Before you get out the tar and feathers, note that I am a physician with experience in Expensive Care (Intensive Care) – the art of getting people who have both feet on the banana peel well – or spending as much money as possible on high tech expensive resources as possible before they assume room temperature. That’s all done in the Intensive Care Unit, for those of you not familiar with medical humor.
The US is treating the Wuhan Flu as if it is a single disease that has killed so many people that it will kill the rest of us if we open up the economy. They claim that because we are allegedly having a massive spike in new cases, we have to reverse actions to open up our society. At the very least, we have to put masks on everyone.
In other places I’ve discussed how masks do no good and can actually cause harm. Others have discussed how the actual data on mortality and case count are vastly inflated. But this completely misses a couple of very important points.
First, COVID-19 doesn’t kill people.
There. I’ve gone and said it again. There’s a very important reason for this conclusion. If all you get is the Wuhan Flu, you may get a bit sick, but you won’t even need to go to the hospital. You’ll get over it. That’s because you don’t get a “Cytokine Storm.”
In plain English, CS is a different disease process. It’s an uncontrolled release of signaling molecules that engage the immune system at ludicrous speed. A number of different infections can trigger it. An infection is needed before the Storm can start, but the Storm is a different process. Once it’s underway, it drives the train. We know that the risk of dying from CS following COVID-19 in Florida if you are under age 25 is 0.02%, but if you are over 85, it’s 24.5% (FL Dept of Health as of July 6).
That 1,225x difference in risk proves that something else is in play. The infection is necessary, but it’s not sufficient. CS requires something more than just infection such as COVID-19, SARS, or H5N1 flu. In general, age and infirmity are correlated with bad outcomes, but we don’t know in any detail what factor within those categories is needed. What we do know is that the interventions that work don’t have all that much to do with antiviral effects.