A Head Full of Coronavirus Research, Part 9

By May 28, 2020 Commentary

The first couple of items unfortunately relate to the health effects of the lockdowns, which potentially will cost more lives and be more deleterious to health than coronavirus disease.  The first item is a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation about Americans’ deferral of care.  (KFF Survey)   About half of respondents said they had skipped or deferred care due to the epidemic.  Of this group, almost a fourth said their health worsened as a result.  In addition, around 40% of people said they had experienced mental health issues in response to the epidemic and the lockdowns.  About 30% of respondents said they were experiencing difficulty in meeting household expenses, including for health care and food.

This paper deals with excess deaths in England and Wales.   (Medrxiv Paper)   Everyone has been so concerned about coronavirus deaths, but the lockdowns and the fear campaign waged by the media and politicians have caused deferral of health care and have clearly led to deaths, sometimes from basic things like not going to an emergency room when having heart attack symptoms.  The researchers concluded that there were 47,000 excess deaths in England and Wales up through the first week in May, and around 10,000 of these were not attributable to coronavirus disease.  The authors note that there could be both over-reporting and under-reporting of deaths related to coronavirus.  But a number of the deaths are clearly due to people avoiding needed health care.  The researchers noted the enormous drop in use of clinical services and emergency rooms.

Next, a meta-review and meta-analysis of some parameters around virus transmission.   (Medrxiv Paper)   The secondary attack rate, meaning how often one person infects another who is exposed to them, was 15.4% in household settings versus 4% in non-household settings.  That means a person is 4 times as likely to be infected at their home as in another setting.  So how stupid are stay-at-home orders.  People who were symptomatic were far more likely to pass on an infection than were asymptomatic ones.  And children were much less likely to infect others than adults.  The average serial interval, or time between when an infector showed symptoms and that person’s infectee showed symptoms, was around 4.87 days.  And 26% of people who tested positive were asymptomatic.  Remember that doesn’t include all the asymptomatic cases who didn’t seek testing, for the obvious reason that they had no reason to think they were sick.

And here is a story from Italy indicating that 96% of the people who died in that country, over 57% of whom were over 80, had pre-existing conditions.  Only 1.1% were under the age of 50.  And by pre-existing conditions, they meant serious issues, as 60% of fatalities had three or more conditions and another 20% had two.   (Italy Story)

Extensive antibody testing in Utah is revealing a rate of infection about twice that shown by infection testing.  (Utah Story)

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