There seems to be no shortage of bad news about Coronavirus. Rising “case rates,” localized “spikes” and the latest “hot spots” are breathlessly reported in the mainstream media on a daily basis.

Good news, meanwhile, rarely seems to make the headlines — even though there is plenty of it.

For example, the CDC noted last week that only about 6 percent of reported COVID deaths are actually attributable to the virus alone. The other 94 percent had an average of 2.6 “comorbidities” — other serious medical conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, or respiratory ailments — with a median age of about 80.

That doesn’t mean younger people never die of COVID. Nor does it mean that, among the 94 percent, the disease was not responsible for many deaths. Plenty of those folks might have lived for years, despite their other health problems, if not for COVID.

What it does mean, however, is that while COVID poses a grave threat to people in certain high-risk categories, it’s not particularly dangerous to everyone else. That’s good news.

Another bit of good news involves the return of college students to campuses across the country. According to Dr. Andrew Bostom, after analyzing over 11,000 reported “cases” at 18 large universities, he could find only one confirmed report of a student being hospitalized. Even in that instance, it’s not clear COVID is the culprit.

Perhaps the relative dearth of hospitalizations, despite the apparent rise in “cases,” can be explained by a recent story in The New York Times. The paper of record — hardly a right-wing conspiracy site — reports that at least 90 percent of all positive COVID tests probably should not have been.

The reasons are complicated, and not all are spelled out in the article. For a deeper dive, look up Michael Thau’s highly-technical, three-part series at redstate.com. But the gist is that the test we use isn’t very accurate in detecting viruses, and the way we analyze the results violates the CDC’s own guidelines.

If the Times story is true, there aren’t nearly as many cases as we’ve been told — which could explain why both hospitalizations and deaths continue to decline.

And finally, based on a new study, researchers at UCLA and Stanford have concluded that COVID may be up to 10 times LESS deadly than originally thought — even for older people.

As reported by the San Jose (CA) Mercury News, “The study found that a 50-64-year-old person who has a single random contact has, on average, a 1 in 852,000 chance of being hospitalized or a 1 in 19.1 million chance of dying.”

Said one of the researchers, Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, “We were surprised at how low the relative risk was.”

Given all this good news, it should be clear that most of us can go back to work and school while we continue to protect the truly vulnerable. Any other policies are based on politics, not science.

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Rob Jenkins is a college professor. The views expressed here are his own. You can email Rob at rob.jenkins@outlook.com.

(1) comment

MarvinGardens

It's good to see Rob apparently recognize that this is a real disease that has killed many people who would not have died otherwise. This is a far cry from his previous columns indicating that public health interventions are due to mass hysteria rather than a real problem. So bravo Rob for coming around.

That said, the solution he proposes is to isolate only the vulnerable populations, while the rest of us go on as if things are normal. Of course, this will cause the general non-vulnerable population to be rampant with Covid for a time. Meanwhile, vulnerable populations must eat, obtain other essential services, and seek medical care for non-Covid issues. Many of these interactions would be with the non-vulnerable population, who would spread the disease to the vulnerable population. Hospitals would be overwhelmed, as has already happened in various cities at various times, and interventions would be reinstituted.

And underlying the column is the subtext that our response is all some sort of political game to undermine Trump. A global response with quarantines and lockdowns in most countries, just to get Trump out of office? Of course it's an absurd notion. It is too bad that Trump chose to politicize our response. This could have been a unifying event, like our response to 9/11.

So Rob, this one is an improvement, but you can do better.

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