Why you should fear COVID-19

Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, an epidemiologist working in chronic disease in Sydney’s west, has penned an article warning against complacency surrounding COVID-19.

Meyerowitz-Katz claims there is a widely-held misconception that since only about 1% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 will die, the other 99% of the world’s population does not have to worry too much about the respiratory illness.

She counters that although the long-term effects of COVID-19 are not yet known, it has been well-documented that the virus can have significant health effects for those that survive. These include serious damage to vital organs such as the kidneys, as well as fatigue and psychiatric problems. Moreover, even those who only experience mild symptoms can incur life-changing medical problems:

Dying isn’t the only issue that a disease can cause. Measles kills about 0.2% of people who catch it, but it leaves some people deaf, others with brain damage, and may cause permanent immune system damage to boot. Polio, the disease that causes terrifying paralysis, is entirely asymptomatic in upwards of 70% of people who catch it…

While government restrictions are starting to feel onerous, the fact is that we simply do not know enough about this disease to be sure that even the lowest risk is acceptable…

We may not know for some time exactly what else it causes, but even now we have enough evidence to know that there are other problems out there. Letting everyone get infected is a strategy that, even ignoring the enormous death toll, could leave us much worse off as a society.

In other words, if you are living in Melbourne, obey the six week lockdown and stay home as much as possible.

If you are living elsewhere in Australia, remain vigilant and obey strict social distancing protocols.

We are in this the long haul. There’s no vaccine coming soon:

Australians could wait for two and a half years for a widespread vaccine to counter the coronavirus, former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark has warned after being named to lead a global inquiry into the health crisis.

…”I’m told from Geneva that the most optimistic scenario for a widely available vaccine would be at least two and a half years,” she said in an interview on Friday.

“And even then we don’t know how efficacious it would be – it may not stop us getting it, it may simply mitigate the impact of getting it.

“In the end, a disease like this, like a plague of ancient times, will keep going as long as hosts present themselves for it, so we have to cut the transmission cycle.”

The warning counters some of the optimistic claims for the development of the first vaccines to counter COVID-19, as analysts at the Milken Institute track 180 vaccine projects around the world

Leith van Onselen

Comments

  1. Yep. Some of the morbidity stories are pretty bad.

    Sense of smell not returning – possibly ever – seems like a milder one, but anosmia correlates with dying in the next few years.
    Is it possible those people are on the path to death in 5-10 years? We won’t know for years.

    Chronic fatigue? Will it go away or will they feel tired for the rest of their lives?

    Loss of Kidney function? Dialysis several years earlier than normal?

    Brain fog? Will they find it hard to concentrate for the rest of their lives? Will it return?

    We just don’t know yet.

        • Another possible indication of genetic manipulation is the presence of a furin polybasic cleavage site in COVID-19 as represented by the PRRA amino acid insertion, which does not exist in any of the bat or pangolin close relatives and is completely “out of frame” compared to the bat RaTG13 and pangolin sequences.

          Perhaps not coincidentally, the furin polybasic cleavage site in COVID-19 occurs in the precise location known to enhance pathogenicity and transmissibility in viruses.

          Methods for the insertion of a polybasic cleavage site in infectious bronchitis coronavirus have been described by Chinese scientists and that artificial genetic alteration resulted in increased pathogenicity.

          In parallel, animal models for the addition of structures important to the function of coronaviruses, called O-linked glycans, have been used by Chinese scientists at the Chongqing Military Medical University, as well as animal models to specifically select for the human angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 receptor, the entry step for COVID-19 infection.
          https://www.wionews.com/opinions-blogs/facts-that-china-is-trying-to-suppress-about-origin-of-covid-19-296367

          “There is no doubt that China has the knowledge and technology to have created COVID-19. Whether that actually was done is yet to be determined and should be undergoing vigorous scientific investigation.”

          • If I’m getting this straight, it seems likely that a scientist did some copy pasting of the virus.

            Which then somehow got into the wild.

            Yes?

          • Groucho Marx once said that “Military Intelligence in to Intelligence what Military Music is to Music”. I guess we can say the same about Military Medicine.

        • My strong sense is this is going to turn out not to be a natural virus. There are too many oddities. Why Wuhan of all places? Why has it been so asymmetrical? Why did China lockdown at home while trying to infect the rest of the world?

          A very strange virus at a very unusual time in history.

          https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.vallartadaily.com/virologist-who-discovered-the-hiv-virus-says-covid-19-was-created-in-a-laboratory/amp/
          French virologist Luc Montagnier, winner of the Nobel Prize for his work on HIV and a highly controversial figure in the scientific community, said that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 was created in a laboratory by inserting genes into a coronavirus of HIV-1, the AIDS virus.
          “We have come to the conclusion that this virus was created,” said the French scientist, who was awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his participation in the research that led to the discovery of the HIV virus, during an interview with the French channel CNews.

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      Losing sense of smell also means losing sense of taste. Spending the rest of your life not being able to taste anything may save you money, but it is pretty horrible.

    • I got HPIV (parainfluenza) a couple of years ago. Not only did I lose my sense of smell and taste – strong odours such as curry were converted to the most appalling smell you can imagine. I still cannot describe it. I got lucky and recovered about 60% of my sense of smell after about 9 months. Those hoping for a covid vaccine should take note…
      This virus has been around since the 50’s. Despite decades of research, no vaccines currently exist.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_parainfluenza_viruses

    • ZevombatMEMBER

      ‘…more than 300 studies from around the world have found a prevalence of neurological abnormalities in Covid-19 patients, including mild symptoms like headaches, loss of smell (anosmia) and tingling sensations (arcoparasthesia), up to more severe outcomes such as aphasia (inability to speak), strokes and seizures. This is in addition to recent findings that the virus, which has been largely considered to be a respiratory disease, can also wreak havoc on the kidneys, liver, heart, and just about every organ system in the body.’

      It’s going to take time for larger studies to work out the range of effects and their likelihood. At the moment reporting is on survival after a few months. Some initial survivors might die within the year, and others will live with longer term damage.

      https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200622-the-long-term-effects-of-covid-19-infection

    • SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

      yep its all over Sydney now and with no lockdown it will just keep spreading, only thing to happen now will be another lock down, OR, let it rip

      • plus what Ermo reported on the weekend… once these people come back from the south coast it will spread like wild fire. I just can’t believe how we managed to do this. I am in the camp of – being done on purpose.

        • kannigetMEMBER

          You mean like announcing it is so bad you need to institute a border lockdown…… in 36hrs time, effectively allowing lots of people to cross the border beforehand….

          • People still dont get the ramifications of the 5 day asymptomatic incubation period. Current approach of responding to symptoms just too slow. Covid is a slippery bastard. Only viable approach is elimination. But people have to be willing to pay the price and they werent in late May when we had the chance.

      • What’s equally impressive is that certain Doctors keep denying it’s an issue. And ignore the long term impacts for society. Btw not you DrSmithy.

        • Gavin there are some pretty smart docs and people with detailed medical knowledge here.

          What they are saying may not fit your preconception or the MSM message. They may however be correct.

          Do me a favor. Look at the CDC links I sent. Understand that “current deaths” do not equal deaths that happened recently. There is a significant lag between a death occurring from COVID, and it being caught up in the COVID statistics.

          So saying “another 1000 COVID deaths today” does not mean 1000 people are dead who were alive 24 hours ago. It is 1000 more cases that retrospectively get added to the relevant week (or month) in which the death occurred.

          Just like house prices. If interest rates went up to 18%, settlement data would not show this for 42 days.

          Don’t want to believe the CDC? Fine.
          You can save the data and graphs today, and come back next week see where the next 5000 cases or whatever get added.

  2. The Penske FileMEMBER

    What % of the surviving 99% will really end up with the extra complications? I’ve been crushing some IPA’s in lockdown that are going to no doubt leave my organs a little worse off anyway.
    Also, any Ambo’s out there in MB world with their thoughts on our current suicide rate vs pre COVID just to balance out the real death toll.
    And after a walk through the CBD today perhaps if the good Guardian writer could push for the building tradies to stay home as well as the rest of us. Or wouldn’t they dare after all the new office suites in La Trobe Street built by union workers are essential.

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      We don’t know about COVID-19 yet. With SARS, 40% of those who recovered experienced chronic fatigue in a study done in HK 10 years afterward.

    • Mate on top of some delicious IPA’s I’ve also thrown back a few 10% barrel aged dark ales… boy will they reek havoc in the future if I have too many.

    • Segregate Victoria

      “Also, any Ambo’s out there in MB world with their thoughts on our current suicide rate vs pre COVID just to balance out the real death toll.”

      Suicide is a choice though and a symptom of poor life choices or a lack of fortitude. You can’t help those people.

    • There is zero doubt on the front line that suicides, domestic violence and child abuse are all up. Think of all those families who are often dysfunctional at the best of times, now stuck at home, facing financial pressures, and increased use of drugs and alcohol.

      The CDC has some data on this. They have estimated a total of 33,000 deaths due to the lockdown per se. In arriving at this figure, they have deducted
      a) lives not lost due to automobile crashes (i.e. less traffic = less road deaths)
      b) lives not lost related to complications of surgery (less surgery = less iatrogenic death)

      So lockdown prevented some non-COVID deaths. But overall lockdown caused 33,000 additional non-COVID deaths.

  3. A vaccine was always a long way off. The initial 18 month estimates were at the wild end of optimistic. It may not be possible – we have never developed an vaccine for any coronavirus, and we have not developed a vaccine for HIV despite 40 years of efforts.

    Have a look at this CDC data
    https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Provisional-COVID-19-Death-Counts-by-Sex-Age-and-W/vsak-wrfu
    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm

    This data looks at when deaths occurred – not when they were reported. Note the lag can be 8 weeks or more!!
    So there was a significant lag in March & April when deaths were going up, and a similar lag in June & July when deaths are falling.
    In other words, some of the deaths officially reported to CDC this week (and then reported in the media as “current” weekly counts) actually occurred weeks or months ago. And conversely, more deaths will be added to this weeks CDC data in coming weeks and months.

    “Number of deaths reported in this table are the total number of deaths received and coded as of the date of analysis, and do not represent all deaths that occurred in that period. Data during this period are incomplete because of the lag in time between when the death occurred and when the death certificate is completed, submitted to NCHS and processed for reporting purposes. This delay can range from 1 week to 8 weeks or more.”

    Another way of putting the data into perspective
    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm

    I take the point about morbidity rather than simply mortality. However understand that a disease surrounded by as much publicity and mythology as COVID is guaranteed to cause a lot of long term morbidity. It will be very difficult to sort out how much is organic and how much is psychosomatic.

    Remember good old repetitive strain injury. A perculiarly Australian epidemic that dies out as mysteriously as it appeared.

    • However, and correct me if I’m wrong, the point of the hard lockdowns, i.e. in New Zealand, was to wait those 18 months until the vaccine came.

      So ……. what is the strategy now? Continued lockdowns for another 2.5 years? That would be 2023. Are you prepared for that? Is society prepared for that? Can we afford it?

        • I agree. I am on the more pessimistic scale so agree with that.

          The question then should really be posed to the electorate, somehow; is this what you are prepared for? Rolling shutdowns?

          Then again from what I understand the politicians who are most hard with locking down (i.e. McGowan in WA) are getting phenomenal approval ratings; 92% or something. So, I guess these lockdowns are what people want.

          • McGowan is popular because the border closure has prevented most new cases coming in, not because of the internal lockdown, which is pretty much completely relaxed now.

      • Arthur Schopenhauer

        If it’s elimination, it means no mass immigration for 18 months™️ or more. That would require a complete RE-organization of the economy or, mass poverty (and civil unrest).

        The politicians with any strategic smarts must be aware that there is no easy way out.

      • It is instructive to compare this with HIV:
        Estimated time to Vaccine: 5 years
        Actual time to Vaccine: 25 years, and even then it was unreliable
        Time to first effective treatment: 5 years
        Time to first reliable treatment: 10 years
        Things move much quicker these days. My guess is the vaccine is 2.5 years away, but we will have reliable treatments within one year, at which point the borders can reopen.

  4. it’s turned out to be between a mild to moderate-mild disease, certainly not the ‘harmless’ flu it was originally touted as but also definitely not the second coming of the black death. respiratory illnesses by and large are not harmful compared to those that are disseminated through fluids and other mechanisms because if they were, humanity would have been doomed a long time ago.

    it’s sad to see so much scaremongering on this blog re: covid.

    • As a human I represent being described as an illness disseminated through fluids. I don’t care what we’ve done to the planet, that is just rude.

      • So true. The bottom line is those who cry ‘scaremonger’ still don’t want to get it. Until the long term survival effects are known, no one wants to risk a lifetime of chronic fatigue, brain fog, heart/kidney disease, breathlessness or whatever other side effects may possibly eventuate.

      • I have. I’ve also heard of influenza. Never heard of millions having their livelihoods stopped and destroyed through threat of violence over them though despite their equal prevalence, ease of transmission and lethality.
        The blogs and commentators peddling this (((bankster))) orchestrated global economic collapse have exposed themselves as the cockroaches they’ve been the whole time.

  5. “While government restrictions are starting to feel onerous, the fact is that we simply do not know enough about this disease to be sure that even the lowest risk is acceptable…”

    So because we don’t know, we should all isolate for months on end and kill the economy.

    That’s a ridiculous argument. We don’t have certainty on a lot of things, that doesn’t mean we avoid them at all costs.

  6. SchnitzelEaterMEMBER

    So what’s the plan then? Rolling lock downs (with the accompanying unemployment, business failures and suicides) every couple of months whenever this disease springs up again as we wait for a vaccine that may not ever come.

    Am I the only one who thinks that the plans we have to manage COVID-19 may end up causing more damage than the disease itself?

    • QuentinMEMBER

      Yep. We all become Sweden eventually.
      Australia’s reaction is becoming hysterical and piecemeal. It was ok while eradication still seemed maybe possible. Not so now. You can’t have rolling lockdowns and jumping at shadows forever. Time for a proper plan.

    • kannigetMEMBER

      media: CCP are an evil organisation who disappear anyone who disagrees with them.

      also media: CCP failed to stop people defecting out of the country.

      As if the CCP would have allowed anyone to escape to the US without a carefully planned and executed suicide first.

    • run to the hillsMEMBER

      I wouldn’t be surprised if staff from that Wuhan laboratory defected to the West for their own safety, as it’s likely the CCP would have probably tried to erase any staff with knowledge of the virus escaping to ensure the cover up, if the virus did actually escape from the lab. Although Bannon is hardly a reliable source of information.

  7. Segregate Victoria

    There’s a lot of vitriol on here towards Trump, but there’s nothing he could have done.

    Go on Youtube and Americans are basically going about life as normal. If anyone wonders why they have the worst rates in the world it’s because most refuse to change their lives in anyway.

    Australia is going down the same path. The lockdowns will have more success here but it’ll be as rife in VIC, NSW and likely QLD down the track as in Europe.

    I’m in a situation where I can sit back and allow others to become infected to be the guinea pigs for me.

    • kannigetMEMBER

      Rubbish,

      1) he could have NOT told people to rise up and fight the lock downs.
      2) he could have NOT told people masks were not effective….
      3) he could have NOT told people its ‘just a flu and it will magically go away’
      4) he could have done a lot of other things as well that would have supported the states in reducing the impact while minimizing the need for tighter lock downs.

      • ^exactly drsmithy…

        There’s a common thread of nations that did poorly vs nations that have good to great jobs handling the pandemic. Funnily enough its not an East vs West thing, its about fact-denial nationalist populism on one side vs good governance/respect for science/social resilience and community spirit on the other.
        Was going to write a post about this last week – as a follow up to my “Chernobyl” essay about the change in risk/responsiblity dynamics in modern societies.

      • That would be the same cartoon one would choose for the idea of sending elderly, medically stable COVID patients back to their nursing homes to recuperate. Who would do that?

  8. Derrick BoganMEMBER

    To know the economically right thing to do, we need to know scientifically what we’re dealing with.

    And therein lies the rub: we still don’t know what to make of it. Open up too late, kill the economy. Open up too early, kill ourselves.

  9. ABC has a story about how some people entering the Crossroads Pub didn’t leave their name and phone number. You’d have to be on Mars to not know that there was an outbreak there. I always carry my own pen; but, it seems that many people are touching a communal pen to write their name and phone number. Is this wise?

  10. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Who remembers that hamed baked beans bloke that was on here? He’d have enough supplies to last 100 rolling lock downs and still not need to shop.

    • I assume you are publishing the link for humour value. The only thing that will be mass-produced by mid September in respect of vaccines will be fake news like this. The vaccines are in various early stage human trials at the moment, and as for “no side effects”… umm short term side effects might be observed but long term side effects is a big dunno. And the only people making claims like “no side effects” and “given out free to citizens” are propagandists. We’re all cheering the scientists on, but I have not seen a credible report of mass production before 2021.

      • Dude chill with your BS racism, this is a from a statement by out by the Russian ministry of defence, it has been widely reported in Russia. Nobody is forcing you to take this vaccine, but they are given for free in Russia, universally (for citizens), and it’s been confirmed that this will be no different.

        It’s scheduled for production in August actually, September is just mass availability. The only thing that could possibly stop it is if something very unexpected is discovered in stage 3 trials (in progress now).

        I’m not saying it’s going to be available here in Australia (I’m guessing the government will want to buy only locally made vaccines) – but to say they are “years away” is just flat out wrong.

        Something isn’t “fake news” just because it disagrees with your own biases.

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