Anti-Body Studies Find COVID-19 and Common Flu Have Nearly Identical Case Death Rates

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Is COVID-19 about as dangerous as the common flu? Yes, according to three recent COVID-19 anti-body studies. These studies indicate that COVID-19’s actual case death rate is between 0.1% and 0.3%. The 2017-2018 flu season had a case death rate of 0.134% (61,099 deaths/44.8 million cases). The 2016-2017 flu season had a case death rate of 0.131% (38,230 deaths/29.2 million cases). So, yes, if we go by the case death rate indicated by COVID-19 anti-body studies, if you catch COVID-19, your risk of dying from it is no higher than the risk you would face if you caught the flu and it might even be slightly lower.

The flu’s case death rate is readily available on the CDC’s website; the COVID-19 anti-body studies have been done by reputable scholars; and reports on those anti-body studies have been published on numerous news websites. So how can some news outlets, such as CNN and the Washington Post, continue to insist that COVID-19 is far more dangerous than the common flu? By ignoring the anti-body studies and by presenting misleading analyses of the raw numbers.

For that matter, is it even valid to compare COVID-19 to the flu given the fact that the flu has been around for decades, that some people have developed varying degrees of immunity to some flu strains, and that we have had a flu vaccine for decades?

A more valid comparison might be to compare COVID-19 to the 1957-1958 Asian Flu and the 1968 Hong Kong Flu, since these were new strains, as is COVID-19. The Asian Flu killed 116,000 Americans, even though an effective vaccine was developed five months into the outbreak. The Hong Kong Flu killed 100,000 Americans. As of yesterday, COVID-19 had killed 68,609 Americans. (On a side note, during the Asian Flu and Hong Kong Flu pandemics, we did not shut down half the economy and did not force tens of millions of Americans to lose their jobs.)

The fact that COVID-19 anti-body studies indicate that COVID-19’s case death rate is in the same range as that of the flu says volumes about how some news outlets have exaggerated the risk posed by COVID-19.

In any event, how does COVID-19 compare with the flu if we consider the raw numbers and ignore the case death rates? Do the raw numbers indicate that the risk from COVID-19 is so much greater than the risk from the flu that it justifies putting tens of millions of Americans out of work and causing enormous damage to our economy? I believe the answer to this question is no, when we factor in the over-reporting of our COVID-19 deaths and the fact that around 73% of our COVID-19 deaths have been among people who had serious underlying health conditions. As I will show, if we take these factors into account and make some reasonable assumptions about their impact on the raw numbers, we get 229 flu deaths per day vs. 281 COVID-19 deaths per day among most of our population, which is not a huge difference.

We cannot compare COVID-19 and the flu by simply citing raw numbers. Why? Because flu season only lasts about six months and because we do not know if COVID-19 is seasonal or if it stays active all year. Moreover, although flu season is described as lasting about six months, most of the flu deaths in each flu season occur in 13-14 weeks of the season. Therefore, in any comparison, we must compare apples to apples, as they say, which in this case means determining each virus’s daily death rate during its peak period and then determining the number of deaths that rate would produce if it occurred every day of the year.

Suppose you wanted to determine which one of two basketball players were better at scoring. Player A had scored 14,300 points. Player B had scored 10,000 points. So Player A would clearly be the better scorer, right? Not necessarily. When you did more research, you learned that Player A had played 650 games and that Player B had played 500 games, which would mean Player A had scored 22 points per game and Player B had scored 20 points per game. Thus, you would realize that Player A and Player B were similar in their scoring ability, even though Player A had scored more 4,300 more points.

The last three flu seasons have killed an average of 44,000 Americans per season (133,000 in three seasons). The vast majority of those deaths, about 85% of them, occurred in 13-14 weeks of each season. 85% of 44,000 is 37,400. If we divide 37,400 by 14 weeks (98 days), we get 2,671 deaths per week, which equals 381 deaths per day—again, during the peak part of flu season.

According to the CDC’s “Provisional COVID-19 Death Counts by Sex, Age, and State” report, dated May 1, which is based on deaths verified by death certificates, there were 37,308 COVID-19 deaths from February 1 to April 25. But the CDC explains that this report is one to eight weeks behind the actual numbers because of the lag time between when the deaths occurred and when the death certificates were completed and received by the CDC.

As of yesterday, the Worldometers website put the U.S. COVID-19 death toll at 68,609. If we follow the CDC and use February 1 as our starting point and yesterday as our end point (since our daily new deaths have started to decline), that means we have had 68,609 deaths in 93 days, which equals 738 deaths per day. But we did not begin to see substantial numbers of deaths until March 17. In other words, COVID-19’s peak period did not begin until March 17. If we use March 17 as our starting point and yesterday as our end point, we get 67,318 deaths in 48 days, which equals 1,404 deaths per day during the peak of our COVID-19 outbreak. 1,404 deaths per day is far more than the flu’s 381 deaths per day. BUT. . . .

BUT, these numbers paint a misleading picture. There are two major factors that we still must consider: One, we know that a sizable number of the deaths that have been attributed to COVID-19 were not actually caused by COVID-19. Two, the substantial majority of our COVID-19 deaths have occurred among people who had serious underlying health conditions (aka the medically ill). When we consider these two factors, the picture changes substantially.

As many experts have noted, the CDC’s reporting criteria for COVID-19 deaths are very broad, and we know that some states have inflated their COVID-19 deaths by including deaths that were not actually caused by COVID-19. For example, a few weeks ago, Pennsylvania, after some doctors in the state raised concerns, was forced to admit that 200 of its 1,200 reported COVID-19 deaths, or over 16% of them, were not caused by COVID-19. If we assume that 10%--not 16%, but just 10%--of our national COVID-19 deaths were not caused by the virus, that drops the total by 6,731—from 67,318 to 60,587—and reduces the daily death rate from 1,404 to 1,262.

Now let us consider the number of COVID-19 deaths that have occurred among the medically ill. The CDC is not providing this statistic (if they are, I cannot find it on their website). But, fortunately, the New York City health department is providing this important stat. And given that NYC’s population is 8.4 million, which is larger than that of most states, it provides a very good sample size from which we can estimate the national numbers.

In NYC, per the city’s health department, at least 73% of the city’s confirmed COVID-19 deaths have been among people who were medically ill (and whose underlying conditions were known). What percentage of flu deaths usually occur among the medically ill? I was unable to find this information on any of U.S. Government website, but it seems rather unlikely that 73% of flu deaths occur among the medically ill, given that we have had a flu vaccine for decades and that some people have developed varying degrees of immunity to some flu strains.

How about if we assume that 40% of flu deaths occur among the medically ill, and that 70% of COVID-19 deaths have occurred among the medically ill? I think 40% is a bit high, and I think 70% might be low, but I want to err on the side of caution. If we reduce the death numbers accordingly, and if we assume that only 10% of the reported COVID-19 deaths have been wrongly attributed to COVID-19, we get 229 flu deaths per day and 281 COVID-19 deaths per day—again, among people who are not medically ill, which is most of the population.

Next, let us assume that each virus’s daily death rate—again, during their peak periods—were to occur every day of the year, so that we are comparing apples to apples. Therefore, let us multiply each daily rate by 365. If we do so, that gives us 83,220 flu deaths per year and 102,565 COVID-19 deaths per year, a difference of 19,345 deaths per year. 19,345 people is 0.0059% of the U.S. population, or 170 times lower than 1% of our population. Is this a large enough difference to justify putting tens of millions of Americans out of work and causing enormous damage to our economy? I think most people would say no.

What happens if we assume that 50% of flu deaths occur among the medically ill, instead of 40%? That gives us 69,715 flu deaths per year vs. 102,565 COVID-19 deaths per year, a difference of 32,850, or 0.01001% of the population. Is that a large enough difference to justify the enormous human suffering and economic damage caused by the lockdown?

Keep in mind that it is improbable that COVID-19 would ever kill 281 people per day for 365 days in a row, much less 1,200-1,400 people per day for that length of time.

We know from the numbers from other nations that we do not need to continue with our current crude death rate of 0.0209048%. South Korea and Taiwan, which have taken much more moderate approaches to COVID-19, have a crude death rate that is far, far below ours. South Korea’s crude death rate is 0.000488% (252 deaths/51.64 million population). Taiwan’s crude death rate is 0.0000253% (6 deaths/23.78 million population). Yet, as mentioned, our crude death rate is 0.0209048% (68,609 deaths/328.2 million population). Clearly, we are doing something wrong in our approach to COVID-19.

Sweden, another country that has taken a moderate approach to COVID-19, has a crude death rate that is modestly higher than ours, but Sweden, thanks to its moderate response, has suffered much less economic damage than we have suffered, and Sweden might be on the way to achieving herd immunity. Also, Sweden’s crude death rate is below that of many other European nations, all of which have taken a more extreme response to COVID-19 and have suffered more economic damage as a result.

If we took our current COVID-19 crude death rate of 0.0209048%, which includes COVID-19 deaths among the medically ill, and which does *not* include the over-reporting of our COVID-19 deaths--if we took this rate and applied it to an entire year, that would equal right around 269,000 deaths. 250,000 Americans die from medical errors each year. 640,000 Americans die from heart disease each year. 590,000 Americans die from cancer each year. 300,000 Americans die from strokes and respiratory diseases each year. On average, 2.8 million Americans die each year. So even in the very unlikely event that our current crude death rate continued for another eight months, COVID-19 deaths would constitute 9.6% of all deaths in the U.S. and would rank far below heart disease and cancer as a cause of death.

Furthermore, the fact that the common flu only poses any kind of meaningful risk for about six months and that its most lethal period only lasts about 14 weeks does not change the fact that the flu’s case death rate is in the same range as COVID-19’s case death rate: between 0.1% and 0.4%. The case death rate is your risk of dying if you catch something. The COVID-19 anti-body studies indicate that your risk of dying if you catch COVID-19 is the same as your risk of dying if you catch the flu, if not slightly lower.

Some news outlets have noted reports that COVID-19 increases a person’s risk of stroke and heart attack. But the same is true of the flu. One study, noted by the CDC, found that the risk of heart attack was six times higher during the first week of flu infection.

Am I saying that COVID-19 deaths among the medically ill don’t matter? No, but I am focusing on the risk that people of average health face from COVID-19, since non-medically ill people constitute most of our population. Instead of one-size-fits-all lockdown measures, we should be focusing on protecting the medically ill and the elderly, since the vast majority of our COVID-19 deaths have occurred among these two groups, and since a large percentage of medically ill people are 65 and older.

It is not a matter of choosing between everyone staying home and everyone resuming normal life. There is a reasonable and safe middle ground: require the medically ill and the elderly to stay home and avoid human contact as much as possible until we have a vaccine/herd immunity, but let everyone else resume normal life.

Supporting research:






 
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Tijn Von Ingersleben

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However, this point has been made, and will continue to be made over and over. Unfortunately it is being ignored by most media. Most of those outlets are frequented by the mouth breathers you call your neighbors.
My neighbor was out in his back yard yesterday...alone...in the sun...watering his hydrangeas...with mask on.
THAT is the average American. The well meaning dupe.

Antidote for a virus? That's a new one.
 
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JoeMoma

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Perhaps a major difference is that we have somewhat of a herd immunity to the flu. The Covid 19 virus is not so much.
 

Crepitus

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Is COVID-19 about as dangerous as the common flu? Yes, according to three recent COVID-19 anti-body studies. These studies indicate that COVID-19’s actual case death rate is between 0.1% and 0.3%. The 2017-2018 flu season had a case death rate of 0.134% (61,099 deaths/44.8 million cases). The 2016-2017 flu season had a case death rate of 0.415% (38,230 deaths/29.2 million cases). So, yes, if we go by the case death rate indicated by COVID-19 anti-body studies, if you catch COVID-19, your risk of dying from it is no higher than the risk you would face if you caught the flu, and it might even be slightly lower.

The flu’s case death rate is readily available on the CDC’s website; the COVID-19 anti-body studies have been done by reputable scholars; and reports on those anti-body studies have been published on numerous news websites. So how can some news outlets, such as CNN and the Washington Post, continue to insist that COVID-19 is far more dangerous than the common flu? By ignoring the anti-body studies and by presenting misleading analyses of the raw numbers.

For that matter, is it even valid to compare COVID-19 to the flu given the fact that the flu has been around for decades, that some people have developed varying degrees of immunity to some flu strains, and that we have had a flu vaccine for decades?

A more valid comparison might be to compare COVID-19 to the 1957-1958 Asian Flu and the 1968 Hong Kong Flu, since these were new strains, as is COVID-19. The Asian Flu killed 116,000 Americans, even though an effective vaccine was developed five months into the outbreak. The Hong Kong Flu killed 100,000 Americans. As of yesterday, COVID-19 had killed 68,609 Americans. (On a side note, during the Asian Flu and Hong Kong Flu pandemics, we did not shut down half the economy and did not force tens of millions of Americans to lose their jobs.)

The fact that COVID-19 anti-body studies indicate that COVID-19’s case death rate is in the same range as that of the flu says volumes about how some news outlets have exaggerated the risk posed by COVID-19.

In any event, how does COVID-19 compare with the flu if we consider the raw numbers and ignore the case death rates? Do the raw numbers indicate that the risk from COVID-19 is so much greater than the risk from the flu that it justifies putting tens of millions of Americans out of work and causing enormous damage to our economy? I believe the answer to this question is no, when we factor in the over-reporting of our COVID-19 deaths and the fact that around 73% of our COVID-19 deaths have been among people who had serious underlying health conditions. As I will show, if we take these factors into account and make some reasonable assumptions about their impact on the raw numbers, we get 229 flu deaths per day vs. 281 COVID-19 deaths per day among most of our population, which is not a huge difference.

We cannot compare COVID-19 and the flu by simply citing raw numbers. Why? Because flu season only lasts about six months and because we do not know if COVID-19 is seasonal or if it stays active all year. Moreover, although flu season is described as lasting about six months, most of the flu deaths in each flu season occur in 13-14 weeks of the season. Therefore, in any comparison, we must compare apples to apples, as they say, which in this case means determining each virus’s daily death rate during its peak period and then determining the number of deaths that rate would produce if it occurred every day of the year.

Suppose you wanted to determine which one of two basketball players were better at scoring. Player A had scored 14,300 points. Player B had scored 10,000 points. So Player A would clearly be the better scorer, right? Not necessarily. When you did more research, you learned that Player A had played 650 games and that Player B had played 500 games, which would mean Player A had scored 22 points per game and Player B had scored 20 points per game. Thus, you would realize that Player A and Player B were similar in their scoring ability, even though Player A had scored more 4,300 more points.

The last three flu seasons have killed an average of 44,000 Americans per season (133,000 in three seasons). The vast majority of those deaths, about 85% of them, occurred in 13-14 weeks of each season. 85% of 44,000 is 37,400. If we divide 37,400 by 14 weeks (98 days), we get 2,671 deaths per week, which equals 381 deaths per day—again, during the peak part of flu season.

According to the CDC’s “Provisional COVID-19 Death Counts by Sex, Age, and State” report, dated May 1, which is based on deaths verified by death certificates, there were 37,308 COVID-19 deaths from February 1 to April 25. But the CDC explains that this report is one to eight weeks behind the actual numbers because of the lag time between when the deaths occurred and when the death certificates were completed and received by the CDC.

As of yesterday, the Worldometers website put the U.S. COVID-19 death toll at 68,609. If we follow the CDC and use February 1 as our starting point and yesterday as our end point (since our daily new deaths have started to decline), that means we have had 68,609 deaths in 93 days, which equals 738 deaths per day. But we did not begin to see substantial numbers of deaths until March 17. In other words, COVID-19’s peak period did not begin until March 17. If we use March 17 as our starting point and yesterday as our end point, we get 67,318 deaths in 48 days, which equals 1,404 deaths per day during the peak of our COVID-19 outbreak. 1,404 deaths per day is far more than the flu’s 381 deaths per day. BUT. . . .

BUT, these numbers paint a misleading picture. There are two major factors that we still must consider: One, we know that a sizable number of the deaths that have been attributed to COVID-19 were not actually caused by COVID-19. Two, the substantial majority of our COVID-19 deaths have occurred among people who had serious underlying health conditions (aka the medically ill). When we consider these two factors, the picture changes substantially.

As many experts have noted, the CDC’s reporting criteria for COVID-19 deaths are very broad, and we know that some states have inflated their COVID-19 deaths by including deaths that were not actually caused by COVID-19. For example, a few weeks ago, Pennsylvania, after some doctors in the state raised concerns, was forced to admit that 200 of its 1,200 reported COVID-19 deaths, or over 16% of them, were not caused by COVID-19. If we assume that 10%--not 16%, but just 10%--of our national COVID-19 deaths were not caused by the virus, that drops the total by 6,731—from 67,318 to 60,587—and reduces the daily death rate from 1,404 to 1,262.

Now let us consider the number of COVID-19 deaths that have occurred among the medically ill. The CDC is not providing this statistic (if they are, I cannot find it on any of their website). But, fortunately, the New York City health department is providing this important stat. And given that NYC’s population is 8.4 million, which is larger than that of most states, it provides a very good sample size from which we can estimate the national numbers.

In NYC, per the city’s health department, at least 73% of the city’s confirmed COVID-19 deaths have been among people who were medically ill (and whose underlying conditions were known). What percentage of flu deaths usually occur among the medically ill? I was unable to find this information on any of U.S. Government website, but it seems rather unlikely that 73% of flu deaths occur among the medically ill, given that we have had a flu vaccine for decades and that some people have developed varying degrees of immunity to some flu strains.

How about if we assume that 40% of flu deaths occur among the medically ill, and that 70% of COVID-19 deaths have occurred among the medically ill? I think 40% is a bit high, and I think 70% might be low, but I want to err on the side of caution. If we reduce the death numbers accordingly, and if we assume that only 10% of the reported COVID-19 deaths have been wrongly attributed to COVID-19, we get 229 flu deaths per day and 281 COVID-19 deaths per day—again, among people who are not medically ill, which is most of the population.

Next, let us assume that each virus’s daily death rate—again, during their peak periods—were to occur every day of the year, so that we are comparing apples to apples. Therefore, let us multiply each daily rate by 365. If we do so, that gives us 83,220 flu deaths per year and 102,565 COVID-19 deaths per year, a difference of 19,345 deaths per year. 19,345 people is 0.0059% of the U.S. population, or 170 times lower than 1% of our population. Is this a large enough difference to justify putting tens of millions of Americans out of work and causing enormous damage to our economy? I think most people would say no.

What happens if we assume that 50% of flu deaths occur among the medically ill, instead of 40%? That gives us 69,715 flu deaths per year vs. 102,565 COVID-19 deaths per year, a difference of 32,850, or 0.01001% of the population. Is that a large enough difference to justify the enormous human suffering and economic damage caused by the lockdown?

Keep in mind that it is improbable that COVID-19 would ever kill 281 people per day for 365 days in a row, much less 1,200-1,400 people per day for that length of time.

We know from the numbers from other nations that we do not need to continue with our current crude death rate of 0.0209048%. South Korea and Taiwan, which have taken much more moderate approaches to COVID-19, have a crude death rate that is far, far below ours. South Korea’s crude death rate is 0.000488% (252 deaths/51.64 million population). Taiwan’s crude death rate is 0.0000253% (6 deaths/23.78 million population). Yet, as mentioned, our crude death rate is 0.0209048% (68,609 deaths/328.2 million population). Clearly, we are doing something wrong in our approach to COVID-19.

Sweden, another country that has taken a moderate approach to COVID-19, has a crude death rate that is modestly higher than ours, but Sweden, thanks to its moderate response, has suffered much less economic damage than we have suffered, and Sweden might be on the way to achieving herd immunity. Also, Sweden’s crude death rate is below that of many European nations, all of which have taken a more extreme response to COVID-19 and have suffered more economic damage as a result.

If we took our current COVID-19 crude death rate of 0.0209048%, which includes COVID-19 deaths among the medically ill, and which does *not* include the over-reporting of our COVID-19 deaths--if we took this rate and applied it to an entire year, that would equal right around 269,000 deaths. 250,000 Americans die from medical errors each year. 640,000 Americans die from heart disease each year. 590,000 Americans die from cancer each year. 300,000 Americans die from strokes and respiratory diseases each year. On average, 2.8 million Americans die each year. So even in the very unlikely event that our current crude death rate continued for another eight months, COVID-19 deaths would constitute 9.6% of all deaths in the U.S. and would rank far below heart disease and cancer as a cause of death.

Furthermore, the fact that the common flu only poses any kind of meaningful risk for about six months and that its most lethal period only lasts about 14 weeks does not change the fact that the flu’s case death rate is in the same range as COVID-19’s case death rate: between 0.1% and 0.4%. The case death rate is your risk of dying if you catch something. The COVID-19 anti-body studies indicate that your risk of dying if you catch COVID-19 is the same as your risk of dying if you catch the flu, if not slightly lower.

Some news outlets have noted reports that COVID-19 increases a person’s risk of stroke and heart attack. But the same is true of the flu. One study, noted by the CDC, found that the risk of heart attack was six times higher during the first week of flu infection.

Am I saying that COVID-19 deaths among the medically ill don’t matter? No, but I am focusing on the risk that people of average health face from COVID-19, since non-medically ill people constitute most of our population. Instead of one-size-fits-all lockdown measures, we should be focusing on protecting the medically ill and the elderly, since the vast majority of our COVID-19 deaths have occurred among these two groups, and since a large percentage of medically ill people are 65 and older.

It is not a matter of choosing between everyone staying home and everyone resuming normal life. There is a reasonable and safe middle ground: require the medically ill and the elderly to stay home and avoid human contact as much as possible until we have a vaccine/herd immunity, but let everyone else resume normal life.


Supporting research:












It's an OP/ED from the hill and a buncha RWNJ conspiracy crap from daily wire and similar infotainment sites.

Get something real.

Also, I think you violated the "fair use" thing by copy/pasting the whole thing.
 

Crepitus

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Al
Perhaps a major difference is that we have somewhat of a herd immunity to the flu. The Covid 19 virus is not so much.
Also vaccines.
Why do you care if the rest of the nation goes to work while you hide under your bed?
Leaked papers from the tRump administration claim 3,000 dead a day soon.

Here's an idea:

Why do all you unruly tRumpling children go play and let the adults handle the important stuff, 'kay?
 

ColonelAngus

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Al
Perhaps a major difference is that we have somewhat of a herd immunity to the flu. The Covid 19 virus is not so much.
Also vaccines.
Why do you care if the rest of the nation goes to work while you hide under your bed?
Leaked papers from the tRump administration claim 3,000 dead a day soon.

Here's an idea:

Why do all you unruly tRumpling children go play and let the adults handle the important stuff, 'kay?
Why do you want more dead people? It makes you seem like a sick fucker.

Do you want more people to die because you don’t like Trump?

How long do you want us locked down? Specifically.
 

ColonelAngus

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Liberals want more people to die. That tells you all you need to know about them.

Death for political opportunism.

Sick fuckers.
 
OP
mikegriffith1

mikegriffith1

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Is COVID-19 about as dangerous as the common flu? Yes, according to three recent COVID-19 anti-body studies. These studies indicate that COVID-19’s actual case death rate is between 0.1% and 0.3%. The 2017-2018 flu season had a case death rate of 0.134% (61,099 deaths/44.8 million cases). The 2016-2017 flu season had a case death rate of 0.415% (38,230 deaths/29.2 million cases). So, yes, if we go by the case death rate indicated by COVID-19 anti-body studies, if you catch COVID-19, your risk of dying from it is no higher than the risk you would face if you caught the flu, and it might even be slightly lower.

The flu’s case death rate is readily available on the CDC’s website; the COVID-19 anti-body studies have been done by reputable scholars; and reports on those anti-body studies have been published on numerous news websites. So how can some news outlets, such as CNN and the Washington Post, continue to insist that COVID-19 is far more dangerous than the common flu? By ignoring the anti-body studies and by presenting misleading analyses of the raw numbers.

For that matter, is it even valid to compare COVID-19 to the flu given the fact that the flu has been around for decades, that some people have developed varying degrees of immunity to some flu strains, and that we have had a flu vaccine for decades?

A more valid comparison might be to compare COVID-19 to the 1957-1958 Asian Flu and the 1968 Hong Kong Flu, since these were new strains, as is COVID-19. The Asian Flu killed 116,000 Americans, even though an effective vaccine was developed five months into the outbreak. The Hong Kong Flu killed 100,000 Americans. As of yesterday, COVID-19 had killed 68,609 Americans. (On a side note, during the Asian Flu and Hong Kong Flu pandemics, we did not shut down half the economy and did not force tens of millions of Americans to lose their jobs.)

The fact that COVID-19 anti-body studies indicate that COVID-19’s case death rate is in the same range as that of the flu says volumes about how some news outlets have exaggerated the risk posed by COVID-19.

In any event, how does COVID-19 compare with the flu if we consider the raw numbers and ignore the case death rates? Do the raw numbers indicate that the risk from COVID-19 is so much greater than the risk from the flu that it justifies putting tens of millions of Americans out of work and causing enormous damage to our economy? I believe the answer to this question is no, when we factor in the over-reporting of our COVID-19 deaths and the fact that around 73% of our COVID-19 deaths have been among people who had serious underlying health conditions. As I will show, if we take these factors into account and make some reasonable assumptions about their impact on the raw numbers, we get 229 flu deaths per day vs. 281 COVID-19 deaths per day among most of our population, which is not a huge difference.

We cannot compare COVID-19 and the flu by simply citing raw numbers. Why? Because flu season only lasts about six months and because we do not know if COVID-19 is seasonal or if it stays active all year. Moreover, although flu season is described as lasting about six months, most of the flu deaths in each flu season occur in 13-14 weeks of the season. Therefore, in any comparison, we must compare apples to apples, as they say, which in this case means determining each virus’s daily death rate during its peak period and then determining the number of deaths that rate would produce if it occurred every day of the year.

Suppose you wanted to determine which one of two basketball players were better at scoring. Player A had scored 14,300 points. Player B had scored 10,000 points. So Player A would clearly be the better scorer, right? Not necessarily. When you did more research, you learned that Player A had played 650 games and that Player B had played 500 games, which would mean Player A had scored 22 points per game and Player B had scored 20 points per game. Thus, you would realize that Player A and Player B were similar in their scoring ability, even though Player A had scored more 4,300 more points.

The last three flu seasons have killed an average of 44,000 Americans per season (133,000 in three seasons). The vast majority of those deaths, about 85% of them, occurred in 13-14 weeks of each season. 85% of 44,000 is 37,400. If we divide 37,400 by 14 weeks (98 days), we get 2,671 deaths per week, which equals 381 deaths per day—again, during the peak part of flu season.

According to the CDC’s “Provisional COVID-19 Death Counts by Sex, Age, and State” report, dated May 1, which is based on deaths verified by death certificates, there were 37,308 COVID-19 deaths from February 1 to April 25. But the CDC explains that this report is one to eight weeks behind the actual numbers because of the lag time between when the deaths occurred and when the death certificates were completed and received by the CDC.

As of yesterday, the Worldometers website put the U.S. COVID-19 death toll at 68,609. If we follow the CDC and use February 1 as our starting point and yesterday as our end point (since our daily new deaths have started to decline), that means we have had 68,609 deaths in 93 days, which equals 738 deaths per day. But we did not begin to see substantial numbers of deaths until March 17. In other words, COVID-19’s peak period did not begin until March 17. If we use March 17 as our starting point and yesterday as our end point, we get 67,318 deaths in 48 days, which equals 1,404 deaths per day during the peak of our COVID-19 outbreak. 1,404 deaths per day is far more than the flu’s 381 deaths per day. BUT. . . .

BUT, these numbers paint a misleading picture. There are two major factors that we still must consider: One, we know that a sizable number of the deaths that have been attributed to COVID-19 were not actually caused by COVID-19. Two, the substantial majority of our COVID-19 deaths have occurred among people who had serious underlying health conditions (aka the medically ill). When we consider these two factors, the picture changes substantially.

As many experts have noted, the CDC’s reporting criteria for COVID-19 deaths are very broad, and we know that some states have inflated their COVID-19 deaths by including deaths that were not actually caused by COVID-19. For example, a few weeks ago, Pennsylvania, after some doctors in the state raised concerns, was forced to admit that 200 of its 1,200 reported COVID-19 deaths, or over 16% of them, were not caused by COVID-19. If we assume that 10%--not 16%, but just 10%--of our national COVID-19 deaths were not caused by the virus, that drops the total by 6,731—from 67,318 to 60,587—and reduces the daily death rate from 1,404 to 1,262.

Now let us consider the number of COVID-19 deaths that have occurred among the medically ill. The CDC is not providing this statistic (if they are, I cannot find it on any of their website). But, fortunately, the New York City health department is providing this important stat. And given that NYC’s population is 8.4 million, which is larger than that of most states, it provides a very good sample size from which we can estimate the national numbers.

In NYC, per the city’s health department, at least 73% of the city’s confirmed COVID-19 deaths have been among people who were medically ill (and whose underlying conditions were known). What percentage of flu deaths usually occur among the medically ill? I was unable to find this information on any of U.S. Government website, but it seems rather unlikely that 73% of flu deaths occur among the medically ill, given that we have had a flu vaccine for decades and that some people have developed varying degrees of immunity to some flu strains.

How about if we assume that 40% of flu deaths occur among the medically ill, and that 70% of COVID-19 deaths have occurred among the medically ill? I think 40% is a bit high, and I think 70% might be low, but I want to err on the side of caution. If we reduce the death numbers accordingly, and if we assume that only 10% of the reported COVID-19 deaths have been wrongly attributed to COVID-19, we get 229 flu deaths per day and 281 COVID-19 deaths per day—again, among people who are not medically ill, which is most of the population.

Next, let us assume that each virus’s daily death rate—again, during their peak periods—were to occur every day of the year, so that we are comparing apples to apples. Therefore, let us multiply each daily rate by 365. If we do so, that gives us 83,220 flu deaths per year and 102,565 COVID-19 deaths per year, a difference of 19,345 deaths per year. 19,345 people is 0.0059% of the U.S. population, or 170 times lower than 1% of our population. Is this a large enough difference to justify putting tens of millions of Americans out of work and causing enormous damage to our economy? I think most people would say no.

What happens if we assume that 50% of flu deaths occur among the medically ill, instead of 40%? That gives us 69,715 flu deaths per year vs. 102,565 COVID-19 deaths per year, a difference of 32,850, or 0.01001% of the population. Is that a large enough difference to justify the enormous human suffering and economic damage caused by the lockdown?

Keep in mind that it is improbable that COVID-19 would ever kill 281 people per day for 365 days in a row, much less 1,200-1,400 people per day for that length of time.

We know from the numbers from other nations that we do not need to continue with our current crude death rate of 0.0209048%. South Korea and Taiwan, which have taken much more moderate approaches to COVID-19, have a crude death rate that is far, far below ours. South Korea’s crude death rate is 0.000488% (252 deaths/51.64 million population). Taiwan’s crude death rate is 0.0000253% (6 deaths/23.78 million population). Yet, as mentioned, our crude death rate is 0.0209048% (68,609 deaths/328.2 million population). Clearly, we are doing something wrong in our approach to COVID-19.

Sweden, another country that has taken a moderate approach to COVID-19, has a crude death rate that is modestly higher than ours, but Sweden, thanks to its moderate response, has suffered much less economic damage than we have suffered, and Sweden might be on the way to achieving herd immunity. Also, Sweden’s crude death rate is below that of many European nations, all of which have taken a more extreme response to COVID-19 and have suffered more economic damage as a result.

If we took our current COVID-19 crude death rate of 0.0209048%, which includes COVID-19 deaths among the medically ill, and which does *not* include the over-reporting of our COVID-19 deaths--if we took this rate and applied it to an entire year, that would equal right around 269,000 deaths. 250,000 Americans die from medical errors each year. 640,000 Americans die from heart disease each year. 590,000 Americans die from cancer each year. 300,000 Americans die from strokes and respiratory diseases each year. On average, 2.8 million Americans die each year. So even in the very unlikely event that our current crude death rate continued for another eight months, COVID-19 deaths would constitute 9.6% of all deaths in the U.S. and would rank far below heart disease and cancer as a cause of death.

Furthermore, the fact that the common flu only poses any kind of meaningful risk for about six months and that its most lethal period only lasts about 14 weeks does not change the fact that the flu’s case death rate is in the same range as COVID-19’s case death rate: between 0.1% and 0.4%. The case death rate is your risk of dying if you catch something. The COVID-19 anti-body studies indicate that your risk of dying if you catch COVID-19 is the same as your risk of dying if you catch the flu, if not slightly lower.

Some news outlets have noted reports that COVID-19 increases a person’s risk of stroke and heart attack. But the same is true of the flu. One study, noted by the CDC, found that the risk of heart attack was six times higher during the first week of flu infection.

Am I saying that COVID-19 deaths among the medically ill don’t matter? No, but I am focusing on the risk that people of average health face from COVID-19, since non-medically ill people constitute most of our population. Instead of one-size-fits-all lockdown measures, we should be focusing on protecting the medically ill and the elderly, since the vast majority of our COVID-19 deaths have occurred among these two groups, and since a large percentage of medically ill people are 65 and older.

It is not a matter of choosing between everyone staying home and everyone resuming normal life. There is a reasonable and safe middle ground: require the medically ill and the elderly to stay home and avoid human contact as much as possible until we have a vaccine/herd immunity, but let everyone else resume normal life.


Supporting research:












It's an OP/ED from the hill and a buncha RWNJ conspiracy crap from daily wire and similar infotainment sites. Get something real.
Uh, the op-ed was written by a former chief of neuroradiology at the Stanford University Medical Center, Dr. Scott Atlas. I didn't copy and paste anything. You have simply ignored 99% of the information in the OP.

Your world of needless panic is crumbling.
 

Crepitus

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Al
Perhaps a major difference is that we have somewhat of a herd immunity to the flu. The Covid 19 virus is not so much.
Also vaccines.
Why do you care if the rest of the nation goes to work while you hide under your bed?
Leaked papers from the tRump administration claim 3,000 dead a day soon.

Here's an idea:

Why do all you unruly tRumpling children go play and let the adults handle the important stuff, 'kay?
Why do you want more dead people? It makes you seem like a sick fucker.

Do you want more people to die because you don’t like Trump?

How long do you want us locked down? Specifically.
Are you stupid?

I wanna see LESS dead people. That's why you tRumplings need to get outta the way and let the adults manage things.
 

ColonelAngus

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Al
Perhaps a major difference is that we have somewhat of a herd immunity to the flu. The Covid 19 virus is not so much.
Also vaccines.
Why do you care if the rest of the nation goes to work while you hide under your bed?
Leaked papers from the tRump administration claim 3,000 dead a day soon.

Here's an idea:

Why do all you unruly tRumpling children go play and let the adults handle the important stuff, 'kay?
Why do you want more dead people? It makes you seem like a sick fucker.

Do you want more people to die because you don’t like Trump?

How long do you want us locked down? Specifically.
Are you stupid?

I wanna see LESS dead people. That's why you tRumplings need to get outta the way and let the adults manage things.
What should be done that isn’t being done. Specifically?
 

colfax_m

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Liberals want more people to die. That tells you all you need to know about them.

Death for political opportunism.

Sick fuckers.
No one wants more people to die. It’s just that only half of the country cares if more people die.
 

Crepitus

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Is COVID-19 about as dangerous as the common flu? Yes, according to three recent COVID-19 anti-body studies. These studies indicate that COVID-19’s actual case death rate is between 0.1% and 0.3%. The 2017-2018 flu season had a case death rate of 0.134% (61,099 deaths/44.8 million cases). The 2016-2017 flu season had a case death rate of 0.415% (38,230 deaths/29.2 million cases). So, yes, if we go by the case death rate indicated by COVID-19 anti-body studies, if you catch COVID-19, your risk of dying from it is no higher than the risk you would face if you caught the flu, and it might even be slightly lower.

The flu’s case death rate is readily available on the CDC’s website; the COVID-19 anti-body studies have been done by reputable scholars; and reports on those anti-body studies have been published on numerous news websites. So how can some news outlets, such as CNN and the Washington Post, continue to insist that COVID-19 is far more dangerous than the common flu? By ignoring the anti-body studies and by presenting misleading analyses of the raw numbers.

For that matter, is it even valid to compare COVID-19 to the flu given the fact that the flu has been around for decades, that some people have developed varying degrees of immunity to some flu strains, and that we have had a flu vaccine for decades?

A more valid comparison might be to compare COVID-19 to the 1957-1958 Asian Flu and the 1968 Hong Kong Flu, since these were new strains, as is COVID-19. The Asian Flu killed 116,000 Americans, even though an effective vaccine was developed five months into the outbreak. The Hong Kong Flu killed 100,000 Americans. As of yesterday, COVID-19 had killed 68,609 Americans. (On a side note, during the Asian Flu and Hong Kong Flu pandemics, we did not shut down half the economy and did not force tens of millions of Americans to lose their jobs.)

The fact that COVID-19 anti-body studies indicate that COVID-19’s case death rate is in the same range as that of the flu says volumes about how some news outlets have exaggerated the risk posed by COVID-19.

In any event, how does COVID-19 compare with the flu if we consider the raw numbers and ignore the case death rates? Do the raw numbers indicate that the risk from COVID-19 is so much greater than the risk from the flu that it justifies putting tens of millions of Americans out of work and causing enormous damage to our economy? I believe the answer to this question is no, when we factor in the over-reporting of our COVID-19 deaths and the fact that around 73% of our COVID-19 deaths have been among people who had serious underlying health conditions. As I will show, if we take these factors into account and make some reasonable assumptions about their impact on the raw numbers, we get 229 flu deaths per day vs. 281 COVID-19 deaths per day among most of our population, which is not a huge difference.

We cannot compare COVID-19 and the flu by simply citing raw numbers. Why? Because flu season only lasts about six months and because we do not know if COVID-19 is seasonal or if it stays active all year. Moreover, although flu season is described as lasting about six months, most of the flu deaths in each flu season occur in 13-14 weeks of the season. Therefore, in any comparison, we must compare apples to apples, as they say, which in this case means determining each virus’s daily death rate during its peak period and then determining the number of deaths that rate would produce if it occurred every day of the year.

Suppose you wanted to determine which one of two basketball players were better at scoring. Player A had scored 14,300 points. Player B had scored 10,000 points. So Player A would clearly be the better scorer, right? Not necessarily. When you did more research, you learned that Player A had played 650 games and that Player B had played 500 games, which would mean Player A had scored 22 points per game and Player B had scored 20 points per game. Thus, you would realize that Player A and Player B were similar in their scoring ability, even though Player A had scored more 4,300 more points.

The last three flu seasons have killed an average of 44,000 Americans per season (133,000 in three seasons). The vast majority of those deaths, about 85% of them, occurred in 13-14 weeks of each season. 85% of 44,000 is 37,400. If we divide 37,400 by 14 weeks (98 days), we get 2,671 deaths per week, which equals 381 deaths per day—again, during the peak part of flu season.

According to the CDC’s “Provisional COVID-19 Death Counts by Sex, Age, and State” report, dated May 1, which is based on deaths verified by death certificates, there were 37,308 COVID-19 deaths from February 1 to April 25. But the CDC explains that this report is one to eight weeks behind the actual numbers because of the lag time between when the deaths occurred and when the death certificates were completed and received by the CDC.

As of yesterday, the Worldometers website put the U.S. COVID-19 death toll at 68,609. If we follow the CDC and use February 1 as our starting point and yesterday as our end point (since our daily new deaths have started to decline), that means we have had 68,609 deaths in 93 days, which equals 738 deaths per day. But we did not begin to see substantial numbers of deaths until March 17. In other words, COVID-19’s peak period did not begin until March 17. If we use March 17 as our starting point and yesterday as our end point, we get 67,318 deaths in 48 days, which equals 1,404 deaths per day during the peak of our COVID-19 outbreak. 1,404 deaths per day is far more than the flu’s 381 deaths per day. BUT. . . .

BUT, these numbers paint a misleading picture. There are two major factors that we still must consider: One, we know that a sizable number of the deaths that have been attributed to COVID-19 were not actually caused by COVID-19. Two, the substantial majority of our COVID-19 deaths have occurred among people who had serious underlying health conditions (aka the medically ill). When we consider these two factors, the picture changes substantially.

As many experts have noted, the CDC’s reporting criteria for COVID-19 deaths are very broad, and we know that some states have inflated their COVID-19 deaths by including deaths that were not actually caused by COVID-19. For example, a few weeks ago, Pennsylvania, after some doctors in the state raised concerns, was forced to admit that 200 of its 1,200 reported COVID-19 deaths, or over 16% of them, were not caused by COVID-19. If we assume that 10%--not 16%, but just 10%--of our national COVID-19 deaths were not caused by the virus, that drops the total by 6,731—from 67,318 to 60,587—and reduces the daily death rate from 1,404 to 1,262.

Now let us consider the number of COVID-19 deaths that have occurred among the medically ill. The CDC is not providing this statistic (if they are, I cannot find it on any of their website). But, fortunately, the New York City health department is providing this important stat. And given that NYC’s population is 8.4 million, which is larger than that of most states, it provides a very good sample size from which we can estimate the national numbers.

In NYC, per the city’s health department, at least 73% of the city’s confirmed COVID-19 deaths have been among people who were medically ill (and whose underlying conditions were known). What percentage of flu deaths usually occur among the medically ill? I was unable to find this information on any of U.S. Government website, but it seems rather unlikely that 73% of flu deaths occur among the medically ill, given that we have had a flu vaccine for decades and that some people have developed varying degrees of immunity to some flu strains.

How about if we assume that 40% of flu deaths occur among the medically ill, and that 70% of COVID-19 deaths have occurred among the medically ill? I think 40% is a bit high, and I think 70% might be low, but I want to err on the side of caution. If we reduce the death numbers accordingly, and if we assume that only 10% of the reported COVID-19 deaths have been wrongly attributed to COVID-19, we get 229 flu deaths per day and 281 COVID-19 deaths per day—again, among people who are not medically ill, which is most of the population.

Next, let us assume that each virus’s daily death rate—again, during their peak periods—were to occur every day of the year, so that we are comparing apples to apples. Therefore, let us multiply each daily rate by 365. If we do so, that gives us 83,220 flu deaths per year and 102,565 COVID-19 deaths per year, a difference of 19,345 deaths per year. 19,345 people is 0.0059% of the U.S. population, or 170 times lower than 1% of our population. Is this a large enough difference to justify putting tens of millions of Americans out of work and causing enormous damage to our economy? I think most people would say no.

What happens if we assume that 50% of flu deaths occur among the medically ill, instead of 40%? That gives us 69,715 flu deaths per year vs. 102,565 COVID-19 deaths per year, a difference of 32,850, or 0.01001% of the population. Is that a large enough difference to justify the enormous human suffering and economic damage caused by the lockdown?

Keep in mind that it is improbable that COVID-19 would ever kill 281 people per day for 365 days in a row, much less 1,200-1,400 people per day for that length of time.

We know from the numbers from other nations that we do not need to continue with our current crude death rate of 0.0209048%. South Korea and Taiwan, which have taken much more moderate approaches to COVID-19, have a crude death rate that is far, far below ours. South Korea’s crude death rate is 0.000488% (252 deaths/51.64 million population). Taiwan’s crude death rate is 0.0000253% (6 deaths/23.78 million population). Yet, as mentioned, our crude death rate is 0.0209048% (68,609 deaths/328.2 million population). Clearly, we are doing something wrong in our approach to COVID-19.

Sweden, another country that has taken a moderate approach to COVID-19, has a crude death rate that is modestly higher than ours, but Sweden, thanks to its moderate response, has suffered much less economic damage than we have suffered, and Sweden might be on the way to achieving herd immunity. Also, Sweden’s crude death rate is below that of many European nations, all of which have taken a more extreme response to COVID-19 and have suffered more economic damage as a result.

If we took our current COVID-19 crude death rate of 0.0209048%, which includes COVID-19 deaths among the medically ill, and which does *not* include the over-reporting of our COVID-19 deaths--if we took this rate and applied it to an entire year, that would equal right around 269,000 deaths. 250,000 Americans die from medical errors each year. 640,000 Americans die from heart disease each year. 590,000 Americans die from cancer each year. 300,000 Americans die from strokes and respiratory diseases each year. On average, 2.8 million Americans die each year. So even in the very unlikely event that our current crude death rate continued for another eight months, COVID-19 deaths would constitute 9.6% of all deaths in the U.S. and would rank far below heart disease and cancer as a cause of death.

Furthermore, the fact that the common flu only poses any kind of meaningful risk for about six months and that its most lethal period only lasts about 14 weeks does not change the fact that the flu’s case death rate is in the same range as COVID-19’s case death rate: between 0.1% and 0.4%. The case death rate is your risk of dying if you catch something. The COVID-19 anti-body studies indicate that your risk of dying if you catch COVID-19 is the same as your risk of dying if you catch the flu, if not slightly lower.

Some news outlets have noted reports that COVID-19 increases a person’s risk of stroke and heart attack. But the same is true of the flu. One study, noted by the CDC, found that the risk of heart attack was six times higher during the first week of flu infection.

Am I saying that COVID-19 deaths among the medically ill don’t matter? No, but I am focusing on the risk that people of average health face from COVID-19, since non-medically ill people constitute most of our population. Instead of one-size-fits-all lockdown measures, we should be focusing on protecting the medically ill and the elderly, since the vast majority of our COVID-19 deaths have occurred among these two groups, and since a large percentage of medically ill people are 65 and older.

It is not a matter of choosing between everyone staying home and everyone resuming normal life. There is a reasonable and safe middle ground: require the medically ill and the elderly to stay home and avoid human contact as much as possible until we have a vaccine/herd immunity, but let everyone else resume normal life.


Supporting research:












It's an OP/ED from the hill and a buncha RWNJ conspiracy crap from daily wire and similar infotainment sites. Get something real.
Uh, the op-ed was written by a former chief of neuroradiology at the Stanford University Medical Center, Dr. Scott Atlas. I didn't copy and paste anything. You have simply ignored 99% of the information in the OP.

Your world of needless panic is crumbling.
The very fact that you can say "world of needless panic" with a straight face tells me how soaked in the fake news cycle you are.
 

colfax_m

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The use of antibody testing is great, but it’s very early. The sensitivity of these tests remains quite unknown and the small sample size is still too early.

I admit, the fact that all these studies show similar results does make it more compelling, however there is also publication bias.

Anyway, a good rundown of the issues is in this article.
 

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