9/11/2020 This article originally appeared on the “Professional” social network website “LinkedIn” on April 3, 2020, where I had >16,000 professionals following my account. LinkedIn has, as of 9/10/2020, suspended my account in spite of my professional affiliations, service and career. The demons of censorship are eroding Academia, likely beyond immediate repair. Please share this censored article widely , republish on your own blog, and undo the damage done by people who believe they can censor reality.
James Lyons-Weiler, PhD
The Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge, Pittsburgh, PA
Numerous media outlets have attempted to draw comparisons between COVID-19 death rates and influenza virus death rates.
Historically, CDC reported influenza case and death rates separately from pneumonia. After 2014, however, they inexplicably began combining influenza and pneumonia rates and reportin them as “influenza disease deaths”. Let me show you.
From CDC website, we see easily accessible case numbers for influenza were reported for 2014. In 2015 and 2016, however, influenza cases were combined with pneumonia cases.
In 2014, CDC reported 55,227 deaths from influenza or pneumonia, of which only 8.1% (4605) were attributed to influenza. The rest were attributed to pneumonia from any cause, including other respiratory viruses.
In 2015 and 2016, you can see no break-down is given between influenza and pneumonia, which 57,062 deaths from “influenza/pneumonia” in 2015, and 51,537 deaths from “influenza/pneumonia”.
Using the ratio of 11 to 1, or 8.1% from 2014 and applying those rates to 2015 and 2016, we see only 4,708 and 4,297 deaths from influenza in 2015 and 2016. There have been so far 6099 deaths (4/2/2020) attributed to COVID-19 in the US. CDC must stop combining deaths from “Verified Influenza or Pneumonia”, creating a category “Pneumonia, Unidentified Cause” and also separate out deaths from “Verified Coronavirus” and “Pneumonia, Unidentified Cause” so true apples-to-apples causes can be tracked weekly.
Looking at other material from CDC, we see them using the term “Influenza” for cases and deaths varying over the years from when referencing a combined heterogeneous group “Influenza/Pneumonia”; the number of combined deaths varied from year to year: 37,000 in 2010-2011, 32,000 in 2011-2012, 43,000 in 2012-2013, 38,000 in 2013-2014 season, 51,000 in 2014-2015, 23,000 in 2015-2016, 38,000 in 2016-2017, and estimated for 2017-2017, 61,000. From Influenza (not Influenza/Pneumonia). These numbers look much less serious if an 8.1% rate is applied
By not parsing out other causes of pneumonia, CDC has, for years, misled the public and the media with the term “Influenza Disease”, causing everyone to believe “Influenza Disease” is influenza and not Influenza + Pneumonia from other causes.
As a result, they have scared hundreds of millions of people into receiving an influenza vaccine over 4500 deaths per year:
The data on COVID-19 is shining a bright light on CDC’s flawed testing, flawed bookkeeping, and their dangerous game with the American psyche.
Numerous media reports attribute deaths from COVID-19 to “Underlying Conditions”, with one report claiming that 88% of deaths involving COVID-19 deaths were not caused by COVID-19, and another claiming that 99% of COVID-19 deaths are not caused by the virus.
The age- and clinical-condition associated increased risk, however, paints a different picture. Diabetics have a case fatality risk of over 6%, and while most deaths are in the elderly, 1/3 of deaths fall into the 20-30 year-old range. Based on egalitarian, non-agist principles, knowing that most of the deaths are in the elderly is no assurance at all without control of the exponential increase in deaths.
It’s important to understand that causal logic dictates that the phrase “died with COVID-19” as different from “died from COVID-19” is not a legitimate distinction capable of being made on classes of individuals per category, because we do not know which of those cases would have recovered from their underlying condition. Any case with double pneumonia with COVID-19 clinical diagnoses, or with a positive RT-PCR test might be considered death from COVID-19; cases with CT scan (live or autopsy) showing glassy opacities characteristic of lung damage observed in known cases of COVID-19 are certainly deaths from COVID-19 because were it not for the virus, asphyxiation and lack of oxygen, the individual may have survived to die another day.
The subtraction of cases of high-death risk with COVID-19 infection cases from COVID-19 cases would make COVID-19 appear to be less of a threat via mortality than other conditions, such as influenza – but remember that only 8.1% of “Flu+Pneumonia” cases were bona fide flu cases. A valid question remains: what percentage of Influenza cases also had underlying conditions? It is reasonable to presume that approximately the same percentage as in COVID-19 cases. Thus, Influenza is still likely to far less deadly than COVID-19 on an annual basis. It is difficult to assess how much more likely, but we can acknowledge that if the typical influenza numbers of deaths in the US per year – let’s say 4500 per year – have, in 2020, already been surpassed by COVID-19 cases – before both are adjusted, appropriately or not, by the percentage of cases that allegedly “died with” vs. “died from” (a) COVID-19 and/or (b) influenza.
Indirect Effects of Social Distancing
There are concerns that social distancing may cause, in the long-run, more deaths than would be prevented. Here is an all-cause mortality chart (seeking the source, sorry) from CDC’s Wonder . It would appear that social distancing is reducing all-cause mortality this year, compared to other years. The concerns over net loss of life should include the lives being saved due to fewer car and industrial accidents – as well as fewer deaths due to influenza infections and other illnesses from transmissible viruses.
(UPDATE 4/6/2020: I found the authors, contacted them, and requested their preferred reference. This was their reply: “We have retracted our preliminary report since we received the following note from our network at CDC-NCHS regarding total deaths on CDC FluView “‘The data are most incomplete in the first two weeks after the week of death but it can take up to 8 weeks for all of the deaths to be reported.’
As per the meaning of percent complete: “Percent completeness in FluView is calculated based on the average number of deaths per week using data from the past 3 years and doesn’t take seasonality into account.
In summary, it would only be in the release of June first week will we be able to say something conclusively about total weekly deaths by the end of March. We will share our updated figures sometime around then and In the meantime, we would prefer if you can refrain using the figures. We’d be happy to talk to you once the report has been updated around the same time.”
This means we will have data on the effects of social distancing on all causes of death. A whole-society simulation should be conducted with all of the known causes of death are included that might be attributed – both the deaths prevented and the deaths caused. Job losses can add up to 45,000 suicides per year in the US (Mens’ Health). We don’t know how long joblessness will last – if people got behind the IPAK Back to Work program w/private, in home antibody testing so they would know their COVID-19 immunity status, we could end the isolation in 5-7 days for most people.
So for now, the life-for-life tradeoff is something of a wash.
CDC Cooks the Books on Influenza
Under regulatory practices in the US, a condition acquires “epidemic” status if it is responsible for 7% of deaths. This allows “Flu” to be designated as an epidemic.
Of the 1.2M specimens of respiratory illness tested in the US between Sept 29, 2019 and the present, only 242,330 tested positive for Influenza virus (20.1%) (CDC). Thus, only between 8.1% and 20.1% of “Flu” cases reported as “Influenza/Pneumonia” are in fact Influenza. The correct estimate is likely far closer to the former than the latter. Here is a revised history of Influenza in the United States:
One thing is for certain – CDC is not reporting Influenza in a manner truly useful for comparisons between Influenza and COVID-19. In all likelihood, “Influenza” does not qualify as an epidemic when it is reported separately from “Influenza + Pneumonia”. Does CDC combine “Influenza + Pneumonia”, to force “epidemic status” to favor their push for the influenza vaccine? Will CDC now have a COVID-19 statistic that separates pneumonia from COVID-19 (the disease caused by SARS-2-CoV) or are they/will they lump in pneumonia from other causes to sustain an appearance of an epidemic? The Trump administration has admitted that their task force is missing over 50% of the test results from COVID-19 PCR testing. We have no studies showing accuracy, sensitivity and specificity of CDC’s PCR test. How will CDC even know which numbers to cook?
In this context, people should realize that influenza vaccination can be associated with increased risk of infection with other, non-influenza respiratory viruses. For example, Cowling et al. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404712/ compared the risk of non-influenza respiratory viral infection in two groups: individuals receiving thimerosal-free influenza vaccines and those receiving thimerosal-containing vaccines, and found higher risk (overall) of non-influenza viral infections in individuals who receive thimerosal-containg influenza vaccines. In the US, 80% of flu vaccines include thimerosal for multi-dose vial cost-savings. They also found no immunity induced to influenza via thimerosal-containing vaccines compared to inert placebo.
Influenza vaccine also appears to increase coronavirus and metapneumovirus infection (See Wolff et al., 2020):
“Examining noninfluenza viruses specifically, the odds of both coronavirus and human metapneumovirus in vaccinated individuals were significantly higher when compared to unvaccinated individuals (OR = 1.36 and 1.51, respectively) (Table 5).”
There is insufficient information on risk factors of death associated with COVID-19. Were those who have died recently vaccinated with thimerosal-containing vaccines, which can be expected to impair their immune response? Thimerosal, after all, inhibits the protein ERAP 1 (See: Screening Identifies Thimerosal as a Selective Inhibitor of Endoplasmic Reticulum Aminopeptidase 1 (ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters; Stammogiannos et al., 2016).
The reasons why the US is in lock-down are (1) the CDC wanted their own test and (2) the CDC refused a validated PCR test available in mid-January and insufficient testing. These decisions have prevented contact tracing.
Did CDC hopefimmun to be able to just use symptomatic Coronavirus statistics and combine COVID-19 cases with other conditions, or vice versa, as they have done with “Influenza/Pneumonia”? What about pathogen specificity of the testing? Are we lumping COVID-19 in w/other coronaviruses? CDC must publish accuracy studies, and soon, like those that were published on the German test CDC refused to adopt on January 16, 2020 when they decided to make – and ship – their own flawed test.
Clearly the full costs of CDC’s fast-and-loose bookkeeping on our public health is coming to light. We cannot assess relative risk of death from influenza and COVID-19 because CDC has been cooking the books on Influenza for years. Both the press and those in the scientific professions alike – including those who have drawn comparisons between “Influenza” and COVID-19 are really making comparisons between “Influenza or Pneumonia” AND COVID-19.
I’ll close the article with a reminder that we need to be like South Korea on testing – accurate, fast testing. They used Biomedomic’s COVID-19 antigen test, one that is suitable for private, in-home testing – results in 15 minutes – so American citizens can know if they have been exposed, and with reasonable guidelines on self-isolation, they can return to work in weeks, not months.
FDA won’t allow asymptomatic testing for COVID-19, preferring instead to allow perfectly healthy – and immune Americans to sit at home while the economy rots into the earth. That’s insane. How will people who are immune due to prior exposure get back to work? How will people who have been in lock-down but who have no symptoms know they can go back to work? This lock-down won’t last. We need to be like Korea. Get behind IPAK’s Back-To-Work program so Americans who have been exposed can take control of their lives again.
CDC is not the solution. CDC is the problem. The centralization of risk is a terrible strategy for public health – and for biodefense. It’s time to end the CDC’s stranglehold on logic, reason, and the American public’s future and allow all of the scientific infrastructure and talent and wisdom in Academia and in creative, ethical corporations to usher in a new era of bona fide, objective science. It’s time to end American-style Fascist control over US regulatory policy. It’s time to put the Pharma Bulls out to pasture. It’s time for a return to basic science, science for the sake of knowing. It’s time for a new day.