Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Devastating Global Mass Hysteria

The importance of reason and logic has never been more obvious as today. After an irrational scare mongering campaign that tried to tell us that we would all go extinct because of Global Warming, we can now witness an even more dangerous hysteria: the fear of COVID-19.
Above we can see the current official data of the COVID-19 ”pandemic" by country that has affected the globe.
In the moment that I am writing this we have 109,178 confirmed cases and 7,965 people dead.
To put this into perspective, we should be aware that in an average year we have globally around 50,000 people dead per year due to the common flu. So we are not even close to the numbers of a normal year.
Since the epidemic is still ongoing, we get a better view, when we look at the data from China, where the COVID-19 epidemic is mostly over. In China we have 3,226 people dead from COVID-19 so far and this number is not expected to increase much in the following weeks. In a normal year like 2005 e.g. we had 13,185 fatal outcomes from infectious diseases in China. So this year does not appear to stand out from any other year in China. The crisis existed only in our mind.
Nevertheless governments all over the world are currently panicking and shutting down their entire economy to mitigate the effects of the virus, to “flatten the curve" as they claim.
Fact is the curve is not flattening at all. And particular the countries with the most drastic and earliest measures are those who have the highest casualties: China, Italy, Spain, and France. On the other hand countries that did not impose lockdowns of entire cities and widespread quarantines (South Korea, Japan, Germany) are doing surprisingly good.
France and Germany are particularly good examples, since they are neighboring countries of a comparable size, where the outbreak started at the exact same time. And while Germany, whose government has taken hardly any measures, has only 26 fatalities, France has almost seven times this number, 175.  We could also observe that the infected cases and fatalities exploded in every country from the moment on that lockdowns and quarantines were implemented. From the available data we can therefore conclude that lockdowns do not work and are rather counter-productive.
Nevertheless most governments follow now the failed shutdown-strategy of Italy making things much worse for their respective countries.
This cannot be attributed to rational analysis but only to the irrational urge to act in some way, even if it is not helpful. It helps these governments to “feel good” about their activism, even if the measurable effects are devastating. They believe that what they do is right, even if the objective data says otherwise.
The result is a further increase in panic and hysteria that has now also affected the population. We see people hoarding toilet paper and food, which in an epidemic will never become scarce. Agriculture will not stop during an epidemic. Plants keep growing, animals keep reproducing. Farms will not be closed. Industrial goods will naturally become scarce first due to factories that are shut down. During an epidemic not the countryside, but the urban areas are most affected. So there is nothing more irrational than hoarding food during an epidemic.
If we can trust the official data (And every conclusion can only be as good as the data it is derived from.), there is currently no COVID-19 crisis. It is a normal flu season with casualties and infection rates in the normal range.
This does however not mean that we have a major crisis. But the nature of this crisis is economical. The shutdown is devastating for our global economy. Supply chains are breaking down; essential drugs will become scarce; the resulting poverty will kill millions. It can develop into the biggest disaster of human history, if our hysterical governments continue on their path. Irrationality is currently creating its own apocalypse.
So what should be done by a rationally acting government?
We should first be aware that infections do only to a small part depend on the presence of the pathogen. Pathogens are omnipresent. A compromised immune response is, what causes an infection. This is why the diseases caused by coronaviruses are called “common cold”. They are mostly caused by hypothermia (too low temperature) of the lungs and dry air. For this reason they happen mostly in a particular season. Fighting the pathogen would be a useless strategy. To avoid an infection we have to avoid hindering our immune response.
It is a false claim  that the SARS-COV-2 virus is so completely novel that our immune system cannot fight it. The genome differs only slightly from well known coronaviruses and the SARS-COV-1 virus. The essential proteins are almost the same. New virus strains every year are a normal phenomenon. Our immune system is very well able to deal with it, what the majority of asymptomatic, mild and moderate cases of COVID-19 prove.
An airborne virus that spreads that easily as SARS-COV-2 cannot be contained. It is a totally useless strategy trying to eliminate the pathogen in the environment. Boosting the immune system and maintaining it able to respond is the correct strategy. And a quarantine in an enclosed hospital is certainly the worst scenario for this. We now add to this the panic and psychological stress when the patients see people around them in hazmat suits pretending that a zombie apocalypse has occurred and the patients are all doomed. It is no surprise that mortality rates will go up.
It would be better to send people home to their beds, equip them with ventilator, if necessary and have them visited once a day by a nurse. This would eliminate the congestion of the hospitals. Healthy people would not be taken into quarantine and needlessly occupying space in hospitals. Everybody would be more relaxed.
The lockdowns have to end immediately to keep our economy healthy and enable us to manufacture medicine and develop vaccines. This is not going to happen, if the economy collapses.
Furthermore we have three candidates for a successful medication of COVID-19: Remdesivir (originally developed against Ebola), Chloroquine Phosphate (a drug against Malaria that acts as ionophor for Zn2+  ions that inhibit the viral RNA polymerase) and Kaletra (an anti-HIV drug). All of them have been tested for side-effects, because they are already widely in use for other diseases. Their effectiveness forCOVID-19 has so far not been formally established. However the reports from China and South Korea are very promising. I can see no logical reason why a treatment with these drugs is not at least attempted in severe cases. Instead we are told that there is no treatment, which is not true. The available treatments have not been approved for this particular disease, but all data indicate that they work.
If we don’t quarantine people, we also don’t need expensive tests. It is totally irrelevant what virus caused an acute respiratory problem. If a patient has difficulties breathing, he needs a ventilator, no matter what the pathogen responsible for his condition is. And if he has no severe symptoms, he does not need it. The COVID-19 test provides us with no useful information in this case and will only worry mildly affected patients unnecessarily.
If we had treated COVID-19 like any other flu without panic and just given severely affected patients the necessary treatments, we would not even talk about this disease today. Hospitals would not be overburdened. Italy had 2,500 fatalities so far. It is ridiculous to claim that a country of 60 million people cannot handle 2,500 or 5,000 patients in a month.
Only reason and logic can help us out of this crisis. Hysteria will be our downfall as civilization, be it climate hysteria or corona hysteria, or whatever the next one will be.

No comments:

Post a Comment