Covid-19 CFR and IFR Confused

Twitter thread by Steve McIntyre

New article in journal published by Cambridge Univ Press says that testimony to House Oversight Committee in March 2020 mixed up case fatality rate (CFR) and infection fatality rate (IFR) for influenza, resulting in major error. (I report this w/o parsing)

2/ author Ronald Brown (of University of Waterloo in Ontario) said that House Committee was told that estimated mortality was 10 times higher than seasonal influenza. This was prime argument for lockdown.

3/ Brown observed that New England Journal article, just prior to House testimony, had (incorrectly) said that CFR for seasonal influenza was 0.1% whereas 0.1% is actually the value for IFR (WHO).

4/ Brown observed that CFR and IFR have different definitions in epidemiology and gives a lengthy exposition.

5/ Brown curiously didn’t identify the person who, according to Brown, gave the wrong benchmark information on fatality rates for seasonal influenza to Congress, linking to CSPAN in his footnotes.

6/ the expert who, according to Brown, made the 10x error in testimony to Congress is, by now, well known to all of us. It was, needless to say, Anthony Fauci.

7/ I urge readers to read original article. I am not personally familiar with definitional distinctions emphasized by Brown and haven’t verified his claims. Brown is at reputable university and journal is by reputable publisher (Cambridge Univ).

Originally tweeted by Stephen McIntyre (@ClimateAudit) on September 7, 2020.

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September 8, 2020 6:24 am

I couldn’t make out why IFR and CFR differ by a factor of 10 (and I couldn’t access the paper itself only its abstract). Can someone please explain it.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
September 8, 2020 7:07 am

Infection Fatality Rate : numerator is number who have died; denominator is number of people detected to have been infected, whether with mild symptoms, drastic symptoms, or no symptoms.

Case Fatality Rate: Numerator is number who have died; denominator is number of those infected and who cross the line to be a patient suffering from Covid.

So, while the IFR may have been 1/1000, CFR may have been 1/100.

If you just *happen* to be a Hilary Clinton sycophant (cough- Fauci – cough), and happen to drool over Jesus-Complex powers, and happen to be tied to Big Pharma, AND if you had NO fear of ever getting in trouble for a “mistake,” then you might want to make what we call a “transcription error” and swap the numbers.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  TheLastDemocrat
September 8, 2020 8:46 am

actually the IFR for influenze is based on an “estimated” total number of infections … they are NOT detected infections …

2017-2018 CDC stats (all estmated)
Infected: 44,802,629 Medical Visits: 20,731,323 Hospitalizations: 808,129 Deaths: 61,099

So the IFR for 2017-2018 was 61,099/44,802,629 = .136 %

CFR is tougher since not sure if they use Medical visits or Hospitalizations as denominator …
CFR for hospitalizations is 61.099/808,129 = 7.56 % …

Reply to  The Dark Lord
September 8, 2020 12:21 pm

actually the IFR for influenze is based on an “estimated” total number of infections … they are NOT detected infections …

Exactly. According to the highlighted definitions in the article, “IFRs are estimated following (after) an outbreak, often based on representative samples of blood tests…”

In the case of COVID-19, several random serological (blood) tests for antibodies showed that several times more people had the virus than have been reported. In some cases the people tested eventually developed symptoms, but others didn’t. We should be doing more random blood tests to help figure out what the IFR (not CFR) is for COVID-19. It is certain that the IFR is far lower than the CFR for COVID-19. Whether or not it is in the range of an influenza outbreak remains to be seen, but based on the Excess Mortality data, it’s likely that the overall IFR is significantly higher for COVID-19 than for influenza. However, when broken down by age, the CFR (and very likely lower IFR) for those under 25 (and perhaps older) is about the same or lower than for influenza.

Excess mortality graphs:

CDC Influenza seasons data:

COVID-19 prevalence from serological testing:

Reply to  stinkerp
September 8, 2020 4:07 pm

I think it is helpful to think of covid-19 as involving two different diseases….one infectious agent that can cause two different diseases in the sense that some streptococcus bacteria can cause “strep throat” in many, but in some patients also cause rheumatic heart disease.

Simple covid disease is like the common cold in symptoms and severity: cough, congestion, sometimes sore throat, fatigue, headaches, mild fever.

In some patients an immune system dysfunction (“cytokine storm”) can cause severe inflammatory destruction of involved organs, eg lungs or heart. If the the blood vessel lining cells become inflamed, clot may form and result in stroke, heart attack, or pulmonary embolism. Most covid deaths are in this second or complicated covid disease.

Death statistics and definitions of disease are complicated by this. If a patient dies of a heart attack or stroke or PE, and then tests + for covid, what should we say they died of?

Reply to  TheLastDemocrat
September 8, 2020 8:48 am

I thought IFR was not just all those infected, but all those SUSPECTED of being infected. They take the know infection rates, and multiply that based on the rate of testing of the population. The denominator in this case is MUCH larger again.

Reply to  ggm
September 8, 2020 10:48 pm

IFR is all those infected, but since we don’t know that number we estimate or as you say use the suspected number of infected.

But it is even more complicated, as ultimately we want to know, how big is the chance is a random person that gets it dies. That is however neither IFR or CFR. This as due to measures, social interaction patters in society, etc it is never so that random people get an illness. For instance healthcare workers typically are always more at risk with any infectious illness, and so do other people that happen to have to stay in a hospital. And if you have poor leadership you may send sick people to nursing homes. Also people of different ages may take different risks. And with COVID it looks as if very young people are less infectious. All these things skewing IFR away from being random.

So in general IFR < CFR, and the actual change of dying for a random person is neither.

But with COVID all this is unfortunately mostly politics, as the death rate is so incredibly different for different age groups it is almost criminally to fight over a general %. For babies flu seems to be more deathly than COVID (based on CFR), but for elderly it the opposite. But also the difference in estimated IFR between elderly and median age is stunningly different compared to again flu. Of course if we would look at these numbers, measures like lockdowns, cloth masks and keeping schools closed become silly, and it becomes clear targeted measures for risk groups are far more effective, which is why we need to keep taking about IFR and CFR.

Reply to  TheLastDemocrat
September 8, 2020 8:52 am

Fauxci’s too busy in the makeup room for his next media appearance to be worrying about errors and mistakes.

Abolition Man
Reply to  icisil
September 8, 2020 9:55 am

Naw, he’s in the green room fantasizing about how much money he’s gonna get from the ChiComs for his vaccine and the media work he did for them muddying up the waters about how to deal with their pet virus properly! Errors and mistakes mean even less to him than the people he has killed over the years with his misleading pronouncements!

Abolition Man
Reply to  icisil
September 8, 2020 10:23 am

Naw, he’s relaxing and thinking about all the money he’s gonna make from the ChiComs for his vaccine and the media work he did to promote the panic and hysteria for lockdowns! He cares about errors and mistakes about as much as he cares for the patients he dooms with his politicized pronouncements to discourage known effective treatments that might lower his earnings! But he is one of THE most respected mass murderers in recent memory!

Reply to  TheLastDemocrat
September 10, 2020 12:01 pm

“number of those infected and who cross the line to be a patient suffering from Covid”

But “suffering from Covid” is completely undefined. Is someone with a positive “COVID” test (whatever really is tested) really “suffering”?

Reply to  Mike Jonas
September 8, 2020 3:12 pm

Many thanks for those answers. Now I understand.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Mike Jonas
September 8, 2020 3:26 pm

These statistics are commonly confused. Also when new epidemics occur it is typical to start with a high case fatality rate and see it decline over time. The main reason is that the cases first detected are the sickest ones with highest risk of hospitalization and death. As a more refined definition of a case develops, less severe presentations are detected and better testing becomes available, a wider pool of infected cases is collected which increases the size of the denominator in case fatality data while the number of deaths may stay constant. This leads to the falling case fatality rate just on a statistical basis alone.

Other factors that may lower case fatality over time are improved therapeutic interventions, gradual mutation of the infecting organisms to milder, less virulent forms, culling of the most susceptible individuals in the exposed population, and steps taken to prevent infection in those most vulnerable.

Several of these latter factors will also decrease the infection fatality rate, but the main reason the case fatality rate is often much higher than the infection fatality rate is that detection of cases only samples a fraction of the exposed individuals who actually get infected, and generally it is the more severely infected individuals. As stated in other comments, the full estimate of infected individuals is often determined after the fact by sero-survey’s of antibodies in the exposed population.

My early estimation of the case fatality rate for CoVID was about 7% and that seems still a reasonable guess with our current case definitions and detection methods but the actual infection fatality rate is apparently a fraction of a percent, perhaps little different from seasonal flu.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Andy Pattullo
September 8, 2020 3:29 pm

Actually the current global case fatality rate is about 4% so lower than my March estimate. This suggests a significant improvement in testing frequency but still shows that cases detected are a fraction of all infections.

September 8, 2020 6:33 am

Scottish GP Dr. Malcolm Kendrick covers the same ground in this blog post:

Here’s a quote, but you should read the whole blog post.

“It seems that Dr Fauci just got mixed up with the terminology. Because in his Journal article eleven days earlier, he did state… ‘This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza… [and here is the kicker at the end] (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%).’

You see, he did say the case fatality rate of influenza was approximately 0.1%. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong… wrong.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. With influenza, Dr Fauci, the CDC, his co-authors, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institutes of Health and the New England Journal of Medicine got case fatality rate and infection fatality rate mixed up with influenza. Easy mistake to make. Could have done it myself. But didn’t.

You want to know where Imperial College London really got their 1% infection fatality rate figure from? It seems clear that they got it from Anthony S Fauci and the New England Journal of Medicine. The highest impact journal in the world – which should have the highest impact proof-readers in the world. But clearly does not.

Imperial College then used this wrong NEJM influenza case fatality rate 0.1%. It seems that they then compared this 0.1% figure to the reported COVID case fatality rate, estimated to be 1% and multiplied the impact of COVID by ten – as you would. As you probably should.

So, we got Lockdown. The US used the Fauci figure and got locked down. The world used that figure and got locked down.

That figure just happens to be ten times too high.

Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
Reply to  TedL
September 8, 2020 10:34 am

The 1% figure (originally 2%) was apparent in the early Chinese figures which was there number of deaths divided by cases. Indeed, it started at ~2% and then dropped as more and more people got tested. By the time of the Iranian epidemic, I was estimating that for every case up to 10 people were infected who were not being tested. I seem to recall that Ferguson suggested that it was more like 1 reported case for each 20 who would be found it widespread testing were done.

For info, this figure derived from a comparison of those countries like iran who were doing “reactive testing” and those like Korea who were doing “proactive testing”

Reply to  Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
September 8, 2020 6:54 pm

I (publicly) estimated an IFR 0.3% in those early days just by looking at the distribution of those early CFRs and assuming that the variation was due to differences in reporting. One of my prouder moments, if I may say so myself, hehe.

I will say, though, in Fauci’s defence, that sometimes one can develop blindspots when you study something too closely. But he clearly wanted this to be a crisis, so a crisis he found.

Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
September 8, 2020 6:38 am

Having started looking at this in January, it’s very clear that this whole area is filled with the most sloppy language, modelling and science and in no sense of the words is it “fit for purpose”. As an example they can’t even agree on something as fundamental as the definition of R0 – so not at all surprising that the rest of the subject is filled with sloppy definitions.

Infection fatality rate is supposedly “those who get infected”. But even that is a highly dubious definition. In the past, when people had to show symptoms to be “infected”, it at least had a quantifiable meaning, but today the measure of “infected” is not that someone is ill, but instead that you show a certain level of virus DNA. The result is that this figure can vary massively, increasing the more and more sensitive you make the test.

So, e.g. with Covid-flu around 90-99% of people show no symptoms. I am certain these should not (but are) defined as “cases” because a case implies a medical condition. And I’m not at all certain they are even “infected” in the sense that the virus is actively replicating in their body. Indeed, this seems to be why some dogs were “infected” (they merely breathed in a lot of virus from their owner who was).

However, to go back to where these mistakes crept in.

Originally, figures came from China, and were the number of people who had reported to doctors who then tested positive. The errors that developed from that came in two parts:

1. Assuming that sooner or later that everyone would get infected (it now looks like around 20% get infected for herd immunity)
2. Assuming that everyone who is infected show symptoms (it now looks like 90-99% of people show no symptoms and/or don’t see themselves as infected – as we all cough naturally from time to time).

The second really screwed up the response … because health officials thought they could spot people with the virus like SARS or Ebola and so in the early phase relied on tracking infected cases. In reality, it spread “below the radar” with perhaps 1000 people infected for each one that they initially detected. So it was endemic probably before they even realised it was in the country. Which is why they were so slow to act in the first place and then panicked with appalling and stupid lockups.

The biggest problem, was not so much the definitions of what was IFR of CFR, but that the new genetic tests, meant that we started to do pretty bizarre things like testing people who were not infected or even ill for the presence of a virus (rather than illness) and then proclaiming them as “cases”. As such, the previous definitions of IFR and CFR which relied on people showing symptoms were totally meaningless. Likewise the models (which were useless to start with), were based on statistics based on people presenting symptoms, rather than genetic tests.

But worst of all, the actual pandemic, wasn’t a virus, but a phobia: it was a pandemic of fear which led to people who had no illness (but may have virus in their body), getting tested and presenting that information to the public to frighten them, which then led to a vicious cycle of more and more fear, more healthy people presenting for testing, more and more sensitive tests picking up more and more healthy people – falsely labelling them as “ill” (just because they have a virus) and a then more paranoia.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
September 8, 2020 8:15 am

Good comment, Mike. R0 is used by some as an initial rate into a naive population, and then also as the time varying quantity to describe the current instantaneous rate. There is even more bizarre behavior and beliefs than those you list.

One big example is that people aren’t even following the good advice we have gotten, such as looking at risk as the probability of exposure and acting accordingly. Everyone claims to follow CDC advice, but don’t actually. So, CDC has a six foot and 15 minute rule, other highly regarded epidemiologists have a 3 foot rule, each of which is not bad advice but arbitrary still. However, people are behaving as though the disease will appear spontaneously if one person is not wearing and ill-fitting homemade mask — no agent of disease is needed! But probability of spread is also based on the prevalence of a disease which in many places is so low that the probability of even meeting another infected person is far less than having an automobile accident while driving and texting about COVID at the same time.

It seems the more advanced education one has, and the more leftward one’s political beliefs, the more trouble one has with reasoning about the disease. Thus, at my local university the “power people” decided to test everyone with a method having unknown false rates, and thought that 18-21 year-old people will not socialize, and now have all sorts of people in three categories; truly sick (almost no one), lab confirmed cases, and suspected cases because of social contact, all of whom have to be quarantined. After having dreamed up a plan for “safe return” to campus, we had the numbers climb so fast, especially in the suspected category, that there was no course but to pause the reopening for five days while they reassess. I have doubts we can reopen to face-to-face college this term.

To top it all off, it is yet summer, but we are 25F and snowing hard this morning. There have to be large numbers of student sheltering in place today, as our geniuses have advised, looking at snow drifts, and wondering why they spent good cash money to return to college.

Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
Reply to  Kevin kilty
September 8, 2020 10:28 am

Thanks Kevin. However, if we look a the Swedish figures, it is clear than in the UK we are so close to herd immunity that there is no good reason not to just go back to normal tomorrow.

On the question of masks and social distancing, these are largely pointless measures, because all they are doing is to prolongue the whole epidemic and unless we are totally insane and keep this nonsense up for a year or two, we’ll return to normal anyway with the result that we get the same result as if we just returned to normal today.

However, that is not to say that masks and social distancing could not have been used effectively. Before the epidemic I published a plan that I would describe as “protect the vulnerable”. Under this plan, we would attempt to use masks etc., to delay the spread of the virus in the vulnerable groups, whilst doing nothign to slow it down in the vast number of people who had very little to be concerned about. Indeed, if we INCREASED the rate of spread, we could have massively reduced the time vulnerable people were at risk, and “over-obtained” herd immunity such that when vulnerable people rejoined society, there was little risk of the virus taking off (as the herd immunity would be diluted by those who had not got the virus).

As for what is happening in education – certifiably insane! Any student has a far far far far higher risk from the things students do than corona.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
September 8, 2020 5:51 pm

At Tulane they decided to expand from testing all students living on campus 1x per week to all students 2x per week.

Reply to  Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
September 8, 2020 10:41 am

To Scottish man
90 to 99 percent infected have no symptoms?
20 percent will get herd immunity?
You have no data that even come close to defending those bogus numbers. You should be ashamed of yourself for passing off your personal wild guesses as facts.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Richard Greene
September 8, 2020 11:21 am

I totally agree.
The point that most of the posters have missed is that if we should not be including those who are asymptomatic tested positive in the IFR calculatons it would make COVID-19 come out far more deadly than most flu epidemics.
The current world rate of those tested and found positive is 27,504,693 and the dead = 897,092.
That gives an IFR of 3.0%.
If they are saying that the asymptomatic cases should be excluded it will make that rate much higher.
How anyone can come up with 0.1% I cannot fathom at all.
ps the current infection rate, ie positive tests/total tests = 7.4%

Reply to  A C Osborn
September 8, 2020 3:09 pm

How many asymptomatic people have never been tested? Your IFR calculation doesn’t have a correct denominator so your conclusion isn’t correct either..

Reply to  chemman
September 8, 2020 4:03 pm

I wonder if it correct to claim that people with no symptoms are sick?

Of the five friends I know who got Covid so far, two only lost their sense of smell, one 20 something who was a fashion model for a while , and the other was in his 70s and considers himself very lucky. Both of them were in excellent condition. Especially the model!

Reply to  A C Osborn
September 8, 2020 7:02 pm

You are making the same mistake as Fauci. That’s not the IFR, it’s the CFR. The infection rate is not the number of people who tested positive, that number is always going to be a fraction of the people who actually had the disease.

Serum studies have suggested the the ratio is somewhere around 1/10.

The positive tests/total tests is also not the infection rate, it is the test positivity rate.

Reply to  A C Osborn
September 8, 2020 7:46 pm

Osborn, do we test EVERYONE for flu/pneumonia yearly? the answer is no. However, I suspect you agree with it’s generally accepted .1% death rate. if so, why is the same criteria for measuring flu/pneumonia death rate not good enough to measure covid death rate? if not, why aren’t you screaming from the top of your lungs right now to prepare to shut everything down by the end of september (work, schools, daycare, supermarkets, restaurants…) because flu/pneumonia is just around the corner?

A C Osborn
Reply to  goracle
September 9, 2020 1:38 am

Where did I make any mention of shutting anything down?

I am talking about the numbers that we actually know and are not guessing about.

So, to you 40,000 to 100,000 flu deaths each year is acceptable?
There are medicines that treat both COVID-19 and the Flu which are being ignored and supressed for vaccine use instead, which sometimes work reasonably and sometimes don’t.

Reply to  goracle
September 9, 2020 5:35 am

osborn, you indicated the IFR is 3% (based on 27,504,693 who’ve tested positive). That’s wrong. You’re referring to the CFR. The covid IFR is likely .1-.3% max because so many are asymptomatic, don’t know they even have, and never get tested. From what I’ve read regarding covid, there are @5-10 untested individuals for every 1 individual who tests positive.

No death is wanted from any disease, but we live in a risk-filled world. @ 2,000,000 die yearly from flu/pneumonia. Why aren’t we panicking @ that and close everything down from late fall thru early spring?

Reply to  Richard Greene
September 8, 2020 8:01 pm

Richard, at least 90% of those infected show no symptoms. This is true if using IFR and looking highly likely if using CFR (especially as more people get tested and find out they’re positive or have antibodies but never actually felt sick).

And 20% is being seen as a probable and highly likely herd immunity threshold. It may be higher than 20% (maybe 30%-40%), but it’s not anywhere near 80% or 90%.

You’ve heard of google – use it.

Reply to  Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
September 8, 2020 12:23 pm

I’m with you, Mike. I’ve been fighting a running battle on this since the UK announced plans for “mass” testing. Since we don’t routinely test for viral infections we only ever know who has a disease when they present themselves for treatment, ie when they become “cases”.

When you start testing for something, you will find it and the “sub-text” becomes “these are new cases; we must do something” while in reality the majority (by this stage the overwhelming majority) are subjects who will not go on to require treatment (and so are not “cases” at all) together with recovered subjects still with viral residue who were not “cases” first time round and aren’t going to be now either.

Both government and scientific advisors are obsessed with this putative “second wave”, apparently blissfully unaware that, according to their test results, if there was going to be one it should be well under way by now. Instead Covid deaths continue to decline and according to the latest official stats for England & Wales, six times as many people died of influenza two weeks ago as died of Covid.

I understand there are also questions about the test itself but I’m afraid that is well above my pay grade so I leave it to others to comment on that.

Reply to  Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
September 8, 2020 7:36 pm

Mike, very interesting. However, IFR is important because it provides an indication of how aggressive and dangerous the virus can be. If we only went by the CFR, then covid is waaaay more deadly than it actually is. The IFR takes into account (an educated guess) of all those who never even knew they had it and never got tested. This provides a truer picture of the nature of the virus, which for covid indicates is a bad flue season (180K covid deaths is overinflated – I’d say it’s closer to 100K)

Reply to  Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
September 8, 2020 10:31 pm

The Evidence Based Medicine team at Oxford have shown in a couple of papers – explained in layman language articles in the Spectator- that testing outcomes are essentially meaningless.
Unless one can ascertain that the test was taken during the first 8 days of a 22 day cycle captured by PCR , it is impossible to state that a positive test also means the individual is contagious/infectious, because of the nature of the PCR test which will show evidence of RNA long after I t ceases to be active.
Add to that the realization, as outlined in detail in a NYT article last week, that the sensitivity in the PCR tests is too high by some two OM – at a more reasonable 30 cycles vs. 40 cycles as is the norm, some 80-90% of those who tested positive in the US Northeast would have tested negative – and one is left with two root causes for incalculable false positives.
What the true denominator is for the SARS-CoV-2 virus is therefore anyone’s guess, and by extension the IFR. Given the complete dogs breakfast that is the medical/legal definition of a COVID death, the same applies to a lesser extent to the CFR.

September 8, 2020 6:47 am

CAGW and coronavirus are similar in that there are opposing camps each with a political agenda. For that reason, I am skeptical of all data. The datum I most trust is excess deaths.

That people had co-morbidities does not mean they did not die of #COVID19. COVID may have caused them or worked synergistically to kill them. There have been over 200,000 excess all cause deaths in the US this year, if COVID19 is not pushing up the numbers, what is? #COVIDKills

— Justin Lessler (@JustinLessler) August 30, 2020

So, for whatever reason, covid associated deaths exceed the expected deaths from all causes. In other words, way more people are dying due to covid than you would normally expect to die from influenza.

I do think Fauci made a lazy mistake. If the figures do not back up one’s preconceived notions, it is human nature to scrupulously examine them. Otherwise they tend to be accepted without much thought.

I was doing a web search on figures don’t lie, but liars figure and stumbled across this:

This is what led Mr. McLane into his hasty error; and I will say here, that hasty errors, and hasty letters, ought to be carefully avoided, particularly in matters of arithmetic, for, unfortunately, figures never lie, though men sometimes do. link

So, more of a hasty error than a deliberate lie but the consequences are measured in billions of dollars.

Reply to  commieBob
September 8, 2020 6:50 am

OOPS! Forgot to close a bold tag:

I was doing a web search on figures don’t lie, but liars figure and stumbled across this:

This is what led Mr. McLane into his hasty error; …

Reply to  commieBob
September 8, 2020 8:47 am

“I do think Fauci made a lazy mistake.”

So, this article is not true?

Reply to  Sommer
September 8, 2020 9:53 am

The same fact checking website that thinks eurasiareview is unbiased thinks WUWT is a conspiracy blog.

Reply to  Sommer
September 8, 2020 1:12 pm

Read the article. That is one crazy conspiracy theory piece of writing. Had to have a shower after.

Rich Davis
Reply to  commieBob
September 8, 2020 9:12 am

I endorse your logic commieBob. I do not know if your data for excess deaths is accurate, though, which is a big caveat. 200k exceeds the actual claimed death toll of 189k, making me skeptical.

Because there are so many confounding factors, the only reasonable approach to getting an approximate number of deaths caused by covid is to look at excess deaths from all causes, compared to a long enough baseline, normalized for population growth.

It can never be more than a rough estimate, but it’s a meaningful statistic. It measures the total effect on death rate of every factor that is different this year from prior years. Then we make the reasonable assumption that the most relevant difference is the presence of covid.

Obviously there are many factors varying every year, hence the comment that it can never be more than a rough estimate.

If the number really is 200,000 and that is several multiples of the number of flu deaths in a typical year, then any talk of covid being a minor issue should be repudiated.

I’m not aware of any other suddenly appearing condition leading to death other than antifa murders, but thankfully that is not being measured in 100s of thousands.

Ray in SC
Reply to  Rich Davis
September 8, 2020 2:07 pm

There are several potential causes of excess deaths during this pandemic. Before going on to describe these, one interesting statistic to consider is that only 12-13k flu deaths have been reported in the US this year when the average death rate for the flu is typically 4-7 times greater. Does this indicate that flu deaths are being conflated with C-19 deaths? This seems like a reasonable conclusion.

It has been suggested that atypical deaths this year as a result of the ‘pandemic’ include those who died because they did not receive diagnostic testing and treatment for serious conditions out of fear of being exposed to the virus and also due to the fact that much of this type of treatment was determined to be ‘non-essential’ in the lieu of the need to reserve hospital capacity for C-19 patients. It has also been suggested that there has been an increased death rate due to drug overdoses and suicides but I have not seen any studies to confirm or refute these possibilities.

Keep in mind that the statistic that about 180k people have died in the US is a report of people who died with the virus, not those who died from the virus. Greater than 90% of people who succumbed to the virus had an average of 2.6 comorbid conditions and it has been reported that less than 10k people died from the virus alone with no other comorbid conditions.

There have been multiple reports of people who died from gunshot, suicide, auto accident, and other non-disease deaths who were included in the C-19 death tally because post mortem testing indicated that the virus was present in their system at the time of death. However, on the other side of the coin, it is reasonable to presume that for anyone who died from pneumonia and who also was infected by C-19 that C-19 was a confounding factor in their death.

The only conclusion that we can draw is that somewhere between 10k and 180k people have died from C-19 in the US. In other words, we just don’t know what the death rate actually is. All of the statistics and the reporting have been skewed to create panic and Dr Fauci, whether intentional or not, has played a leading role in this outcome.

Reply to  Ray in SC
September 8, 2020 4:43 pm

Ray in SC – I like your calm rational approach, and agree re the uncertainties.
Suggestion: Flu deaths could be down because of social distancing.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
September 8, 2020 8:17 pm

mike jonas, flu/pneumonia and covid transmit similarly… if social distancing is the reason why flu deaths are down this year (from 50K to 15K), would it be safe to assume the same is true for covid?

Reply to  Mike Jonas
September 9, 2020 12:59 am

goracle – yes, but WuFlu has a different starting point: no resistance built up from previous infections, no vaccination program, and no treatment history.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Ray in SC
September 8, 2020 4:55 pm

I’m afraid you miss the point. The concept of excess deaths does not use the flawed estimates of covid deaths at all. Your examples all point to why cB and I argue for calculating excess deaths rather than putting any faith in the reported death tolls such as skydiving mishaps that tested positive post-mortem.

The idea is to just ask how many people would be expected to die in a typical year? Then how many people actually died? The difference is the number who died because of the current year’s unique factors.

As has been discussed, you could segment causes of death into those potentially impacted by covid and those more likely to be affected by lockdown policy, if you want to try to sharpen the pencil.

You can get a linear regression on deaths per million extrapolated to the current year and multiply by current population in millions to arrive at your best guess on “normal” expected deaths for 2020, again if you think that reduces the error.

In the end it’s a rough estimate intended to say that the Covid data we’ve been given is garbage and we just want to know has it been a bad year for deaths or not.

If the answer is less than 50k excess deaths, then I would conclude that we probably overreacted to a minor threat. If it approaches 200k, then we probably reacted ineffectively to a real serious risk.

Obviously (to me) the correct response should have focused on isolating the vulnerable and letting those under 60 stay at work with precautions. Instead of sending contagious patients back to their nursing homes they should have used the hospital ships and temporary hospitals to keep them isolated. Hindsight is 20-20, but to most of us this was common sense from the beginning.

Reply to  Rich Davis
September 8, 2020 8:20 pm

if by precautions you mean wear masks, no thanks. I want a remedy that works.

Reply to  Rich Davis
September 8, 2020 11:06 pm

I agree with you almost 100%, but two notes:

1) there are reports deaths due to suicide and drug overdose are also up a lot. Not sure if this is true, but we should also be alert for deaths by other causes as a result of our measures. Same applies in reverse of course to lower car accident deaths.

2) many deaths under elderly or very sick people are by statistics people of whom many would have died within a few months or a year ‘anyway’. So I suspect we may see a small temporary dip once COVID has passed. Of course one can then still argue these people were taken too soon.

So all in all I think we would need to wait for a year or so before we can draw solid conclusions. But it sure looks like we do have >180K excess deaths in the US alone based on CDC data:

Just look at the data for deaths by age. The others are all sort of massaged data, but that one is just as raw as one can get it. That also illustrates your point that we should have protected the elderly instead of what we actually did …

Ray in SC
Reply to  Rich Davis
September 9, 2020 12:38 pm


Thanks for the response but I believe that you missed my point. The count of excess deaths will include those that died from C-19 as well as those that died due to the lockdown. This includes those who died because they were unable to obtain routine medical care and those who died from suicide or drug overdose. While I did not say it in so many words, the implication is that excess suicides and drug overdoses would be driven by depression related to the lockdown.

In other words, a portion of the excess deaths result directly from C-19 and a portion result from our response to C-19 (the lockdown).

As an analogy, assume in the hypothetical that a virus was killing 90% of the population. A cure is found that saves 80% of the population but that fails to save 10% of the population and that also kills 10% of the population due to an allergic reaction to the cure. A simple count of excess deaths would indicate that 20% of the population died without distinguishing that 10% were killed by the virus and 10% were killed by the cure.

Reply to  Rich Davis
September 10, 2020 2:46 am

“If the answer is less than 50k excess deaths, then I would conclude that we probably overreacted to a minor threat. If it approaches 200k, then we probably reacted ineffectively to a real serious risk.”

For all that careful comment, this conclusion misses the elephant in the room…That …if it approaches 200k then we probably over-reacted, with criminal negligence and utter incompetence to a minor threat (killing far more than saving). Add to that the criminal barring of the use of HCQ in many places, which would have saved tens of thousands of lives and the murderous use of ventilators, this whole charade, this virus drama movie, would have taken very few. Look at Uganda, heavy use of HCQ for malaria, 45 M people, 19 deaths, nineteen, ten plus nine, deaths.

Ethan Brand
Reply to  Rich Davis
September 9, 2020 1:32 pm

Hi Rich

Thank you! What for? You are practicing excellent reasoned logic and analysis wrt the Covid death rate. I would hope that many here at WUWT will pay careful attention to how you are approaching this vs what is actually being presented.

The Covid conundrum…how bad is it? Most everybody wants a “certain” answer…”it’s 5 times worse than seasonal flu”, its “no worse than the worst seasonal flu”…etc.

Bottom line…there is no certain answer. Your eventual statement probably represents the actual uncertainty:
“If the answer is less than 50k excess deaths, then I would conclude that we probably overreacted to a minor threat. If it approaches 200k, then we probably reacted ineffectively to a real serious risk.”

No one will be comfortable with the observation that Covid-19 probably lead to or contributed to between 50k and 200k deaths, (as of now), but that range probably represents the reality of the situation. People hate uncertainty, and will forever argue about it. My conclusion is that it is essentially impossible to be more precise. Chaos is not to be tamed.

Ethan Brand

Pat Frank
Reply to  commieBob
September 8, 2020 9:38 am

Cbob, “There have been over 200,000 excess all cause deaths in the US this year, if COVID19 is not pushing up the numbers, what is? #COVIDKills

— Justin Lessler (@JustinLessler) August 30, 2020

This is the same argument made to sustain the CO2/climate connection. I.e., air temperature has been rising since the industrial era began. If CO2 is not pushing up the air temperature, what is?

Correlation and causation, Bob. It’s a hard to sustain rational dispassion, when everyone is frantic for alarm.

Here is the annual US death rate since 1950. It shows considerable annual variance.

Ascribing all current excess deaths to covid is mere assignment, which has no causal merit.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Pat Frank
September 8, 2020 11:18 am

Superficially that comparison seems to present itself, but that’s wrong.

What you’re claiming is that there are sudden new causes of death that didn’t exist last year (at least at a level material to the total number of deaths) AND that they have gone undetected, or that the well-known common causes of death have mysteriously become more deadly independent of covid.

That’s a much different scenario from saying we’re ignorant of what caused temperature cycles in the past but we posit that those natural cycles stopped as soon as we started emitting CO2.

On the contrary, here we are depending on the factors that have caused death in the recent past to continue doing so now at similar rates, so that the difference in the current total compared to the average of the past must measure the effect of all factors that are different this year. Has diabetes, heart disease, and cancer sudden spurted up in its rate of k!lling people? We suggest not. We posit uniformitarianism. CAGW posits a sudden break with the past.

It’s reasonable to say that covid is not the only difference, but it’s sophistry to claim that some completely unidentified factor has had a major effect.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Rich Davis
September 8, 2020 12:36 pm

@Rich Davis;

Nice strawman you’ve built there. To bad Pat didn’t actually claim some mysterious “other” was the real cause of the excess deaths. You might have noticed from his link that the US death rate has been climbing since a low in 2008 and the data do not indicate a surge in 2020 over the long-term trend.

Rich Davis
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
September 8, 2020 1:18 pm

Not trying to build a strawman at all. Trying to have a reasoned discussion not poisoned by politics.

If there is a trend line, the expected deaths should be based on the extrapolated baseline. Is that a trend normalized to population? Of course there should be an increasing trend in absolute numbers if it’s not deaths per million multiplied by current population. I imagine that deaths per million also increase in a population that has an increasing average age.

Again I say that these are quibbles about the exact number, when the question is to the nearest 50k. This kind of analysis isn’t suited to giving an exact answer and unless the excess is substantial it would be inconclusive.

Elle Webber
Reply to  Rich Davis
September 8, 2020 11:54 pm

There could be any number of reasons for excess deaths that do not have to be deaths from WCV19. In my jurisdiction (British Columbia, Canada) there have been record high deaths from opioid use, triple the deaths from WCV19! Apparently isolation and despair are not kind to drug users. Those are excess deaths from a cause that was not there last year. And it certainly is a factor having a major effect.
Also in our area, hospital surgeries and treatments, including for cancers, were cancelled for months to keep hospital space freed up; people died as a result. Excess deaths from cancer due to a cause that was not there in 2019.
Hospital visits to Emergency for getting possible heart attacks or strokes checked out and treated were way down. Did people wind up dying from these untreated illnesses at home instead of being saved in hospital? If so, excess deaths from a cause not there previously.
Zero information has been forthcoming about suicides –are they up? Domestic violence deaths when the victims are told to stay home and isolate with their abusers?
You are convinced that all excess deaths *must* be covid. Illogical.

Reply to  commieBob
September 8, 2020 10:11 am

Commiebob said “The datum I most trust is excess deaths”

I agree, but I don’t think you can tell yet what the excess deaths are. You need probably a full year of data after the event. The reason being is that in the elderly or the infirm the excess deaths may just be deaths that have been brought forward by a few weeks or months from when they would otherwise have died. In other words, it was a small additional factor of the covid infection that finally resulted in death a few weeks early, but this was just one of many compounding factors. Claiming a covid death exaggerates its importance as a factor.

The same effect can occur after a heatwave – there may be excess deaths during the heatwave, but a dip in the deaths in the month or two following. The claim that heatwaves cause excess deaths is then somewhat spurious as there may be no net effect over the full year.

Rich Davis
Reply to  ThinkingScientist
September 8, 2020 11:32 am

That’s a fair argument and I bet you’re right that if covid is no longer a factor soon, we very well may see a period of lower than expected death, as a result of accelerating deaths by just a few months. If that scenario plays out, it would be perhaps reasonable to compare a longer period against the mean.

All of this parsing though! The question of interest to me is whether those who say covid is no worse than a typical flu are potentially right or not.

That doesn’t seem defensible.

Reply to  Rich Davis
September 8, 2020 4:04 pm

It seems to me it mostly depends on the age group. In the UK we continued initially to have official claims that it was very dangerous for all age groups. By the end of July it became clear that amongst the under 45’s there were only around 212 out of 20,000 plus deaths in that age group. Even for the under 60’s (and particularly females) the fatality rates are really very low. The death rates only start to become significant in the over 70s and over 80s .

So is it worse than a typical ‘flu? Political posturing will probably make it difficult to ever establish the truth. No politician will ever want to reveal the truth if it means it exposes them to criticism that they made a bad decision. SNAFU I think.

Rich Davis
Reply to  ThinkingScientist
September 8, 2020 5:02 pm


Reply to  Rich Davis
September 8, 2020 8:30 pm

rich Davis, I think covid is simply a bad flu season. it depends on which age bracket you’re referring to regarding covid deaths. it would appear that covid a really really bad flu season for sick individuals in nursing homes that are 75+ … doe everyone else (especially below 60), this is no worse than a regular flu season.

freedom monger
Reply to  commieBob
September 8, 2020 10:39 am

commieBob – I’ve been tracking these things very closely from the beginning. I know that someone is going to try to use this Excess Death thing to jack up the numbers in the end.

Here’s the deal – The US census bureau estimates that (under normal circumstances) there’s one death in the United States every 12 seconds – that translates to an average of 7,200 deaths every day of the year.

Today is day 251 of the year – that means 1,807,200 people will have died in the US this year, without COVID-19, by day’s end.

We add those 1,807,200 deaths to the 188,688 COVID-19 deaths that the CDC reports and we have a grand total of 1,995,888 deaths YTD in the US.

But is that really how many people have died? No one knows.

I say that if more than 1,995,888 people have died in the US this year, it is because of the Lockdowns, not COVID-19.

If anything, the number of COVID-19 deaths have been overstated rather than understated.

Rich Davis
Reply to  freedom monger
September 8, 2020 11:45 am

Sure lockdowns are one of the factors that differentiate 2020 from the past years, and we should surely account for that.

Lockdowns have modes of death that can be measured and compared to prior impacts—suicides, murders, alcohol and drug poisoning. (But also car accidents).

You make a fair point that to the extent that those obviously non-covid factors have changed, the change is more reasonably attributed to lockdown effects.

And it would be reasonable also to net the covid deaths with the lockdown deaths to ask if in hindsight the lockdowns were counterproductive. But it is in hindsight, after all. Reasonable to be upset if we keep doing something shown to be counterproductive. Not so reasonable to say Trump should have known in advance and resisted lockdowns that he and the Democrats both agreed were needed.

Reply to  Rich Davis
September 8, 2020 7:07 pm

You can’t really differentiate stress deaths from COVID deaths, as it happens. It mostly affects the frail and infirm in both cases.

Reply to  Rich Davis
September 10, 2020 3:00 am

There is a report that infant mortality rates are down 30%, since the infants were not getting their vaccine shots/boosters due to lockdown. This is telling, but also involves another context of those that would have gone to hospital/doctor and got a treatment that killed them – that didn’t go and didn’t die, because of the lockdown. I know, right…

Reply to  commieBob
September 9, 2020 5:48 pm

Ivor Cummins also looks at excess deaths, and later in the video the pattern in temperate versus warmer climates. I think you are extrapolating from the excess death rate in NYC and surrounds. They not only got it bad in the old folks homes, but also used intubation as a first line treatment for low pCO2. Part of the reason for intubating everyone they could was to make the expired air vent out – the staff were afraid of breathing in the same room. My daughter spent 3 weeks prior to delivery and 3 after in an isolation room on a maternity room, and they would not let her use her C-pap machine in case it made the air in the room bad!

Reply to  Fran
September 10, 2020 3:13 am

One of the best videos I’ve seen, great info and wonderful, clear, reasoning dialogue. Thank you.

September 8, 2020 7:07 am

It appears that we might have to widen the definition of hysteria.

Steve Case
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
September 8, 2020 9:09 am

Philip Mulholland

Last line from your link:

“Instances of mass hysteria have been recorded throughout history and continue to occur today [3].”

September 8, 2020 7:17 am

Steve McIntyre Strikes again!

Kevin kilty
September 8, 2020 8:31 am

Fauci seems to have primed himself for exaggeration and hysteria. I found an article he wrote with David Morens regarding lessons learned from an examination of the 1918 pandemic, and he made the statement that the biggest challenge would be dealing with a disease in which “25-50% of the population would fall ill in a few weeks time” — i.e. up to one half of the population ill or recovering at the same time.

I don’t see how one could have learned this from 1918. In the first place, even if a pandemic would eventually come to infect 20-60% of a population (I’m unsure if this really applies to 1918 itself or to 1918-1922, and is evidence pieced together from various sources), it surely doesn’t do so all at once because people quickly learn to distance themselves from others who are sick or potentially so — even if their calculations are wrong on this matter. This instinctive behavior is what makes interventions impossible to evaluated during an epidemic.

Komerade Cube
September 8, 2020 8:39 am

@Commie Bob – what is the definition of excess deaths and how is it measured?

Reply to  Komerade Cube
September 8, 2020 10:12 am

Have a look at the European graphs – The UK one is interesting with a climbing number of community cases and well below average excess deaths. I wonder if all that C19 has done is to hasten the already ‘programmed’ deaths and when an area under the graph analysis is done next year we arrive at a status quo?

Reply to  AngryScotonFraggleRock
September 8, 2020 2:09 pm

We should know the answer soon. If all Covid-19 did was pull forward deaths, then excess deaths should begin declining.

Reply to  Mohatdebos
September 8, 2020 3:54 pm

I don;t disagree, but as I commented upthread, I think you will need at least a year of data to start determining that.

Peter Taylor
September 8, 2020 8:51 am

Commie Bob hits the nail – excess deaths over expected tell the story. In the UK population of 60 million, over the ‘first wave’ period, there were 60,000 excess deaths attributable to Covid and/or the effects of lockdown and botched policies of transferring elderly patients from hospital to ‘care’ homes – without testing them or providing protection to the care-workers. ‘Cases’ were at first defined as hospital admissions (heavily triaged in my county) based on life-threatening symptoms and testing was done at that point. The data are not yet fully analysed, but 40,000 tested Co-19 cases died, and about 15,000 often untested died in care homes, and on top of that there are the indirect consequences – but there is a lot of leeway in that estimate.

In Somerset – a rural county with no major city, offices and commuter trains, there were 500 ‘cases’ in a polulation of 500,000, but each hospitalised case had been heavily triaged such that 20% died in hospital. The great majority – at least 90%, had co-morbidities, such as heart conditions. No mass testing was done to establish the IFR – ie the extent of infection and symptoms in the wider community.

Thus – the addtional risk of death was 1:1000 – compared to a normal flu year risk of 1:200,000 or in a severe flu year, 1:20,000.

The importance of distinguishing IFR and CFR comes in deciding a response to the ‘second wave’. As of today, ‘cases’ are on the increase (3000 new) but hospital admissions are not and deaths are in single figures – however, a mass testing programme is underway which will pick up mild cases as well as asymptomatic infections – and these are reported as ‘cases’ without adequate definition – thus frightening everyone into thinking a second wave similar or greater than the first is likely, unless mitigation measures are followed – at present, local lockdowns, masks and social distancing.

Only the example of Sweden, which has similar rates of infection, hospitalisation and deaths, but no lockdown (and a failed policy to protect care-homes), shows that the wider costs of lockdown, both economic and health impacts, could be avoided.

Covid is clearly much more deadly than flu – if you get it, and especially for the 8 million UK people over 70 and with co-morbidities. The initial study on which lockdown and shielding was based did not know what the relative risk (current risk of dying in one year mutplied by a risk factor) to these vulnerable people would be – so modelled figures from 1.2~3.0 with various levels of infection – like 80%, to represent a do-nothing scenario. The RR or 3 combined with widespread infection produced the 500,000 scary figure on which policy was based. In hindsight, the RR probably lies around 2 but we do not know what infection rates would operate under a no-mitigation strategy. We also do not know yet what the health-toll of lockdown and economic recession will add to ‘excess’ mortality.

What disturbs many people here is that advisors like Fauci in the USA, and the Imperical College team in the UK, are heavily involved with funding from vaccine development interests (GAVI and Gates Foundation) – with one unverified notion that Gates and Fauci were room-mates at Cornell; that Fauci created Moderna – the main vaccine contender in the US (and recipient of UK funds also). Billions of dollars are being spent worldwide based on a fear of infection and the prospects of an effective vaccine. There are also several highly placed experts (with addition of a former head of UK overseas secret intelligence service) claiming the virus was engineered in a joint US/China/French project in Wuhan in which Dr Fauci is a leading player; and that State Department memos of concern had already been raised with regard to accidents at the Wuhan labs.

Thus – humanity faces the prospect of further accidents and continual reliance on vaccines. At least the UK economy has the single largest company in Britain heavily invested in that vaccine!

Reply to  Peter Taylor
September 8, 2020 10:17 am

Only the example of Sweden, which has similar rates of infection, hospitalisation and deaths, but no lockdown (and a failed policy to protect care-homes), shows that the wider costs of lockdown, both economic and health impacts, could be avoided.

Except of being able to go to a café or a restaurant all the time and keeping primary schools and daycares opne Sweden hasn’t avoided anything so far. No benefit in economic loss or deaths. Both nearly at par with Italy and more than France.

We will see in the end who performed better but at the moment the net gain is not substantial though both Italy and France had a worse first wave.

Reply to  Ron
September 9, 2020 2:56 am

Except of being able to go to a café or a restaurant all the time and keeping primary schools and daycares opne Sweden hasn’t avoided anything so far. No benefit in economic loss or deaths.

Not sure about that:

David Oxley, senior Europe economist at Capital Economics, said the contraction showed Sweden was not “immune to Covid”. He added: “Nonetheless, the economic crunch over the first half of the year is in a different league entirely to the horror shows elsewhere in Europe.”

The UK economy in comparison shrieked ~20%. So numbers do matter.

High mortality rate in Sweden, though no worse than the UK, was inflated (what I heard) by euthanasia-like approach of their medical care system where many elderly patients with COVID were put on ‘palliative care’ instead of trying to save them.

Reply to  Paramenter
September 10, 2020 12:20 pm

Italy and France have been already in a recession in 2019:

where Sweden has not:

Assessing the change form last year to this year Sweden performs actually worse than Italy and France.

Reply to  Ron
September 11, 2020 2:27 am

Assessing the change form last year to this year Sweden performs actually worse than Italy and France.

I think not. Compare the change then. France – around 1.5% growth in 2019 and rapid decline in 2020: -19.

Sweden: smaller growth in 2019 and far smaller contraction in 2020:

Economists are also quite impressed with Sweden:

While Sweden saw a historic economic contraction in the second quarter, the 8.6 percent decline was less than half that of the United Kingdom (-19.1 percent) and Spain (-18.5). By the way, Sweden has also suffered fewer COVID-19 deaths per capita than both Spain and the UK, even though both Spain and the UK had strict government lockdowns.

Sweden’s GDP drop is also far milder than nations such as Portugal (-14.1 percent), France (-13.8 percent), Belgium (-12.2 percent), and Italy (-12.4 percent), and even tops Germany (-10.1 percent), one of Europe’s COVID-19 success stories.
GDP is only half the story, however. Perhaps more importantly, Sweden’s strategy has shown human society can still function in the presence of the coronavirus, despite the apocalyptic warnings from modelers and media.

While modelers predicted 96,000 Swedes would die by July as a result of its policy, as of mid-August the figure stands at less than 5,800, a higher per capita total than neighbors such as Finland, Norway, and Denmark but superior to Belgium, Italy, and others.


Nice graphical representation:
Sweden economy is doing better than any other European nation

A recent report from Capital Economics, an economic research firm based in London, concludes that Sweden’s economy is the least damaged in Europe, the “best of a bad bunch. Interestingly, as per Denmark the same report states: “quick lockdown exit helps to limit slump”.

Compare it to the UK: massive economic looses, more lockdown to come and tax rises on the horizon. Who is going to pay massive costs of the lockdown? Its scared to death victims, I’m afraid. Frazer Nelson from <a href=""The Telegraph summarized the situation as follows:

It has been a while since we have heard from Prof Neil Ferguson. It was, famously, his advice that led to the first lockdown – which he claimed, at the time, would limit deaths to about 20,000. This was, alas, not the case: lockdown succeeded in crushing the economy but did not stop Britain from ending with one of the world’s highest death rates.

Epic quote.

Reply to  Ron
September 9, 2020 1:09 pm

Yes to people like you not putting in quasi prison everybody and not infringing on basic rights more than in any period in French history (WWII included) is nothing.

That’s because you only give value to what others (ACLU, FIDH, LDH, and other “people’s right defenders”) tells you to value…

Reply to  niceguy
September 10, 2020 12:10 pm

You should stop taking whatever you do. It makes you hallucinating things that are not there.

Reply to  Peter Taylor
September 8, 2020 10:29 am

Thank you.

Vaccines may not be the answer. A recent study of the use of a vitamin D3 metabolite as a treatment had very impressive results. explanation

The study involved two groups of patients hospitalised for coronavirus. The difference was that one group got the D3 metabolite and the other (ie. the control group) didn’t. Half the control group ended up in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and two died. Only one of the treated group ended up in the ICU and nobody died.

Such a study screams to be replicated. If the results hold, the treatment should be a total game changer. If we didn’t get a vaccine, it wouldn’t matter that much.

A C Osborn
Reply to  commieBob
September 8, 2020 11:39 am

I learnt recently that the association with Vitamin D deficiency and poor outcomes with viral infections has been known since the 1950s and was revisited in both 2006 and 2008.
They were studying the flu then.
The fact that this seems to have been fogotten/ignored is an worldwide disgrace.
I think it is mainly because there is money in Vaccinations and not in Vitamins C, D, B12 and Zinc or HCQ & Ivermectin.

The study of earlier studies is here

Take a look at figure 2.

Larry in Texas
Reply to  Peter Taylor
September 8, 2020 11:42 am

“What disturbs many people here is that advisors like Fauci in the USA, and the Imperical College team in the UK, are heavily involved with funding from vaccine development interests (GAVI and Gates Foundation) – with one unverified notion that Gates and Fauci were room-mates at Cornell; that Fauci created Moderna – the main vaccine contender in the US (and recipient of UK funds also). Billions of dollars are being spent worldwide based on a fear of infection and the prospects of an effective vaccine. There are also several highly placed experts (with addition of a former head of UK overseas secret intelligence service) claiming the virus was engineered in a joint US/China/French project in Wuhan in which Dr Fauci is a leading player; and that State Department memos of concern had already been raised with regard to accidents at the Wuhan labs.”

You hit the nail on the head, bang on, sir. What you have said is enough justification for Fauci to be immediately fired by Trump. Why he has not, other than it being a presidential election year, is puzzling and disturbing to me.

Reply to  Larry in Texas
September 11, 2020 9:58 pm

He is referring to Sir Dearlove, MI6 former head, who with Christopher Steele put out the dossier known as the Russia-gate Hoax by none other than President Trump himself. Dearlove and his cohorts at the Henry Jackson Society are now the source of Chinagate, without even switching gear, full throttle.
Pompeo, Armageddon Mike himself, took tea at the London In and Out Club, and doubled down on China. Like Sir Henry Kissinger before who openly admitted keeping London informed before any of 4 US Administrations.
Time to snap out of it!

Reply to  Peter Taylor
September 8, 2020 8:41 pm

Peter, I think that sweeden was not the only first world country that had a failed policy to protect the elderly in care homes… I think this failed policy was practiced by most first world countries.

September 8, 2020 8:52 am
Reply to  Sommer
September 8, 2020 12:31 pm

What does this statement from the World Bank statement linked above mean?

“Medical Diagnostic Test instruments and apparatus (902780) exports by country in 2018
Additional Product information: Instruments used in clinical laboratories for In Vitro Diagnosis. Colorimetric end tidal CO2 detector, sizes compatible with child and adult endotracheal tube. Single use.
Category: Medical Test kits/ Instruments, apparatus used in Diagnostic Testing
The data here track previously existing medical devices that are now classified by the World Customs Organization as critical to tackling COVID-19”

Krishna Gans
September 8, 2020 9:32 am

All I know is, following the numbers of Worldometer, we had in Germany a CFR of 4,74 as high in June, and are actually at around 3,7.
It’s Excel telling me.
Our R0 is always around 1, ± 0,3, the weekends decrease the value.

Krishna Gans
Reply to  Krishna Gans
September 8, 2020 9:48 am

R0 as mentioned, since June, a temporary high with 2,5, max in March at 4,5

Reply to  Krishna Gans
September 8, 2020 8:51 pm

Krishna, CFR is not the best indicator the deadliness of the virus. It’ll tell you how many died from the pool that tested positive, but this is not as meaningful as the IFR, which will give a truer picture of the actual death rate of the virus since most people that get covid don’t present symptoms and will never know they caught covid so they never get tested. IFR is more important as far as I’m concerned. CFR can give different insights into the virus, but you’re only seeing part of the picture because the CFR pool is smaller.

Krishna Gans
Reply to  goracle
September 9, 2020 1:15 am

I only take the numbers I have at Wirldometer on a daily base.

Reply to  Krishna Gans
September 9, 2020 6:20 pm

krishna, unfortunately you’re praying to the wrong God and will never get close to the truth if worldmeter is your only source of info.

September 8, 2020 9:58 am

IFR flying is astronomically more challenging than is VFR flying, but those pilots who achieve this distinction are invariably better and safer pilots, both when flying IFR and when flying VFR. Aviating under IFR, a pilot is authorized to fly into clouds in what is called zero visibility.
Umm, oops, did I say that out loud ??
What were we even talking about 🙂

September 8, 2020 10:18 am

I’ve been screaming about this discrepancy between CFR and IFR since COVID19 antibody tests became available at the end of February, yet the CDC refuses to release the the total number of infections which are likely over 50 million.

The CDC knows the true number of all COVID19 infections (severe, mild and asymptomatic) and have purposefully skewed COVID 19 deaths to include both deaths FROM COVID19 and WITH COVID19 to inflate the death numbers, so they purposely screwed up BOTH the numerator and the denominator to make things appear as terrifying as possible…

Leftists have forced 45 million taxpayers to lose jobs and stuck them with an additional $8 Trillion in COVID19 spending they’ll NEVER be able to pay off…

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” The Leftists’ raison d’etre…

Larry in Texas
Reply to  SAMURAI
September 8, 2020 11:54 am

Based upon the serology study of over 2,500 adults of all ages, races and sizes done by Dr. Jay Bhattacharaya and others in Santa Clara County, California (which is mentioned in Brown’s article without actually citing who did the study), the good doctor found approximately a 19 percent infection rate. If this can be considered a representative sample worthy of legitimate scientific extrapolation, based upon the current population of the United States as indicated on, the number of people infected in the US is just short of 63 million. Which if verified, would indicate an IFR of around 0.3%. As Brown questioned the numbers that Anthony Fauci used in his report to Congress about the fatality rate of influenza patients, I do not know exactly know whether COVID-19 is or is not deadlier than influenza viruses that are floating around. But if you give Fauci’s statistics some (reluctant) credence, this would make it only three times deadlier than the flu on average, but not necessarily worse than a very bad flu season (of which we have had many). Either way, there has been NO justification whatsoever for the shutdown or the other mitigation measures, such as mandatory masks. None.

Reply to  Larry in Texas
September 8, 2020 10:40 pm

The Santa Clara antibody test results are indicative of what’s very likely happening across America, which was done in March, so by now the US is very close to herd immunity, but the CDC refuses to provide their antibody test results.

Moreover, for the first time in CDC history, they’re mixing deaths FROM COVID19 with deaths of patience WITH COVID19, and hospitals aren’t required to have tested the deceased patient for COVID19, they can just assume the patient had it…

I wouldn’t be at all surprised that if the same criteria that was used to determine past flu deaths were used for COVID19, the total number of US COVID19 deaths would be closer to 120,000 compared to the 190,000 deaths the CDC is now propagandizing, for an IFR of 0.2.

The average IFR for the regular flu is around 0.1, so COVID19’s IFR of 0.2 is bad, however, it’s about the same as the US flu epidemics of 1959 and 1968, where the equivalent of about 200,000 Americans died (adjusted for population), and we didn’t shut the economy down or waste $8 trillion…

Historians will look at how the world responded to COVID19 pandemic and assume we were absolutely insane, which we were…

Johan Gommers
September 8, 2020 11:04 am

I calculate my mortality rate at 25% since I belong to 80# group. The overall rate is around 0.4%. Lucky I live in rural area and my outdoors activity is 2 times per day biking witth my wife. I hope tot go on holiday in november to Cabo Verde.

Reply to  Johan Gommers
September 8, 2020 9:05 pm

johan, my cousin married uma Cabo Verdiana. She came to USA small but still remembers and i love speaking to her about it. I attended my school years with her brother. Where I grew up has essentially turned into little Cabo Verde.
I’d live to go visit that island chain one day (maybe Sal). should only be a small plane ride from Madeira archipelago. Some day. Have a great time when you go.

freedom monger
September 8, 2020 11:08 am

And now for something completely different…

The Virus, by Blue Oyster Cult

All our times have come
Here but now they’re gone
Seasons don’t fear the virus
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain, we can be like they are
Come on baby, don’t fear the virus
Baby take my hand, don’t fear the virus
We’ll be able to fly, don’t fear the virus
Baby I’m your man
La, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la
Valentine is done
Here but now they’re gone
Romeo and Juliet
Are together in eternity, Romeo and Juliet
40, 000 men and women everyday, Like Romeo and Juliet
40, 000 men and women everyday, Redefine happiness
Another 40, 000 coming everyday, We can be like they are
Come on baby, don’t fear the virus
Baby take my hand, don’t fear the virus
We’ll be able to fly, don’t fear the virus
Baby I’m your man
La, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la

(No Comments about Cowbells Allowed)

Richard Mann
September 8, 2020 12:00 pm

These problems would all go away if Doctors would prescribe HCQ.

Why is there so much argument about numbers, of which many people suspect are invalid anyway?
There will be plenty of time to work out once the fear is removed.

September 8, 2020 12:38 pm

The paper ignores the seroprevalence studies from Italy, UK and Spain which come all down with an IFR of around 1% and is therefore not really a credible, objective source.

Don B
September 8, 2020 12:57 pm

Here is an article from a British doctor on the 1% blunder which did so much harm.

Reply to  Don B
September 8, 2020 3:09 pm may be seen by some as an unreliable source. The original source is here:

Stephen W
September 8, 2020 2:01 pm

This seems like a lame excuse for why the whole world panicked so badly over what turned out to be no worse than a “bad flu”.

john cooknell
September 8, 2020 2:08 pm

In UK at the moment an entirely different method of controlling the reported infection rate.

If you have symptoms and request a test, you cannot get one!

As to deaths caused by Covid 19 ? :- well all tests and statistics have uncertainty. But if the absolute number of excess deaths reported by ONS is in the same order as the paradigm derived “Covid 19 deaths” then I begin to believe the Covid 19 statistics are correct.

At the start we all knew that tests would be biased positive, just how much biased and what this might achieve nobody knew. There were not enough tests to go around so things got very uncertain, so the public health people had to make a call with little or no information.

At the start Statistical model projections for deaths caused by Covid 19 in UK ranged from 7000 to 500,000.
The medical people on the frontline, (I know a few) were very scared of what they saw coming at them, even our Prime Minister got very ill.

Armchair epidemiology serves no purpose.

September 8, 2020 2:16 pm

I can’t speak for everybody, but I’m starting to wonder if Dr. Fauci is qualified to serve chicken at a drive thru window.

Do you know what they call the person each year who graduates medical school with the lowest grades?


Loren C. Wilson
September 8, 2020 4:18 pm

The number of excess deaths comes from the CDC. Go to:

Dr. John H
September 8, 2020 6:26 pm

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick wrote a fantastic post about this a few days ago. I highly recommend!

September 9, 2020 10:55 am

It’s to be noted, in most epidemics up to 1995 or so the usual practice was to quarantine the infected patients, preferably at home, for mumps, measles, rubella, the common flu, and other infections.

Since when did quarantining all the healthy people become some sort of bellwether of an epidemic? It is on it’s face ridiculous to quarantine 330 million plus people to combat an infection in at most a million or so.

September 10, 2020 1:05 pm

I looked into this many months ago and found that the CDC estimates flu infections on the high side to encourage vaccination. This means people are comparing actual Covid deaths counted (and we presume there are more uncounted) vs. a mathematical model with various assumptions in it projected from the fewer flu infections that are counted. An IFR of .1% for flu was 5 to ten times less than the estimated Covid IFR of .5 to 1%. The CDC has now settled into about .6% IFR for Covid that we compare to a generous flu IFR. Small percents add up to big numbers in deaths over a large popn, especially when you don’t have vaccines and uncertain therapies. If you look at Worldometers, Covid CFR for the U.S. has settled into 5% for some time – this may not be the official CFR but one we’ve been watching. This is way better than it was at the beginning of the outbreak where it was ran 10 and 12% for a while. If we’ve been played, it has been overstating the mortality of flu, I believe. Covid also has more long lasting chronic effects, including possible damage to testes and potential for fertility problems. A recent autopsy study showed damage to the testicles in a subset of patients. Abnormal heart scans have also been found. Death is highest stakes, but chronic illness is not great consolation prize.

Reply to  Lizzie
September 11, 2020 10:09 pm

Dr. Fauci clearly mentioned PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans showing cardiac damage in younger COVID cases even when not severe. PET measures actual cell metabolism, normally used for cancer tumors. He says what happens if a few months later a wave of cardiac problems in younger people appears.

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