat this message in another article on this site: Look to Sweden for a reasonable, proportionate response to this illness. Then, hold the ignorant and corrupt (it is impossible to differentiate between the two) politicians and government employees and agencies accountable for their misdeeds. While it will prove impossible, unfortunately, to reverse all the damage done by these unreasonable, disproportionate measures it is essential everything possible is done to stop the madness now and be certain it cannot be repeated.