24 Aug 2020 –Many critics believe covid has turned into a mere “casedemic”, as positive tests (“cases”) are rising in many European countries while hospitalizations and deaths stay very low.
The reality is that covid is a casedemic on top of a pandemic. “Cases” are currently rising in Europe due to routine testing at airports, offices, schools and among family contacts, catching mostly younger low-risk people with mild or asymptomatic disease (hence no hospitalizations).
(Moreover, some of these tests are false-positives or non-infectious RNA fragments of an earlier infection, causing unnecessary quarantine and tracing trouble, while the real infection rate is about ten times higher than daily PCR tests show, anyway.)
However, antibody levels are still very low in most of previously locked-down Europe, including notably the German-speaking countries (2% antibodies), Scandinavia except Sweden, but also large parts of Italy, France and Spain as well as England outside of the London area.
Thus, there can be little doubt that increasing “cases” will soon translate into increasing hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk groups. Masks and “contact tracing” won’t prevent this (as France and Spain already show). It is likely that Europe will panic a second time.
What can (and should) be done is the targeted protection of high-risk groups and early or prophylactic treatment of people at high risk or high exposure to prevent progression of the disease. As most authorities ignore both, people are on their own.
The British ONS recently published the age-adjusted January to July mortality statistics. While the 2020 covid increase is clearly visible, mortality is comparable to pre-2009 levels. Oxford CEBM professor Carl Heneghan explained that the covid IFR dropped to 0.3% by the end of July and the pandemic may end up “no worse than a bad flu season”.
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