Issues & Insights

Is The Coronavirus Crisis Finally Over? A Nobel Laureate Says It Might Be

I&I Editorial

A few weeks ago, we asked this same question about the pandemic – is it safe to go outside yet? The data made a good case that it was. Today, they look even better.

According to the Centers for Disease Control’s latest data, released six days ago, shows that, through Aug. 29, predicted excess deaths have moved below the threshold for excess deaths. (See chart below.) When we last wrote about this, after total deaths had for months exceeded the threshold, the two numbers were moving closer.

Stanford biophysics professor Michael Levitt, who won the 2013 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, says the pandemic might have come to an end.

“CDC excess deaths to 29 Aug. are 14% below baseline as predicted in July. This is the first time since March that delay-corrected death data fell below baseline. Excess death in the Mar.-Aug. 20 COVID-19 season may be over. A huge milestone!” he tweeted Thursday.

Levitt has a strong record predicting how the virus runs its course. He “began analyzing the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide in January,” the Los Angeles Times reported in March, “and correctly calculated that China would get through the worst of its coronavirus outbreak long before many health experts had predicted.” 

On July 25, he predicted “U.S. COVID-19 will be done in four weeks with a total reported death below 170,000.”

His fatality prediction was a bit high. The actual death toll was about 161,000 four weeks later, far lower than the 220,000 he predicted in March, and much closer than the forecast of Imperial College’s Neil Ferguson, whose prediction of a worst-case 2.2 million American deaths in 2020 galvanized the lockdown response. His best-case estimate of 1.1 million U.S. lives lost was still wildly off the mark.

As we said before, we’re not declaring that the virus is finished. People will continue to be infected and some tragically will lose their lives. But it’s clearly not the threat it once was. We are somewhat relieved at the present and confident of the future.

We are further bolstered by the emergence of effective treatments:

  • A new drug called Ab8 has been found to be “highly effective in preventing and treating SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice and hamsters,” according to SciTechDaily. A co-author of a report published Monday in the journal Cell believes Ab8 has “potential as therapy for COVID-19” and “also could be used to keep people from getting SARS-CoV-2 infections.”
  • Dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, has been “found to have benefits for critically ill patients.” In patients on ventilators, it reduced mortality “by about one-third, and for patients requiring only oxygen, mortality was cut by about one-fifth.”
  • A hospital trial of interferon-beta showed that patients who took it were 79% less likely to die from COVID-19 or require ventilation than patients receiving standard care. 

Then there’s hydroxychloroquine, which has been treated as if it were a daily overdose of heroin by the media and Democrats simply because President Donald Trump said in March it had a “chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.” While some trials have concluded it is ineffective, an article published Aug. 25 in the European Journal of Internal Medicine said use of the drug “was associated with a 30% lower risk of death in COVID-19 hospitalized patients.”

“Uncertain though it still may be,” National Geographic reported late last month, “knowledge of how the coronavirus works and how to fight it is slowly, surely accreting. Eight months into the pandemic, doctors are gaining a better handle on how to treat the disease.”

Another reason to be confident: The body is able to heal the damage to the heart and lungs caused by the virus, according to a study from Austria.

“Patients can suffer long-term lung and heart damage but for many this tends to improve over time,” the Belfast Times reported last week.

Given these developments, should we be expecting to soon be released from the restrictions that we’ve had to live with for six months – restrictions that were supposed to last 15 days to “flatten the curve” of cases, restrictions that have caused financial upheavals, restrictions that have caused deaths in the form of suicides and forgone medical care?

Despite how compelling the data are, an assortment of nannies, scolds, Karens, Democrats, Coronabros, unelected “public health” officials, and activists with printing presses and microphones are not likely to be moved. There are too many in positions of power in this country who delight in telling others what to do, and the coronavirus pandemic was just the crisis to give them even more control over others. Letting us freely live our lives isn’t in their plans.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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4 comments

  • 200,000 dead in six months, even the White House is projecting another 200,000 over the next three months.

    And the coronavirus crisis is “over”.

    Now delete my comment for the crime of “wrongthink”.

    First Amendment, what’s that?!?

    Said the “conservatives”.

    • I assume you mean 20,000 in the next 3 months and you just slipped a decimal. Everyone agrees covid-19 is serious. The difference is that not everyone believes it is catastrophic, well, except for the policy response that will lead to more misery than the unavoidable deaths from covid-19 itself.

      • Right now, the US is showing about 750 “COVID” deaths per day. About 60K over the next 90 days.
        It looks to be slowly drifting down. Maybe 50K.

  • Thanks for the data! So nice to gets facts, rather than hysteria. Makes rational planning, organisation and response much more effective. Keep up the good work!

  • [print-me target="#post-%ID%"]

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Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

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