Monday, April 6, 2020

A Pragmatic View of COVID-19

Many of us are being subjected to a wide variety of social experimentation during the current COVID-19 pandemic.  We are also being exposed to a wide range of information, misinformation and disinformation, some of it being sourced from supposedly reliable sources including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, governments and the mainstream media.  On the other hand, we have Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD at Stanford University School of Medicine, a medical doctor and economist who has a very pragmatic view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Let's start by looking at Dr. Bhattacharya's resume:

Now, let's look at a recent 32 minute interview that Dr. Bhattacharya did with Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institution:

The key to Dr. Battacharya's thesis can be summed up with these quotes from the video (4 minute and 17 second mark) when asked about the COVID-19 statistics being randomly tossed out for public consumption:

"The thing is, nobody knows the number .  The numbers we've seen are consistent with a very, very wide range from an epidemic that will kill two to four million people on one end and an epidemic that will kill fifty thousand to a hundred thousand people on the other.  That's an incredibly broad range and the policies that you do to avoid two to four million deaths are very, very  different than the policies you do to avoid fifty thousand to a hundred thousand deaths."

"He (Dr. Anthony Fauci) doesn’t know (the fatality rate of COVID-19). He can’t know, because nobody has done the serologic test of how many people in the population have antibodies to the virus. So that’s what you need to know. So he can’t know that, nobody knows that. So he’s reflecting his guess on what that is and I’m reflecting my guess on what it is. The fact is neither of us know, neither of us know that number because there’s no scientific study yet done to establish that number in any broad population." (my bolds)

Let's close with this extract from an op-ed piece that Dr. Bhattacharya wrote for the March 24, 2020 edition of the Wall Street Journal:

"If it’s true that the novel coronavirus would kill millions without shelter-in-place orders and quarantines, then the extraordinary measures being carried out in cities and states around the country are surely justified. But there’s little evidence to confirm that premise—and projections of the death toll could plausibly be orders of magnitude too high.

"Fear of Covid-19 is based on its high estimated case fatality rate — 2% to 4% of people with confirmed Covid-19 have died, according to the World Health Organization and others. So if 100 million Americans ultimately get the disease, 2 million to 4 million could die. We believe that estimate is deeply flawed. The true fatality rate is the portion of those infected who die, not the deaths from identified positive cases."

"The latter rate is misleading because of selection bias in testing. The degree of bias is uncertain because available data are limited. But it could make the difference between an epidemic that kills 20,000 and one that kills 2 million. If the number of actual infections is much larger than the number of cases—orders of magnitude larger—then the true fatality rate is much lower as well. That’s not only plausible but likely based on what we know so far." (all bolds are mine)

I'm hoping that Dr. Bhattacharya's pragmatic approach to the current pandemic will cause us all to take a deep breath and realize that the fear being generated by governments is completely unfounded and that it is important to understand that "experts" are cherry-picking the statistics that prove their flawed narrative.

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