Chances Are War on Corona Is a Fiasco in the Making. Politicians Are Rushing to Drastic Measures Without Reliable Data

"If we had not known about a new virus out there the number of total deaths due to 'influenza-like illness' would not seem unusual this year"

Editor’s note: What an absolute mindblowingly must-read article. A voice of reason.


  • “If we had not known about a new virus out there, and had not checked individuals with PCR tests, the number of total deaths due to “influenza-like illness” would not seem unusual this year.”
  • “We don’t know if we are failing to capture infections by a factor of three or 300”
  • “Projecting the Diamond Princess mortality rate onto the age structure of the U.S. population, the death rate among people infected with Covid-19 would be 0.125%.”
  • “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.”
  • “A population-wide case fatality rate of 0.05% is lower than seasonal influenza. If that is the true rate, locking down the world with potentially tremendous social and financial consequences may be totally irrational.”
  • “These “mild” coronaviruses may be implicated in several thousands of deaths every year worldwide, though the vast majority of them are not documented with precise testing. Instead, they are lost as noise among 60 million deaths from various causes every year.”
  • “If we had not known about a new virus out there, and had not checked individuals with PCR tests, the number of total deaths due to “influenza-like illness” would not seem unusual this year.”
  • “In the absence of data, prepare-for-the-worst reasoning leads to extreme measures of social distancing and lockdowns. Unfortunately, we do not know if these measures work.”
  • “If the level of the epidemic does overwhelm the health system and extreme measures have only modest effectiveness, then flattening the curve may make things worse: Instead of being overwhelmed during a short, acute phase, the health system will remain overwhelmed for a more protracted period.”
  • “One of the bottom lines is that we don’t know how long social distancing measures and lockdowns can be maintained without major consequences to the economy, society, and mental health.”

The current coronavirus disease, Covid-19, has been called a once-in-a-century pandemic. But it may also be a once-in-a-century evidence fiasco.

At a time when everyone needs better information, from disease modelers and governments to people quarantined or just social distancing, we lack reliable evidence on how many people have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 or who continue to become infected. Better information is needed to guide decisions and actions of monumental significance and to monitor their impact.

Draconian countermeasures have been adopted in many countries. If the pandemic dissipates — either on its own or because of these measures — short-term extreme social distancing and lockdowns may be bearable. How long, though, should measures like these be continued if the pandemic churns across the globe unabated? How can policymakers tell if they are doing more good than harm?

Vaccines or affordable treatments take many months (or even years) to develop and test properly. Given such timelines, the consequences of long-term lockdowns are entirely unknown.

The data collected so far on how many people are infected and how the epidemic is evolving are utterly unreliable.

Given the limited testing to date, some deaths and probably the vast majority of infections due to SARS-CoV-2 are being missed. We don’t know if we are failing to capture infections by a factor of three or 300.

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.

This evidence fiasco creates tremendous uncertainty about the risk of dying from Covid-19.

Reported case fatality rates, like the official 3.4% rate from the World Health Organization, cause horror — and are meaningless. Patients who have been tested for SARS-CoV-2 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.

Projecting the Diamond Princess mortality rate onto the age structure of the U.S. population, the death rate among people infected with Covid-19 would be 0.125%. But since this estimate is based on extremely thin data — there were just seven deaths among the 700 infected passengers and crew — the real death rate could stretch from five times lower (0.025%) to five times higher (0.625%). It is also possible that some of the passengers who were infected might die later, and that tourists may have different frequencies of chronic diseases — a risk factor for worse outcomes with SARS-CoV-2 infection — than the general population. Adding these extra sources of uncertainty, reasonable estimates for the case fatality ratio in the general U.S. population vary from 0.05% to 1%.

That huge range markedly affects how severe the pandemic is and what should be done. A population-wide case fatality rate of 0.05% is lower than seasonal influenza. If that is the true rate, locking down the world with potentially tremendous social and financial consequences may be totally irrational. It’s like an elephant being attacked by a house cat. Frustrated and trying to avoid the cat, the elephant accidentally jumps off a cliff and dies.

Could the Covid-19 case fatality rate be that low? No, some say, pointing to the high rate in elderly people. However, even some so-called mild or common-cold-type coronaviruses that have been known for decades can have case fatality rates as high as 8% when they infect elderly people in nursing homes.

In fact, such “mild” coronaviruses infect tens of millions of people every year, and account for 3% to 11% of those hospitalized in the U.S. with lower respiratory infections each winter.

These “mild” coronaviruses may be implicated in several thousands of deaths every year worldwide, though the vast majority of them are not documented with precise testing. Instead, they are lost as noise among 60 million deaths from various causes every year.

Although successful surveillance systems have long existed for influenza, the disease is confirmed by a laboratory in a tiny minority of cases. In the U.S., for example, so far this season 1,073,976 specimens have been tested and 222,552 (20.7%) have tested positive for influenza. In the same period, the estimated number of influenza-like illnesses is between 36,000,000 and 51,000,000, with an estimated 22,000 to 55,000 flu deaths.

Note the uncertainty about influenza-like illness deaths: a 2.5-fold range, corresponding to tens of thousands of deaths. Every year, some of these deaths are due to influenza and some to other viruses, like common-cold coronaviruses.

In an autopsy series that tested for respiratory viruses in specimens from 57 elderly persons who died during the 2016 to 2017 influenza season, influenza viruses were detected in 18% of the specimens, while any kind of respiratory virus was found in 47%. In some people who die from viral respiratory pathogens, more than one virus is found upon autopsy and bacteria are often superimposed. A positive test for coronavirus does not mean necessarily that this virus is always primarily responsible for a patient’s demise.

If we assume that case fatality rate among individuals infected by SARS-CoV-2 is 0.3% in the general population — a mid-range guess from my Diamond Princess analysis — and that 1% of the U.S. population gets infected (about 3.3 million people), this would translate to about 10,000 deaths. This sounds like a huge number, but it is buried within the noise of the estimate of deaths from “influenza-like illness.”

If we had not known about a new virus out there, and had not checked individuals with PCR 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. The media coverage would have been less than for an NBA game between the two most indifferent teams.

Some worry that the 68 deaths from Covid-19 in the U.S. as of March 16 will increase exponentially to 680, 6,800, 68,000, 680,000 … along with similar catastrophic patterns around the globe. Is that a realistic scenario, or bad science fiction? How can we tell at what point such a curve might stop?

The most valuable piece of information for answering those questions would be to know the current prevalence of the infection in a random sample of a population and to repeat this exercise at regular time intervals to estimate the incidence of new infections. Sadly, that’s information we don’t have.

In the absence of data, prepare-for-the-worst reasoning leads to extreme measures of social distancing and lockdowns. Unfortunately, we do not know if these measures work. School closures, for example, may reduce transmission rates. But they may also backfire if children socialize anyhow, if school closure leads children to spend more time with susceptible elderly family members, if children at home disrupt their parents ability to work, and more. School closures may also diminish the chances of developing herd immunity in an age group that is spared serious disease.

This has been the perspective behind the different stance of the United Kingdom keeping schools open, at least until as I write this. In the absence of data on the real course of the epidemic, we don’t know whether this perspective was brilliant or catastrophic.

Flattening the curve to avoid overwhelming the health system is conceptually sound — in theory. A visual that has become viral in media and social media shows how flattening the curve reduces the volume of the epidemic that is above the threshold of what the health system can handle at any moment.

Yet if the health system does become overwhelmed, the majority of the extra deaths may not be due to coronavirus but to other common diseases and conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, trauma, bleeding, and the like that are not adequately treated.

If the level of the epidemic does overwhelm the health system and extreme measures have only modest effectiveness, then flattening the curve may make things worse: Instead of being overwhelmed during a short, acute phase, the health system will remain overwhelmed for a more protracted period. That’s another reason we need data about the exact level of the epidemic activity.

One of the bottom lines is that we don’t know how long social distancing measures and lockdowns can be maintained without major consequences to the economy, society, and mental health. Unpredictable evolutions may ensue, including financial crisis, unrest, civil strife, war, and a meltdown of the social fabric. At a minimum, we need unbiased prevalence and incidence data for the evolving infectious load to guide decision-making.

In the most pessimistic scenario, which I do not espouse, if the new coronavirus infects 60% of the global population and 1% of the infected people die, that will translate into more than 40 million deaths globally, matching the 1918 influenza pandemic.

The vast majority of this hecatomb would be people with limited life expectancies. That’s in contrast to 1918, when many young people died.

One can only hope that, much like in 1918, life will continue. Conversely, with lockdowns of months, if not years, life largely stops, short-term and long-term consequences are entirely unknown, and billions, not just millions, of lives may be eventually at stake.

If we decide to jump off the cliff, we need some data to inform us about the rationale of such an action and the chances of landing somewhere safe.

Source: Stat News

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Tomislav Šantak
Tomislav Šantak
2 months ago

Well u are wrong… Shit is about to hit the fan…. U havent learned anything from the Chinese, u havent learned from the Italian now u will learn on your own skin… We all will…

uncommon sense
uncommon sense
2 months ago
Mikhail Garchenko
Mikhail Garchenko
2 months ago

comment image https://journal-neo.org/2020/03/18/coronavirus-is-being-used-to-spread-unprincipled-propaganda/
…all this “stuff” is VERY, VERY “WEIRD and SUSPICIOUS”… …to put in mildly.

stevek9
stevek9
2 months ago

What frightened people was the situation in Italy, which is still getting worse. I believe it is true that the vast majority of fatalities are elderly, and this may simply be a case of the demographic in Italy. Before I’m accused of insensitivity, I am over 65.

Occams
Occams
2 months ago
Reply to  stevek9

My friend lives in Italy. He – and everyone – think it’s 100% shit. What you read, see, and hear, is manufactured. His family is in law, his brother is an officer in the military, and NO ONE KNOWS one, single person who has this flu – except athletes and actors going along with the script by claiming they have it.

Sallie Ann
Sallie Ann
2 months ago
Reply to  Occams

I believe your friend over what the MSM has been pushing.

Occams
Occams
2 months ago
Reply to  Sallie Ann

Once again, all he wants to do is go out and live his life. They have friends and family ALL OVER Italy, and none have heard of these ‘overwhelmed’ hospitals, make-shift tent cities like the Spanish Flu, thousands dead, hundreds of thousands infected…..

Yet every sheep here just keeps lapping this nonsense up. I keep posting that people there are clueless to all this death and disease being reported, and just want to get on with life, but I keep getting told I ‘don’t know what I’m talking about’.

Stupidity squared

Sallie Ann
Sallie Ann
2 months ago
Reply to  Occams

Oh I quite agree…How could all those dead people miraculously appear almost overnight? Just more MSM “magic” I suppose!!! A friend of mine at work (older like me) had the flu and was out for 8 days. She said her dr knew it was just the flu as she didn’t have a high temp but a sorta high one so she didn’t have the virus. Another friend had the flu about a month ago and was out for 2 weeks. So far I haven’t gotten diddly. I personally think it’s a hoax and a power grab by the NWO to usher in Communism into the entire world with them at the top lording over us. WalMarts are stocking up nightly and the locusts come in and clean them out daily. Aldis hired lots of folks to constantly stock their shelves…. at least where I live that is. You can still get lots of stuff here in NE Ohio in supermarkets…… there are now rumors of the governor shutting down the state to all nonessential businesses and folks being out and about….swell…

Sallie Ann
Sallie Ann
2 months ago
Reply to  Occams

If you want to know what’s going on in your area local PD or sheriff’s office downlaod an app called BROADCASTIFY. Select the area you want to listen to and add to your favorites. You can listen to your heart’s content for FREE. I do and so does my son. Look for feeds near me. My kid says he’s a real John Connor. He was taught how to spot weapons on folks a long time ago by a military security police lady..USAF. Comes in handy…..

Sallie Ann
Sallie Ann
2 months ago
Reply to  Occams

Today we went to Aldis….a smaller one in my town…lots of stuff gone..no mile and a few eggs left. One other store had tons of milk and egge… It seems the redneck Rambos are out in force now. Saw some guy with a huge combat blade knife and hard knuckle gloves. Another store had a guy with 2 guns on his hip coming out of another supermarket (open cary) one looked like it was a Glock and the other looked like a S&W drug dealer models. The other day Monday some guy was shooting off what sounded like a .2gh powered rifle and was shooting at tannerite making a big boom!!! Another day there was an idiot shooting at who knows what in a local cemetery wrecking several headstones…!!!! Most folks at the Aldis just ran around the store and then raced to their cars, threw the stuff in the car and sped off!!! Not many cars out on the road for a Saturday afternoon. I don’t know how it is out there but here folks seem to be flipping out!!! and no reported cases in this county either!!! Hardly anyone outside. Saw a grand total of 5 people outside their homes. Gas stations full of folks gassing up their cars. Some redneck carrying a mini machete type blade….. Yesterday it was 65…today it barely got up to 30F. Seeing redneck rambos with no coats on.

Occams
Occams
2 months ago
Reply to  Sallie Ann

And yes; McNinjas waiting ta’ git’ inta’ it. Wait till the first shot comes their way. Biiiiiiiiiiig change.

Sallie Ann
Sallie Ann
2 months ago
Reply to  Occams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSfP8sXtMbk

Watch this NOW. It explains a LOT of what just played all of America and the world!!!! I just found this lady and she makes so much sense….it’s scary what the elites have done to us all!!!!

BushWasAGeniusLOL
BushWasAGeniusLOL
2 months ago
Reply to  Sallie Ann

She’s on my watch list. She’s a great choice for people that want to keep informed. Another one is also NeverLoseTruth.

Lewis Mangaba
2 months ago
Reply to  Sallie Ann

send a the 10 minutes video on Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus you mentionedd in this video as pyschopath.It is so great to learn about that

Sallie Ann
Sallie Ann
2 months ago
Reply to  Lewis Mangaba

I’ll look it up after I come home from work and post it later.

uncommon sense
uncommon sense
2 months ago
Reply to  Sallie Ann

She could have said what needed to be said in less than half the length of that video.

Sallie Ann
Sallie Ann
2 months ago
Reply to  uncommon sense

Yes I know but she sure has some good points!!!

Occams
Occams
2 months ago
Reply to  Sallie Ann

My buddy up in Carlsbad (Oceanside) said a LOT of people are out, restaurants open, people everywhere. Looks like more and more aren’t buying it. No one’s sick, no one’s getting sick. Everyone going to the beach at my house to lay out and surf, skateboarding, etc.

Talked to a Romanian guy I know who ‘says’ he knows of a couple of people who died in either Italy or Romania. I pushed him and found out they were older than 75 and in poor health with other complications.

Like I said, it IS a flu, and flus are always of some danger to elderly and in poor health

Sallie Ann
Sallie Ann
2 months ago
Reply to  Occams

The folks here are getting all wound up over nothing. The one county to the east of us has 15 cases no deaths, the county above us has 9 cases no deaths. The county below us is mostly Amish and 0 cases and no deaths….gee I wonder why? Could it be the Amish don’t go to doctors or are too healthy to get the flu?

Occams
Occams
2 months ago
Reply to  Sallie Ann

Just talked to an Italian women who’s part-owner in a restaurant here. She got REALLY mad at me, walked off, yelling, won’t listen. She has talked to doctors and nurses who are CONFIRMING multitudes of deaths (like they could say anything else!?) in Italy.

I shouted to her back I needed to contact my good friend, as I guess his time is near, right?

Sallie Ann
Sallie Ann
2 months ago
Reply to  Occams

I’m at a loss to figure out why Italy is so hard hit? That one city starting with the letter B supposedly has so many case…. During the Black Plague Italy was very hard hit and they still have the skeletons down in the catacombs of Rome….Vatican owned property that is.

Occams
Occams
2 months ago
Reply to  Sallie Ann

As I’ve posted, my friend and his family see no evidence of this. He’s out every day, but had this woman listened, I would have explained to her that every government is ‘asking permission’ to track all communications.

IOW; ‘Better to ask forgiveness than ask permission’.

So I would ascertain they’re doing it, and or have been for a long time. And I’ll bet these doctors KNOW if they don’t tell everyone how horrific and fatal this is – bing – no job, no license to practice.

Talking to my friend right now. I called to tell him goodbye. He’s crackin’ up.

Sallie Ann
Sallie Ann
2 months ago
Reply to  Occams

Am listening to my Broadcastify live feed here. Lots of local police activity going on. What for cheap entertainment is this? Great… My kid used to own a scanner but since they went to trunking it became useless. This is much better. Some idiot with a backpack from a very rural area walking in people’s yards looking into their homes saying that he was just walking to another city… yeah, sure he was. Then another call taking a 87 y/o woman to the hospital with flu like symptoms. The governor mini Mike DeWine signed a lock down order which should go into place shortly….so that means all the drug dealers up here won’t be able to do home deliveries of their product!!!! LOL. Still no ChinHooks in the sky today. Not much traffic out for a typical Sunday afternoon. Things seem to be slowing down here. Hope your friend calms down. We had 119 cases the other day and now it jumped to 247 cases with 3 deaths here. Interesting times we live in….

Sallie Ann
Sallie Ann
2 months ago
Reply to  Occams

Yesterday was cold and damp. Today the sun will be out and then it’s supposed to rain for the rest of the week. My yard is mud city galore and I have standing water in some places. I anticipate another year of no crops growing here in Ohio due to too much rain…. and then a drought in Aug and Sept. A wet Spring and wet Summer and then wham a drought. This is what the Old Farmer’s Almanac reports for Ohio. I just hope they stop with the goddam chemtrailing already. No military helis since Friday here. Just one CH-47 on Friday flying thru the rain.

Brion Adair
Brion Adair
2 months ago

This is just cover for the imminent economic collapse and the death of the Neoliberal empire. Actually instead of mitigating and obfuscating the impact they are making it much worse but then these mental midgets who think of themselves as “elite” never learn.

66wow99
66wow99
2 months ago
Reply to  Brion Adair

They’re shoving this in the face of the populace but the populace is defenceless to do anything about it.

Brion Adair
Brion Adair
2 months ago
Reply to  66wow99

History shows that when push comes to shove the populace usually rises in revolt. The only question is how far can they be pushed?

uncommon sense
uncommon sense
2 months ago
Reply to  Brion Adair

Which populace? Americans are demanding socialism now, cheering the orange leftist clown who is pushing it.

Feudal Peasant
Feudal Peasant
2 months ago

All I know is that, focus on this virus will obscure the fact that the US Government is once again bailing out Wall Street and the Corporate Sector..

Marko Marjanović
2 months ago
Reply to  Feudal Peasant

In fact they now get to blame virus for a crash that was coming anyway.

66wow99
66wow99
2 months ago

Dog and pony show – except a very expensive one.

uncommon sense
uncommon sense
2 months ago

COVID: COVer-up Impending Depression.

ThoseWhoForgetHistory
ThoseWhoForgetHistory
2 months ago
Reply to  uncommon sense

COVI = short for Covert
D = disease…

Yep, sounds about right to me, lol!

66wow99
66wow99
2 months ago

Clockwork.

Anti-Empire