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AAP FactCheck Investigation:
Is the fatality rate for COVID-19 handiest marginally worse than the seasonal flu?
The Assertion
“The Ioannidis seek shows the death rate (for COVID-19) is handiest very marginally worse than the usual flu viruses that cancel a entire lot of sick and elderly Fresh Zealanders every 365 days.”
Simon Thornley, senior lecturer in epidemiology, College of Auckland. September 6, 2020. 
The Diagnosis
A community calling for Fresh Zealand to chill restrictions to forestall the spread of COVID-19 claims the virus is handiest marginally worse than the seasonal flu.
The assertion changed into as soon as made by COVID Belief B, a community of six lecturers in conjunction with three wisely being science lecturers. The community has called for an discontinuance to COVID-19 lockdowns, arguing the hazards of the virus were overstated and lockdowns are more depraved than the virus itself.
Proper via an interview on TVNZ’s Q+A with Jack Tame on September 6, community manual and College of Auckland epidemiology lecturer Simon Thornley said Fresh Zealand’s COVID-19 response changed into as soon as driven by misfortune and terror and changed into as soon as unwarranted and irrational. (Video label 1min).
“The Ioannidis seek shows the death rate is handiest very marginally worse than the usual flu viruses that cancel a entire lot of sick and elderly Fresh Zealanders every 365 days,” Dr Thornley said.
“The response needs to be a measured one, esteem we’ve planned for decrease mortality pandemics, now not lockdowns.
“We’ve sacrificed our humanity, our society and our economy for the atrocious virus.”
AAP FactCheck examined Dr Thornley’s statement that the death rate for COVID-19 is handiest marginally worse than the seasonal flu.
Dr Thornley said his statement changed into as soon as in step with a July 14, 2020 file by Stanford College epidemiology professor John P.A Ioannidis.
The non-seek reviewed file offers a meta evaluation of 36 experiences which checked out the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies in populations to select out the fragment that had been infected by the virus.
This will likely be outmoded to more accurately calculate the proportion of these who die after catching the virus, which is known as the an infection fatality ratio (IFR).
Dr Ioannidis chanced on the experiences had an estimated IFR ranging from 0 per cent to 1.63 per cent, and a median of 0.27 per cent. (Page 2)
Dr Thornley furthermore directed AAP Factcheck to a seek which checked out the prevalence of COVID-19 within the stammer of Indiana and estimated the IFR changed into as soon as 0.26 per cent. However, that seek excluded deaths in nursing home residents which accounted for 54.9 per cent of COVID-19 deaths within the stammer.
Dr Thornley said the IFR for seasonal flu varied, “nevertheless are on the overall quoted at now not as much as 0.5 per cent” and pointed to a 2009 seek that said 0.5 per cent changed into as soon as “linked to the upper vary” for the fatality rate for the flu. The file cites a webpage from the US Facilities for Illness Adjust and Prevention (CDC) on influenza because the provision of this decide, alternatively this webpage does now not at the 2nd encompass flu fatality rates, and the page archives for 2009 furthermore discontinuance now not showcase the flu IFR.
A flu IFR of 0.5 might possibly possibly be linked to the upper vary for COVID-19. However, varied research has assign the IFR for COVID-19 seriously better, and the IFR for flu seriously decrease.
One other non-seek reviewed meta-evaluation of COVID-19 an infection fatality ratios checked out 24 experiences and estimated the IFR at 0.68 per cent – practically triple that chanced on by Ioannidis. (Page 2)
The authors famend a high level of variation between varied experiences and said their IFR estimate changed into as soon as likely an underestimate. (Page 3).
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has chanced on estimates for the IFR for COVID-19 “converging at roughly 0.5 – 1 per cent” in step with three experiences – two in Switzerland and one in Stockholm, Sweden.
In distinction, the WHO says “mortality is on the overall wisely beneath 0.1 per cent” for seasonal influenza, which ability that the fatality rate of COVID-19 is five to 10 times better than for the flu.
Between July 10 and September 9, web scream material archives showcase the CDC officially estimated the IFR for COVID-19 at 0.0065 deaths per an infection, or 0.65 per cent (Table 1). These figures had been replaced on September 10 with a breakdown of IFR estimates by age vary. 
Total CDC figures for the number of flu deaths every 365 days imply about five times more folks hang already died from COVID-19 within the US than die from flu in a mean 365 days.
Between 2010/11 and 2018/19, the number of folks within the US who died from the flu every 365 days ranged from 12,000 to 61,000 with a mean of 37,462 flu deaths, while the number who had flu indicators ranged from 9.3m to 45m, for a mean of 28.6m (desk 1).
The use of the frequent figures, which discontinuance now not encompass asymptomatic circumstances, this might possibly assign a outrageous IFR at 0.13 per cent. However one meta-evaluation chanced on between 4 and 85 per cent of folks with flu are asymptomatic.
In distinction, as of September 10, the US had already recorded 188,608  COVID-19 deaths.
College of Otago public wisely being professor Nick Wilson has published a pair of papers on pandemic influenza in Fresh Zealand and said the IFR for COVID-19 changed into as soon as seriously better than for seasonal flu.
He said while he changed into as soon as now not conscious of experiences which had true now calculated the IFR for the flu, a 2017 seek chanced on on common 0.0135 per cent of the inhabitants dies from flu every 365 days.
As an estimated 10 to 20 per cent of Fresh Zealanders take seasonal influenza every 365 days, this suggests an IFR between 0.0675 per cent and nil.135 per cent.
College of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker agreed, asserting Dr Thornley’s statement is “now not supported by the evidence generated in Fresh Zealand”.
He said a entire seek of influenza rates within the nation chanced on about 35 per cent had been infected by the virus every 365 days, which might possibly well assign the IFR for the flu even decrease, at about 0.04 per cent.
This would mean the fatality rate for COVID-19 changed into as soon as seven times better than seasonal flu in step with Ioannidis’ figures, or practically 18 times better in step with the 0.68 per cent rate from one more meta-evaluation, or 16 times better in step with the 0.65 per cent rate cited by the CDC.
College of Auckland epidemiologist Professor Rod Jackson changed into as soon as extreme of the findings of the Ioannidis seek. He said the fatality ratio he outmoded changed into as soon as derived by the usage of the median decide from experiences which had vastly divergent results and so changed into as soon as unreliable.
“That is a full no-no for evidence experiences when there are very varied estimates from varied experiences,” Prof Jackson said.
He said the experiences Ioannidis integrated in his meta-evaluation had been furthermore in step with particular sub-populations – cities or regions – and exams had been performed over a moderately quick timeframe, which might possibly possibly furthermore give unsuitable results.
Prof Jackson said his hang unpublished research chanced on the IFR for COVID-19 changed into as soon as nearer to one per cent.
He furthermore pointed to varied research which checked out the number of COVID-19 deaths in a single week within the US and when in contrast that to the discontinuance number of flu deaths per week in a mean 365 days and chanced on COVID-19 changed into as soon as between 9.5 to 44.1 times more deadly.
 COVID Belief B says lockdown is unwarranted as COVID-19 is handiest a shrimp worse than the seasonal flu. The Verdict
AAP FactCheck chanced on the statement that the fatality rate for COVID-19 is handiest marginally worse than the seasonal flu to be mostly false.
Whereas a meta-evaluation by Stanford College epidemiology professor John P.A Ioannidis did certainly obtain COVID-19 had an an infection fatality ratio of about 0.27 per cent, the seek has been criticised as inaccurate, and figures from the WHO and CDC imply COVID-19 is seriously more deadly than seasonal flu.
The number of folks within the US who hang died from COVID-19 within the first 9 months of the outbreak is already five times better than the number of flu deaths in a traditional 365 days.
Three main epidemiologists from Fresh Zealand who hang written broadly on influenza believed the fatality ratio for COVID-19 is seriously better than seasonal flu in step with quite a bit of experiences.
Largely Counterfeit – The claim is mostly false with one minor part of fact.
AAP FactCheck is current by the Poynter Institute’s World Truth-Checking Community, which promotes easiest note via a stringent and clear Code of Principles. https://aap.com.au/

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