Is COVID-19 fading away?

The Daily Mail (U.K.) says a technical report from Singapore predicts that COVID-19 will be gone in the U.S. by Nov. 11, the U.K. by Sept. 30, Italy by Oct. 24.

Maybe that's why the heralded Oxford University vaccine development group is getting nervous.  According to this account reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, the virus is disappearing, creating a panic among the vaccine developers.

In fact the virus is fading so rapidly that "Professor Adrian Hill said an upcoming Oxford vaccine trial, involving 10,000 volunteers, threatened to return "no result" because of low transmission of COVID-19 in the community."

"It is a race, yes. But it's not a race against the other guys. It's a race against the virus disappearing, and against time," he said. "At the moment, there's a 50 per cent chance that we get no result at all[."] ...

Hill said that of 10,000 people recruited to test the vaccine in the coming weeks — some of whom will be given a placebo — he expected fewer than 50 people to catch the virus. If fewer than 20 test positive, then the results might be useless, he warned."

In other words, in vaccine development, a disappearing virus erases the purpose for both the placebo control group that now may not be exposed to the virus necessary to see if anyone in the control group catches it — and the vaccine subject group won't be exposed to an extant live virus to see if the vaccine's immune response works.

The next question should be "why would COVID-19 just disappear?"

Are there significant populations worldwide who have no symptoms, thus are not transmitters?

We report here a case of the asymptomatic patient and present clinical characteristics of 455 contacts, which aims to study the infectivity of asymptomatic carriers[.] ... In summary, all the 455 contacts were excluded from SARS-CoV-2 infection and we conclude that the infectivity of some asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 carriers might be weak.

Or have pre-existing immunity? and why?

Using diverse assays for detection of antibodies reactive with the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) glycoprotein, we demonstrate the presence of pre-existing immunity in uninfected and unexposed humans to the new coronavirus. 

Even our own CDC now says the mortality rate is projected to be less than 0.3%.  We also know that some 40–60% of COVID-19 fatalities across the nation — some states as high as 70% to 80% — are in nursing homes with super-vulnerable residents.  The nursing home and assisted living population nationwide is around 2.5 million.  Excluding the nursing home data, that would put the fatality rate for everybody else probably less than 0.1%.

These new data, apparently now histrionics-free, only confirm what the world's first doom-and-gloom COVID-19 scientific skeptic, John P.A. Ioannidis, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Stanford, presented on March 17.

All of these recent accounts will be dismissed, if not suppressed, as they don't fit the pandemic apocalypse narrative.

But perhaps more poignant, and galling to his critics, President Trump's hunch that COVID-19 would bypass or only mildly affect most Americans, and will disappear, was correct after all.  And yes, the misguided, unnecessary lockdown and its deep and widespread socio-economic nuclear winter are the catastrophe, not the virus.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.