According to the data analyzed by Dr. Ioannidis - one of the most cited medical researchers of all time - the risk of dying from Covid-19 for people under 65 may be even smaller than the risk of dying from a car accident during daily commute. 1
Focusing on strategies that specifically protect high-risk elderly individuals is the path forward most supported by the preponderance of the evidence. Not only do long term lockdowns have obvious negative effects such as worsening mental health and destroying our economic and social systems, but there is also evidence that they may broaden the epidemic curve instead of flattening it. 2
Earlier containment of low-risk people merely prolongs the time the virus needs to circulate until the incidence is high enough to initiate “herd immunity”. Later containment is not helpful, unless to prevent a rebound if containment started too early. Dr. Wittkowski.
It’s ok, you are allowed to inquire more about the evidence that supports the current destructive measures that have been put in place. Don’t settle or be blinded by oversimplified charts and animations showing how you can help “flatten the curve”, or messages telling you that by staying home you are “saving lives”. It’s much more complex than that, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember that the infectious disease specialists that are dominating the headlines do not represent the only viewpoint in the scientific community. In the end, it is the evidence that matters most, and some of the most credible experts have looked at the same data and interpreted things very differently- and far more accurately than what is presented by the media.
For example, we know that the case fatality rate was largely exaggerated by the infectious disease specialists appearing on tv. They neglected to explain to the public that they were only testing very vulnerable patients who had severe symptoms and were most likely to die. Meanwhile, all the data from multiple countries that conducted random testing showed that the fatality rate was much lower than what was initially reported- resembling that of the seasonal flu- and that the majority of people succumbing to the disease were over 80 years old and with multiple health conditions.3,4 Scientists, however, went as far as to use clearly inaccurate data in models that estimated millions of deaths. Upon hearing these numbers, the public fell to a state of hysteria- enough so to feel that draconian measures were justified. Will we hold the media and the experts who negligently misrepresented the data accountable for spreading fear? Will we stand up for our right to receive proper information?
Case fatality rate is the number of deaths (numerator) divided by the number of recorded cases (denominator). Without testing a representative random sample of the population we cannot know what the denominator is, and by only testing people with severe symptoms - that are more likely to die- the case fatality rate is greatly exaggerated at the start of an outbreak. However, data from countries that have applied widespread testing, including testing a random sample of the population, shows that the case fatality rate is heading towards much lower than 1%.
We also know that extreme lockdowns and fear mongering led to younger people with mild symptoms flooding to hospitals and infecting vulnerable patients, overwhelming the hospitals and leading to more deaths from other serious diseases that could have been treated successfully. We’ve learned that hospitals that faced the most dire of circumstances are the ones that already function at close to max capacity during this time of year. We’ve also learned of deaths of people who should have received medical attention for serious unrelated health issues, but instead opted to stay home and avoid hospitals out of fear. We’ve learned that long term care facilities, where most deaths are occurring in several countries, have serious management issues- one example of complete negligence in Quebec led to the arrest of a person who owns several of these facilities. We’ve learned that vulnerable people who are isolating at home haven’t been able to order food because younger low-risk people are ordering in as well, thus causing a shortage of resources for those who really need all the help they can get. Simply put, we are not protecting our at risk population with current lockdown measures. This virus has certainly exposed several vulnerabilities within our society, such as the contagiousness of mis-information and weaknesses of our health-care system. We should address more of our focus on the real issues as opposed to creating new ones.
We are also raising tension and constant anxiety by allowing our police to hand out fines to people they suspect are walking too close together on the street, as well as putting them in charge of breaking apart family picnics. By taking away healthy stress release valves, we have seen a large increase in alcohol sales- liquor stores are considered “essential” in order to support alcoholics who could strain the healthcare system if they were to quit cold turkey. Reports show huge spikes in calls to domestic-violence crisis lines as victims remain confined with their abusers. By making it harder to access healthy fresh food, we have seen increases in junk food consumption. With all the uncertainty, we’ve seen huge increases in gun sales and more people than ever on the brink of poverty.
Amid all this we’ve been told by politicians that only a vaccine can return life to normal, even though it can take decades- if ever- to develop a safe vaccine, and the risks of speeding up the process can have terrible consequences. We have indeed created a culture of fear that may mark our children for the rest of their lives. And all this for a virus that has a case fatality rate that is similar to that of the seasonal flu, and is even less dangerous to children than the flu.5 This is not the plague. Surely we can deal with it without destroying the very fabric of our society. Continuing with extreme lockdown measures, while not considering the many variables that can help us determine a more refined and targeted approach, does not minimize deaths and suffering- it only builds more panic.
Stand up for your rights, hold your politicians and the media accountable, and don’t lose your trust in science just because it isn’t being well represented. Ask questions, demand answers, and seek to better understand the evidence behind the measures that are put in place. Politicians need your help to regain the power to make decisions based on the scientific evidence, and not on perceptions driven by irrational fear. Your voice matters.
Naturopath, Health Educator
Nutrition & Exercise Specialist
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Ioannidis, J. P. A., Axfors, C., & Contopoulos-Ioannidis, D. G. (2020, April 6). Population-level COVID-19 mortality risk for non-elderly individuals overall and for non-elderly individuals without underlying diseases in pandemic epicenters. Retrieved from https://www.medrxiv.org/…/10…/2020.04.05.20054361v1.full.pdf
Wittkowski KM. The first three months of the COVID-19 epidemic: Epidemiological evidence for two separate strains of SARS-CoV-2 viruses spreading and implications for prevention strategies. medRxiv. Retrieved from https://www.medrxiv.org/…/10…/2020.03.28.20036715v3.full.pdf
Ebhardt, Tommaso. “99% Of Those Who Died From Virus Had Other Illness, Italy Says.” Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg, 18 Mar. 2020, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-18/99-of-those-who-died-from-virus-had-other-illness-italy-says.
Narayanan, N. (2020, March 28). Covid-19 shock: Iceland research claims half of the infected people will show no symptoms. Retrieved from https://www.ibtimes.sg/covid-19-shock-iceland-research-claims-half-infected-people-will-show-no-symptoms-41879
- Jaoudé, M. (2020, March 24). The Regular Flu: Don’t You Forget About Me. Retrieved from https://markitonutrition.com/the-regular-flu-dont-you-forget-about-me/