Coronavirus antibody studies from around the world keep coming in, and they consistently demonstrate that COVID-19 isn’t nearly as deadly as previously thought. A national study in Spain, a statewide study in Indiana, a county-wide study in Miami-Dade, and a four-zip code study in Boston all reached the same conclusion: coronavirus infections are more widespread than previously thought, which also means the disease’s mortality rate is significantly lower and much less dangerous than thought.
But that doesn’t stop left-leaning media outlets and Democrat elected officials from finding ways to make the news sound terrifying.
Originally thought to be among the worst nations in the world for COVID-19 mortality, Spain has had it rough over the last two months. With over 27,000 deaths linked to coronavirus, and more than 230,000 confirmed infections, the “official” death rate there is hovering just under 12%. But a new study, touted as “well-designed,” found that as many as five out of every 100 Spanish citizens has already encountered the virus.
That kind of penetration into Spain’s population of 47 million people would drop the death rate to just 1.15% of all confirmed cases. Still high in comparison to the flu, but not nearly the grim reaper juggernaut reported in world media.
But liberal media outlet Vox can’t stop the hand-wringing. Here’s the brightest takeaway from their coverage of the story:
The Spanish data suggests about 1.15 percent of those who got infected in Spain ended up dying. Spain has a significantly older age profile than the US, so Americans might be better off.
But one look at the article’s headline claiming a “Scary Takeaway” and you know what you’re in for if you read it. You were warned.
Several other outlets covered the study results, too. Virtually all of them slanted the news the same way: Terrible news! Just 5 percent have been exposed! That means 95 percent of the population hasn’t yet been exposed and could still get sick and die!
Studies in Boston, Indiana and elsewhere find similar results, with similar, dejected news coverage.
Here’s the Boston story:
The study, designed to help evaluate community exposure to the virus through representative sampling, found that of those tested in East Boston, Roslindale, and parts of Dorchester, 9.9 percent tested positive for antibodies and 2.6 percent tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said.
And of course, Boston’s Democrat Mayor Marty Walsh had two main takeaways from the study, neither of them related to the indisputable fact that the test means a lower mortality rate than previously thought:
“First, that the actions we took early on in this pandemic made a real difference in slowing the spread and, second, that the majority of our population still have not been exposed to the virus.”
So while some want us to be all gloomy that the virus has a long way to go before we reach heard immunity, this Boston Democrat is patting himself on the back for locking everyone down and preventing the spread of the virus. Can’t have it both ways, though, can we?
In Indiana, officials found 10 times the number of people have actually encountered the virus, or roughly 2.8% of Indiana’s statewide population, which is mostly rural and low-density. That’s 186,000 people who have already come into contact with the virus, versus the official case count of just 17,000 confirmed infections. Indiana’s actual mortality rate? Less than 0.9%.
Other studies, conducted in the United States and elsewhere, including some conducted here in Florida, have reported similar findings to those in Boston and Spain. A Miami University study, the results of which are still preliminary, found about 6% of the population likely already encountered the virus. From the Miami Herald:
About 6 percent of Miami-Dade’s population — about 165,000 residents — have antibodies indicating a past infection by the novel coronavirus, dwarfing the state health department’s tally of about 10,600 cases, according to preliminary study results announced by University of Miami researchers…
Those results were reported weeks ago. But even if we use today’s current death toll of 559 deaths in Miami Dade County, that would bring the actual mortality rate down to just 0.3%, much closer to the flu’s mortality rate of around 0.1%.
Want more good news? The stunning Stanford University study of antibodies in residents of Santa Clara County, California, which drew widespread criticism, has reviewed their findings and made some revisions. But the new estimates still show a very low mortality rate:
Santa Clara County had just 1,000 confirmed cases of the virus when the study was conducted, which leads researchers to believe there were actually 54,000 infections at this time. The researchers use a 19-day lag from infection to death, and when using the 94 deaths in the county reported on April 22, are able calculate a “true fatality rate” of 0.17 percent. This is on the higher end of their initial estimate of 0.1 to 0.2 percent.
Others believe the rate in Santa Clara County to be higher, perhaps as high as 0.33 percent. But that’s still much closer to the mortality rate of influenza, which has a mortality rate of about 0.1%.
Don’t forget there’s one other crucial data point from these studies: in the vast majority of cases, COVID-19 causes only very mild symptoms, if any at all.
Still, coronavirus is a highly contagious disease that can be fatal. Precautions are still advised, but the evidence suggests a complete lockdown of the economy is pure overkill. There are a great many other curves that need flattening now, including unemployment rates, mortgage defaults, rent evictions and more. Not to mention the illnesses and diseases that are getting ignored because people are scared to seek health care.