The activist media have painted President Donald Trump as a liar for saying that the Chinese Coronavirus “will disappear” and is “fading.” Who is right?
After the riots and racial protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the United States experienced a slight uptick in the number of daily confirmed Coronavirus cases. The media was silent on this, however, until Trump decided that he wanted to hold a rally in Tulsa.
Then, suddenly, the Coronavirus was once more a significant threat where social distancing was of utmost importance. Oklahoma experienced a rise in new cases two weeks before the rally, which peaked shortly after.
If we judge the pandemic by the number of confirmed infected cases alone, Trump’s statement that it is fading fails the fact check. However, there is a reason the media focus on this number, namely that the corresponding death rate is falling dramatically. In the graph from Worldometers, we can see that the virus is growing ever more benign. The number of deaths per case is falling steadily. By this standard, COVID-19 is indeed fading.
This is not only true for America but the whole world. Although there has been a surge in new cases globally, there has not been a corresponding rise in deaths.
Far more disturbing is the fact that even at least six months into the pandemic, we still do not know how it works or why its effects now seem to be weakening. There are many possible explanations, and they may all be partially correct.
#1: Better Testing
We now know that most cases are asymptomatic. In the first leg of the pandemic, tests were limited, and so most cases went unnoticed. There is also some evidence that some countries, states, and institutions were too eager to attribute deaths to COVID-19. Today, far more tests are performed and, therefore, more cases are officially recorded than before.
#2: Better Treatment
Today, the medical community is more aware of how the virus attacks the body. It now seems that blood cells may be the primary target.
The attack constrains the oxygen supply to the body, which ultimately leads to organ failure. A famous example is Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was never put on a ventilator but instead got oxygen treatment and rapidly improved.
Although controversial, hydroxychloroquine is now used extensively around the world, and it has been suspected to work by protecting blood cells.
#3: Better Avoidance
We know that almost all the people who have died from the disease are elderly. Now that most people are aware of this pattern, the elderly and people who work in nursing homes take precautions to avoid infection. Thus, fewer of those who are at risk may get infected, thereby bringing down the mortality rate.
#4: Younger Countries
COVID-19 has now spread to developing countries where there are far fewer older people. These countries will have many cases but few deaths.
#5: Weakening Virus
We know that viruses tend to mutate over time, which makes it hard to develop an effective vaccine against many types of infections. Mutants also typically are weaker than the original strain, and therefore one possibility is that the SARS-CoV-2 has mutated into a less severe form.
#6: The Summer X Factor
Scientists don’t know why, but when the summer comes, virus infections tend to fade. It could be the heat. Perhaps it’s vitamin D synthesis caused by exposure to the sun, or that the UV radiation acts like a disinfectant that rapidly kills the virus. Or it could be some other factor altogether. No one knows.
Accurate where it Matters
The president has chosen to focus on the metric that is important to people. It doesn’t matter if many are infected without symptoms. What people care about is whether they are harmed or killed by the virus. Trump is correct that on this measure, the virus is fading.
Read more from Onar Åm.
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