COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency

a A month before his recent retirement, Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioned that America is “definitely” in the midst of a COVID pandemic. Other experts warn of repeated “deadly” waves caused by the latest genetic variants, and recently President Biden once again escalated the COVID-19 public health emergency. Yet those dire warnings rest largely on the assumption that about 400 people in the US are dying of the disease every day. There are significant reasons to question this claim, as Dr. Lena Wayne explores in Washington Post, And if in fact we are not in a public health emergency (which a renowned virologist in Germany concluded last month), then some of the growing calls to reinstate school mask mandates or other unreasonable restrictions should be dropped.

For more than a year, it has been clear that many hospitalizations are officially classified as due to COVID-19, rather than patients without COVID symptoms who were admitted for other reasons but tested positive Has also happened. Since nearly everyone is still routinely swabbed upon hospitalization (although most major infection control organizations have recommended against doing so), many patients with other conditions also receive a positive test result, especially During the ongoing Omicron surge – leading to an increased number of hospitalizations. As caused by COVID-19. UCLA researchers examining Los Angeles County public hospital data found that more than two-thirds of official COVID-19 hospitalizations since January 2022 were actually “with” rather than “the disease.”

A rigorous Massachusetts study determined that a similar proportion of COVID hospitalizations were actually related to the coronavirus. Citing an attending physician at Emory Decatur Hospital (and former president of the Georgia chapter of the Infectious Diseases Society), Dr. Wayne estimates that about 90% of patients diagnosed with COVID at his hospital are now instead The second disease is being treated. Wayne also quotes the epidemiologist at Tufts Hospital, who similarly observes that recently the proportion of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has been as low as 10% of the number reportedly having the disease. All of this is fully consistent with the reality that by March 2022 more than 95% of people had already been infected or vaccinated or usually both, and the resulting strong population immunity combined with the less virulent nature of Omicron has resulted in far less severe disease. Gives result.

Growing recognition of the growing number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has prompted some local officials as well as the CDC to attempt to better estimate actual levels. Misreported hospitalizations clearly suggest that there have also been misreported deaths, yet there is a parallel recognition that undoubtedly many official COVID-19 deaths are due to individuals dying rather than the coronavirus. CDC guidelines still stipulate that any death from (any) disease within 30 days of a positive test result will automatically be classified as due to COVID-19. So, if the current prevalence in the population is ∼3% (towards the low end of typical levels during a major boom like the present) then the background prevalence among individuals hospitalized for other reasons – and even among those who pass out are dying up—so will about 3%. Considering about 9,200 total deaths in the US, in this hypothetical scenario about 275 deaths would have been due to COVID (or about two-thirds of the official daily count) others reason.

The former Milwaukee County chief medical examiner conducted a careful review of the nearly 4,000 COVID-19 deaths reported during the pandemic there. Their research showed that nearly half had no link to COVID or only a “marginal” association in some cases, such as end-stage cancer patients who died possibly within days or weeks of contracting the disease . Analysis of L.A. county and national data collected during recent waves of the highly contagious (but significantly less lethal) Omicron variant suggests that COVID-19 deaths are now at least as likely quadruple, A newly published investigation from Denmark documented that, since the emergence of Omicron a year ago, an astonishing 65–75% of deaths have been officially attributed to COVID-19, consistent with the above hypothetical practice of coronavirus. are only incidental. Yet even if only half of the currently reported deaths in the US are not actually caused by the virus, that would mean the actual daily COVID-19 toll is about 200, the number of deaths during a bad flu season.

In addition to the excessive number of COVID hospitalizations and deaths, another reason for maintaining a public health emergency is the ongoing prolonged COVID allegedly massive wave. Yet almost all longer COVID reports are based on tabulations of the number of individuals who self-reported symptoms after infection, rather than controlled studies that compared the prevalence of persistent symptoms among those who were not infected. Has happened. An announcement on San Francisco Bay Area rapid transit trains warns that prolonged exposure to COVID can cause a range of common ailments, including headache, anxiety, diarrhea, muscle aches and trouble concentrating. But case-control studies have so far found only a slight difference in the prevalence of symptoms between those already infected or not (and new research suggests that most symptoms dissipate within a year). While COVID is unquestionably a significant problem in the long run, as are deaths actually caused by the coronavirus, more accurate estimates of prevalence require rigorous analysis.

Inadvertent exaggerations of COVID-19 deaths and prolonged COVID not only lead to wrong policy decisions, such as new mask mandates and booster recommendations for 6-month-olds, but also unnecessarily fuel panic, especially in blurring areas. Even for permanent environments (like my hometown of San Francisco, where wearing a mask is common, even outside). After three long years, it is time to base public health announcements and policies on solid scientific evidence, not well-intentioned but often misguided assumptions.

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