In an attempt to obtain federal funding, California Gov. Gavin Newsom sent a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump Thursday, claiming, “California has been disproportionality impacted by the repatriation efforts over the last few months.”
“In some parts of our state, our case rate is doubling every four days. Moreover, we have community acquired transmission in 23 counties with an increase of 44 community acquired infections in 24 hours,” Newsom said.
Using the dubious statistic, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti went on the Today Show and claimed, It’s “absolutely plausible.”
But Stanford University epidemiologist John Ioannidis says that is not so. “The current coronavirus disease, Covid-19, has been called a once-in-a-century pandemic,” he says. “But it may also be a once-in-a-century evidence fiasco.”
“In the U.S., for example, so far this season 1,073,976 specimens have been tested and 222,552 (20.7%) have tested positive for influenza,” Ioannidis said. In the same period, the estimated number of influenza-like illnesses is between 36,000,000 and 51,000,000, with an estimated 22,000 to 55,000 flu deaths.”
Newsom also requested the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship, homeported in San Diego, to be stationed at the Port of Los Angeles to help the region’s health care system overwhelmed by the pandemic, NBC San Diego reported. “Newsom predicted that 56% of California’s population – roughly 25.5 million residents – could be infected with the novel coronavirus over an eight-week period.”
Epidemiologist Ionidis explains:
“Reported case fatality rates, like the official 3.4% rate from the World Health Organization, cause horror — and are meaningless.
Patients who have been tested for SARS-CoV-2 are disproportionately those with severe symptoms and bad outcomes. As most health systems have limited testing capacity, selection bias may even worsen in the near future.
The one situation where an entire, closed population was tested was the Diamond Princess cruise ship and its quarantine passengers. The case fatality rate there was 1.0%, but this was a largely elderly population, in which the death rate from Covid-19 is much higher.
Projecting the Diamond Princess mortality rate onto the age structure of the U.S. population, the death rate among people infected with Covid-19 would be 0.125%. But since this estimate is based on extremely thin data — there were just seven deaths among the 700 infected passengers and crew — the real death rate could stretch from five times lower (0.025%) to five times higher (0.625%). It is also possible that some of the passengers who were infected might die later, and that tourists may have different frequencies of chronic diseases — a risk factor for worse outcomes with SARS-CoV-2 infection — than the general population. Adding these extra sources of uncertainty, reasonable estimates for the case fatality ratio in the general U.S. population vary from 0.05% to 1%.”
The governor’s letter is HERE.