By Edgar Simpson and Tom Harris
Two months ago, our governments shut down the nation’s economy and ordered the self-isolation of millions of people based on a mistake.
Using hopelessly incomplete data, they wrongly concluded that the coronavirus was a deadly disease that would spread like wildfire, killing tens of thousands of Canadians.
Governments and health agencies have ignored scientific studies from across the world that showed that the World Health Organization (WHO) dire infection and mortality predictions were dead wrong — COVID-19 is apparently no worse than the annual influenza.
Despite the fact that media are starting to report this information, our governments still can’t get it right.
WHO and Canada’s Health Agency have been using computer models to estimate the severity of COVID-19. These models predicted a 3-5% mortality rate, which could mean that tens of thousands of Canadians would soon die. The tally as of May 20 is about 6,000 across Canada. To put that number in perspective, 3,500 Canadians die annually from the common flu and 18,000 from pneumonia and chronic lower respiratory disease.
The solution employed to try to stop the disease was economic shutdown and self-isolation to “flatten the curve,” to prevent the disease from infecting so many people that hospital emergency rooms would be overwhelmed. This has resulted in millions without jobs and financial ruin for thousands of businesses, with our federal and provincial governments financing the shutdown on the backs of future generations.
Has this cure become worse than the disease?
As of May 20, 1,372,929, or 3.7%, of Canadians have been tested. These tests show that 5.8%, or 79,502, were infected and that number had a 7.5% (5,955 deaths) mortality rate, a rate not much greater than WHO forecasts.
But, generally, only those showing COVID-19 symptoms, as well as health professionals, first responders and senior home staff, have been tested. Since people with symptoms and those exposed to these people are more likely to be infected than a Canadian chosen at random, no one knows how well these numbers apply to the population at large.
The true death rate could be far lower than feared and so nothing to justify the shutdown of our entire economy. We just don’t know. Our health officials and political leaders have been flying blind.
Scientists are concluding that National Random Representative Testing should be used to get a clear picture of COVID-19’s true infection and mortality rates.
Testing 10,000 Canadians in this way will give an accurate picture of the disease with a margin of error of 1% or less. Then our epidemiologists would have a more complete picture of the coronavirus infection/mortality rates and the number of people who have the disease but display no symptoms. We would also uncover the extent of the herd immunity existing in Canada to fight off future waves of COVID-19.
Studies in Germany, Italy, Denmark, Iceland and Santa Clara county in California have found that the COVID-19 virus mortality rate is similar to the seasonal flu and many of its citizens carry the virus’s antibodies that will provide herd immunity.
The most urgent task for governments in Canada right now is to get the COVID-19 data urgently needed to make good social and economic policy. The federal government must immediately commission a nationwide random testing for the coronavirus for both the infection rate and the antibody rate.
Let’s get this right before more damage is done — Canada’s future depends on it.