Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, in an article published in the New England Journal on March 26, 2020, wrote that COVID-19 is no more potent than the typical seasonal flu. Specifically:
“If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.”
As the primary concern about this virus has been to keep it from spreading, that has lead to the imposition of quarantine schemes in several affected countries. Fauci continued:
“The efficiency of transmission for any respiratory virus has important implications for containment and mitigation strategies. The current study indicates an estimated basic reproduction number (R0) of 2.2, which means that, on average, each infected person spreads the infection to an additional two persons. As the authors note, until this number falls below 1.0, it is likely that the outbreak will continue to spread.”
By contrast, the impact of the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 (“Swine Flu”) was much more severe in terms of illness and death. Consider this quote from the recently published article comparing H1N1 in 2009 with COVID-19:
“The CDC estimated that from April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, there were 60.8 million H1N1 cases, with 274,304 hospitalizations and 12,469 deaths in the U.S. alone. They also estimate that worldwide, 151,700 to 575,400 people died from (H1N1)pdm09 during the first year. Unusually, about 80% of the deaths were in people younger than 65 years of age.”
In 2009, in general, the elderly population had developed immunity to H1N1 as many had been previously exposed to various stains of a similar disease. The comparison article continues:
“The virus in the 2009 pandemic is considered to be quite different from the typical H1N1 viruses that were circulating at the time. Dubbed (H1N1)pdm09, very few young people had existing immunity to it, but about one-third of people over 60 years of age had antibodies against it, probably from exposure to other, older H1N1 viruses at some time in their lives.”
For the vast majority of people, COVID-19 will be a relative “non-event” as many will not even realize they have the disease. If Obama were president today instead of Trump, it is likely the main-stream-media would have ignored the COVID-19 outbreak, characterizing the impact on the USA as just another normal flu season. The CDC prediction for the influenza season 2019-2020 was between 38 million and 54 million illnesses; 18 million to 26 million medical visits; 400,000 to 730,000 hospitalizations; and 24,000 to 62,000 deaths in the USA.
The reaction of governments worldwide was based on widely unrealistic statistical estimates projecting the COVID-19 pandemic would be catastrophic. But the reality is that projections of exponential expansion of illnesses and deaths failed to take into consideration the more than 2,000 years of experience with pandemic diseases. Even the 1918 influenza pandemic peaked in each of three waves in a world absent of antibiotics and little understanding of the use of antiseptics. For various reasons, all viruses appear to have a lifespan such that after a period of expansion, the virus peaks and ultimately ebbs.
Doing nothing for a virus like COVID-19 (in reality a bad flu at worst) would have been a politically acceptable government response strategy except for the main-stream-media hype, amplified by their nearly universal global hate-Trump editorial predisposition.
COVID-19 may have been created in a laboratory, splicing HIV-attacking segments onto a SARS-like virus structure, in order to produce a novel virus resistant to various available treatments. Could then COVID-19 be a “dry run” test of world reaction to a future truly deadly virus?
In such a case, President Trump would be well advised to use the COVID-19 outbreak to relax regulatory restraints (FDA in particular) to allow experimental vaccines and other treatments to be introduced in an expedited fashion. Such a move would be in alignment with the “right to try” laws put into place by the federal government and various states.
Expanding “right to try” to allow physicians to use their professional judgment in prescribing medications regarding which clinical trials have not been completed for COVID-19 (or a more potent virus which may be occur in the future) would appear prudent to the average person who trusts their personal physician to honor their commitment to heal the sick and prevent needless deaths from illness.
For drug companies to be willing to make available to the public new medications that have not gone through the current expensive government-mandated NIH/FDA tests, legal restrictions must be imposed on malpractice litigation, such that physicians and health facilities prescribing “untested” or “off-brand” medications to treat COVID-19 cannot be sued by others in case those medications fail to work or create harmful side-effects, and the drug companies themselves would receive immunity as well.
COVID-19 infections appear to be peaking worldwide, although some clusters (Italy, New York City, etc.) are lagging behind the peaking of the cycle that the virus displays naturally. Thus, we should expect COVID-19 to pass from a pandemic state in a matter of weeks – with a result not necessarily attributable to any particular measure or set of measures employed by the medical profession internationally or by governments around the world.
There is even reason to suspect the draconian “social distancing” and quarantines employed did more economic harm than necessary, given that a “zero infection” strategy is unlikely to ever be as successful as the alternative “let it run it’s natural course” strategy. Such a course of action may seem to defy common sense; however, with lessons learned from COVID-19, and swift intervention modeled by the Trump Administration task force, that natural course would be more prudent overall.