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April 15, 2020
- In the British Telegraph, Professor Alexander Kekulé, one of Germany’s leading microbiologists and epidemiologists, calls for an end to the lockdown as it causes more damage than the virus itself. In people under 50 years of age, severe disease or death are „very, very unlikely“. The general population should develop rapid immunity, while risk groups should be protected. One cannot wait for a vaccine, which will take at least six to twelve months, but must find a way to live with the virus, Professor Kekulé said.
- The German Network for Evidence-Based Medicine reports that the lethality of a severe seasonal influenza (flu) such as 2017/2018 is estimated by the German Robert Koch Institute to be 0.4% to 0.5%, and not only 0.1% as previously assumed. This would mean that the lethality of Covid19 could even be lower than that of a strong seasonal influenza, even though it may spread faster.
- The Luxembourger Tageblatt reports that Sweden’s „relaxed strategy on Covid19 seems to work“. Despite minimal measures, the situation seems to be „clearly calming down at the moment“. A huge field hospital that was set up near Stockholm remains closed due to lack of demand. The number of patients in intensive care units remains constant at a low level or is even slightly declining. „There are many vacancies in intensive care units in all Stockholm hospitals. We are approaching the flattening of the illness curve,“ explained a senior physician at the Karolinska Klinik. So far there have been about 900 deaths with Covid19 in Sweden.
- A direct comparison between the UK (with lockdown) and Sweden (without lockdown) shows that the two countries are almost identical in terms of case numbers and deaths per population.
- A letter to the New England Journal of Medicine reports that in a study of pregnant women, 88% of test-positive women showed no symptoms – a very high figure, but one that is consistent with earlier reports from China and Iceland.
- Professor Dan Yamin, director of the Epidemiology Research Laboratory at Tel Aviv University, explains in an interview that the new corona virus is „hardly dangerous“ for a large part of the population and that rapid natural immunity must be the goal. The money is better spent on extending a clinic than on paying for damages due to the lockdown, he said.
- The president of the Israeli National Research Council, Professor Isaac Ben-Israel, argues that according to current findings, the corona epidemic is over in most countries after about 8 weeks, regardless of the measures taken. He therefore recommends to lift the „lockdown“ immediately.
- The British statistics professor David Spiegelhalter shows that the risk of death from Covid19 corresponds roughly to normal mortality and is visibly increased only for the age group between approx. 70 and 80 years (see the graph at the end of the linked article).
- Professor Karin Moelling, emeritus director of the Institute of Virology at the University of Zurich and an early critic of excessive measures, stresses in a new interview the role of local special factors such as air pollution and population density.
- The British Guardian pointed out in 2015 that extreme air pollution in Chinese cities kills 4000 people per day. This is more than China has so far reported in total Covid19 deaths.
- The German virologist Hendrik Streeck has defended himself against criticism of his pilot study. Streeck found a lethality (based on cases) of 0.37% and a mortality (based on population) of 0.06%, which corresponds to a strong seasonal flu.
- Austrian internal medicine specialists warn of „collateral damage“: Due to the coronavirus, control and operation dates are postponed and fewer patients with heart attack symptoms come to the hospitals.
- A Swiss biophysicist has for the first time graphically depicted the rate of positive Covid19 tests in Switzerland since early March. The result shows that the positive rate oscillates between about 10% and 25% and that the „lockdown“ has had no significant influence (see graph below). Interestingly, Swiss authorities and media have never shown this graph.
- A Swiss researcher has analysed the latest Covid19 report of the Federal Office of Public Health and again comes to a critical assessment: „The situation report is unsuitable for politicians and competent decision making, is highly unspecific, incomplete and lacking in informative value“.
- In a new article, the Swiss chief physician for infectiology, Dr. Pietro Vernazza, explains that the alleged lack of immunity formation in Covid19 is a matter of „rare individual cases or even just clues“, which „on closer inspection do not pose a problem“, but which are „exaggerated and hastily dished up as shocking news“ by some media.
- In France, there are more and more reports of suicides out of fear of the coronavirus or out of fear of having infected someone with the coronavirus.
- The new French site Covid Infos critically examines Covid19 and media reporting.
US and UK
- On the US warship Theodore Roosevelt, 600 sailors tested positive for Covid19, and a first sailor has since died from or with Covid19. The warship will be a very important „case study“ for the impact on the healthy general population below 65.
- The emeritus British professor of pathology, Dr John Lee, argues that a robust and evidence-based debate is needed to avoid „big mistakes“. Many of the figures used by governments and the media have not been reliable, he says.
- In the UK, 40% of hospital beds are currently unoccupied, four times more than usual. The reason for this is the sharp decline in general patient admissions. Intensive care beds, whose capacity has been increased, are on average 78% occupied. In addition, 10% of nurses are in quarantine.
- The temporary corona hospitals of the US military near New York are „largely empty“ so far. The hospitalization rate in New York was overestimated by a factor of seven.
- A US study comes to the conclusion that the new corona virus has already spread much further than originally assumed, but causes no or only mild symptoms in most people, so that the lethality rate could be as low as 0.1%, which is roughly equivalent to seasonal flu. However, due to the fact that the disease is more easily transmitted, the cases of the disease in New York, for example, occurred in a shorter time than usual.
- In a new document on the treatment of Covid19 patients, the chief of pneumology and intensive care at Eastern Virginia Medical School states: „It is important to recognize that COVID-19 does not cause your “typical ARDS” (lung failure) … this disease must be treated differently and it is likely we are exacerbating this situation by causing ventilator induced lung injury.“
- In the US, a governor claimed an infant died „of Covid“ as the world’s youngest victim. Family acquaintances, however, stated that the infant had suffocated in a tragic accident at home and subsequently tested positive in hospital. The responsible coroner did not declare a Covid death.
- A doctor from the US state of Montana explained in a speech how death certificates for suspected Covid19 cases are being manipulated due to new guidelines.
- An analysis of data from five European countries shows that residents of nursing homes have so far accounted for between 42% and 57% of all „Covid19 deaths“. At the same time, three US studies show that up to 50% of all test positive nursing home residents did not (yet) show symptoms at the time of testing. Two conclusions can be drawn from this: On the one hand, the danger of the new coronavirus – as already suspected – seems to be concentrated on a small, very vulnerable population group that needs even better protection. On the other hand, it is conceivable that some of these people may not die, or not only die from the coronavirus, but also from the extreme stress associated with the current situation. Recent reports from Germany and Italy have already mentioned nursing home residents who died suddenly without symptoms.
- A German palliative physician argues in a recent interview that in the treatment of Covid19 patients „very wrong priorities were set and all ethical principles were violated“. There is a „very one-sided orientation towards intensive care“, although „the balance between benefit and harm“ is often not good. A new diagnosis (i.e. Covid19) would turn elderly patients who in the past had mostly been treated palliatively into intensive care patients and subject them to a painful but often hopeless treatment (i.e. artificial respiration). The treatment should always be based on the actual will of the patient, the specialist argued.
- In Germany, a medical lawyer who filed a complaint against the corona measures with the Federal Constitutional Court and called for demonstrations, was arrested and sent to a prison psychiatric ward for two days. The public prosecutor is investigating for „public provocation to commit crimes“. Another lawyer asks in an open letter to the German Federal Chamber of Lawyers: „Lawyers sent to psychiatric hospital for protest? Is it that time again in Germany?“
- In Switzerland, a „corona critical“ doctor was arrested by a special police unit for alleged „threats against relatives and authorities“ and sent to a psychiatric clinic. The family has since declared that there were no threats against relatives. The doctor also stated that he was not accused of „threats against authorities“ during the interrogation. The police justified the deployment of the special unit by assuming that the doctor was in possession of a weapon – but this was the usual Swiss medical army pistol without ammunition. The transfer of the doctor to a psychiatric clinic was justified on the grounds of an alleged „incapacity to serve in prison“ (as is the case of nursing patients) – this, too, may be seen as a pretext. Based on the current state of knowledge, it is therefore possible that the measure was indeed politically motivated. Former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has already drawn attention to the Swiss case that is somewhat reminiscent of practices in the former Soviet Union.
- Italy is now using European satellite data to monitor the population during lockdown.
- The British police smashed in a resident’s door looking for „social gatherings“.
- German constitutional law expert Professor Oliver Lepsius: „On the decline of fundamental rights in the corona pandemic“.
Disclaimer: This is a guest post and it doesn’t necessarily represent the views of IWB.