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‘Fear Could Have a Larger Impact Than the Virus Itself’: Study Funded by French Govt Says COVID-19 Is Nothing Special

"SARS-CoV-2 does not seem to be deadlier than other circulating viruses," "2.6 million people die of respiratory infections each year"

This paper, which received funding from the French government, uses figures from early March. The argument put forward still stands, though: There are many other viruses out there that boast global death tolls far larger than anything we’re likely to see from Covid-19 (“2.6 million people die of respiratory infections each year,” the authors point out). It also compares estimated mortality rates from other common coronaviruses. Guess what? Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is nothing special. 

The paper correctly observes: Fear could have a larger impact than the virus itself.”

Some highlights:

 Four common coronaviruses are in current circulation and cause millions of cases worldwide. This article compares the incidence and mortality rates of these four common coronaviruses with those of SARS-COV-2 in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. It is concluded that the problem of SARS-CoV-2 is probably being overestimated, as 2.6 million people die of respiratory infections each year

Coronaviridae represent a very important family of animal and human viruses [1,2] that are in permanent circulation. Four common human coronaviruses (HKU1, NL63, OC43 and E229) cause 10–20% of respiratory infections worldwide and are present in all continents. Mortality is poorly assessed, but it is clear that there are chronic carriers as well as asymptomatic carriers. 

In 2016, there were 594 000 deaths in France; 59.2% of these deaths occurred in a care establishment [25]. In the same year, AP-HM reported 2854 deaths. As such, it can be estimated that approximately 0.8% of deaths in care establishments in France died in AP-HM hospitals. This estimate provides an approximation of the number of people affected by a pathogen in France according to the number of people who died each year at AP-HM hospitals.

Finally, in OECD countries, SARS-CoV-2 does not seem to be deadlier than other circulating viruses. In addition to coronaviruses, there are 16 endemic viruses in common circulation in developed countries (adenovirus, bocavirus, cytomegalovirus, enterovirus, influenza A H1N1 virus, influenza A H3N2 virus, influenza B virus, metapneumovirus, parainfluenzae virus 1, parainfluenzae virus 2, parainfluenzae virus 3, parainfluenzae virus 4, parechovirus, picornavirus, rhinovirus, syncytial respiratory virus), and 2.6 million deaths from respiratory infections (excluding tuberculosis) per year have been noted in recent years worldwide [27]. There is little chance that the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 could change this statistic significantly. Fear could have a larger impact than the virus itself; a case of suicide motivated by the fear of SARS-COV-2 has been reported in India [28].

In addition, coronaviruses that have rarely been tested systematically around the world may persist in the pharynx of asymptomatic people, representing a potential source of population immunity [29]. Furthermore, it should be noted that systematic studies of other coronaviruses (but not yet for SARS-CoV-2) have found that the percentage of asymptomatic carriers is equal to or even higher than the percentage of symptomatic patients. The same data for SARS-CoV-2 may soon be available, which will further reduce the relative risk associated with this specific pathology.

Global economic collapse. Hundreds of millions of terrified, unemployed people too afraid to leave their homes. Because of this.

Source: ‘SARS-CoV-2: fear versus data’ via Science Direct

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