Trump was right about Covid, now, maybe

Donald Trump has said many things about the Covid-19 virus that some of them are bound to turn out to be right, at least at one point in time as data and statistics keep changing.

The Federalist: Looks Like Trump Was Right About The Coronavirus Fatality Rate

In early March, President Donald Trump was lambasted for saying on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show that he had a hunch the coronavirus fatality rate, which the World Health Organization pegged then at 3 to 4 percent, was in fact much lower, under 1 percent. Many commentators, myself included pointed out that the beginning of a pandemic medical crisis was not the time to be floating hunches. But, as we always knew was possible, it looks now like the president might well have been right.

Here is what Trump said on March 4:

“Well, I think the 3.4 percent is really a false number. Now, and this is just my hunch, and — but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this. Because a lot people will have this and it’s very mild. They’ll get better very rapidly. They don’t even see a doctor. They don’t even call a doctor.”

He went on to say:

“I think that that number (the WHO number) is very high. I think the number, personally, I would say the number is way under 1 percent.”

Democrats and media pundits blasted Trump for spreading “misinformation.”

New data from random antibody tests conducted in New York State suggest that as many as 2.7 million people statewide have had the coronavirus. That along with the just over 15,000 deaths that have occurred leads to a fatality rate for the virus of .5 percent according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Actually the percentages suggested in March weren’t ‘false numbers’, they were based on what was known at the time. No one, Trump included, knew what would actually happen and what fatality rates would be, except from what I saw it was noted that the rate would likely come down as more data was obtained about people who had the virus.

While this data is preliminary, it is backed up by another study in Los Angeles that found 40 times more people had carried the virus then were previously known. This dropped the fatality rate in LA from 4.5 percent to .1-.3 percent.

It is difficult to stress how important these findings are. The 5-week lockdown that has destroyed the American economy was put in place by contemplating what looks to be rather absurd numbers by the WHO.

While the United States has nearly lost a terrible 50,000 lives to the virus, this radical shift in our understanding of just how deadly it really is should make us question not only the logic of the lockdown in the first place, but more importantly how much longer we are going to stay on this destructive course.

It isn’t a radical shift in our understanding, it is a natural progression in our understanding, but it is based on what happened with a lot of extreme action taken. If many places hadn’t locked down when they did, the death rate would have been a lot worse.

The fact of the matter is that back in early March, what Trump was saying made sense.

Not really. Trump was saying all sorts of things, and it was impossible to know which things he was saying then would turn out to ‘make sense’ and be closer to the mark as more data became available. Trump was also saying Covid was like the flu and no worse, and that it would be over soon.

If Trump’s informed “hunch” continues to be confirmed, it will require vast changes in how we are battling the virus.

There’s a more important statistic than death rate, and that’s the number of serious illnesses and deaths – and Trump’s ‘hunches’ on death numbers keep varying. Some time in the future someone will probably write that one of those hunches turned out to be correct.

It would be nice if Trump’s perspicacity on this issue led to the media giving him a little more respect on the Chinese Virus response, but that’s unlikely. Either way, the results are fantastic news. At a .5 percent fatality rate or lower, the coronavirus is not the killer we feared it was, and that should make everyone happy.

Oh happy happy, Only 51,000 deaths and climbing at more than 2,000 per day, and that’s probably under-reporting the number of deaths and death rate.

Trump’s hunch was “under 1 percent’ – that equates to under 3.3 million deaths. It’s likely to be much less than that, but still a very worrying amount.

Another hunch? Trump says the US coronavirus mortality rate is ‘one of the lowest’ in the world

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the United States’ coronavirus mortality rate is “one of the lowest of any country in the world.”

  • When compared only to the 10 countries with the most cases, the U.S. ranks as the second-lowest mortality rate as a percentage of total cases. That means eight of those countries hit hardest by the coronavirus have higher mortality rates than the U.S.
  • The U.S. ranks 12th-highest in the world when it comes to deaths per 100,000 people.
  • When mortality is measured per 100,000 people among the 10 countries with the most cases, the U.S. ranks seventh, with Iran, Germany, and China reporting lower numbers of deaths per 100,000 people.

That’s now, and only compared to countries with the highest death rates.

  • The U.S. has the 33rd-highest mortality rate, measured as deaths divided by total cases, out of the 134 countries tracked by Johns Hopkins. That means more than 100 countries have lower mortality rates than the U.S., although many of those countries reported comparatively few cases.

There are many countries with lower deaths per million population than the US. They are on 155 and climbing (the total world death rate is 25.1 per million).

And the US death toll has doubled in the last 10 days. That isn’t a rate that suggests business and life should quickly switch back to normal.

But that’s the risk that some states are taking: The country’s coronavirus death toll surpasses 50,000 as a few states relax restrictions Friday

A few states are relaxing restrictions on nonessential businesses on Friday amid the coronavirus pandemic, challenging some health experts who believe it’s too soon.

Businesses and customers in states starting to reopen are now navigating new territory: How many will do business, even if allowed?
States easing restrictions Friday include Georgia, which is allowing businesses such as gyms, barber shops, hair salons, tattoo parlors and bowling alleys to reopen, with some guidelines for social distancing.

Restaurants can reopen there Monday, also with distancing restrictions. Ian Winslade, owner of a restaurant in Atlanta, said his establishment will stay closed for now.

“I don’t understand whether or not the public will have confidence to meet with us,” he told CNN Friday
In Texas, the state Friday started a “retail-to-go” approach, allowing retail stores to sell to customers through curbside and delivery.

The Good Records store reopened Friday in Dallas — but only with its owner, Chris Penn, working. He felt comfortable enough serving customers himself, but not yet wanting to expose his employees.

Even if businesses are allowed to open it could be a slow recovery – especially if death rates keep climbing. But Trump keeps promoting re-opening, based on another hunch perhaps.

 

Belgium now has highest recorded Covid-19 death rate

Belgium hasn’t been mentioned much here, but they now have the highest number of deaths per head of population as per Worldometer but this may be due to differences in how countries report deaths.  They have a total of 4,857 deaths, which is 419 deaths per million of population, just ahead of Spain (409) and Italy (367).

About half of the deaths in Belgium are in aged care facilities.

Belgium is in Western Europe between France and the Netherlands, both also with high death rates.

The Brussels Times: Belgium extends lockdown until 3 May

Belgium will extend its lockdown deadline until 3 May in the fight against the new coronavirus (Covid-19), announced Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès during a press conference on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Group of Experts for an Exit Strategy (GEES), which has to ease the country out of the lockdown, handed over its first report to the government. Following that report, and a meeting with Belgium’s National Security Council, joined by the country regions’ Minister-Presidents, Wilmès announced Belgium’s new shutdown deadline, and clarified several other measures.

-The lockdown measures will be extended until 3 May.

-Garden centres and do-it-yourself stores are allowed to reopen, under the same conditions of social distancing as ordinary food stores.

-Residents of residential care centres may receive one visitor, designated in advance, provided that this person has had no symptoms of illness in the last 2 weeks, and that each time this person is the same.

-There will be no mass events, such as summer festivals, until at least 31 August.

Reuters: Mass COVID-19 testing underway at stricken Belgian care homes

Belgium has begun testing more than 210,000 residents and staff at nursing homes, which now account for about half of the coronavirus-related deaths in the country.

Belgium is one of only a few countries in Europe that includes all non-hospitalised people who displayed symptoms of the disease in its daily tally of COVID-19 deaths, even if they had not been confirmed as having had it.

So that may be one reason why their death rate is higher than other countries.

The Brussels Times: Explaining Belgium’s rising infections

The total number reflects all people in Belgium who have been confirmed infected by the virus at some point. Importantly, this includes active cases as well as patients who have since recovered, or died from the consequences of the virus.

This means that the count also includes the first infected Belgian person, who was repatriated from Wuhan at the start of February, and was released from quarantine and considered recovered before the current outbreak even started in Belgium.

Since 15 March, which is when hospitals started regularly reporting their patients and deaths using a uniform system, 7,526 have been discharged and are considered recovered. Additionally, 4,857 deaths have been recorded, according to the FPS Public Health’s figures.

This would bring the number of active confirmed cases in the country at the moment to 22,426. However, not all people with a confirmed infection are admitted to the hospital, and can thus not be included in the “discharged” statistics when they have recovered, leaving the total count of all active cases unclear.

Additionally, not everyone is being tested, and experts have warned that the total number of actual cases is far bigger than the number of confirmed ones. “It is possible that the actual number is ten times higher,” said virologist Marc Van Ranst to VTM News. “This number only shows how many people tested positive,” he added.

Al case totals will obviously be lower than actual cases due to untested and undetected cases.

The population of Belgium is 11.5 million, a bit more than twice the population of New Zealand where we have so far had just 9 deaths. If we had a similar death rate per million that would put us somewhere around 2,000 deaths – which is what we could have had without taking drastic action when we did. Most of our 9 deaths have been patients in rest homes. Old sick people are particularly vulnerable.