And so at last the pandemic comes full circle.
Only this time it is doctors pushing the idea that the pandemic is over and many people should now be declared dead “with Covid-19” rather than “of Covid-19” because it is clear the SARS-CoV-2 virus causing the disease is going to be with humankind forever forward.
Some were saying at the start this difference should be recognized, but they were shouted down by those who wanted to up the fear quotient given that fear is the greatest of political tools. It’s hard to motivate a democracy to go to war without fear.
See the invasion of Iraq fueled by “weapons of mass destruction,” the spread of terrorism, and the subsequent outpouring of propaganda in which the U.S. media, led by the New York Times, was complicit.
The latter were no less complicit in the political push, backed by the Beltway bureaucracy and adopted by then-President Donald Trump, for the American public to go to war against SARS-CoV-2. And these interests believed they needed people fearful in order to get them to comply with masking and other so-called non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) and the vaccines to follow.
Now, however, it seems, the medical community had decided it’s not a good idea to live in fear forever because living in fear causes all sorts of other problems, starting with the psychological “stress” which now seems to be a driving force in what is being called long Covid.
Thus it is time to declare the war over, tamp down the fear, and admit that since the start of the pandemic Covid-19 has been doing what nature does.
It is not for nothing that the ruling force in the natural world has been described as “survival of the fittest.”
So it has been since the beginning of the pandemic, no matter what nonsense the mainstream media might have tried to feed Americans about how Covid-19 could kill “anyone.” The reality is that Covid-19 has been mainly killing old people already suffering from fading immunosenescence, or those already struggling with chronic illnesses or what we’ve come to call “co-morbidities.”
Dr. Jeremy Faust, editor-in-chief of MedPage Today, argues that this reality has now changed, but it really doesn’t look like there has been much of a change.
“At the worst of Omicron, for example, in the United States, we had a 37 percent increase in all-cause mortality in January of 2022. That means that we had 37 percent more deaths of all-causes than we were supposed to have,” he writes. ” I December of 2020, for example, right before the vaccines came on, nationwide 43 percent more deaths of all-causes than usual. Very, very bad.”
Very, very bad? Let’s be real here..
Forty-three is 16 percent bigger than 37. Sixteen percent is a significant increase, but let’s think about this for a moment. The opposite of very, very bad is very, very good, and it’s hard to believe that anyone would argue a 16 percent drop in excess deaths is very, very good when people are still dying at a rate 37 percent higher than what would normally be expected.
Thirty-seven percent more dead versus 43 percent more dead doesn’t seem like a very, very good anything. About all that can be said is that it is what it is, and things are getting better, and that the situation, in general, is tracking very nicely with the history of the Spanish flu, which was very, very bad and slowly over time got better as the virus and the human species adapted to each other.
This is nature at work.
Some doctors, being the smartest people in the world, and big pharma, for obvious financial reasons, would like to believe our species has risen above the laws of nature. But if this were even remotely true, we would have managed to quickly stem the worldwide rise in excess deaths coupled with Covid-19, and Sweden would be looking like the poster child for human stupidity.
To describe the Swedish approach to the pandemic as nonchalant would be an overstatement, but it was a lot more relaxed than the response in most U.S. states or much of the rest of the western world, and Sweden is today looking well served by that approach.
Excess mortality in Sweden went up only 9 percent from 2019 to 2020, which would qualify as good compared to the 43 percent rise in the U.S. But as a team of researchers from Norway has pointed out, even the 9 percent rise in Sweden isn’t as bad as it looks because some of it was to be expected due to factors other than Covid-19.
“In Sweden, all-cause mortality was stable from 2015 to 2018 but lower in 2019,” they reported in the peer-reviewed Scandanavian Journal of Health earlier this year. The unusually low mortality in 2019 would lead to an expected increase in 2020 deaths even without Covid-19.
When the researchers factored that in, they concluded “all-cause mortality in the pandemic year was 3 percent higher due to the lower rate in 2019. (And) excess mortality was confined to people aged older than 70 years in Sweden compared with previous years.”
Three percent excess mortality compared to the 43 percent in the U.S. would appear to qualify as not only good but very, very good – the opposite of “very, very bad.”
The data website Statista now puts the 2021 number of Swedes dead of all causes at 91,958, which can be considered statistically the same as the 92,185 deaths of 2019. Though 2021 saw 227 fewer deaths than 2019, the 0.2 percent difference between the two is well within the margin of natural variation.
Excess mortality in Sweden continues to be low for this year, according to Eurostat, which notes that “in 2021, only Sweden and Belgium had an annual excess mortality rate below 5 percent.” Some other Scandanavian countries did report lower death rates for Covid-19 in 2020 and 2021, but the virus now seems to be catching up with some of them.
The excess death rate in Finland, for instance, rose more than 17 percent in September. But the country is publicly playing the “with Covid” card versus the “of Covid” card.
“Covid-19 infections are still spreading at hospitals in the Helsinki region, especially among elderly patients,” Finnish National Radio reported last week. “In Helsinki hospital wards, Covid infections were recorded as a direct or contributing cause of death on 30 death certificates in October, but not as the main cause of death in a single case.
“…Epidemic conditions had been declared in six out of the 25 wards of Helsinki City Hospital. Coronavirus transmissions have also occurred between patients living in different rooms.”
This spread of infections between rooms is linked to airborne Covid-19, something U.S. Covid-czar Anthony Fauci , the nation’s smartest doctor in the view of some, downplayed for months at the start of the pandemic despite a Chinese study in early 2020 indicating the virus could be spread by air-conditioning systems.
The dangerous, airborne spread of the disease was slow to gain official acceptance, but it has now been shown that airborne spread is even possible through walls.
Researchers investigating a cluster of Covid-19 cases in a Taiwan quarantine hotel found air moving through the walls of the building and concluded “aerosol transmission through structural defects in floors and walls in this poorly ventilated hotel was the most likely route of virus transmission. This event demonstrates the high transmissibility of Omicron variants, even across rooms and floors, through structural defects. Our findings emphasize the importance of ventilation and integrity of building structure in quarantine facilities.”
To date, little has been done to fix the ventilation problems in U.S. buildings. President Joe Biden called “on all building owners and operators, schools, colleges and universities, and organizations of all kinds to adopt key strategies to improve indoor air quality in their buildings and reduce the spread of COVID-19,” but there are no requirements they do so.
And though the White House reported that “the Biden Administration and Congress have provided hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds that can be used in schools, public buildings, and other settings to improve indoor air quality,” the spending came with no stipulations to fix ventilation.
Of the $122 billion for schools that the White House said “could be used to support making ventilation and filtration upgrades, an “analysis of school district spending” a year after the funding was approved found 60 percent of the money was being spent on school staffing with less than $10 billion of the $122 billion earmarked “for improvements to HVAC and ventilation.”
Meanwhile, nothing has been done to fix the ventilation in bars and restaurants, which the CDC identified as hotbeds for the spread of Covid-19, and other airborne viruses as far back as September 2020, reporting then that adults infected with the disease were “approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results.”
Americans were instead advised to wear masks for protection, although it is hard to eat or drink with a mask on. And as late as June of last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services was downplaying the risk of airborne transmission in its “guidelines” for bars and restaurants.
“Restaurants can increase air ventilation and encourage frequent hand hygiene and cleaning of frequently touched surfaces to help prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2,” the agency said. “Although most SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs through respiratory droplets from close person-to-person exposures, there are reports of COVID-19 cases due to presumed airborne transmission in indoor spaces with inadequate ventilation.”
Luckily, adaptation is a part of the natural world, and the laws of natural selection have seen the SARS-CoV-2 virus adapting to a host that is worthless if dead.
Dead people are of little use in spreading the virus. Live people walking around infected and not knowing it, those described as “asymptomatic,” are much more effective carriers.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) last year found an asymptomatic infection rate of “40.50 percent among the confirmed population. The high percentage of asymptomatic infections highlights the potential transmission risk of asymptomatic infections in communities.”
The most likely scenario, they wrote there, “is the transition to an epidemic seasonal disease such as influenza. Effective therapies that prevent progression of COVID-19 disease (for example, monoclonal antibodies that reduce hospitalization and death by 70–85 percent) may bring the burden of SARS-CoV-2 infection to levels that are equivalent or even lower than influenza.
This was historically the case with many other viruses including the rhinoviruses and coronaviruses responsible for the “common cold”, and the various influenza viruses which have now visited our species as bird flu variants, Type A(H1N1), A(H3N2) and others; swine flu variants, (tr) H1N1, trH3N2, trH1N2 and others; the good, old human variant of Type A(H1N1) which caused the deadly Spanish flu before evolving into a less deadly pathogen; the homo-sapian-only type B, which in some ways mimics the Covid-19 variant now called “omicron,” and Type C, which is more like the common cold viruses.
“Influenza A viruses are the only influenza viruses known to cause flu pandemics, i.e., global epidemics of flu disease,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The milder Type B is limited to localized epidemics, or as the World Health Organization (WHO) puts it, “both influenza A and B viruses are important respiratory pathogens, although influenza A viruses are the main cause of large epidemics with high mortality.”
A global systemic review of influenza A and B and Covid-19 published in Reviews in Medical Virology last year reported the fatality rate for flu Type B was half that of for Type A. The peer-reviewed examination analyzed 251 studies of Type A, 47 studies of Type B and 157 studies of Covid-19 that tracked a total of about 200,000 hospitalized patients.
The study found Covid-19 the deadliest of the viruses, but not by all that much. And it further noted the risks of the flu varied widely by type.
“Our analysis showed that the mortality rates of COVID‐19, influenza types A and B are 6.5 percent, 6 percent and 3 percent, respectively (among hospitalized patients),” reported the team of researchers from Canada, the U.S. and Iran. “Based on WHO reports on 26 April 2020, out of 2,804,796 COVID‐19 confirmed cases…193,710 cases died (6.9 percent) around the world, which is similar to our result.
“Among influenza type A, the mortality rates in subtypes H5N1 (42 percent) and H7N9 (30 percent) were higher than subtypes H1N1 (5.5 percent), H3N2 (1.7 percent) and non‐H1N1 (2 percent). The influenza mortality rate was associated with different age groups, in which a higher mortality rate is shown in people with greater than or equal to 50‐year‐old ages (12 percent) in comparison to other age groups. These results indicated that older people are at risk of death from the flu. However, subtype H5N1 is fatal and life-threatening for all age ranges.”
Old people, those beyond the age of 65, are always at greater risk of death than younger people. It’s all part of the naturally terminal problem called AGE.