Covid-19 Facts July Updates

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Covid-19 Facts July Updates

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The material was originally published on www.swprs.org. All links and data were checked by SF Team.

Today the world has almost forgotten about the hysteria that existed a couple of months ago. MSM have shifted their focus to protests in the United States and Europe.

One gets the feeling that Covid-19’s history is being bashfully put into cold storage as an unsuccessful project or as a symbol of the incompetence of MSM and politicians.

In fact, the May 9 grand parade in Minsk, crowds of protesters around the world that are gathering for the third week have not caused a significant increase in the incidence of Covid-19, and especially mortality from coronavirus.

More and more facts are emerging that suggest that the hysteria surrounding the coronacrisis was unfounded or artificially created. We bring to your attention a review of scientific and medical facts collected and analyzed on July 2020 by a group of researchers from Swiss Policy Research (SPR). The June 2020 report can be found here.

“The only means to fight the plague is honesty.” (Albert Camus, 1947)

Overview

  1. According to the latest immunological studies, the overall lethality of Covid-19 (IFR) is about 0.1% and thus in the range of a severe influenza (flu). For people at high risk or high exposure (including health care workers), early or prophylactic treatment is essential.
  2. In countries like the US, the UK, and also Sweden (without a lockdown), overall mortality since the beginning of the year is in the range of a strong influenza season; in countries like Germany, Austria and Switzerland, overall mortality is in the range of a mild influenza season.
  3. Even in global “hotspots”, the risk of death for the general population of school and working age is typically in the range of a daily car ride to work. The risk was initially overestimated because many people with only mild or no symptoms were not taken into account.
  4. Up to 80% of all test-positive persons remain symptom-free. Even among 70-79 year olds, about 60% remain symptom-free. About 95% of all people develop at most moderate symptoms.
  5. Up to 60% of all persons may already have a certain cellular background immunity to the new coronavirus due to contact with previous coronaviruses (i.e. common cold viruses). The initial assumption that there was no immunity against the new coronavirus was not correct.
  6. The median age of the deceased in most countries (including Italy) is over 80 years (e.g. 86 years in Sweden) and only about 4% of the deceased had no serious preconditions. The age and risk profile of deaths thus essentially corresponds to normal mortality.
  7. In many countries, up to two thirds of all extra deaths occurred in nursing homes, which do not benefit from a general lockdown. Moreover, in many cases it is not clear whether these people really died from Covid-19 or from weeks of extreme stress and isolation.
  8. Up to 30% of all additional deaths may have been caused not by Covid-19, but by the effects of the lockdown, panic and fear. For example, the treatment of heart attacks and strokes decreased by up to 60% because many patients no longer dared to go to hospital.
  9. Even in so-called “Covid-19 deaths” it is often not clear whether they died from or with coronavirus (i.e. from underlying diseases) or if they were counted as “presumed cases” and not tested at all. However, official figures usually do not reflect this distinction.
  10. Many media reports of young and healthy people dying from Covid-19 turned out to be false: many of these young people either did not die from Covid-19, they had already been seriously ill (e.g. from undiagnosed leukaemia), or they were in fact 109 instead of 9 years old. The claimed increase in Kawasaki disease in children also turned out to be false.
  11. Strong increases in regional mortality can occur if there is a collapse in the care of the elderly and sick as a result of infection or panic, or if there are additional risk factors such as severe air pollution. Questionable regulations for dealing with the deceased sometimes led to additional bottlenecks in funeral or cremation services.
  12. In countries such as Italy and Spain, and to some extent the UK and the US, hospital overloads due to strong flu waves are not unusual. Moreover, this year up to 15% of health care workers were put into quarantine, even if they developed no symptoms.
  13. The often shown exponential curves of “corona cases” are misleading, as the number of tests also increased exponentially. In most countries, the ratio of positive tests to tests overall (i.e. the positivity rate) remained constant at 5% to 25% or increased only slightly. In many countries, the peak of the spread was already reached well before the lockdown.
  14. Countries without lockdowns, such as JapanSouth KoreaBelarus and Sweden, have not experienced a more negative course of events than many other countries. Sweden was even praised by the WHO and now benefits from higher immunity compared to lockdown countries. 75% of Swedish deaths happened in nursing facilities that weren’t protected fast enough.
  15. The fear of a shortage of ventilators was unjustified. According to lung specialists, the invasive ventilation (intubation) of Covid-19 patients, which is partly done out of fear of spreading the virus, is in fact often counterproductive and damaging to the lungs.
  16. Various studies have shown that the main routes of transmission of the virus are neither long-range aerosols (i.e. tiny particles floating in the air) nor smear infections (i.e. on surfaces), but direct contact and droplets produced when coughing or sneezing.
  17. The effectiveness of face masks in healthy and asymptomatic individuals remains questionable. Experts warn that such masks may interfere with normal breathing and may become “germ carriers”. Leading doctors called them a “media hype” and “ridiculous”.
  18. Many clinics in Europe and the US remained strongly underutilized or almost empty during the Covid-19 peak and in some cases had to send staff home. Millions of surgeries and therapies were cancelled, including many cancer screenings and organ transplants.
  19. Several media were caught trying to dramatize the situation in hospitals, sometimes even with manipulative images and videos. In general, the unprofessional reporting of many media maximized fear and panic in the population.
  20. The virus test kits used internationally are prone to errors and can produce false positive and false negative results. Moreover, the official virus test was not clinically validated due to time pressure and may sometimes react positive to other common coronaviruses.
  21. Numerous internationally renowned experts in the fields of virology, immunology and epidemiology consider the measures taken to be counterproductive and recommend rapid natural immunization of the general population and protection of risk groups.
  22. At no time was there a medical reason for the closure of schools, as the risk of disease and transmission in children is extremely low. There is also no medical reason for small classes, masks or ‘social distancing’ rules in schools.
  23. The claim that only (severe) Covid-19 but not influenza may cause venous thrombosis and pulmonary (lung) embolism is not true, as it has been known for 50 years that severe influenza greatly increases the risk of thrombosis and embolism, too.
  24. Several medical experts described express coronavirus vaccines as unnecessary or even dangerous. Indeed, the vaccine against the so-called swine flu of 2009, for example, led to cases of severe neurological damage and lawsuits in the millions. In the testing of new coronavirus vaccines, too, serious complications and failures have already been reported.
  25. A global respiratory disease pandemic can indeed extend over several seasons, but many studies of a “second wave” are based on very unrealistic assumptions, such as a constant risk of illness and death across all age groups.
  26. In places like New York City, nurses described an oftentimes fatal medical mis­manage­ment of Covid patients due to questionable financial incentives or inappropriate medical protocols. On the other hand, early treatment with zinc and HCQ turned out to be effective after all.
  27. The number of people suffering from unemployment, depressions and domestic violence as a result of the measures has reached historic record levels. Several experts predict that the measures will claim far more lives than the virus itself. According to the UN 1.6 billion people around the world are at immediate risk of losing their livelihood.
  28. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden warned that the “corona crisis” will be used for the permanent expansion of global surveillance. Renowned virologist Pablo Goldschmidt spoke of a “global media terror” and “totalitarian measures”. Leading British virologist Professor John Oxford spoke of a “media epidemic”.
  29. More than 600 scientists have warned of an “unprecedented surveillance of society” through problematic apps for “contact tracing”. In some countries, such “contact tracing” is carried out directly by the secret service. In several parts of the world, the population is being monitored by drones and facing serious police overreach during lockdowns.
  30. A 2019 WHO study on public health measures against pandemic influenza found that from a medical perspective, “contact tracing” is “not recommended in any circumstances”. Nevertheless, contact tracing apps have already become partially mandatory in several countries.

June 2020 Updates

On the development of the pandemic

In most Western countries, the peak of coronavirus infections was already reached in March or April and often before the lockdown. The peak of deaths in most Western countries was in April. Since then, hospitalizations and deaths have been declining in most Western countries (see graphs below).

This development also applies to countries without a lockdown, such as Sweden, Belarus and Japan. Cumulative annual mortality in most western countries continues to be in the range of a mild (e.g. CH, AT, DE) to strong (e.g. USA, UK) influenza season.

After the end of the lockdowns, the number of corona tests in the low-risk general population has increased strongly in many countries, for example in connection with people returning to work and school.

This led to a certain increase in positive test results in some countries or regions, which was portrayed by many media and authorities as an allegedly dangerous increase in “case numbers” and sometimes led to new restrictions, even if the rate of positive tests remained very low.

“Case numbers” are, however, a misleading figure that cannot be equated with sick or infected people. A positive test can, for example, be due to non-infectious virus fragments, an asymptomatic infection, a repeated test, or a false-positive result.

Moreover, counting alleged “case numbers” is not meaningful simply because antibody tests and immunological tests have long shown that the new coronavirus is up to fifty times more widespread than assumed on the basis of daily PCR tests.

Rather, the decisive figures are the number of sick people, hospitalisations and deaths. It should be noted, however, that many hospitals are now back to normal operation and all patients, including asymptomatic patients, are additionally tested for the coronavirus. Therefore, what matters is the number of actual Covid patients in hospitals and ICUs.

In the case of Sweden, for example, the WHO had to withdraw the classification as a “risk country” after it became clear that the apparent increase in “cases” was due to an increase in testing. In fact, hospitalisations and deaths in Sweden have been declining since April.

Some countries have already been in a state of below-average mortality since May. The reason for this is that the median age of corona deaths was often higher than the average life expectancy, as up to 80% of deaths occurred in nursing homes.

In countries and regions where the spread of the coronavirus has so far been greatly reduced, it is nevertheless entirely possible that there will be a renewed increase in Covid patients. In these cases, early and effective treatment is important (see below).

Global Covid-19 mortality is currently – despite the significantly older population nowadays – a whole order of magnitude below the flu pandemics of 1957 (Asian flu) and 1968 (Hong Kong flu) and in the range of the rather mild “swine flu pandemic” of 2009.

The following charts illustrate the discrepancy between “cases” and deaths:

Covid-19 Facts July Updates

Worlwide: “cases” vs. deaths

Covid-19 Facts July Updates

USA: “cases” vs. deaths

Covid-19 Facts July Updates

Florida: “cases” vs. deaths

Covid-19 Facts July Updates

Sweden: Reported “cases”, adjusted for testing, and ICU usage

The following chart compares the Covid-19 pandemic to earlier pandemics:

Covid-19 Facts July Updates

Sweden: All-cause mortality (Nov. to May) since 1990

Covid-19 Facts July Updates

UK overall mortality 2020 (shifted) vs. 1999 and 2000

Covid-19 Facts July Updates

Switzerland: Cumulative mortality vs. expectation value (2010-2020)

Covid-19 Facts July Updates

German overall mortality (2017 to 2020)

The following chart compares deaths in Sweden (no lockdown) New York State:

Covid-19 Facts July Updates

Deaths in Sweden versus New York State (FEE/Paul Yowell)

The following chart compares the Covid-19 pandemic to earlier pandemics:

Covid-19 Facts July Updates

Global Covid mortality compared to earlier pandemics (DB Research)

On the lethality of Covid-19

Most antibody studies have shown a population-based Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) of 0.1% to 0.3%. The US health authority CDC published in May a still cautious “best estimate” of 0.26% (based on 35% asymptomatic cases).

At the end of May, however, an immunological study by the University of Zurich was published, which for the first time showed that the usual antibody tests that measure antibodies in the blood (IgG and IgM) can detect at most about one fifth of all coronavirus infections.

The reason for this is that in most people the new coronavirus is already neutralised by antibodies on the mucous membrane (IgA) or by cellular immunity (T cells) and no symptoms or only mild symptoms develop.

This means that the new coronavirus is probably much more widespread than previously assumed and the lethality per infection is around five times lower than previously estimated. The real lethality could therefore be significantly below 0.1% and thus in the range of influenza.

At the same time, the Swiss study may explain why children usually develop no symptoms  (due to frequent contact with previous corona cold viruses), and why even hotspots such as New York City found an antibody prevalence (IgG/IgM) of at most 20% – as this already corresponds to herd immunity.

The Swiss study has in the meantime been confirmed by several more studies:

  1. A Swedish study showed that people with mild or asymptomatic disease often neutralized the virus with T-cells without the need to produce antibodies. Overall, T-cell immunity was about twice as common as antibody immunity.
  2. A large Spanish antibody study published in Lancet showed that less than 20% of symptomatic people and about 2% of asymptomatic people had IgG antibodies.
  3. A German study (preprint) showed that 81% of the people who had not yet had contact with the new corona virus already had cross-reactive T-cells and thus a certain background immunity (due to contact with previous corona cold viruses).
  4. A Chinese study in the journal Nature showed that in 40% of asymptomatic persons and in 12.9% of symptomatic persons no IgG antibodies are detectable after the recovery phase.
  5. Another Chinese study with almost 25,000 clinic employees in Wuhan showed that at most one fifth of the presumably infected employees had IgG antibodies (press article).
  6. A small French study (preprint) showed that six of eight infected family members of Covid patients developed a temporary T-cell immunity without antibodies.

Video interviewSwedish Doctor: T-cell immunity and the truth about Covid-19 in Sweden

In this context, a US study in the journal Science Translational Medicine, using various indicators, concluded that the lethality of Covid-19 was much lower than originally assumed, but that its spread in some hotspots was up to 80 times faster than suspected, which would explain the rapid but short-duration increase in patients.

A study in the Austrian ski resort of Ischgl, one of the first European “corona hotspots”, found antibodies in 42% of the population. 85% of the infections went “unnoticed” (i.e. very mild), about 50% of the infections went completely without (noticeable) symptoms.

The high antibody value of 42% in Ischgl was due to the fact that Ischgl also tested for IgA antibodies in the blood (instead of only IgM/IgG). Additional tests for mucosal IgA and for T-cells would undoubtedly have shown even higher immunity levels close to herd immunity.

Ischgl saw two Covid-related deaths (both of them men over 80 with preconditions), resulting in a ‘crude IFR’ of 0.26%. Considering the population structure and the actual extent of immunity, the population-based Covid lethality is likely to be below 0.1%

Due to its rather low lethality, Covid-19 falls at most into level 2 of the five-level pandemic plan developed by US health authorities. For this level, only the “voluntary isolation of sick people” is to be applied, while further measures such as face masks, school closings, distance rules, contact tracing, vaccinations and lockdowns of entire societies are not recommended.

The new immunological results also mean that “immunity passports” and mass vaccinations are unlikely to work and are therefore not a useful strategy.

Some media continue to speak of allegedly much higher Covid lethality levels. However, these media refer to outdated simulation models, confuse mortality and lethality, or CFR and IFR, or “raw IFR” and population-based IFR. More about these errors here.

In July, an antibody prevalence of allegedly up to 70% was reported in some New York City districts. However, this is not a population-based figure, but rather antibodies in people who had visited an urgent care center.

The following graph shows the actual development of corona deaths in Sweden (no lockdown, no face mask obligation) compared to the forecasts of Imperial College London (orange: no measures; grey: moderate measures). Swedish annual all-cause mortality actually is in the range of a medium flu wave and 3.6% lower than in previous years.

Covid-19 Facts July Updates
Corona deaths in Sweden: ICL prediction versus reality (HTY/FOHM)

On the health risks of Covid-19

Why is the new coronavirus harmless for many people, but very dangerous for some people? The reason has to to with special features of the virus and the human immune system.

Many people, including almost all children, can neutralise the new corona virus with an existing immunity (due to contact with previous corona cold viruses) or through antibodies on the mucous membranes (IgA), without it causing much damage.

However, if this does not succeed, the virus can penetrate the organism. There the virus can cause complications in the lung (pneumonia), the blood vessels (thromboses, embolisms), and other organs due to its efficient use of the human ACE2 cell receptor.

If in this case the immune system reacts too weakly (in older people) or too strongly (in some younger people), the course of the disease can become critical.

It has also been confirmed that the symptoms or complications of serious Covid-19 disease can last for weeks or even months in some cases.

Therefore, the new coronavirus should not be underestimated and early and effective treatment is absolutely crucial for patients at risk.

In the longer term, the new coronavirus could develop into a typical cold virus, similar to the coronavirus NL63, which also uses the ACE2 cell receptor and nowadays affects primarily young children and nursing patients, causing upper and lower respiratory tract infections.

On the treatment of Covid-19

Note: Patients are asked to consult a doctor.

Several studies have now confirmed what some front-line physicians have been saying since March: Early treatment of Covid patients with zinc and the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is indeed effective. US doctors have reported a reduction in hospitalisation rates of up to 84% and a stabilisation of the health condition often within a few hours.

Zinc has antiviral properties, HCQ supports zinc absorption and has additional antiviral properties. These drugs are supplemented by doctors if necessary with an antibiotic (to prevent a bacterial superinfection) and a blood thinner (to prevent infection-related thromboses and embolisms).

The alleged or actual negative results with HCQ in some studies were based, according to the current state of knowledge, on delayed use (intensive care patients), excessive doses (up to 2400mg per day), manipulated data sets, or ignored contraindications (e.g., favism or heart problems).

Sadly, the WHO, many media and some authorities may have caused considerable and unnecessary damage to public health in recent months through their negative stance, which may have been politically motivated or influenced by pharmaceutical interests.

French professor of medicine Jaouad Zemmouri, for example, estimates that Europe could have avoided up to 78% of Covid deaths by adopting a consistent HCQ treatment strategy.

HCQ contraindications such as favism or heart problems need to be considered, but the recent Ford Medical Center study achieved a reduction in hospital deaths of around 50% even with 56% African-American patients (who more often have favism).

However, the crucial point in the treatment of high-risk patients is early intervention as soon as the first typical symptoms develop and even without a PCR test in order to prevent progression of the disease and avoid intensive care hospitalization.

Most countries did the exact opposite: after the infection wave in March, they imposed a lockdown, so that infected and frightened people were locked up in their homes without treatment and often waited until they developed severe respiratory distress and had to be taken directly to the intensive care unit, where they were often sedated and intubated and were likely to die.

It is conceivable that a zinc HCQ combination protocol, which is simple, safe and inexpensive, could make more complex drugs, vaccinations and measures largely obsolete.

More recently, a case study from France showed that in four of the first five patients treated with the much more expensive drug Remdesivir from the pharmaceutical company Gilead, treatment had to be discontinued due to liver issues and kidney failure.

Read moreOn the treatment of Covid-19

On the effectiveness of masks

Various countries have introduced or are currently discussing the introduction of mandatory masks in public transport, in shopping malls, or generally in public.

Some may argue that the discussion has become largely obsolete because of the lower-than-expected lethality and hospitalization rate of Covid-19 and the available treatment options, which have mostly eased the initial concern of “flattening the curve”.

Nevertheless, the question of the effectiveness of masks can be asked. In the case of influenza epidemics, the answer is already clear from a scientific point of view: masks in everyday life have no or very little effect. If used improperly, they can even increase the risk of infection.

Ironically, the best and most recent example of this is the often-mentioned Japan: Despite its ubiquitous masks, Japan experienced its most recent strong flu wave – with around five million people falling ill – just one year ago, in January and February 2019.

However, unlike SARS corona viruses, influenza viruses are transmitted also by children. Indeed, Japan had to close around ten thousand schools in 2019 due to acute outbreaks of the flu.

With the SARS 1 virus of 2002 and 2003, there is some evidence that medical masks can provide partial protection against infection. But SARS-1 spread almost exclusively in hospitals, i.e. in a professional environment, and hardly to the general public at large.

In contrast, a study from 2015 showed that the cloth masks in use today are permeable to 97% of viral particles due to their pore size and can further increase the risk of infection by storing moisture.

Some studies recently argued that everyday masks are nevertheless effective in the case of the new coronavirus and could at least prevent the infection of other people. However, these studies suffer from poor methodology and sometimes show the opposite of what they claim.

Typically, these studies ignore the effect of other simultaneous measures, the natural development of infection numbers, changes in test activity, or they compare countries with very different conditions.

An overview:

  1. A German study claimed that the introduction of compulsory masks in German cities had led to a decrease in infections. But the data does not support this: in some cities there was no change, in others a decrease, in others an increase in infections (see graph below). The city of Jena, presented as a model, simultaneously introduced the strictest quarantine rules in Germany, but the study did not mention this.
  2. A study in the journal PNAS claimed that masks had led to a decrease in infections in three hotspots (including New York City). This did not take into account the natural decrease in infections and other measures. The study was so flawed that over 40 scientists recommended that the study be withdrawn.
  3. A US study claimed that compulsory masks had led to a decrease in infections in 15 states. The study did not take into account that the incidence of infection was already declining in most states at that time. A comparison with other states was not made.
  4. A Canadian study claimed that countries with compulsory masks had fewer deaths than countries without compulsory masks. But the study compared African, Latin American, Asian and Eastern European countries with very different infection rates and population structures.
  5. A meta-study in the journal Lancet claimed that masks “could” lead to a reduction in the risk of infection, but the studies considered mainly hospitals (Sars-1) and the strength of the evidence was reported as “low”.

The medical benefit of compulsory masks therefore continues to remain questionable. A comparative study by the University of East Anglia, for instance, came to the conclusion that compulsory masks had no measurable effect on the incidence of Covid infections or deaths.

It is also clear that widespread use of face masks couldn’t stop the initial outbreak in Wuhan.

Sweden showed that even without a lockdown, without mandatory masks and with one of the lowest intensive care bed capacities in Europe, hospitals need not be overburdened. In fact, Sweden’s annual all-cause mortality has remained in the range of previous flu seasons.

At any rate, authorities shouldn’t suggest to the population that mandatory masks reduce the risk of infection, for example in public transport, as there is no evidence of this. Whether with or without masks, there is an increased risk of infection in densely packed indoor areas.

Interestingly, the demand for a worldwide obligation to wear masks is led by a lobby group called “masks4all” (masks for all), which was founded by a “young leader” of the Davos forum.

Covid-19 Facts July Updates
Mandatory masks in German cities: no relevant impact. (IZA 2020)

The role of contact tracing

Numerous countries have introduced smartphone apps and special units for “contact tracing”. However, there is no evidence that these can make an epidemiologically relevant contribution.

In the case of tracing pioneer Iceland, the app has largely failed, in Norway it was stopped for data protection reasons, in India, Argentina, Singapore and other countries it became mandatory after all, in Israel contact tracing is operated directly by the secret service.

A WHO study on influenza pandemics in 2019 came to the conclusion that contact tracing is not useful from an epidemiological point of view and “is not recommended in any circumstances”. The typical area of application is rather sexually transmitted diseases or food poisoning.

Moreover, serious concerns about data protection and civil rights remain.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden warned as early as March that governments could use the corona crisis as an occasion or pretext for expanding global surveillance and control, thus creating an “architecture of oppression”.

A whistleblower who had taken part in a training program for contact tracers in the US described it as “totalitarian” and a “danger to society”.

Swiss computer science professor Serge Vaudenay showed that the contact tracing protocols are by no means “decentralized” and “transparent”, because the actual functionality is implemented through a Google and Apple interface (GAEN) that is not “open source”.

This interface has now been integrated by Google and Apple into three billion mobile phones. According to Prof. Vaudenay, the interface may record and store all contacts, not just those that are medically “relevant”. A German IT expert, for his part, described tracing apps as a “Trojan horse”.

For more information on “contact tracing”, see the June update.

See alsoInside the NSA’s Secret Tool for Mapping Your Social Network (Wired)

Covid-19 Facts July Updates
“Contact Tracing” powered by Google und Apple

On the origin of the new coronavirus

In the June update it was shown that renowned virologists consider a laboratory origin of the new coronavirus to be “at least as plausible” as a natural origin. This is due to some genetic peculiarities of the virus in the receptor binding domain, which lead to high infectivity in humans.

In the meantime, further evidence for this hypothesis has emerged. More in these articles:

Developments since the beginning of 2020 show that the new coronavirus cannot be seen as a “bioweapon” in the strict sense of the term, as it is not deadly enough and not targeted enough. However, it may well cause fear among the population and be exploited politically.

Nevertheless, besides a potential lab origin, a natural origin continues to be a realistic possibility, even though the “Wuhan wet market” hypothesis and more recently the pangolin hypothesis have in the meantime been ruled out by experts.

Covid-19 Facts July Updates
The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV)

(Last updated: July 17)

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