California Gov. Gavin Newsom claims to be following science when he and his Health and Human Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly issued tyrannical orders to the 40 million residents of California this Thanksgiving to stay home, no singing, no shouting, no music, no parties, eat outside and keep a mask on.
However both Newsom and Ghaly continue to ignore the actually credible medical and scientific advice from practicing professionals.
Jay Bhattacharya, a Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, where he received both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in economics, has been challenging the governor’s bogus orders, and recently participated in a panel presentation at a Hillsdale College Free Market Forum.
Dr. Bhattacharya is a co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration, and his research has been published in economics, statistics, legal, medical, public health, and health policy journals.
California’s reported COVID numbers don’t tell the whole story, and in fact leave out critical details.
Currently, the state says:
- it has issued 22,910,351 total COVID tests
- there are 1,144,049 total “cases” of COVID
- there have been 18,875 total deaths attributed to COVID
What they don’t tell you is that of the 22,910,351 total COVID tests, 21,766,302 Californians tested negative.
“In discussing the deadliness of COVID, we need to distinguish COVID cases from COVID infections,” Dr. Bhattacharya said. “A lot of fear and confusion has resulted from failing to understand the difference.”
“When the World Health Organization said back in early March that three percent of people who get COVID die from it, they were wrong by at least one order of magnitude,” Bhattacharya said. “The COVID fatality rate is much closer to 0.2 or 0.3 percent. The reason for the highly inaccurate early estimates is simple: in early March, we were not identifying most of the people who had been infected by COVID.”
Very importantly, Bhattacharya explained: “In March, only the small fraction of infected people who got sick and went to the hospital were identified as cases. But the majority of people who are infected by COVID have very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. These people weren’t identified in the early days, which resulted in a highly misleading fatality rate. And that is what drove public policy. Even worse, it continues to sow fear and panic, because the perception of too many people about COVID is frozen in the misleading data from March.”
Bhattacharya said to get an accurate fatality rate “we test for seroprevalence—in other words, we test to find out how many people have evidence in their bloodstream of having had COVID.”
“This is easy with some viruses. Anyone who has had chickenpox, for instance, still has that virus living in them—it stays in the body forever. COVID, on the other hand, like other coronaviruses, doesn’t stay in the body. Someone who is infected with COVID and then clears it will be immune from it, but it won’t still be living in them.”
According to Bhattacharya, the bottom line is that the COVID fatality rate is in the neighborhood of 0.2 percent.
Bhattacharya addressed the incorrect perception that COVID is equally dangerous to everybody, and says this couldn’t be further from the truth. “There is a thousand-fold difference between the mortality rate in older people, 70 and up,” he said.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of his experience is the “Deadliness of the Lockdowns.”
Bhattacharya explains: “The widespread lockdowns that have been adopted in response to COVID are unprecedented—lockdowns have never before been tried as a method of disease control. Nor were these lockdowns part of the original plan. The initial rationale for lockdowns was that slowing the spread of the disease would prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. It became clear before long that this was not a worry: in the U.S. and in most of the world, hospitals were never at risk of being overwhelmed. Yet the lockdowns were kept in place, and this is turning out to have deadly effects.”
Remember Bhattacharya also holds a Ph.D. in economics, but he approaches the lockdowns from a different place.
“Those who dare to talk about the tremendous economic harms that have followed from the lockdowns are accused of heartlessness. Economic considerations are nothing compared to saving lives, they are told. So I’m not going to talk about the economic effects—I’m going to talk about the deadly effects on health, beginning with the fact that the U.N. has estimated that 130 million additional people will starve this year as a result of the economic damage resulting from the lockdowns.”
He notes “in the last 20 years we’ve lifted one billion people worldwide out of poverty. This year we are reversing that progress to the extent—it bears repeating—that an estimated 130 million more people will starve.”
Here is what Bhattacharya says about the lockdowns:
- people stopped bringing their children in for immunizations against diseases like diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and polio.
- Eighty million children worldwide are now at risk of these diseases. We had made substantial progress in slowing them down, but now they are going to come back.
- Large numbers of Americans, even though they had cancer and needed chemotherapy, didn’t come in for treatment. We’re going to see a rise in cancer and cancer death rates as a consequence.
- We’re also going to see a higher number of deaths from diabetes due to people missing their diabetic monitoring.
- Mental health problems are in a way the most shocking thing. In June of this year, a CDC survey found that one in four young adults between 18 and 24 had seriously considered suicide. Human beings are not, after all, designed to live alone.
- In effect, what we’ve been doing is requiring young people to bear the burden of controlling a disease from which they face little to no risk. This is entirely backward from the right approach.
As California Globe reported in early October, Dr. Bhattacharya met with two other epidemiologists—Dr. Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University and Dr. Martin Kulldorff of Harvard University—in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. “The three of us come from very different disciplinary backgrounds and from very different parts of the political spectrum,” he said. “Yet we had arrived at the same view—the view that the widespread lockdown policy has been a devastating public health mistake. In response, we wrote and issued the Great Barrington Declaration, which can be viewed—along with explanatory videos, answers to frequently asked questions, a list of co-signers, etc.—online at www.gbdeclaration.org.”
Since then, thousands of physicians around the world have signed the letter declaration. This is real science.
Bhattacharya also addresses herd immunity and swats away media lies: “I should say something in conclusion about the idea of herd immunity, which some people mischaracterize as a strategy of letting people die. First, herd immunity is not a strategy—it is a biological fact that applies to most infectious diseases. Even when we come up with a vaccine, we will be relying on herd immunity as an end-point for this epidemic. The vaccine will help, but herd immunity is what will bring it to an end. And second, our strategy is not to let people die, but to protect the vulnerable. We know the people who are vulnerable, and we know the people who are not vulnerable. To continue to act as if we do not know these things makes no sense.”
“We’re at a place where our civilization is at risk, where the bonds that unite us are at risk of being torn,” Dr. Bhattacharya said. “We shouldn’t be afraid. We should respond to the COVID virus rationally: protect the vulnerable, treat the people who get infected compassionately, develop a vaccine. And while doing these things we should bring back the civilization that we had so that the cure does not end up being worse than the disease.”
Read his entire talk at Hillsdale here. He is the real medical professional Gov. Newsom should be consulting.