ously, when you increase the number of tests given five-fold, the number of positive tests will naturally increase too. Again, though, most of the cases are asymptom- atic and the silent spreader hypothesis remains at best a gray area. Furthermore, 85% to 95% of all symptomatic (tradition- ally ill) cases experience only mild symp- toms; 60% of the elderly, the highest risk group, experience only mild symptoms; children are hardly being affected at all by the virus itself.
Studies conducted by Penn State, Stanford, and Southern Cal (among others) have deduced that there may be upwards of 80 times more cases than currently reported, research endorsed in part by the possibil- ity that the origins of the 2019 coronavirus date back to last August. On the surface, that too is alarming, but it is actually good news. These studies are based on the pres- ence of antibodies to COVID-19 and other forms of coronavirus (which cause about 20% of common colds) that help develop immunity to COVID-19. The im- mune system is like a super navy, with stations set up throughout the body to alert of foreign invaders. An anti-body is the memory of an old battle fought against infection stored by the immune system so that defenses will kick in immediately upon re-detection, swarming the virus and quarantining it; the second line of defense then comes in once the admiral in the brain is made aware of the significance of the threat and destroys it. That system is a well-oiled machine; it has quietly been working against COVID-19 all year, and it can be trusted.
When accounting for those who have im- munity to COVID already, the death rate, as it turns out, is right on par with the seasonal flu after all, at around 0.2%. Plus, the overwhelming majority of the people dying from the novel coronavirus have comorbidities (i.e. other major health problems), which is consistent with the data collected on other respiratory infec- tions, and over 40% of the deaths from coronavirus are coming from nursing homes. Also, it bears mentioning that the over-inflation of COVID deaths has been a hot topic from the outset, spurred on by the vague CDC language of what consti- tutes a COVID death and the first-person accounts of the unfortunate practice of misrepresenting causes of death. Incorpo-
rating the regrettable 25% over-estimate, of course, lowers the mortality rate even further.
If life were a football game, a replay would be in order to re-assess the public health policies enforced. All Americans have had their worlds turned upside down. A once thriving economy was plunged directly into a recession and government-imposed restrictions continue to slow the establish- ment of a new normal, with the possibil- ity of longer-term restrictions strangling the hope that life can get back into balance sooner than later. Yet, this is not football, when the ruling on the field stands if replay evidence cannot indisputably overturn the original call. In life, decisions and their makers are held accountable by assess- ment of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, of which there is plenty in this case it would be fair to conclude.
The statistical realities thus far mentioned greatly call into question the necessity of the contentious lockdown. Though much vitriol has been sparked by the topic, it is important to explore it to learn a better response down the road. The lockdown has had massively negative socio-econom- ic ramifications, as once warned by Dr.
D.A. Henderson, credited as “the leader of the international effort to eradicate smallpox” and a staunch detractor of the lockdown concept when it was introduced in the mid-2000s. Dr. Henderson pro- moted allowing viruses to spread so that immunity could naturally be built. Michael Levitt, a 2013 Nobel Prize winner and professor at the Stanford School of Medi- cine, has observed that, regardless of re- strictions imposed, there has been a short- term peak of significant cases followed by a sharp decline everywhere in the world. He called the lockdowns a “huge mistake,” advocating instead for approaches like the ones mentioned below.
Japan and Sweden were the most promi- nent countries of the pragmatic few, and they did not lock down so much as they suggested practical restrictions. Both na- tions were heavily ridiculed for not follow- ing the global trend, but it has become clearer over time that the rest of the world can learn from them. Japan has just 20,000 cases compared to 3 million in the USA, adding just 4,000 cases since removing its restrictions in late May.
Sweden took the most rational approach to COVID of any developed nation, keep-
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