Independent Plus Opinion

A perspective on COVID-19 statistics: Part 1

By Dr. John Pronk, ND

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past six months you have probably reached your limit for hearing the words COVID-19, death count, a record number of cases, social distancing, and flattening the curve.

You’re likely also becoming numb to what was once attention-catching jargon such as mass graves, economic collapse, pandemic, and hospital outbreaks.

We are living in a time of such uncertainty; so many unanswered questions. It leaves one wondering when all this will end. And it makes one wonder how it came to this. To that question, I would like to give some perspective.

Experts such as Stanford researchers Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Dr. John Ioannidis, Dr. Scott Jensen MD, Professor Knut Wittkowski, Dr. Judy Mikovits, Dr. Joseph Mercola MD, and Dr. David Brownstein MD are among those who are now bringing new findings to light which run counter to what is being reported through most of the media we receive. Much of their research is being shot down or censored as misinformation or disinformation before it has even had a chance to be fairly evaluated.

The areas of confusion and controversy
One of the big equations that is still unclear is how many people have COVID-19 and how many people are dying due to COVID-19. A growing body of evidence is now emerging, suggesting that:
– a lot more people have or have had COVID-19 than was previously thought; and
– the infection is not killing near as many people as was first being reported because of a flawed reporting system.

How many people are expected to be infected and how many deaths are predicted due to COVID-19?
On April 1, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) told Americans that modelling reports suggested COVID-19 infections could eventually “kill 100,000 to 240,000 Americans,” which was considerably less than the worst-case 1.7 million mortality figure the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) talked about on March 13, and a fraction of the doomsday 2.2 million mortality figure projected by a scientist at Imperial College London.

The next day, Fauci called for an all-state nationwide lockdown and CDC officials instructed Americans to cover their faces with cloth masks if they have to leave their homes to buy food or seek medical care.

On April 6, University of Washington modelling experts, who influenced the setting of current federal and state “social distancing” policies, lowered U.S. COVID-19 mortality estimates from the worst case 162,000 fatalities they predicted on March 26 to about 82,000 deaths.

Two days later, on April 8, they lowered U.S. mortality estimates even further to 60,415 deaths by Aug. 4 but included the caveat “assuming full social distancing through May 2020.”

With the U.S. economy in meltdown, Dr Fauci warned that, until a COVID-19 vaccine is available, we have to prepare for a new normal.

“If back to normal means acting like there never was a coronavirus problem, I don’t think that is going to happen until we have a situation where you can completely protect the population,” he said.

Fauci added, “If you want to get to pre-coronavirus, that might never happen in the sense of the fact that the threat is there, but I believe with the therapies that will be coming online and the fact that I feel confident that over a period of time, we will get a good vaccine, we will never have to get back to where we are right now.”

How many people have already had COVID-19 and didn’t even know they had it?

The symptoms of COVID-19 — fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain — are widely reported via the media and public health organizations. Less publicized, however, is the fact that a sizeable number of people with COVID-19 do not experience symptoms at all.

Even the CDC, in their about-face regarding the usage of masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, stated, “We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”)…” One of those studies found that in a family of three who had all tested positive, only one — a 35-year-old man — had symptoms. The other two family members, a 33-year-old woman and three-year-old boy, were asymptomatic. Since widespread testing hasn’t been done in the US, Canada, nor other countries, and most of those who have been tested had symptoms, it’s largely unknown how many people may have already had, and recovered from, COVID-19 but didn’t know it because they didn’t have symptoms.

The few studies that have been done toward this end, however, are providing revealing data showing that 87.9 per cent of one group that tested positive had no symptoms.

Majority of pregnant patients with COVID-19 had no symptoms

A hospital in New York City began universal screening for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 among pregnant women, admitted for delivery. Between March 22 and April 4, 215 were screened on admission for symptoms of COVID-19 and tested for the virus. Only four of the women had a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms, and all four tested positive.

Of the remaining women who were tested even though they had no symptoms, 13.7 per cent — 29 — were positive. This means that, overall, 87.9 per cent of the 33 women who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 had no symptoms.

Among those who tested positive without symptoms, three women (10 per cent) developed fever before they were discharged from the hospital (within about two days). However, two of these women were treated for endomyometritis, a pregnancy complication that causes fever, while only one was presumed to have developed a fever due to COVID-19. In one additional woman who had initially tested negative, symptoms developed after delivery and she tested positive three days after the initial test.

Study co-author Dr. Dena Goffman, with the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, told CBS News, “If we’re not checking, we really do risk missing people who are carrying the virus.”

And therein lies the point — most people aren’t being tested for COVID-19, especially those without symptoms, so it’s anyone’s guess how much of the population may have already had it.

Is half the population potentially already part of the herd?

When the majority of people have had an infectious disease and naturally acquired long-lasting natural immunity, herd immunity is said to have developed. Could it be that natural herd immunity is developing for COVID-19, with many not even realizing they’ve already had it?

Yes, according to a hypothetical modelling study by researchers at Oxford University’s Evolutionary Ecology of Infectious Disease lab, which suggests up to half of the U.K. population may have already been infected.

Dr. John Ioannides, a researcher at Stanford University (who launched the landmark 2005 paper on why much-published research findings are false) has observed, “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 infection 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 US, cannot still 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.”

So, even within very mainstream circles, there are people trying to blow the whistle and trying to say these numbers are not being reported in a way that will even be meaningful.

Steve Goodman, a professor of epidemiology at Stanford University says there’s a huge reservoir of people who have mild cases and would not likely seek testing. He says the rate of increase in positive results reflect a mixed-up combination of increased testing rates and the spread of the virus.

US COVID-19 mortality statistics: science or assumptions?

On March 24, the director of Division of Vital Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) operated by the CDC issued a COVID-19 memo alert with Q&A instructions informing doctors and coroners that “a newly-introduced ICD code [UO7.1 COVID-19] has been implemented to accurately capture mortality data for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on death certificates.”

When determining the underlying cause of death listed on the death certificate, the memo states that, “The underlying cause [of death] depends upon what and where conditions are reported on the death certificate. However, the rules for coding and selection of the underlying cause of death are expected to result in COVID-19 being the underlying cause more often than not.”

CDC officials make it clear that on cases where the death certificate indicates uncertainty about the cause of death, there will likely be no follow up and the death will be listed as COVID-19:

“If a death certificate reports terms such as ‘probable COVID-19’ or ‘likely COVID-19,’ these terms would be assigned the new ICD code [UO7.1 COVID-19]. It is not likely that NCHS will follow up on these cases.”

Finally, answering the question, “Should COVID-19 be reported on the death certificate only with a confirmed test?” the CDC’s memo emphasizes that lab confirmation of COVID-19 is unnecessary to list the cause of death as COVID-19 on the death certificate:

“COVID-19 should be reported on the death certificate for all decedents where the disease caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to death.”

Dr. Scott Jensen of Minnesota states how the rates of COVID infection are being ‘massaged’ to overreport rates by pressuring doctors to report any “potential/suspected” case of COVID as “definite” or “confirmed” cases until proven otherwise. This same misreporting is admitted to by US president advisor Dr. Deborah Brix.

As of March 24, New York has revised its criteria for assessing COVID deaths to now include those deaths that were “presumed” but not “confirmed” to have died from COVID, bringing it from 6,000 to over 10,000 in one day. The numbers are a political product, as the NIH (National Institute of Health) states that it will unlikely follow up on these counts to confirm that presumed cases are confirmed cases.

This is just a slice of the conflicting data found concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. As I stated earlier, don’t take my word for it; every theory should be tested to see if it holds water or not. Helpful and well-referenced resources I suggest are Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website (articles.mercola.com) and James Corbett’s Reports (www.corbettreport.com), or check out some of the other doctors and researchers mentioned above.
To be continued next week.

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Dr. John Pronk, ND practices natural medicine in Palmerston. He can be reached by email at jpronk@greenwoodclinic.ca