News & Politics

COVID-19 Panic Porn Returns Even Though Data From Minneapolis Says Otherwise

Protestors demonstrate outside of a burning Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct, Thursday, May 28, 2020, in Minneapolis. Protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody Monday, broke out in Minneapolis for a third straight night. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Since the riots have calmed down, the media has returned to its COVID-19 panic porn. Dr. Scott Gottlieb is back on television warning about spikes and the possibility of things getting really bad if states don’t take action. At least he’s smart enough to know lockdown is not an option.

“We’re not going to be able to shut down the country again this summer. We’re probably not going to be able to shut down the country again this fall,” Gottlieb said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “And so we’re going to need to try to isolate the sources of these outbreaks and take targeted steps. If we can’t do that, these will get out of control.”

There’s no “probably” about it. Healthy people are done with that nonsense. Especially with the revised mortality data put out by the CDC showing a low risk to people under 50. Gottlieb then went on to discuss nationwide new COVID-19 case rates which are around 20,000 per day. What he didn’t discuss is where and why these people are being tested.

For example, people are getting tested prior to doctor visits and elective surgeries. Some employers are providing testing to employees who want it or requiring it if an employee has symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. It would seem this would elevate case numbers, while not necessarily elevating severe infection.

Further, post-riot data from Minneapolis is providing pretty good support that there is little reason to even consider locking down. People who were outdoors, unmasked, and often in close proximity are not showing significant infection rates. From Pioneer Press:

Results from about 40 percent of the coronavirus tests done in St. Paul and Minneapolis this week show 1.4 percent of participants who were tested had contracted COVID-19. Health officials are awaiting the rest of the test results and are encouraging anyone who participated in mass gatherings to get tested — regardless of symptoms.

The 1.4 percent positivity rate is lower than the 3.7 [percent] positivity rate of the more than 13,000 test results reported Friday. It is lower than the current seven-day average rate of positive tests, which is also 3.7 percent.

This is backed up by Memorial Day weekend hysteria over crowds at Lake of the Ozarks. To date, a grand total of two cases have resulted from that outdoor crowd. The second case was identified two weeks later, making the idea that the resort crowd caused them pretty tenuous. The CDC has also said that COVID-19 does not spread easily on surfaces, making even indoor spaces safer with good cleaning practices.

It seems the primary method of spread is an infectious person that is actively coughing or otherwise putting respiratory secretions in the air in close proximity to a healthy person. Even the WHO can’t confirm the risk of asymptomatic spread. In one group of studies, it was said to be “very rare.”

The idea of a lockdown becomes even more preposterous when we know more about treatment and susceptibility than we did in April. Genetic tests are showing people with O blood types have statistically significant lower rates of COVID-19 infection and severe disease.

Likewise, studies are showing COVID-19 is becoming less lethal. From the Wall Street Journal:

Doctors have observed that the coronavirus case-fatality rate seems to have decreased considerably since the early days of the pandemic. But a pre-publication study from Italian universities and local public-health authorities comparing the case-fatality rates in two provinces (Ferrara and Pescara) during March and April is the first to show this might be true.

After adjusting for age and comorbidities, the study found the overall death rate declined by some 40% from March to April with huge reductions in those over age 80 (from 36.3% to 16.1%), and subjects with hypertension (23% to 12.1%), diabetes (30.3% to 8.4%), cardiovascular disease (31.5% to 12.1%), COPD (29.7% to 11.4%) and renal disease (32.3% to 11.5%).

Additionally, there is finally a consensus that many severe cases are actually due to an overreaction of the immune system called a cytokine storm rather than severe respiratory distress. There are increasingly effective treatments for this and respiratory support that is less invasive than mechanical ventilation has proven more effective.

The fact that the CDC is even discussing lockdown, even ones local in implementation, is beyond insane. Looking at data, such as what we are seeing in Minneapolis and Lake of the Ozarks, it almost seems outdoor activities should be encouraged. In fact, increasing data shows the most common place to contract the virus is at home.

Any policy going forward needs to be based on informing at-risk populations on appropriate precautions, continuing to improve treatment modalities, and allowing the rest of the population to make an appropriate risk assessment. And yes, that even means they can go to a Trump rally.

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