Is the Coronavirus as Deadly as They Say? Stanford Professors Speak Out
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Wall Street Journal
Posted: March 26th, 2020
Fear of Covid-19 is based on its high estimated case fatality rate2% to 4% ... according to the World Health Organization and others. We believe that estimate is deeply flawed. Theres little evidence to confirm that premiseand projections of the death toll could plausibly be orders of magnitude too high. The true fatality rate is the portion of those infected who die, not the deaths from identified positive cases. The latter rate is misleading because of selection bias in testing. The degree of bias ... could make the difference between an epidemic that kills 20,000 and one that kills two million [in the U.S.]. First, the test used to identify cases doesnt catch people who were infected and recovered. Second, testing rates were woefully low for a long time and typically reserved for the severely ill. Together, these facts imply that the confirmed cases are likely orders of magnitude less than the true number of infections. Epidemiological modelers havent adequately adapted their estimates to account for these factors. This does not make Covid-19 a nonissue. The daily reports from Italy and across the U.S. show real struggles and overwhelmed health systems. But a 20,000- or 40,000-death epidemic is a far less severe problem than one that kills two million. Given the enormous consequences of decisions around Covid-19 response, getting clear data to guide decisions now is critical. We dont know the true infection rate in the U.S. If were right about the limited scale of the epidemic, then measures focused on older populations and hospitals are sensible. A universal quarantine may not be worth the costs it imposes on the economy, community and individual mental and physical health.
Note: Authors Dr. Bendavid and Dr. Bhattacharya are professors of medicine at Stanford. The Wall Street Journal charges non-subscribers to read more than the first two paragraphs of this article. You may find it well worth your time to read the entire article free on this webpage. Explore also this excellent article the covers key, vitally important aspects of this pandemic that few have considered. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.