Murphy's Law: Covid Capers


February 7, 2022: The covid19 pandemic has done more than kill a lot of people, it has revealed the inability, or unwillingness to obtain accurate data on how many people were infected and how many died. The first problem was that many nations ignored solid evidence of how covid19 spread and which people were most vulnerable to a fatal case of covid19.

The hard evidence came in early 2020 when cruise ships and some large warships were infected. The first of these was the cruise ship Diamond Princess, which had nearly a thousand passengers and crew on board, and all were exposed to covid19 before March 2020 because there were enough infected but asymptomatic (not ill or showing other symptoms) passengers to begin with and the ship was quarantined long enough (two weeks) under conditions that allowed everyone on board to be exposed. Nearly all were tested and 19.6 percent tested positive but 47 percent of the infected showed no symptoms. Some of these did later exhibit symptoms and 14 died. The fatalities were older passengers with underlying conditions. Thousands of people caught on cruise ships and large warships that went to sea with a few people on board who were already infected with covid19 but tested before leaving the ship. That data was studied and studied and the pattern first seen on the Diamond Princess remained consistent. While this was great news to the medical community, especially epidemiologists (medical statisticians) it was not recognized as such by the mass media and many politicians refused to act on the evidence.

The danger of the asymptomatic infected is that they can, in theory, spread the virus until their immune system eliminates it. It is unclear exactly how long that takes but it appears to be up to several weeks or, in many cases, not at all. It was discovered that 80 percent of those exposed to the virus did not become infected. This is typical of such diseases as influenza. What was unique about covid19 was that it had less impact on the young and was mainly a danger to the elderly, especially those that were already suffering from one or more serious illnesses (underlying conditions). This was in sharp contrast to severe strains of influenza. The 1918 (Spanish Flu) strain was particularly lethal to the young and healthy. In effect the Spanish Flu had an overall death rate (2.1 percent) three times that of covid19.

The early 2020 news on covid19 from the medical statisticians was not universally accepted and acted on. Those countries that did pay attention kept their covid19 losses down as well as minimizing the financial costs. Politicians in some nations saw covid19 as an opportunity to do something impressive, or oppressive but definitely rewarding for them. Many governments declared the early epidemiological evidence to be fake news and promoted their own, generally self-serving, interpretations of what was going on. China, for example, suppressed data on the true number of deaths to demonstrate the impressive capabilities of the Chinese form of government. In contrast developed nations in East Asia, like Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, imposed effective and medically correct measures and achieved very low death rates. It was different in the Americas and Europe, where governments tended to exaggerate covid19 deaths and deliberately ignore the early 2020 epidemiological evidence. Eventually, some Western nations heeded the original findings and found they could keep their economies going and deal with the usual acute medical emergencies. This meant paying attention to the difference between dying with covid19 and dying from covid19. For example, when Italy applied that rule to its covid19 data it found that the number of Italians killed by covid was only a few percent of what had previously been presented as covid19 deaths. This is what some strains of influenza have done for as long as medical data has been compiled. Every few decades a particularly severe strain of the flu comes along and kills a lot of people already suffering from life-threatening conditions.

Only a small percentage of the population was vulnerable to a fatal case of covid19. Just keeping the elderly, those over 60 0r 70 safe from infection reduces covid19 deaths enormously. Doing a medical evaluation of elderly individuals can determine which of them are not in danger. Among the younger population, the grossly overweight were found to be very vulnerable, as were those with chronic asthma, of the type that could kill them even without covid19. In many countries the general population seemed to realize the reality of covid19 long before their governments. This continues to cause problems.

Another problem was in most of the world there is no functioning medical care, or medical statistics capability. Covid19 may not even reach some of these groups and when it does the additional deaths are not noticed as anything unusual.

Another bit of misinformation was the development of covid19 vaccines. Covid19 is a rapidly mutating disease similar to influenza. While more stable viruses like smallpox and polio can protect potential victims with a vaccine, the flu and covid19 “vaccines” are actually temporary treatments called “antivirals.” These slow down the spread of the disease but cannot stop it like polio or smallpox vaccination.

Another major source of misinformation was the Chinese efforts to conceal the origins of covid19 and its impact on China. Initial evidence was that covid10 first appeared in Wuhan during late 2019. Chinese doctors complained that the government would not take action, as China had earlier said it would. Instead, those outspoken doctors were ordered to remain silent or else. Several of those doctors died of covid19 while a few others got out of China and were largely ignored by Western governments. China insisted that they had limited covid19 deaths to a few thousand and their lockdown approach kept reinfections from spreading. China tried to blame infected American soldiers, who arrived in China for a mid-2019 planned event. This claim was denied by the United States which tended to go along with the rest of the Chinese version. That eventually changed as the covid19 infection and death models proliferated and were accepted. The actual deaths in China were nearly two million. China continues to stand by its original claims but even WHO (the World Health Organization) and epidemic specialists in other countries are no longer supporting Chinese claims. The Chinese government took a big risk by not providing accurate and early reports about covid19, which they were legally required to do because of international criticism of earlier Chinese refusal to share data on new covid-type diseases. China is a communist police state, but like all similar governments they monitor public opinion and some senior officials saw covid19 as a potential disaster for the government and worth the effort and risks to suppress. China took a chance and lost. This covid19 side-effect may be the most lasting and damaging of all.




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