This pandemic “has the potential to eclipse the devastation wrought by the 1918 influenza, which globally claimed over 50 million lives.” https://t.co/3yItrCQLJ4
— Pedro da Costa (@pdacosta) May 14, 2020
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 14, 2020
Why would anyone believe this?
1.) First, we have historical precedent to consider. Pandemics tend to come in waves. 85,000 people have died so far in the first wave of this pandemic. We should expect a second peak in October.
“Of eight major pandemics that have occurred since the early 1700s, no clear seasonal pattern emerged for most. Two started in winter in the Northern Hemisphere, three in the spring, one in the summer, and two in the fall (Saunders-Hastings 2016).
Seven had an early peak that disappeared over the course of a few months without significant human intervention. Subsequently, each of those seven had a second substantial peak approximately 6 months after first peak. Some pandemics showed smaller waves of cases over the course of 2 years after the initial wave. The only pandemic that followed a more traditional influenza-like seasonal pattern was the 1968 pandemic, which began with a late fall/winter wave in the Northern Hemisphere followed by a second wave the next winter (Viboud 2005). In some areas, particularly in Europe, pandemic-associated mortality was higher the second year.”
2.) Second, the prevalence of the virus is still low. Only 5% of France and Spain has been infected. 2.8% of Indiana has been infected. The highest figure of antibodies reported anywhere in the United States is New York City which in one study got up to 21% prevalence.
3.) Third, the IFR of the virus falls within the 0.5% to 1.2% range. We’ve seen this now in Italy, New York City, Spain, France and Indiana. The IFR is also higher where the virus is more prevalent.
Bright is testifying before Congress as a whistleblower tomorrow.
He is going to tell Congress that the death toll could eclipse the Spanish Flu.
“Good morning Chairwoman, Eshoo, Ranking Member Burgess and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee. Thank you for inviting me to testify today.
I am Dr. Rick Bright, a career public servant and a scientist who has spent 25 years of my career focused on addressing pandemic outbreaks. I received my bachelor’s degree with honors in both biology and physical sciences from Auburn University at Montgomery in Alabama. I earned my PhD in Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis from Emory University in Georgia My dissertation was focused on pandemic avian influenza. I have spent my entire career leading teams of scientists in drugs, diagnostics and vaccine development — in the government with CDC and BARDA, for a global non-profit organization and also in the biotechnology industry. Regardless of my position, my job and my entire professional focus has been on saving lives. My professional background has prepared me for a moment like this – to confront and defeat a deadly virus like COVID-19 that threatens Americans and people around the globe. …
The world is confronting a great public health emergency which has the potential to eclipse the devastation wrought by the 1918 influenza which globally claimed over 50 million lives. We face a highly-transmissible and deadly virus which not only claims lives but is also disrupting the very foundations of our societies. The American health-care system is being taxed to the limit, our economy is spiraling downward — leading to mass unemployment — and our population is being paralyzed by fear stemming from the lack of a coordinated response and a dearth of accurate, clear communication about the path forward. Americans yearn to get back to work, to open their businesses and provide for their families. I get that. We need a national coordinated strategy to look at all of these pieces and to ensure that they fit well together. To conceive and implement this strategy, our government must draw on the guidance of the best scientific minds. …
Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities. While it is terrifying to acknowledge the extent of the challenge that we currently confront, the undeniable fact is there will be a resurgence of the COVID19 this fall, greatly compounding the challenges of seasonal influenza and putting an unprecedented strain on our health care system. Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be darkest winter in modern history. …
First and foremost, we need to be truthful with the American people. They want the truth. They can handle the truth. Truth, no matter how unpleasant, decreases the fear generated by uncertainty. The truth must be based on scientific evidence – and not filtered for political reasons. We must know and appreciate what we are up against. We have the world’s greatest scientists – they must be permitted to lead. Let them speak truthfully without fear of retribution. We must listen so that the government can then take the most powerful steps to save lives. …”
Note: I see that Dr. Bright graduated from Auburn University and Emory University.
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