Putting Covid-19 figures in context

October 24th, 2020 5:10 PM

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SIR – I am concerned about the misunderstandings, misinformation, misinterpretations, misdirections and misrepresentations which exist about the MIMP (Media Induced Mass Panic) known as Covid 19.

Statistics are quoted against a continually changing base. Current positives are related to a testing level five times higher than April; on the same basis April peaked at 5,000 a day. We are not detecting all positives – only perhaps half the current positives. Hence positive testing is completely worthless as an indicator.

More reliable might be hospitalisation rates, intensive care admission rates or death rates. The hospitalisation rate is currently averaging about 25, the intensive care admission rate about three and the death rate about two a day – in fact the death rate has not changed substantially since June.

By comparison, recently the death rates for cancer and heart/stroke were averaging about 25 a day each, rates which will probably increase because of the current lack of treatment. There doesn’t seem to be any media song and dance about these.

In hospitals, Covid-19 patients are currently occupying about 2% of bed spaces, and about 10% of ICU beds – many of which, I suspect, would be occupied by the same patients without Covid-19. The number of ICU beds is only 50% of that assessed as needed in 2009, so shortages cannot be blamed on Covid-19.

It appears that statistics are used to support a position and maintain panic, rather than for any development of action and policy.

Covid-19 is an air-vectored virus. So are flu and the common cold, also corona viruses. Therefore the Covid 19 protection regimes should also protect equally against these viruses, but available information suggests this is not the case.

Any face mask over the nose and mouth becomes saturated with moisture from the wearer’s breath, over about 15 minutes. Then the moisture is a pathway for the virus through the mask, and may act as a virus reservoir in front of the wearer’s nose and mouth, so a fresh mask is needed every 15 minutes, otherwise the mask may make matters worse.

Also the concentration of carbon dioxide in the space between a mask and the wearer’s mouth and nose will be higher than normal, because its diffusion through the mask from the wearer’s exhalations will be slower than that of oxygen. I lack the equipment to carry out a test, but it should be done.

A high carbon dioxide concentration will lead to headaches, which have been reported. Also, the carbon dioxide will dissolve in water droplets inside the mask to form carbonic acid – which dissolves limestone. This, in contact with the skin, is likely to cause skin complaints, again reported.

High carbon dioxide concentrations may lead to stress on pulmonary and cardiovascular systems.

Economic problems, if not disaster, are chasing Covid-19. With lockdowns, shutdowns, the death of tourism, massively increased government spending and reduced tax revenue from job losses and business closures, the outlook is bleak.

If we continue down this path, where are the resources to pay for initiatives, support, the health service? To react to increased levels of psychosis and suicide? And what happens in the next pandemic?

At present, we seem to be moving from crisis to crisis with the only response being knee-jerk reactions fuelled by media pressure. Who has asked the elderly and infirm what they want?

From the reactions in the seats of power, one would think bodies are piled in the streets and wheeled away in carts. The Doom Merchants are in a win-win situation, justifying their position with selective statistics and either ‘We told you so’ or ‘Aren’t we brilliant – look we’re stopping it.’

We need to recognise that Covid 19 is now endemic, like colds and flu; also that it is not the virulent end of the world as portrayed. We also need to stop censoring to give a preponderance of coverage to Doom!

There needs to be an exit strategy to escape from our current paralysis – or are we planning to cancel Christmas like we did Easter?

John Lucas, MA
(Science) Oxon,
(Diabetic, aged 75),
Gurteen, Ardgroom,

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