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Silver Linings During the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 24, 2020

An Open Letter: Corey J. Hogan, ESQ.

An Open Letter:

With all of the negative COVID-19 news overwhelming social media and standard news channels, I thought I would share some news that I think is proof that clouds, on many occasions, have silver linings.

As some of you might know, over the last week 3,000 supermarket customers throughout New York State were tested for COVID-19 The preliminary data from this study indicates that 14% of those tested have the antibody indicating they at some point had the coronavirus. In New York City the percentage was even higher, at a staggering 21%. In real numbers, 2.6 million people in NYS have had COVID-19, instead of the 250,000 that has been reported. So, what does this mean?

First, it means that between 80% and 90% of those that had the coronavirus likely did not even know it because the symptoms were so mild. If you live in NYS, it means that if you know 25 people, there is a statistical likelihood that three or four of them have had the coronavirus.

Second, it means the death rate is probably no higher than one person out of 200. This is nowhere near the six out of 100 or even higher percentages that some are claiming. Further, 90% of those who die had one, or multiple, significant preexisting medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, or several others. Consistent with this is that the majority of deaths are of individuals over the age of 60, and almost a quarter of these deaths are nursing home residents. While this information doesn’t make these deaths less tragic, it at least acknowledges that the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions are naturally more at risk, just as they are from almost every other illness, including the seasonal flu.

In addition to the encouraging news of a lower death rate, there has been excellent results using the plasma of previous COVID-19 patients to treat current patients. When the plasma is given to active COVID-19 patients, the vast majority improve drastically and are able to be discharged from the hospital shortly thereafter. There is also more good news: by approximately the end of this month, antibody testing will become increasingly widespread throughout the country. All it will take is a simple pin prick, and the results could be available in 24 hours.

Being able to identify all the former carriers of COVID-19 means there will more convalescent plasma for those who need active treatment of the virus. This will reduce the death rate even more.

Additionally, current research has shown that as the weather warms to 75 degrees and above, coronaviruses destabilize more quickly, therefore having reduced infection and mortality rates. This is already evident in the infection and death rates seen in warmer countries right now.

There is also still little evidence the virus spread is airborne (aerosol transmission). Thus, the social distancing protocol of six feet is still effective. And, with the high percentage of persons already having the coronavirus, the probability of a second or third round of any significance is reduced through the herd immunity effect.

The likelihood of an effective vaccine is extremely high by the end of this year, or early next year. This is given that medical and chemistry scientists from all over the world are diligently pursuing it; there is almost no limit on the resources available to finance these efforts; the payoff will be huge to whomever is successful; the delays brought by administrative approval processes will be eliminated; and because the coronavirus it is closely related to prior viruses where vaccines have been successfully developed.

Hopefully efforts will now begin to focus on protecting the relatively small number of our country’s residents who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. Perhaps those over the age of 70 and those with the suspect preexisting medical conditions should be carefully watched so there can be prompt and appropriate medical care if they’re diagnosed. Once the vaccine is available, this oversight should be hopefully less needed. In the meantime, plasma therapy and new treatments proven to be effective should soon be available.

It is becoming clear that the use of ventilators has been overdone and has likely led to many unnecessary deaths. The death rate for this treatment regimen is approaching 90%, and should be replaced in many situations with less invasive and more effective techniques.

It will be extremely difficult to get politicians from all over the world to admit they ordered significant infringements on individual liberties, have destroyed millions of businesses and wiped out individuals’ lifetime savings, all without having the proper knowledge before them. This is not even factoring in the increased number of suicides, drug overdoses, permanent psychological damage, and other untold miseries inflicted upon billions of people.

Perhaps one more statistic for perspective. Every day, about 25,000 people in the world die of hunger. This means that the same number of people that have died from COVID-19 since it first began, is the same number of people that died from hunger within the last two days. The coronavirus deaths will likely almost end by July 1st. Not so for the 10,000 children (plus an additional 15,000 adults) who die from hunger each and every day, of every month, and every year.