COVID: Just another flu

Now that some sanity has returned to public health, we can have a sensible discussion about COVID.  Is it a unique virus or just another flu virus?

Politicians and public health officials would have you believe that it is unique and that you should follow "their" science to deal with it.  But, as you will see, their intentions can be capably described by H.L. Mencken: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

James O. Eifert, commander of the Florida National guard, recently acknowledged that "there have been only 95 U.S. service-member deaths attributed to COVID from a total military population of 2.154 million.  That's a mortality rate of 0.004% — and a case-survival rate of 99.98%, based on the 421,807 infections the Pentagon has reported as of July 1.  By contrast, the military's suicide rate during 2020 was about seven times as great (0.027%)."

Let's unpack what Commander Eifert is saying.  We use the term "Case Fatality Rate," CFR.  It is the number of people who die from a specified disease divided by all individuals diagnosed with the disease over a period of time.  Most CFR reporting by public health officials during the so‑called pandemic used numbers of people testing positive for the COVID virus (i.e., confirmed cases) instead of individuals diagnosed with a disease.  We use the same definition.

Using Commander Eifert's data, the CFR is 95/421,807, or 0.022%.  He provides the survival rate, 99.98%.  He gives us a frame of reference — a suicide rate of 0.027% during 2020.  He notes that the COVID mortality rate in the total military population is 95/2.154M, or 0.004%.

The mortality rate is a more informative number than the CFR, as it is likely that more soldiers were infected during that time but that the infection was not detected.  It is well known that many infections are silent during an outbreak.  To sensible people, this tells us there is no public health concern for COVID in young, healthy people.

What about older people?  Early in the pandemic (initial panic), it was thought by the WHO and China that all COVID cases were properly recorded.  Anyone sick went into the denominator in calculating the CFR.  However, there are several problems with this.

First, there is the issue of blindly trusting data coming out of China.  Second, many silent cases (i.e., those infected but without symptoms) that would have tested positive for the virus would have been missed.  An early CFR estimate in the Hubei province of China, February 7, 2020, had 619 deaths from 22,112 confirmed cases — CFR of 619/22,112 or 2.8%.  This did not include silent infections.

Then there is the early information from testing of COVID in an Italian village, a cruise ship, and several prisons.  There were many silent infections here.  All of this tells us that the CFR was dramatically lower than early, inflated estimates from the WHO and China.

Subsequent deficient COVID mathematical models applying inflated estimates in England and the U.S. were used to support lockdowns, masks, and social distancing.  These models predicted vastly more deaths than what occurred in reality.

Mysteriously, there were no registered flu deaths during the panic.  Quite likely, many near-future deaths of already sick individuals (those who are frail or have comorbidities) were hastened by the COVID virus.  This is called harvesting.  For example, of 1,738 COVID hospital patients dying in Italy for whom it was possible to analyze clinical charts, 96.4% had comorbidities.

Commander Eifert was correct: there was no issue for the young and strong.  As for the old, strategies used in Sweden and Florida, and the Great Barrington Declaration, were correct!  This involved following historical methods for dealing with a new virus.  Protect the weak and old with comorbidities, and let natural immunity accumulate in the population.  Lockdowns, masks, and social distancing were expected to be ineffective, and they were.

In fairness, it is easy to be an armchair critic after the fact.  But a serious question needs to be asked: what exactly were public health scientists and others on COVID advisory committees thinking during the initial panic?  These so-called "experts" were so confident (and so wrong!) in their reliance on deficient mathematical model predictions.  The draconian lockdowns and everything else that came out of their policy mistakes were a disaster.

Despite what politicians and public health officials would have us believe, COVID was a new flu, no better or worse than any previous flu (e.g., CFR on the order 0.1% or less for influenza A H1N1 virus).  We end with a fitting quote from Mark Twain: "it's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."

S. Stanley Young is the CEO of CGStat in Raleigh, North Carolina and is the director of the National Association of Scholars' Shifting Sands Project.  Warren Kindzierski is a retired college professor (public health) in St. Albert, Alberta.

Image: qimono via Pixabay, Pixabay License.

If you experience technical problems, please write to