Covid-19 Media Project: Identifying the Interests and Tactics Used to Create Hysteria

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          In April of 2020 as the Covid-19 hysteria approached its height I wrote an article called The Covid-19 Media project that established the risk of being infected with Covid-19 and contrasted that risk to the risk being promoted by the media, epidemiologists, politicians, and others who have an interest in the public perceiving the virus as being much more dangerous than it actually is.  The article examines several stories representative of broader reporting at the time and identifies the tactics used to mislead the public and instances where assertions are completely false.  The most effective component of risk exaggeration in these stories as well as others is the omission of who.  Who is dying of the virus and who is at risk for complication is largely absent, ambiguous, or imprecise, implying the virus is a much greater threat to public safety than it actually is.

          Below is a chart I compiled consisting of the latest data on covid-19 deaths and underlying conditions which will reinforce the conclusion I made in April of 2020 and even those made in March of 2020.  Conclusions that are still not popular among the population, and not understood by those who take the position that the danger of Covid-19 has been grossly exaggerated.  The data consists of the total number of Covid-19 deaths by age, and the presence of underlying medical conditions by age.  This chart and the following explanations illustrate who is at risk, what proportion of the population covid-19 is a threat to, and makes the argument based on that data that covid-19 should not be considered a threat to public safety.  I’m prefacing the material I created and conclusions I reached at the beginning of the shamdemic to what has been observed over the course of about a year and half.  

September 15th 2021

Total Covid-19 Deaths: 667,000

Age Range                      Total Deaths(1)         No Underlying Medical Condition Fatalities(2)                  

0   to 17 Years Old          439                            1(3)

18 to 29 Years Old          3212                          3

30 to 39 Years Old          9240                          9

40 to 49 Years Old          23,501                       94  

50 to 64 Years Old(4)    110,689                     1340  

65 to 74 Years Old          147,568                     7525

75 to 84 Years Old          176,763                     26,514

85+        Years Old          187,342                     54,329  

        

1: CDC Provisional Death Counts for Coronavirus Disease Covid-19, Table 1 Data As of 9/15/2021 Accessed 9/16/2021 https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm
2: Statista “Percentage of People Who Died From Covid-19 in the United States from January 22nd to May 30th 2020, by Presence of Underlying Medical Conditions and age.”  The sample size is 40,243 covid-19 deaths for which underlying medical conditions were known which is a large enough sample size to represent the characteristics of the virus between age demographics.
3: The rate provided in the source for the presence of underlying medical conditions is .1 which seems to be the minimum value.  If 1 person died in that age range the percentage of people who died with no underlying medical conditions should be  .23.  It is possible no one in this age group died and the minimum value is .1.  Erroring on the side of caution I have assigned 1 death with no underlying medical conditions to this age range. 
4: The age groupings align from groupings 0 to 49.  After 0 to 49 the provisional death count statistics change to 50 to 64, 65 to 74, 74 to 85 and 85 plus, whereas the percentage of people who died without underlying medical conditions continues in 10 year groupings.  The higher the age the more people who die without the presence of underlying medical conditions.  To reconcile the unlike age groupings that occur above the age of 50 I used the higher age value of deaths without underlying medical conditions and halved it.  In the age group 50 to 64, deaths without presence of underlying medical conditions ages 50 to 59 represented .9% of deaths in that age range.  Deaths without underlying medical conditions in people aged 60 to 69 represented 2.4% of deaths.  So the value used for the age range 50 to 64 years old is represented by 1.2%.  Although the number of people who died without underlying medical conditions who were aged 60 to 64 may exceed 1.2%, for people who are 50 to 59 years old none of those people died at a rate that was above .9%, so this method of reconciliation seems like a fairly accurate compromise.  I preferred this estimation to a range, since 2.4% of people in the age range 60 to 69 represents more people aged 65 to 69 than it does 60 to 64, and would have the effect of grossly inflating the number of people who die without underlying medical conditions between the ages of 50 to 59, which make up the majority of the age range 50 to 64.

           There were 17,008,087 cases of covid-19 among people aged 0 to 39 and there were 12 deaths among people in that age range infected without an underlying medical condition.(5)   The chances of a person who is under 39 years old dying if infected with covid 19 are about 1 in 1.4 million.  In the article when I say the healthy population interacting with one another when there were restrictions is a matter of sickness and recovery the numbers support that conclusion.  People aged 39 and younger represent 52.2% of the population.  

5: Statista Total Number of Cases of Covid-19 in the United States as of September 14th, 2021, by Age Group.  https://www.statista.com/statistics/1254271/us-total-number-of-covid-cases-by-age-group/

           There were 4,714,501 cases of covid-19 among people aged 40 to 49, and there were 94 deaths occurring in this age group among people who did not have underlying medical conditions.  A healthy person aged 40 to 49 has a 1 in 50,154 chance of dying if infected with covid-19 or .05% chance of death.  

           There were 6,291,163 cases of covid among people aged 50 to 64, and there were 1340 deaths among people in that age range without underlying medical conditions.  A healthy person aged 50 to 64 has a 1 in 4694 chance of dying if infected with covid. 

           There were 2,310,603 cases of covid among people aged 65 to 74 and there were 7525 deaths of people without underlying medical conditions in that age group.  A healthy person aged 65 to 74  has a 1 in 307 chance of dying if infected with covid 19.  Which is to say that even for a person who is 75 years old without underlying medical conditions that chances that they will die are exceedingly slim.  

           There were 1,176,504 cases of covid among people aged 75 to 84 and there were 26,514 deaths.  A healthy person aged 75 to 84 has a 1 in 44 chance of dying if infected with covid, or about 2.5% chance.  

           Finally, we have people aged over 85 who represent the bulk of people who have died of covid-19 without underlying medical conditions.  There were 654,197 cases of covid among people aged over 85, and there were 54,329 deaths, roughly a 1 in 13 chance of death or 8%.  People in this age range are at risk of dying of anything due to immunosenescence.  As we age our bodies lose the ability to fight off viruses and other infections. 

           For the general healthy population people aged below 74, which represents 93.1% of the population, the chances of dying from covid-19 are so minimal as to be negligible.  For the 4.9% of the population who are over 74 they have a 2% chance of dying if infected, and the 2% of the population who are over 85 years old have an 8% chance of dying if infected, but even this group has an elevated risk of dying from everything. 

          A person committed to the biased opinions of media personalities, academics, and politicians who serve the interests of industry will say but what about people with underlying conditions?  Then they’ll falsely assert that most Americans have underlying conditions, therefore covid-19 is still a threat to public safety.  

          In the material I cite a CDC sample that is about 2300 people who were diagnosed with covid-19 and have underlying conditions.  Of those with underlying conditions 93.5% survived which tells us that not only is the general healthy population rarely at risk of death if infected with covid, most people who have underlying conditions are not at risk of dying if infected with covid-19.  I’m not going to cite the study here as I’ve already cited it in the book. 

           Recently I found a hospital survey that separated patients with covid-19 into categories that consisted of those who had 0 underlying conditions, 1 underlying condition, 2 to 5 underlying conditions, 6 to 10 underlying conditions, and 10 and more underlying conditions.(6)  Of the 80,000 covid-19 deaths in the sample, only 2087 of those deaths were people with 1 underlying medical condition.  Which supports the conclusion that a person’s chance of death doesn’t necessarily increase dramatically with underlying condition, but the type of condition, how advanced that condition is, and how many conditions that condition is coupled with are much more determinative.  It’s inaccurate to say that high blood pressure qualifies as a medical condition, half of all Americans have high blood pressure, therefore covid-19 poses a risk of death to half of all americans. 

6: Kompaniyets L, Pennington AF, Goodman AB, Rosenblum HG, Belay B, Ko JY, et al. Underlying Medical Conditions and Severe Illness Among 540,667 Adults Hospitalized With COVID-19, March 2020–March 2021. Prev Chronic Dis 2021;18:210123. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5888/ pcd18.210123.

          In a nation where what people like determines what people accept as true, no amount of reasoning and evidence will suffice to change their mind.  I knew this going into  the covid-19 hysteria from every other issue in this country, and that’s both the left, the right, liberal, conservative, radical, and politically indifferent.  The only thing that surprised me with covid-19 is that there were no legal challenges to the qualification of covid-19 as a threat to public safety, where data could have been presented similar to how I’ve presented in this book to arrive at that logical conclusion.  Although I’m not aware of this qualification being raised directly in any legal case, I’m surprised that in hearing other covid-19 cases that this point wasn’t raised by judges presiding over covid-19 cases concerning liberties and restrictions.  All that is really left in this country is the courts, and to some degree that has failed us with covid-19.

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