EDITOR’S NOTE (Nick Stamatakis): We have repeatedly discussed Dr.John Ioannidis’s (and others’) suggestion that so far we have not had a real “random sample” regarding the “China Virus” – and therefore decisions by our authorities regarding the pandemic are flawed, simply not based on real math and statistical data as required by common sense as well as by science. Today we really have the first random sample reported by Columbia University doctors and based on pregnant women!! According to the new data, the real mortality rate is 0.5%, which is higher than the seasonal flu (0.1%) but not as bad as it was initially expected… Here is an analysis by a member of Helleniscope’s audience who is a top statistician…. Our expert states: “This updated mortality rate is a full 11 times lower than the rate which is being used by politicians and experts to make further decisions about the virus”… Amazing!!
Here is his full report:
One of the most pressing questions during the COVID-19 Epidemic has been the true mortality rate of persons infected with the virus. The way this is calculated is by first counting the number of deaths in a community, then estimating what number of the total population has been infected, and dividing the two figures.
Estimates up to this point have been severely overstated because they rely on the number of people who have tested positive so far as an estimate for the total number infected. This is obviously not a random sample as, due to limitations in testing, the only people being tested so far are those who present with already serious symptoms. These are outliers, representing a population which is much more likely to die from the virus than the average person, and makes the mortality rate jump drastically. For example, in New York City as of 4/14/2020 there have been 106,813 cases and 6,182 recorded deaths. This would suggest an alarming mortality rate of roughly 5.8% . Figures as high as this would put COVID-19 on par with Typhoid Fever or the Bubonic Plague and if true are cause for alarm and government intervention at the highest level.
However, for the first time, there is strong evidence to believe that this is not the case.
A letter from doctors at Columbia University which was published today in the New England Journal of Medicine outlines data from pregnant women admitted for delivery between March 22 and April 4th. All of these women were tested for COVID-19 and collectively, they represent one of the first random samples of testing data from New York City as they were tested regardless of whether they presented with serious symptoms. Extrapolating from this sample, we can get the first clear picture of the true infection rate in NYC.
The results are summarized in the accompanying graph and are a dramatic shift from what is currently being reported by media and experts. It would appear that 13.5% of this sample tested positive for COVID-19 with no symptoms at all. If this proportion holds for the overall population of NYC (and it is likely an underestimate from false negatives) it means that over 1,133,000 people in New York City have the virus with no symptoms at all. That means over 16% of NYC residents have already been infected as opposed to the 1.2% rate which would be found from widely cited estimates. When added to the number of reported cases this suggests a real mortality rate of 0.5%. This figure is in line with mortality in countries such as South Korea at the same stage of the pandemic (which was around March 7th or so for them).
This updated mortality rate is a full 11 times lower than the rate which is being used by politicians and experts to make further decisions about the virus. For the record, it is still 5 times higher than the 0.1% mortality rate due to Influenza, so obviously significantly increased precautions are warranted. At the same time this data suggests that a significant proportion of the population has already gotten over the virus and is hence immune. Since this data was taken over 2 weeks ago, this number is likely even higher, putting us much closer to the threshold for herd immunity effects than was previously theorized.
This is a very optimistic sign for those hoping to get back to work, and one can only hope that our leaders will take note. The mandate for draconian quarantine policies is eroding by the minute.