Biblical and Constitutional Politics

Fitness for One and All

Update on Covid Deaths

Part Four

(Both the Right and the Left Miss the Immense Disparate Covid Risk Factors)

 

By Gary F. Zeolla


 

This multi-part article is continued from Update on Covid Deaths: Part Three (Illogical Reasoning by the Right About Covid and the Vaccines)

 

Elderly and Those with Comorbidities Most at Risk

 

      Throughout the pandemic, both the left and the right have been guilty of not making distinctions between different people groups and their differing risks from Covid-19. That led to the left recommending lockdowns and mask and vaccine mandates for all peoples, while it led the right to downplaying the seriousness of Covid and denigrating the vaccines for all peoples. Both attitudes led to much needless suffering and death.

      I knew from start of the pandemic that it was the elderly who were most at risk from Covid. That was clear from happened in Italy. Remember, after Wuhan, China, it was Italy which was first hit with Covid. That was due to workers traveling from Italy to Wuhan and back, bringing Covid back with them. And who was dying from Covid? The elderly, most especially those in nursing homes.

      That told me, and should have told everyone else, that it was those who were elderly, and especially those elderly who were already sickly enough to be in a nursing home, who were most at risk of serious consequences from a Covid infection.

      Then, as Covid hit our shores, it was again those in nursing homes who were hardest hit, starting with  those living in New York City.

      Then as Covid hit my area in southwestern Pennsylvania, I noticed another trend. Most every time I saw a picture of someone on the news who died from Covid who was not elderly, he or she was overweight, generally to the point of being obese. The rare exceptions were those with other serious health problems, most notably cancer or emphysema.

      That told me that those who needed to be protected were the elderly and those with comorbidities. That means, it should only have been those two groups who should have been encouraged to isolate themselves as much as possible, to practice social distancing and to wear a mask when venturing out, and once the vaccines became available, to get vaccinated, then boosted as such became necessary.

      However, everyone else should have been allowed to live their lives as usual. In other words, the lockdowns and the mask and vaccine mandates never made any sense. They were especially nonsensical for college students, those in the military, and professional athletes, as such constitute almost exclusively the young and healthy. I presented statistics along the way verifying these suppositions were correct. And now, three years into the pandemic, death statistics continue to bear out that my attitude was correct.

      The first updated stats I heard was on the President’s Daily Briefing podcast for May 10, 2022. At that time, we had just passed one million Covid deaths in the USA. It was reported on that podcast that 80% of those deaths were among those over 65, while among the remaining 20%, 75% were obese and/ or had other comorbidities.

      Putting numbers to those percentages, of the 1,000,000 Covid deaths, 800,000 were over the age of 65. That leaves 200,000 deaths under the age of 65. Of those, 150,000 deaths were of those who were obese and/ or had other comorbidities. That leaves just 50,000 deaths among those who were young and healthy.

      That percentage for deaths over 65 was confirmed by an article on CNN’s website on December 23, 2022.

 

      Only about 13% of all reported cases in the US have been among people 65 and older, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But about half of all hospitalizations and three-quarters of all deaths have been in this age group (CNN. A Covid-19).

 

      The percentage here is 75% rather than 80% of deaths being among those over 65, but that is in the same ballpark. Also, half of hospitalizations are among the elderly, but even that is still quite significant given that only 13% of cases are among those over 65. That means, even though those under 65 constitute 87% of cases, they only constitute 25% of deaths and 50% of hospitalizations.

      This takes us back to my comments previously about the difference between being infected with Covid but only having mild symptoms and being infected and needing to be hospitalized or dying. Being vaccinated makes one more likely to be in the former group versus the latter group, but so does being young and healthy.

      The next set of data is from early December 2022, and it gives similar results.

 

      COVID-19 hospitalizations among seniors are at least three times higher than any other age group, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

      As of Dec. 7, new hospital admissions per 100,000 for those aged 70 and older sits at 6.93 per 100,000.

      The next highest rate is among those between ages 60 and 69, which sits at 2.21 per 100,000, as of Dec. 6.

      When looking at rates for younger age groups, the disparity is even greater. Among those aged 17 and younger, the new hospital admissions rate is 0.28 per 100,000.

      It comes on the heels of data from the CDC showing that more than 90% of COVID-19 deaths, as of Dec 7, have occurred among those aged 50 or older (ABC News. COVID hospitalizations).

 

      Other outlets reported that “more than 90%” was in fact 92%. That means, only 8% of deaths were among those under 50. Moreover, since 75-80% were among those over 65, that leaves 12-17% for those 50-65.

      As I finalize this article on January 4, 2022, we just passed 1.1 million Covid deaths in the USA. Putting this data into chart form and calculating the number of deaths for each age group, we have the following:

 

65+: 75-80%, 825,000-880,000 deaths

50-65: 12-17%, 132,000-187,000 deaths

0-49: 8%., 88,000 deaths

 

      Although the number of deaths for the latter two categories is significant, it should be obvious where the most risk is at from Covid. And again, 75% of the deaths in the latter two categories are probably among those who are obese or with other serious comorbidities. That leaves the following for the young and healthy:

 

50-65: 33,000-46,750

0-49: 22,000

 

      Again, these numbers are not insignificant, but the following puts them in perspective, “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released its early estimate of traffic fatalities for 2021. NHTSA projects that an estimated 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes last year” (NHTSA. Newly).

      That means, dying in a traffic accident is a far greater risk for those under 50 than Covid and about equal to the risk for those 50-65. Only for those over 65 is Covid a much greater risk. We do not shut down our highway system and ban driving to prevent that number of deaths, and we should never have shut down our country. Again, only those who were at high risk should have been told to self-isolate and to wear masks and practice social distancing when venturing out and been encouraged to get vaccinated and boosted as needed. The rest should have lived their lives as usual, without any mandates.

      It should go without saying there is not a drop off here, as in, people who are under 65 are at low risk, then they jump into high risk the day they turn 65. Instead, those who are under 50 and relatively healthy are at low risk. But their risk gradually climbs as their age climbs. That pattern is born out on a chart on the CDC’s website. The chart compares the risk for cases, hospitalizations and death for different age groups, with those aged 18-29 being the baseline.

    The chart indicates the following risk of death as compared to that age group for other age groups: 0-4 years: 0.2x, 5-17 years: 0.1x, 18-29: baseline, 30-39 years: 3.5x, 40-49 years: 10x, 50-64 years: 25x, 65-74 years: 60x, 75-84 years: 140x, 85+ years: 350x (CDC. Risk for). The difference as age increases is striking. If you compare those over 85 with those 5-17, the former would have a 3,500x greater risk of death. That means, vaccines for those over 85 make great sense, while they make little sense for those under 18.

    However, these are overall numbers. But the speed of increased risk for a particular individual varies based on that person’s specific health state and personal risk factors. I word it this way, as Covid is here to stay, just like the flu. Those under 50 now will someday be over 65 and will need to change their perspective in regard to Covid and getting vaccinated as they age, just as they will need to do with other health risks. A colonoscopy makes little sense for someone under 50 who has no particular risk factors. But for someone over 50, it is a vital though uncomfortable test to undergo. So it is with the Covid vaccines.

 

Updated Case Fatality Rate

 

      The case fatality rate (CFR) is the deaths/ cases ratio. I first calculated this number for Covid for March 25, 2021 as being at 1.8%. That was one year into the full-swing of the pandemic here in the USA but before the vaccines became readily available. I next calculated the CFR as falling to 1.6% by November 13, 2021. That was in the midst of the Delta wave.

      Then by New Year’s Day 2022, the CFR had fallen a bit to 1.5%. Then by January 19, 2022, the CFR had fallen to 1.3%. That was in the midst of the Omicron wave. Then on April 4, 2022, it was down to 1.22%.

      Now, in early January 2023, it has dropped again. As indicated, we have just passed 1,100,000 Covid deaths in the USA. We passed 100,000,000 Covid cases on December 18, 2022. It is now almost at 101,000,000. Using these rounded off numbers, the CFR is now 1.089%, or 1.1% to round it off.

     Why has the CFR fallen? “'Much of the mildness we’ve experienced over the past six to 12 months in many parts of the world has been due to accumulated immunity either through vaccination or infection, not because the virus has changed’ in severity, [Dr. Stuart Campbell] Ray [an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins University]. said” (Newsmax. China’s).

      The flu generally has a CFR of about 0.1%. Though this year, it is a bit lower, “The CDC estimates that as of last week [of 12/31/22], there have been at least 20 million illnesses, 210,000 hospitalizations and 13,000 deaths from flu this season” (CNN. Flu activity). Doing the math, those numbers gives this year’s flu a 0.065% CFR. That means, Covid is almost seventeen times as deadly as this season’s flu. However, when we break these numbers down by age categories, an interesting picture emerges.

      Using the previously indicated percentages for Covid, 13% of cases are among those 65 or older. That is 13,130,000. Dividing the Covid deaths in that age group give us an astounding CFR of 6.2 to 6.7% or an average of 6.5%. That is two-thirds as deadly as the Bubonic Plague (aka “The Black Death”) which has an estimated CFR of about 10% if left untreated (Newsmax. 10/20/21). Covid would probably be equivalent to the Black Death for those who are elderly and have comorbidities, such as those in nursing homes, and even for those over 80 years old but relatively healthy or those under 65 with serious health problems. But I do not have the numbers to demonstrate that supposition directly.

      Now, let’s compare that breathtaking number with that of the CFR of Covid for those under 65. With 87% of cases and just 25% of cases, that works out to 75,750,000 cases and 275,000 deaths. Doing the math, that gives us a 0.36% CFR. That is still 5.5 times as deadly as this season’s flu. But important for this current discussion, that makes Covid 18 times as deadly for those 65 and over as compared to those under 65. That is an immense difference that both the left and right seem to ignore.

      However, it must be noted, the CFR for those under 65 and without comorbidities would be even less. With as little as 55,000 deaths, that works out to a CFR of 0.07%. That is about the same as this season flu's CFR of 0.065%. And it makes the elderly at a whopping 93 times as great risk of death from Covid as the young as healthy. If supposition about the highest risk groups is correct of having a 10% CFR, they would be at an incredible 142 times greater risk of death as the young and healthy.

 

Further Comments

 

      Yes, Covid is probably equivalent to the Bubonic Plague for those at particularly high risk. This is why Covid deniers are way off base in downplaying the seriousness of Covid. It is very deadly for those in high risk categories. On the other hand, Covid fearmongers are way off base in applying that seriousness to those who are young and healthy. Their risk would probably be about equivalent to the flu.

      In addition, given this lower risk for the young and healthy, mask and vaccine mandates make no sense for them. For that matter, the vaccines in general make little sense. Although the risks from the vaccines are overblown by Covid antivaxxers, they are not zero. I have stated previously, there is a slight risk of myocarditis and blood clots from them. Since the risk from Covid is also tiny for this group, then the benefit/ risk ratio is hard to determine as to if it favors vaccination or not.

      That is where the left got it wrong in recommending and especially in mandating self-isolation, social distancing, masks, and vaccines for this group. They were just not at sufficient risk to justify such practices.

      On the other hands, these numbers show that Covid was and is indeed very deadly for the elderly and those with comorbidities. That is why they needed to self-isolate, socially distance, and wear masks, until the vaccine became available. And once they  did, this group needed the vaccines, as the benefit/ risk ration greatly favored vaccination. But once they were vaccinated, self-isolating, social distancing, and mask wearing become redundant and unnecessary and even harmful.

      That is where the right got it wrong in downplaying the seriousness of Covid and dissing the vaccines for all groups. They should have included a disclaimer whenever they said Covid was no worse than the flu or that the risk for the vaccines was too great, to say that is only for those who are young and healthy. They should have added, for the elderly and those with comorbidities, Covid indeed can be very serious, far worse than the flu, and the risk from Covid far outweighs the risk from the vaccines. But they  did not. They made it sound like Covid was of little risk and the vaccines were of little use even for these high-risk groups. But vaccines are the answer to the problem of high-risk seniors and others at high risk.

 

      Dr. Eric Topol, a physician and professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research, has dubbed the rise happening now the “senior wave.”

      “Right now we have an immunity wall built up against the Omicron family – between shots and prior infections and combinations thereof – that seems to be keeping younger folks in pretty good stead. But the immune systems of people of advanced age are not as strong,” Topol said.

      Younger adults who are immunocompromised are also likely experiencing disproportionately severe effects of the latest wave, he said, but there isn’t sufficient data to understand trends in that population as well.

      New variants that are more immune evasive and relatively low utilization of treatments like Paxlovid may have played a role in the rising hospitalization rate among seniors, Topol said.

      But “the main culprit is booster deficiency” with rates that are “woefully inadequate,” he said. “It all points to waning immunity. If more seniors had their booster, the effect would be minimal.” …

      “It’s about finding a balance, because the viruses are dangerous, but so is isolation,” she [Dr. Preeti Malani, a physician at University of Michigan Health who specializes in infectious disease and geriatric medicine] said. “There’s always a way forward and for now, it’s through vaccination” (CNN. A Covid-19 ‘senior).

 

      Note the mention of isolation being dangerous. That is why I said previously that once even people who are at high risk from Covid get vaccinated and boosted as needed, they should then live their lives as normal. Yes, there is still a risk from Covid, as even those who are up-to-date on their vaccines are not 100% protected. But I would say their risk is about the same as that of those under 65, which is to say, about the same as dying in a car accident.

      Again, most of us do not avoid driving due to the risk of dying in a car accident, and we shouldn’t live in fear from Covid once appropriate steps are taken for our personal risk factors, which for those at high risk is to stay up-to-date on their vaccines.

 

DeSantis and Vaccines Grand Jury

 

    This is where Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida got it correct in impaneling a Grand Jury to investigate possible harm caused by the vaccines. He recognized that the elderly and others at high risk are benefited by the vaccines, but the young and healthy do not need them and are potentially harmed by them.

 

      Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision last week petitioning the Florida Supreme Court to impanel a grand jury charged with investigating possible violations by the Biden administration and the drug companies that produced the COVID-19 vaccines took many observers by surprise….

      In the petition, DeSantis specifically cited a state Department of Health analysis that “found an increase in the relative incidence of cardiac-related deaths among males 18-39 years old within 28 days following mRNA vaccination.”

      Nonetheless, even if the federal agencies and drug companies refuse to release the data, “this is good politics — particularly in Florida.” O’Connell noted that people have lost their jobs and been thrown out of the military for refusing to get vaccinated.

      “There are a lot of Floridians who believe this marketing of this jab cost them their jobs and potentially caused them harm,” he said. “We know now that it does not prevent the transmission of COVID, and unless you’re at risk or over the age of 65 it’s truly something you should talk about with your doctor. That’s the policy side of this (Newsmax. DeSantis).

 

      DeSantis in this quote is correct on many levels.

       First, he recognizes the risk from Covid and the need for the vaccines for those 65 and over or with other risk factors.

      Second, he correctly notes that the vaccines do not prevent transmission. They do decrease the risk of infection and thus of infecting others, but they do not eliminate that risk. As such, vaccine mandates never made any sense. It was also unconscionably for anyone to lose their job or be drummed out of the military or college for not getting vaccinated.

      Third, he recognizes there is a risk of myocarditis and blood clots from the vaccines, but with that risk being almost exclusively for teenage or young adult males. But those are the very ones who would be least benefited by the vaccines.

      Fourth, he recommends talking with your doctor about your personal risk and need for vaccination. I have said that ever since the vaccines became available. But that option is lost with vaccine mandates.

      In sum, this quote corrects the errors of both the left and the right in regard to the vaccines. I have already documented the immense amount of unnecessary suffering and death caused by the lack of clarity by the right in his regard. But the vaccine mandates also caused much needless suffering to those who did not need the vaccines but were forced to get them or get tossed out of their place of work or learning. The lockdowns pushed by the left also caused much needless harm. That will be the subject of the next part of this ongoing article.

    But here, I do hope the Grand Jury conducts its research in a proper not shoddy manner. By that I mean, if they just compare the rate of heart problems among those who are vaccinated (the test group) versus those who are not vaccinated (the control group), then the study is worthless, even if it finds a greater rate of heart problems in the test group versus the  control group. That is because, they also need to consider confounding factors.

      Those would include first Covid. Again, Covid increases the risk of heart problems via a risk of myocarditis and blood clots. If those in the test group had Covid at a greater rate than those in the control group, then that corrupts the data. That is possible, as it is possible more people in the test group had Covid and had a hard time with it and decided to get vaccinated so as not to go through that again than those in the control group.

      More possibly, more in the test group could be obese, have hypertension, diabetes, or other comorbidities than in the control group. It could be that knowing those conditions puts them at higher risk from Covid led those in the test group to get vaccinated, while those without such conditions did not see a need to get vaccinated. In that case, it would be those comorbidities, not the vaccines, causing the higher rate of heart disease.

      Similarly, it could be those in the test group do not follow healthy habits in regard to diet, exercise, sleep, rest, and stress control, while those in the control do so. That is possible, as again, it could be that those in the test group, knowing they are not following healthy habits, which puts them at higher risk from Covid, led them to get vaccinated, while those in the control group who do follow healthy habits believed those healthy habits would protect them from Covid, so they saw no need to get vaccinated.

      It is also possible that the lockdowns caused some in the test group who used to follow healthy habits to abandon them, increasing their risk from Covid, which again, could have led them to get vaccinated. It is also possible that stress and fear of getting infected with Covid caused them to get vaccinated. But that stress and fear would also increase their risk of heart disease.

    That stress could also cause those in the test group to use drugs (prescription and illicit) and alcohol as a coping mechanism. That increased drug and alcohol use would in turn increase the risk of heart disease.

      The point is, all of these factors could cause a higher rate of heart disease in the test group as compared to the control group, with the vaccines having no factor in that increased risk. But that will not stop Covid antivaxxers from citing the study as “proof” that the vaccines cause heart disease, but in fact, it will have proven nothing of the sort. Of course, there standards apply to not just DeSantis’ Grand Jury but to any studies conducted in this regard.

      I know this sounds complicated, but such confounding factors must always be considered in health studies. For instance, let’s say researcher have the hypothesis that eating blueberries will reduce one’s risk of heart disease. If all they do is compare the rate of heart disease among blueberry eaters versus non-blueberry eaters, and find the former do indeed have a lower rate of heart disease than the latter, they have proven nothing, and the study is useless. It could be that something else about blueberry eaters causes them to have a lower risk, such as they exercise more or eat other healthy foods that are the real risk-reducers.

      However, if the vaccine study is conducted correctly and accounts for all of these confounding factors and indeed finds an increased risk of heart disease in the test group, I would bet they will find these other risk factors for heart disease are a much greater factor in the increased risk of heart disease than the vaccines. The vaccines will be shown to have what I have already stated, a real but tiny role in the increased risk of heart disease.

      That tiny increased risk will be overshadowed by the greater increased risk by these other factors. But correcting them will not only reduce the risk of heart disease but also from Covid. That is why I have been saying from the start of the pandemic that healthy habits are your best defense. I will revisit that point in Part Six of this ongoing article.

 

This multi-part article is continued at
Update on Covid Deaths: Part Five (Medically Useless and Destructive Lockdowns)

  

References:

      See Update on Covid Deaths (Refuting Covid Lies by the Right and Fearmongering by the Left): References.

Update on Covid Deaths: Part Four (Both the Right and the Left Miss the Immense Disparate Covid Risk Factors). Copyright 2023 by Gary F. Zeolla (www.Zeolla.org).

The Biased J6 Select Committee
The Public Hearings Were Half a Trial; This Book Gives You the Other Half

    The public hearings in the summer and fall of 2022 about the tragic events of January 6, 2021 (J6) were the prosecution presenting its case against Donald J. Trump, with the American public as the jury. But he was not afforded a defense. This book provides that defense. Do not miss how dangerous this precedent was. What if this were you? How would you like it if primetime hearings were held prosecuting you, aired on all major networks, but without you ever being able to present a defense on such a grand scale? But this book presents the other side, so the reader can make an informed decision about J6 and Trump’s role in it.

The above article was posted on this website January 5, 2023.
It was updated January 21, 2023.

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