CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Corona Policy: Facts Versus Fear

Apr 26, 2020

Thankfully many experts are asking tough questions and challenging the accepted narrative:

One day when the corona crisis has well and truly passed, there will be plenty of people who will wonder why the whole world went into such a panic and why so many people were utterly consumed with fear while ignoring reality. Yes, at first we had a lot to learn about the novel coronavirus, but soon enough many things did begin to become more clear.

Yet instead of relying on the growing evidence and on the actual numbers, we far too often relied on politics, wild predictions, faulty modelling, and scare tactics. As a result, much of the world went into massive lockdowns. Now many experts are warning about the dangers of all this.

Indeed, many of us were asking from early on if the cure was not becoming much worse than the disease itself. One of the very first articles I penned on corona (from March 12) was all about how governments can use or misuse a crisis. History has long taught us that emergencies can result in the increase of draconian government powers and the reduction of human freedoms: billmuehlenberg.com/2020/03/12/crises-liberty-and-the-state/

From day one I said that some government intervention was of course going to be needed, and some infringements on liberty would temporarily have to be allowed for. But I also sought to sound the alarm about simply letting feelings and fear determine how we proceed. And for daring to share those sorts of concerns I have had far too many critics attacking me and basically telling me to sit down, shut up, and just do whatever the State tells me to do.

Yes I know, those totally in favour of full-scale lockdowns often mean well and can have the best of intentions. They want us to be safe and they want to save lives. Wanting to see life preserved is always a good thing. Who can find fault with that? But we all want to see lives saved. So the real question is, are we running with the best policies here? Are we dealing with facts instead of succumbing to fear?

For too long the corona alarmists have sought to take the high moral ground, denigrating and casting aspersions on anyone who dares to question the rubbery figures, question draconian lockdowns and the erosion of freedom, and suggest that economic devastation can be just as fatal.

The truth is this: these ongoing shutdowns actually mean economic collapse, depression (financial and psychological), suicide, poverty and so on – but too many corona alarmists don’t seem to care about that. They are far too one-dimensional: they insist that there must be no end to the lockdowns until we are all safe – which means we will never be out of lockdown.

There is no such thing as a completely safe world and a totally risk-free life. And I have shared many dozens of articles by various experts who have taken the view that we have had too much panic, too much gloom and doom, too much running on fear, and too little reliance on the actual facts and evidence.

A few days ago a new article appeared which has already been shared some 600,000 times. I refer to “The data is in — stop the panic and end the total isolation” by Scott W. Atlas, MD, and former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center.

I almost never simply run with an entire article of someone else, but this one is so important that it is well worth sharing the entire piece. Bear in mind that the original contains around 20 links to what is being said, so those who want the full documentation and referencing can easily find that. The original piece is here: thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/494034-the-data-are-in-stop-the-panic-and-end-the-total-isolation

So let me share in full this crucial article. I hope you will take the time to read it and share it widely:

The tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be entering the containment phase. Tens of thousands of Americans have died, and Americans are now desperate for sensible policymakers who have the courage to ignore the panic and rely on facts. Leaders must examine accumulated data to see what has actually happened, rather than keep emphasizing hypothetical projections; combine that empirical evidence with fundamental principles of biology established for decades; and then thoughtfully restore the country to function.

Five key facts are being ignored by those calling for continuing the near-total lockdown.

Fact 1: The overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19.

The recent Stanford University antibody study now estimates that the fatality rate if infected is likely 0.1 to 0.2 percent, a risk far lower than previous World Health Organization estimates that were 20 to 30 times higher and that motivated isolation policies.

In New York City, an epicenter of the pandemic with more than one-third of all U.S. deaths, the rate of death for people 18 to 45 years old is 0.01 percent, or 11 per 100,000 in the population. On the other hand, people aged 75 and over have a death rate 80 times that. For people under 18 years old, the rate of death is zero per 100,000.

Of all fatal cases in New York state, two-thirds were in patients over 70 years of age; more than 95 percent were over 50 years of age; and about 90 percent of all fatal cases had an underlying illness. Of 6,570 confirmed COVID-19 deaths fully investigated for underlying conditions to date, 6,520, or 99.2 percent, had an underlying illness. If you do not already have an underlying chronic condition, your chances of dying are small, regardless of age. And young adults and children in normal health have almost no risk of any serious illness from COVID-19.

Fact 2: Protecting older, at-risk people eliminates hospital overcrowding.

We can learn about hospital utilization from data from New York City, the hotbed of COVID-19 with more than 34,600 hospitalizations to date. For those under 18 years of age, hospitalization from the virus is 0.01 percent per 100,000 people; for those 18 to 44 years old, hospitalization is 0.1 percent per 100,000. Even for people ages 65 to 74, only 1.7 percent were hospitalized. Of 4,103 confirmed COVID-19 patients with symptoms bad enough to seek medical care, Dr. Leora Horwitz of NYU Medical Center concluded “age is far and away the strongest risk factor for hospitalization.” Even early WHO reports noted that 80 percent of all cases were mild, and more recent studies show a far more widespread rate of infection and lower rate of serious illness. Half of all people testing positive for infection have no symptoms at all. The vast majority of younger, otherwise healthy people do not need significant medical care if they catch this infection.

Fact 3: Vital population immunity is prevented by total isolation policies, prolonging the problem.

We know from decades of medical science that infection itself allows people to generate an immune response — antibodies — so that the infection is controlled throughout the population by “herd immunity.” Indeed, that is the main purpose of widespread immunization in other viral diseases — to assist with population immunity. In this virus, we know that medical care is not even necessary for the vast majority of people who are infected. It is so mild that half of infected people are asymptomatic, shown in early data from the Diamond Princess ship, and then in Iceland and Italy. That has been falsely portrayed as a problem requiring mass isolation. In fact, infected people without severe illness are the immediately available vehicle for establishing widespread immunity. By transmitting the virus to others in the low-risk group who then generate antibodies, they block the network of pathways toward the most vulnerable people, ultimately ending the threat. Extending whole-population isolation would directly prevent that widespread immunity from developing.

Fact 4: People are dying because other medical care is not getting done due to hypothetical projections.

Critical health care for millions of Americans is being ignored and people are dying to accommodate “potential” COVID-19 patients and for fear of spreading the disease. Most states and many hospitals abruptly stopped “nonessential” procedures and surgery. That prevented diagnoses of life-threatening diseases, like cancer screening, biopsies of tumors now undiscovered and potentially deadly brain aneurysms. Treatments, including emergency care, for the most serious illnesses were also missed. Cancer patients deferred chemotherapy. An estimated 80 percent of brain surgery cases were skipped. Acute stroke and heart attack patients missed their only chances for treatment, some dying and many now facing permanent disability.

Fact 5: We have a clearly defined population at risk who can be protected with targeted measures.

The overwhelming evidence all over the world consistently shows that a clearly defined group — older people and others with underlying conditions — is more likely to have a serious illness requiring hospitalization and more likely to die from COVID-19. Knowing that, it is a commonsense, achievable goal to target isolation policy to that group, including strictly monitoring those who interact with them. Nursing home residents, the highest risk, should be the most straightforward to systematically protect from infected people, given that they already live in confined places with highly restricted entry.

The appropriate policy, based on fundamental biology and the evidence already in hand, is to institute a more focused strategy like some outlined in the first place: Strictly protect the known vulnerable, self-isolate the mildly sick and open most workplaces and small businesses with some prudent large-group precautions. This would allow the essential socializing to generate immunity among those with minimal risk of serious consequence, while saving lives, preventing overcrowding of hospitals and limiting the enormous harms compounded by continued total isolation. Let’s stop underemphasizing empirical evidence while instead doubling down on hypothetical models. Facts matter.

Now, am I saying that Atlas is infallible, his article is inerrant, and this is the end of the story? No. His is just one voice of many. But too seldom are voices like his being given a hearing. Far too often the alarmists and doom merchants are getting all the attention.

So yes, keep reading far and wide. Keep trying to learn more and more about these important matters. Above all, do NOT stop thinking, do NOT stop asking questions, and do NOT assume that our leaders can do no wrong and always have our best interests at heart. Some do, but some don’t.

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18 Responses to Corona Policy: Facts Versus Fear

  • Hi Bill – something seems rather paradoxical to me: politicians such as our own premier Daniel Andrews are claiming that all this isolation and lockdown is aimed at saving lives, yet our euthanasia legislation is aimed at those most susceptible to Covid 19 (so why the concern now?), and we turn a blind eye to the thousands of (easily preventable) deaths due to our liberal abortion practices. Go figure.

  • Sanity! Thank you Bill.

    And what if next year another nasty flu strain comes along again? Will our societies be closed down again, until our social fabric is rendered unsalvageable?

    More than a decade ago the Swine Flu pandemic caused over 190 deaths in Australia (note the Corona toll in Australia stands now at just over 80). PM Kevin Rudd, along with other leaders across the Western world, showed wise restraint and did not shut their countries down.

    With no intention to engender fear, the concerning reality is that radical ‘lefties’/’progressives’ have been preparing over the past decade, ready to pounce, and it is becoming apparent that they have used Corona as their opportunity to begin to roll out their destructive agenda for our world.

    How have Western leaders been seduced by unelected ‘experts’, and in too many cases untested and unsubstantiated statistics?

    No time for slumbering moving forward now . . .

    (Curtis Bowers’ recent podcast, and AgendaDVD – Masters of Deceit & Grinding America Down – contain profound insight into much that we are not aware is going on behind the scenes)

  • Hi Bill, I regularly read your articles but don’t often comment, however when I saw this news clip it made my day so here it is. As they said at the end of it, a win for common sense. And as to the CHO, whoever he was, he should socially distance himself – a long way off into the sunset.
    https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-flypast-ww2-queensland-gold-coast-pilots-could-be-fined/a20aea3e-85e3-4eb7-a6d8-1babf67fa953?fbclid=IwAR0PQE5_hONeBKrj5e-GdmU0TkNMC-t6s6CSw1IStnJHDomaMEDlnxb4DPA

  • What is the legal foundation for the lockdown laws in OZ, State and also Federal?
    In what way do those laws suspend the OZ Constitution?
    What are the limitations to the exercise of those laws?
    We cannot do a quick discussion here yet, but what references might we look to?

    If we begin to openly protest we need to know our legal standing.

  • Hi Bill,

    I’m not going to stop anyone from going outside and trying their luck with COVID-19. I understand that people need to work, but I’ll prefer to wait for a vaccine. I don’t want to get COVID-19 and this is like I don’t want to get TB, HIV, small pox, Hepatitis B, Ebola etc. COVID-19 isn’t the flu, but it can have flu like symptoms. I might not die if I get COVID-19, but I don’t know if I really want to live with the COVID-19 disease/illness. I have attached part of an article on Medscape online, ” The Great Invader: How COVID-19 Attacks Every Organ” by Neha Pathak. MD, April 23, 2020
    “We have underestimated and misunderstood COVID-19 since it first appeared.
    And as we learn more, it’s clear that COVID-19 can be more than just a respiratory disease. It’s joined the ranks of other “great imitators” — diseases that can look like almost any condition.
    It can be a gastrointestinal disease causing only diarrhea and abdominal pain. It can cause symptoms that may be confused with a cold or the flu. It can cause pinkeye, a runny nose, loss of taste and smell, muscle aches, fatigue, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, whole-body rashes, and areas of swelling and redness in just a few spots.
    In a more severe disease, doctors have also reported people having heart rhythm problems, heart failure, kidney damage, confusion, headaches, seizures, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and fainting spells, along with new sugar control problems.
    It’s not just a fever and coughing, leading to shortness of breath, like everyone thought at first.
    This makes it incredibly difficult to diagnose and even harder to treat.
    “This is a disease progression we have never seen for any infection that I can think of, and I’ve been doing this for a couple of decades,” says Joseph Vinetz, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Yale School of Medicine…” “….One open question is what the long-term effects may be for survivors. What does life look like after being on a ventilator or suddenly needing dialysis? Will we see decreases in heart, lung, and kidney function that is long-lasting and permanent, or will patients eventually recover?
    We also don’t know how people will clear infections. If the new coronavirus ends up being an acute infection, like other coronaviruses, most recovered people should develop at least a short-term immunity. It’s also possible that the virus may persist as a latent infection, like chickenpox, lying dormant in the body, only to re-emerge periodically as shingles does, or become a chronic infection, like hepatitis B, living within the body for a sustained period of time, causing long-term damage.
    “It’s definitely going to be an acute infection…there’s no way it’s going to be latent or chronic, no way…I think so…we’ll see,” Vinetz says.”

  • Thanks Sheryl, but it seems that perhaps you have not read this article very carefully, or my other 40+ pieces on this. Had you done so you would have noted the following points:
    -There are of course plenty of medical experts who really do NOT think that COVID-19 is anywhere near as harmful or dangerous as some are making it out to be. Their voices deserve to be heard as well, and not just the alarmists.
    -Many experts are now very clearly warning that the cure is already far worse than the disease.
    -Deaths due to government lockdowns and the economic devastation it is causing are just as bad as corona deaths – and may well end up being far more numerous.
    -If you want to “wait” for a vaccine, that is up to you, although many experts are saying that it could easily be two years or more before such a vaccine is found – if ever. If you want to stay locked up in your home all this time that is up to you. And you are very lucky indeed if you are wealthy enough to be able to afford that.
    -Most ordinary folks, including myself, can NOT afford to stay locked up indefinitely. We actually have bills to pay, families to feed, mortgages to pay, etc. Again, if you can pull it off, good for you, but the vast majority of mankind will not sit by when they have no incomes, no way to feed themselves, and no way to care for their families. There is no economist worth his salt anywhere who believes an ongoing lockdown is sustainable. Millions will die of starvation, poverty, depression and suicide. I care about those people – we all should care.
    -So with all due respect, I am glad you seem to have the luxury to be able to sit around for years on end if need be, for fear of catching something that may well be no more harmful than the common flu. But that is not the luxury most human beings have.
    But thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

  • Acknowledging that ‘3 new cases a day’ in QLD is a good result, our CHO Jeanette Young is determined to get it to zero and has brought in further business shut downs. Boggles the mind. She is irrational and shouldn’t be allowed the power she’s wielding.
    Also, why is the state government trying to run an eradication policy when the federal plan is to flatten the curve? At this rate- the shut downs could go on for years.
    As far as protecting the elderly goes- I understand the desire, but practically- it is also hard.
    Nursing homes don’t have internet access for residents to keep up with their relatives.
    My Grandma doesn’t have an iPad for me to skype her. I keep crying because we miss her and maybe won’t see her again, and, that being the case, wouldn’t even be allowed to her funeral.
    If you asked the average older person if they’d rather not see family and cling to life a while longer, or risk exposure to the virus but see their loved ones, I wonder what they would say? Has anyone even asked?
    The question of protecting life is important, but the question keeps recurring to me- what do these political elites even think life is for? Meals and a bit of sun if they’re lucky, for the elderly in nursing homes- treated like house plants.

  • As an American commentator said, “He could save more than 17 times the lives taken by Corona Virus by shutting Planned Parenthood.”

    I hate to say this but I think the churches fell for the hysteria completely. To quote another commentator remarking on this, ” Death apparently does have a sting.” It was like they were looking forward to shutting down and don’t seem to be particularly interested in opening up.

    I fortuitously found an article I had downloaded a few years ago on the house church movement and it made me wonder in this age of increase of persecution whether believers in the west will have to look to meet clandestinely as many of our brothers and sisters do around the world? We may have to reconsider how we live out our faith in these times. There may be many steps from democracy to totalitarianism but they may be quick and on a short path.

    If there had been at least a vocal and united protest against the lockdown or it’s prolonging, I could understand it but not a whimper. I guess organised church really isn’t as important as I thought?

    A million have signed up for the app so far. The rest of us will get our stars to wear after they audit the names I suppose.

    I just pray I am not found wanting at the end.

    Thanks for all your work Bill. It must be tiring at times. Just know that it is appreciated.

  • Many thanks indeed Troy.

  • Thank you Bill. A good article. I like the interview.
    What puzzles me is the situation in New York (not sure all my facts below are right).
    Pop. NY = 20 million Aus = 25 m
    Cases NY 282,000 Aus 7,000
    Deaths NY 17,000 Aus 83
    What is the deal in NY? Is there a problem in the way they are reporting it? Do they have abnormally high % of old and at-risk people? Did they delay too long shutting the state down? In which case, if CV is not a risk for most people, why so many deaths? Is the weather a factor? Are their medical treatments inappropriate?
    There is such a vast difference yet I have not seen an explanation.

  • Thanks Tas. For all sorts of reasons, each country is of course quite different, with so many different variables, etc., so such comparisons may not always be too helpful, and they must be done cautiously. But a few quick things can be said:

    -As one site puts it: ‘Say ‘New York’ and the mind conjures up crammed subway cars and swarming sidewalks, shared taxi rides and shoebox cafes. Eight million movers and shakers live in an area totalling 480 square kilometres. And 55 million more visit annually from faraway places, carrying faraway contagions. You don’t need a medical degree to see why the crown jewel of American cities is an infectious disease’s idea of Disneyland.’
    -Australia is an island after all, so that can make it much easier to secure and isolate a population.
    -NYC, like so many cities and states in America, have included folks dying WITH corona and not just from corona in their death stats. And many deaths were listed as being from corona without the deceased even being tested for it.
    -And NYC was coming out of their winter, we out of our summer, so that is a factor.
    -A third of the total deaths for NYC has come from nursing homes.
    -And there have been major mistakes like this: https://nypost.com/2020/04/23/coronavirus-patients-admitted-to-queens-nursing-home-with-body-bags/amp/
    -See also here: https://www.redstate.com/nick-arama/2020/04/26/people-reveal-horrible-effect-of-new-york-policy-to-send-virus-patients-to-nursing-homes-and-its-even-worse-than-that/

    But at the end of the day such questions may be the wrong questions to ask here. A real question to ask is this: Why do so many countries with restrictive lockdown policies show little difference with those that do not in terms of corona deaths per population? That is one of the key points that I keep trying to make here.
    Please watch and share the 52-minute vide found here: https://www.cfnews.org.uk/united-states-two-california-emergency-room-covid-doctors-may-start-revolution-with-science-data-based-questioning-of-extreme-measures/

  • The video of the Californian emergency room doctors was excellent. Both have extensive 20 years each experience in this medical area. The reporters were terribly aggressive as is so common with the media. I thought the doctors were very diplomatic with them and being forced to speak of Dr Fauci yet again they were so diplomatic but did not hesitate to tell the truth. May God bless them both for being so heroic.

    Viewer comments posted under the video

    • These are the smartest, most logical and most professional doctors we are seeing right here. No other doctors are speaking truths like these two fine examples of boldness and professionalism. Facts!!

    • Huge respect to these 2 doctors speaking out and exposing this nonsense. I’m seeing more and more medical professionals speaking up.

    • Unfortunately the masses aren’t really interested in the facts.

    • Brilliant Doctors who actually care about the truth instead of just a paycheck. This exposes the PLANdemic and needs to be shared worldwide!

    • The reporters love saying, trust the science, until the science doesn’t match up with their agenda. Love that the truth finally seems to be coming out.

    • The job of the journalists is to keep the COVID scare going.

    • You know what’s sad about this..? In the current state of people’s minds, they probably won’t believe it.

    • Now u see why they wanted only people with symptoms to test. So it would manipulate the real numbers

    • Medicare pays hospitals more when a patient dies of covid-19! Thats why the hospital admin is pressuring doc to add it to the cause of death.

    • The condescending tone and rudeness of the first reporter show how angry they are with real science and immunology!

    • As a retired Neurosurgeon, my hat’s off to these two physicians! They are spot on!

    • These two should be around Trump. Not the completely corrupt Fauci and Brix.

    • So proud of MY ER Doctors in this video!! May God watch over them, as exposing the lies can be detrimental to one’s well-being.

    • When someone is talking BS to you it leaves a bad feeling. When someone is speaking the truth it leaves a good feeling. These guys should be on national tv for all.

    • reporters are thinking. ” this does not fit the narrative we are going with “

    • We all need to ask just what the hell is going on here.

    • If something needs to go viral, I guess this is it.

    • Those of us out there, with common sense and are not wearing masks, going out often, will be the ones taking care and helping those that cowered in the irrational fear that the media, and the WHO and CDC has spread everywhere. Kudos to those of you that didn’t cower in fear.

    • Love “not science” disarming the Big Lie of Fauci, Scarf lady, Bill Gates.

    • Dr. Massishi is a brilliant man too as well as Dr. Erikson, they’re both heroes. This video is a gamechanger, we should share it as much as possible and listen twice to be able to memorize quotes and content from it to share with others. I’m glad that that the two doctors are so calm and well able to explain it even with these aggressive reporters trying to catch them out.

    • Thanks for making and uploading this fantastic video

    Tucker is correct that many leaders are pleased to have ultimate and unlimited power. They are not going to willingly give it up any time soon. The Queensland Premier was luxuriating in her power at the weekend as she pontificated on the ABC radio. She was disgusting spelling out little” relaxations “of the lock down from Friday afternoon you can go to buy non essential items like shoes or clothes but don’t linger in shopping centers and only go for a drive no further than 50 ks ! She threatened that if there were breaches she would not hesitate to come down hard and lock up strictly ! Those were her words and threats. She is a power crazy evil woman and I can’t see Queenslanders ever being free again. The Leftist leaders and their sheeple followers love this authoritarianism and realistically that is probably 50% of the Australian population. The Q& A audience members ? The voters of the Greens and the Labor Party ?

    Thank you Bill for your continued hard work and excellent research and writings. We greatly appreciate you !

  • Daniel Andrews would make the perfect headmaster because he is brilliant at making everyone stand in a corner. It seems that he has a plan and a purpose for all Victorians, and that is to get us to where he can gain a huge advantage.
    He is not only being contentious going it alone with his isolation plan but hes also herding Victorians into a tight corner. If he keeps the thumb screws pressed down long enough the belief is that we will ultimately accept his plan of subjectivity.
    I think this is similar to the attitudes of the hard left. That if you suppress the people long and hard enough their will to resist will be broken.
    I’m not suggesting this is the intent of Andrew’s government but the irony of it all is that Victorian state elections are just around the corner.

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