Isn’t it funny how SARS-CoV-2 seems to defy all of the rules of virology, or so we are told? In fact, it can do anything, including cause people to die in motorcycle accidents.
After noticing a couple reported deaths of people in their 20s in Orange County, Florida, Fox35 reporter Danielle Lama asked Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino whether the two young deceased individuals had serious underlying conditions. The answer was shocking.
“The first one didn’t have any. He died in a motorcycle accident,” Pino said.
So of course his name was later removed from the death count, right?
“I don’t think so. I have to double-check,” Pino said. “We were arguing, discussing, or trying to argue with the state. Not because of the numbers — it’s 100 … it doesn’t make any difference if it's 99 — but the fact that the individual didn’t die from COVID-19 … died in the crash. But you could actually argue that it could have been the COVID-19 that caused him to crash. I don’t know the conclusion of that one.”
This has really degenerated into silly hour.
The problem is there is strong evidence that this is not an anomaly. Coding deaths is always a little more tedious than it appears; however, we have never experienced anything like this before. Typically, the only time there would be an aggressive push to capture every death from a particular disease is when it is rare and deadly. In those cases, it’s a lot more evident whether someone died from the disease, for example Ebola. However, this is a respiratory infection that spreads as far and wide as the flu, but seems to be overwhelmingly asymptomatic or more mild than the flu for most people. Then there are some vulnerable people for whom COVID-19 is definitely more deadly than the flu.
Now imagine that every flu season, we test every human being who comes into a hospital – whether for a kidney stone, a heart attack, a drug overdose, labor and delivery, or a car accident – to see if he has the flu. A substantial number of people every winter have the flu.
My friend Kyle Lamb posted the following comparison of testing between the flu and COVID-19:
Last two days of testing for Covid-19 reported in the United States (Fri., July 17 and Sat., July 18) 1,613,519 te… https://t.co/mG7ty2aCrh— Kyle Lamb (@Kyle Lamb)1595119032.0
We conducted more virus tests over this past weekend than we do in an entire flu season.
Now imagine that we code every person or many people who test positive and subsequently die, regardless of whether they had a mild case of COVID-19 like most people. It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to realize that there will be a number of deaths erroneously blamed on the virus.
Roughly 54,000 people die every week, according to the CDC. We are now capturing roughly 500,000 positive cases a week, which is 0.0015% of the population. However, because we are testing nearly everyone in hospitals and we know that the virus spreads quickly in those facilities, it means that a number of people who die (very often in a hospital) wind up getting the virus, regardless of whether they died from it.
This is an even bigger problem among young people who often get into car crashes and wind up in the hospital. We now know that young people in their 20s are accounting for the largest share of cases in many states. Nearly all of them are asymptomatic or at worst experience flu-like symptoms with rare exceptions. Here is a great presentation of the fatality rates by age, collated from CDC data by one Twitter commentator:
For people <24 chance of dying w/ Covid-19 has been virtually 0% during this pandemic! https://t.co/CfpwQ1lo6N— Ben (@Ben)1594958379.0
Thus, how could we maintain such a liberal coding of COVID-19 deaths, especially for young people, when we know that infection is now so common among their ranks but serious cases are so rare among them?
According to the New York Times, roughly a quarter of all patients who were recently admitted to Miami’s main public hospital “tested positive for the coronavirus, including those who came in from car crashes, heart attacks and other problems.” Now obviously these people were not brought in because of the virus. Unfortunately, a number of people die in hospitals every week from car crashes and heart attacks. Now that we know up to a quarter of them test positive, how many of them have been included in the coronavirus death count?
This is the casualty of the national obsession with testing. Here is a presentation of how much our testing regime has grown compared to other nations:
When it comes to the test, the US is better than all the rest - the rest of the large countries, that is, with a 7-… https://t.co/3HewGggrj7— Todd Lowdon (@Todd Lowdon)1595198914.0
More testing begets more testing, which reveals more positive cases, often more false positives. In fact, Newsmax reporter Emerald Robinson is reporting that people who left busy testing lines before receiving a test were later notified that they had tested positive!
My DM's are flooded with people in various states (LA, TX, GA, TN, FL) telling me the same story: they signed up fo… https://t.co/OFN6cj6GBZ— Emerald Robinson ✝️ (@Emerald Robinson ✝️)1595006491.0