As the pandemic continues to affect us, some medical experts and scientists have spoken out against the inconsistencies found in reported numbers of COVID-19 cases by both government agencies and the media. Some experts have also doubted whether the lockdown has been as beneficial in containing the spread of COVID-19 as it has been believed.
Inconsistencies in the Numbers
When comparing statistics, the media has claimed that the number of COVID-19 related deaths has allegedly exceeded the deaths in the Vietnam War. However, when referencing data from the official CDC website, it shows that 44,016 deaths related to COVID-19 have been reported (as of May 6, 2020), which is lower than the numbers provided by the media. When prompted, the media credits obtaining their statistical data from Johns Hopkins University. Because of this contrast in statistical data from several institutions when reporting COVID-19 cases, a question of ‘which source is more credible?’ arises.
The CDC website breaks down deaths by COVID-19 into various categories:
- Deaths by COVID-19: 11,356
- Deaths by pneumonia, influenza, or COVID-19: 54,217 (this number is a close representation of Vietnam War deaths)
- Death from all causes: 569,403
*data obtained on April 11, 2020
The CDC explains that death certificates are the most accurate when compiling COVID-19 data. Because of this, they claim that this data may be skewed due to the varying time periods it takes medical and government institutions to report these deaths (daily, weekly, or monthly basis). Furthermore, it takes them a couple of weeks to complete, process, and publish death certificates, and that the method for counting deaths varies, which explains why CDC data and data from other institutions are inconsistent.
Experts Speak Out
Dr. Annie Bucacek, an expert in filling out death certificates, questions the way COVID-19 death certificates are being filled out and dubs them unreliable in the article ‘Montana Physician Dr. Annie Bucacek discusses how COVID-19 Death Certificates are being Manipulated’. She also states that, more often than the general public may think, the physician, coroner, or medical examiner holds more control or ‘leeway’ on how the death certificate is filled out in terms of the cause of death, which she admits ‘ is not always clear.’
Doctors from Bakersfield, CA have also spoken out against the lockdown and have claimed that it has made us more susceptible to other diseases due to not being able to build up immunity. Michael Levitt, a Nobel prize-winning scientist, and Johan Giesecke, epidemiologist and advisor to the director-general of the WHO, have also shown their strong opposition to the lockdown. Dr. Giesecke criticizes the unpublished paper used as a basis for the lockdown, titled Imperial College, which was, according to him, not very good as well as outlining many other points on why the lockdown is a mistake. Professor Hendrick Streeck, a German virologist, downplays the severity of the virus claiming that COVID-19 is not as deadly as we may think with a 0.24 – 0.36% fatality rate while other scholars present fatality percentages under 1%
The bottom line is that critical thinking must be used in conjunction with the various sources of information presented to the public. This way, we see both sides of an argument and do not take a single source of data that is presented to us to be whole and factual.