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Horowitz: COVID-19 is officially becoming this year’s flu
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Horowitz: COVID-19 is officially becoming this year’s flu

Suspending democracy can't arrest the spread of the flu, either

Based on the illegal, immoral, and illogical responses to the virus by state governors, we will have to suspend civil and religious liberty, destroy schooling for children, and crush the economy every flu season. For that matter, it appears that COVID-19 is indeed this year's version of the flu. And the notion that one can prevent the spread of this virus is just as illogical as an assumption that suspending democracy can arrest the spread of the flu.

Among the many important data points that are not being disseminated to the public, perhaps the most important one is the disappearance of the flu. As I noted at the end of October, the numbers are simply remarkable, and now we have more data showing the disappearance of the flu from what is normally the beginning of the new flu season.

According to the CDC's "Influenza Surveillance Report," there have been just 227 lab-confirmed flu cases in the entire country for the first five weeks of the flu season – from week 40 through week 44 (ending Oct. 31). While it's still very early in the season, at this point last year, there were already 2,851 confirmed positive cases. Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment, tallied the five-year average through week 44 and found that the numbers are down roughly 90%.

The positivity rate is just 0.18%, compared to 2.68% last year. That means the positivity rate so far is down 93% from last year, even though the number of flu tests increased by 22%. So it's not like we've forgotten about testing for the flu.

The implication of this cannot be overstated. The problem with a new epidemic is that it strains the hospitals over and beyond the baseline level of visits they must contend with from other ailments. However, if the flu has essentially disappeared for this year, then COVID will be the only flu. Most of the pneumonias and other complications that result from the flu will not occur this year. Thus, when they count the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and use that number as pretext for panic, fear, and control, they are not giving you the total net number of extra patients in the hospitals with respiratory viruses relative to other years.

The following map from Kaiser Family Foundation is being disseminated across the internet to instill panic across the nation:

What they fail to realize is that this demonstrates that COVID-19 is indeed this year's flu. It is everywhere and is instead of, but not in addition to, the flu. This is the time of year when hospitals begin to fill up. Also, the fact that this is occurring everywhere demonstrates that there is nothing you can do to stop its spread and that when the time for its seasonal spread is up, it will stop. Every state, regardless of its "mitigation strategies," is getting hit. That includes the overwhelming majority of states that have had universal compliance with mask mandates for months on end. As we can see from the map, our ability to stop this virus is no greater than our ability to stop a typical seasonal flu. So much for masks being better than vaccines.

The good news is that the overwhelming majority of those infected don't become clinically ill from the virus. Yes, there will be hot spots of places that did not initially get much saturation of the virus. Places like the Dakotas barely had any exposure for six months. The fact that they have more concentration now is merely the other side of the coin of places like New York that had a ton of cases in the spring and fewer cases now. Yet even in those places, how many are truly in the hospital because they have trouble breathing from a severe case of this virus?

North Dakota now has the highest case level per capita. So, are the hospitals really overrun? Unlike other states, the N.D. government breaks down the number of people who are hospitalized because of COVID vs. those in the hospital because of other ailments with COVID (simply because they tested positive while already in the hospital). If you look at those who are actually hospitalized because of COVID-19, they account for 15% of the hospital beds.

Every area that never got hit will suffer about 6-8 weeks of higher hospitalizations. But everywhere else, it will be on par with the flu season, given the disappearance of the normal flu. Let's not forget that as 67,000 people are currently hospitalized with COVID (not all because of it), there were an estimated 810,000 hospitalized with the flu during the 2017-2018 season. That means the peak of that season in January 2018 was likely much worse than today. And hospitals didn't get $200 billion from the federal government to deal with it like they do today. Nor did they test for the flu as much as they test for COVID.

"The 2017-2018 influenza epidemic is sending people to hospitals and urgent-care centers in every state, and medical centers are responding with extraordinary measures: asking staff to work overtime, setting up triage tents, restricting friends and family visits and canceling elective surgeries, to name a few."

Those were the opening lines of a Time Magazine article published January 18, 2018. Not ancient history. Yes, it was a stressful time for health care workers, but the country at large was unaware of it and there were no disruptions to life ordered by government, much less suspension of civil liberties. That is all going to change henceforth … if we allow this to continue.

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