It’s looking more like the experts got the handling of COVID-19 wrong. Maybe really wrong.
In analyzing the data from countries who took dramatically different measures in response to COVID-19, from the most severe restrictions to very few restrictions (countries that keep and share good data, not China or Iran) it appears they are all showing essentially the same spread, spikes, flattening and decline. This includes Sweden and others that did not shutdown.
The same phenomenon is playing out among individual states in the U.S. Some went into Stalinist lockdowns (Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer) while others never locked down at all and only encouraged social distancing (South Dakota Gov. Krist Noem.) Florida technically did a lockdown, very “late” as Gov. Ron DeSantis is constantly lectured, but even then DeSantis exempted so much it was really not much different than the voluntary social distancing. And Florida’s numbers, which were supposed to be the next hotspot after New York, are tracking ballpark with those that took the most draconian measures.
So again, as with nations, the states are at different timeframes on the graphs, but all looking very similar in a timeframe to timeframe comparison — similar to each other and, this is critical, similar to previous coronavirus outbreaks. That’s a head-scratcher.
Another data set is adding to the suspicions.
Denmark, Scotland and Germany have done thorough antibody testing in specific locals and found infection rates between 12 and 27 times higher than they thought and models had projected. And a majority of the people were either asymptomatic or had very mild symptoms. This means that the death rate might be wildly lower than is currently suggested, as low as 0.2 percent — which would be very near to the normal flu. It could be close to 1 percent, but that is seeming less likely now, and still way below the 3.4 percent the World Health Organization put out that was used in the Imperial College projections of death totals.
“Many magnitudes more people have been infected with it than we realized,” Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor of medicine at Stanford university, said on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show. “That means the death rate is lower than we thought, by orders of magnitude.”
It’s important to remember that because it is so contagious, the overall numbers may be higher, but then they may not be because of how quickly the peak is reached and the downside starts — much faster than anticipated even with the full lockdowns. Again, that is according to the models.
None of this was jiving with what the experts had said.
And then journalist John Solomon interviewed Dr. Knut Wittkowski, a biomedical researcher, statistician and modeler at Rockefeller University in New York, on his Just The News podcast. And a lot of bewilderment came into clarity. The numbers began making sense if, IF, Wittkowski is right.
First off, he is obviously an expert, but he also is a major outlier among the expert class. However, he mentions in the interview that more and more of his colleagues are agreeing with him and his bottom line, to wit: We not only did not need to shut down economies, we should not have. We may have made it worse by creating a second wave — which coronaviruses in the past did not have.
Wittkkowski said the first big mistake was closing the schools. If they had been left open, it would have gone through the children, who are least affected by the virus, and their parents, who also have low impacts from it. That’s a big way towards herd immunity of 60-70 percent. And the people who are vulnerable to it should stay away from children for the duration, which is a few months.
He said the threat continues to be for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions — something we’ve known almost from the beginning. In that way, he said it is just like all of the previous respiratory viruses such as MERS and SARS. They all differ some in both contagiousness and fatality rate, but the similarities are strong.
Here’s the key: Wittkowski said the shut down probably did not slow the spread because herd immunity would have started kicking in now, or soon, as has been the case in the previous coronavirus outbreaks. However, by truncating the opportunity for herd immunity, we have set ourselves up for the feared “second wave” — something that did not happen in previous coronaviruses because we did not prevent herd immunity with the shutdown.
If Wittkowski is right, at least to some degree, these shutdowns may well have destroyed the strongest economy in history and ultimately made the virus impact worse. That would be a failing of the expert class in truly epic fashion.
Now I do not blame politicians from either party without more information. They relied on experts and did what they were told they should do. DeSantis and some other governors pushed back, but the pressure was great. However, I do blame the experts and the media’s near idolatry of the expert class. Just do what they say!
In reality, we will know by probably mid fall if the expert class made a colossal mistake. And if so, a lot of heads should roll, because mistakes of this magnitude cannot be tolerated.
Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.