COVID-19 May Be Ten Times More Prevalent and What That Could Mean
The CDC is now claiming that there may be ten times as many people who have been infected with COVID-19 as the official estimates indicate. (From NBC News via AOL)
This is the CDC dominated by the Trump administration and therefore everything they report must be scrutinized carefully.
This is also the same CDC that has been wrong several times during the epidemic, another cause for concern.
If there are ten times as many people who have been infected, then the mortality rate for this disease is TEN TIMES LESS than the current estimate.
There is also a question of how data is being compiled. If the data comes from hot spots like New York City, they will reflect a much higher rate of infection than you might see in Bangor, Me. If you are adding data from blood tests, which looks for antibodies, your numbers may still be too low because the latest reports suggest that conferred immunity only lasts for two months.
If you are adding data from random blood tests to data accrued from nasal swabs, you have probably counted 123,000 cases TWICE, once when they were identified with nasal swabs and again by anti-body blood tests.
Additionally, there do not appear to be any controls on repetitive tests, with the same people being tested several times, not to mention when the tests were taken because the more recent the blood tests are, the more cases they will find as the disease continues to proliferate.
The first implication is that this report makes it look like Trump was right when he said that COVID-19 wasn’t as dangerous as we think it is. In fact, it is ten times less fatal than we thought, but ten times more prevalent.
(This does not do much to help the 123,000 people who have died from COVID-19 or their families. A conservative estimate is that, with 120,000 deaths, more than one million relatives, employers, employees, coworkers and friends have been affected by the epidemic.)
Trump will use this new narrative to support his calls for re-opening the country, which is essential to his re-election chances. This, in turn, will generate more divisive confrontations between Trumpers and normal people.
What if the CDC is right? What if COVID-19 is ten times less dangerous than we thought it was? What if we never needed to shut down the country?
Well, then, why didn’t we know this sooner?
If this is true, we could have saved ourselves untold suffering if we had implemented antibody testing sooner.
Stopping the testing, as Trump wants to do, could have several possible outcomes.
1) By stopping the testing, we will never know how prevalent the infection was.
2) By stopping the testing, we will not be able to determine whether our efforts at controlling the virus are succeeding.
3) If the CDC is wrong, and the virus is more dangerous than their latest numbers suggest, Trump could be killing the voters he needs to win in November.
Sounds like a win-win situation to me.