Callling it the Chinese flu is, of course, no more racist than worrying about the German measles. And while there may be gratitude from some to our hysterical political class, none of it will come from me. This is from Rage and Recriminations in the Wake of COVID-19 by Roger Kimball.
Back in March, we were told ad nauseam that we needed to close up the country for “15 days to slow the spread.” The major concern, we were told, was to “flatten the curve” in order not to overwhelm the healthcare system. But the healthcare system never came close to being overwhelmed, not even in New York, notwithstanding Andrew Cuomo’s impersonation of the Angel of Death when it came to nursing homes.
How long ago that seems. As it turns out, the 15 days were merely a softening up period. It was only after the nation got hooked on President Trump’s near daily press conferences that the Svengali-like Anthony Fauci, accompanied by his comely, Vanna White-like assistant Dr. Deborah Birx, dispensed ever-more alarming scenarios of the countless deaths that awaited us—the models said so!—unless we closed our eyes and hid under our desks until Saturday next.
To date, there are nearly 100,000 deaths attributed to the Wuhan flu. Half of those are in nursing homes. Half are over 80. According to the CDC, in 2017-2018, 45 million people in the United States were sick with influenza, 21 million went to the doctor, 810,000 were hospitalized, and there were 61,000 deaths. Last year, flu deaths topped 80,000. Unlike this Chinese virus, which affects mostly the elderly and infirm, the flu is deadly for young and old alike.
And this just in from the CDC: the mortality rate of the Wuhan flu is remarkably low: right in line, in fact (and as I suggested at the time), with the projection made by the Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis in February. While he acknowledged that there was much we did not know about the virus, he nonetheless said that “reasonable estimates for the case fatality ratio in the general U.S. population vary from 0.05 percent to 1 percent.” But with every passing day—and this was back in February—the evidence suggests that we will wind up on the lower end of that spectrum….
Indeed, the most recent CDC guidance, though hedged with technicalities and alternative scenarios, basically confirms Ioannidis’s prediction. As Daniel Horowitz noted, the report should be “earth-shattering to the narrative of the political class.” But the guardians of The Narrative are strong. More likely, it will wind up in “the thick pile of vital data and information about the virus that is not getting out to the public.”
What does it say? Among other things—and for the first time—it offers an overall death rate for the virus. And what is it? The horrifying 3.5 percent that the now-thoroughly discredited Imperial College model predicted? (Now “thoroughly discredited” but deeply influential on the projections of important people like Anthony Fauci.) Not hardly. Under the report’s most likely scenario, the number is 0.26 percent—almost exactly what Ioannidis said in February.
We have a population of 25 million and around a 100 deaths. I wish we had been more like Sweden, or Taiwan, or a few others where heads were kept level. The question now is what would we do if there really were a pandemic?