Covid-19 signal

At this time, the United States is seeing what very well may be the peak in deaths from the latest human Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. The media reporting and governmental response to this viral outbreak is unprecedented. But what is more concerning than the virus itself is our American collective response to it. It is no less than tragic. If it is not seen for what it is, it very well may mean the end of the American experiment and will lead to a new totalitarianism that will harm and persecute future generations. It is reasonable to look at the three pillars of a stable society and how each of these pillars (medical, legal/civil, religious) has addressed and responded to the virus.


Coronaviruses have been known in the United States since their discovery over 50 years ago. Certain strains of these viruses infect humans, while some tend to infect animals. It has been shown that these viruses have the ability to jump from animals to humans and vice versa. These viruses rarely cause death in humans; they are often cited as the cause of common colds. COVID-19 is for the most part acting in the same way but with a notable exception - it can be deadly in elderly and the immunocompromised. It hits these populations fast and hard. Nonetheless, even in Italy, where the virus has killed thousands, most of those (78.3%) over the age of 90 recovered. This is different from influenza epidemics in 1918 or 2010; those epidemics involved all ages. This ability for younger individuals to be safe from serious illness has important implications for treating the virus and will be discussed below. Ultraviolet light can be a significant treatment for the virus as UV light damages viral DNA and RNA and therefore kill it.

The only way to effectively combat the disease from a practical standpoint (other than herd immunity) is to shield those at high risk until the virus has run its course through the country. Patients with significant underlying health conditions (cancer, lung disease, immune deficiency disorders) and those over the age of 65 should isolate themselves to the best of their abilities.

Rates of death and illness

Of all the deaths reported in the United States as of today, only 2 have been in patients under 18 years of age. Currently, our death rate (deaths/confirmed cases) has been as high as 2.3% and as low as 1.1% over the past 2 weeks. The President's COVID-19 Taskforce estimated that as many as 1/1000 New Yorkers may have the virus. If this were projected to the entire United States (population 328,239,523), then the total number of COVID-19 would be approximately 328,239 and deaths from COVID-19 (1.8% death rate) at 5,909. Even if this ends up being wrong by 1,000 percent, the death rate would still be 59,000, i.e., within range of the estimates for influenza deaths. You can look at it in another way. 98% of people who get COVID-19 fully recover!

As of today (March 29, 2020) there are 123,828 confirmed cases and 2229 deaths (1.8% death rate) from COVID-19 in the United States. Compare that with the influenza estimates so far this year: 29,000 deaths! And the flu season is not yet over, with the CDC estimating as many as 59,000 will die of influenza by May of this year.

Comment: From the time this article was written, the CDC has since intervened by telling hospitals to list COVID-19 as the cause of death, even if there is only an assumption that it contributed. Naturally, this drastically manipulates the figures.

The CDC estimates that 7.4% of deaths last week were from influenza like illnesses and pneumonia. This death rate is similar to previous years. Who in the media is discussing this?

Another important point: due to a lack of testing kits (which should be resolved in the next few weeks), the total number of those who have contracted COVID-19 is much higher, as most COVID-19 infections are mild or not even felt by patients. Our ability to learn from Italy (and maybe from China) has allowed us to develop treatment strategies that weren't even considered just 6 weeks ago. These findings should make our death rate lower than other parts of the world.

Comment: Global infection is already be estimated to be far, far greater than what everyone is being told. Of course, this also means it is far less deadly than what the authorities are telling people.

There is mass confusion with regard to the statistics and the media has utilized this to bring fear and panic to the population. Statistics on who has been exposed, who has it, who is seriously ill with it and what are projected numbers of deaths have been incredibly wrong. In Great Britain, the apocalypse warning of over 200,000 deaths by some experts has recently been downgraded to 20,000. Much of the public health modelling is based on Chinese data which is completely unreliable - communist governments consistently lie about their situations. Italy has more reliable data but we can't say we are going the way of Italy. Their healthcare system is third world medicine with good pasta, red wine, and gelato. Italy has one of the highest rates of elderly in Europe - prime targets for the disease as they like to smoke and drink. Also, northern Italy is home to the highest concentration of Chinese in Europe. Travel to and from China sparked the outbreak there.

Despite all of these facts and observations, the medical community seems to be panicked almost, at times, to the same extent as the general population. Helpful and necessary therapies and evaluations are being denied to millions of individuals due to concerns of spreading the virus. Many clinics are closed due to a misplaced fear that they will spread the virus if they stay open. For other clinics that desire to stay open, due to hoarding and panic, they have had to close due to the inability to keep stocked with necessary supplies. How many influenza deaths, heart attacks, pneumonias, fractures, etc., will be missed because the medical community is afraid to go to work? How many suicides and drug overdoses will result from our current policies? Telemedicine is used as a response to those healthcare professionals panicked about getting ill (assuming they are low risk) with this virus; there is no substitute for face-to-face interactions with patients. A little common sense could go a long way: patients with cough, fever, bronchitis could be treated over the phone. High risk patients should be isolated if they are doing well and their routine health appointments should be rescheduled. Those who are otherwise healthy but need physical therapy, routine evaluations, follow-ups, orthopedic surgery, etc., should get them if possible. You don't need to stop seeing a 12 year old for her acne if she has no other medical problems and the doctor is low risk.

Most people don't get COVID-19. Why?

Testing of high risk people (those who most likely would get COVID-19 due to exposure to confirmed COVID-19 patients or travel from high risk areas) reveal that 90% of patients are testing negative, i.e., they have not evidence of disease. Why is that? Most likely, these patients have pre-existing immunity to the virus from previous exposure to COVID-19 or due to cross-reactive immunity from being infected by related Coronaviruses. Many people have stated that they suffered symptoms of Coronavirus earlier this year. Due to a lack of testing, many people most likely have had exposure to the virus; they have developed immunity to it.

This is why the concept of herd immunity is so important. With herd immunity, significant amounts of the population will have exposure to the virus and become immune to it. They are no longer able to spread the virus as their immune systems kill the virus before it has a chance to grow and multiply. That individual then becomes not a source of viral spread but a source of killing the virus. The virus has nowhere to go and it disappears.

Public Policy is Making Things Worse

Unfortunately, our so-called public health experts have pushed for containment and mitigation. President Trump tried early to contain the virus outside the USA with a travel ban from China. However, a French businessman who visited China in January, came back to France, and then came to the United States out of Europe would be able to carry the virus. Containment didn't work as the virus was documented on American soil by the end of January.

Mitigation is the concept that if you slow the spread of the virus, it will blunt the surge of cases and prevent us from overwhelming hospitals with seriously ill patients. Mitigation efforts have included ordering people to stay in their homes, closing non-essential businesses, and restricting where people can go to locally. This has had no impact on the virus nor should it, as these mitigation efforts are incomplete. For example, in Michigan, people are told to stay home except to go shopping, to go to essential work, and to exercise outdoors. Exemptions include Walmart, Home Depot, pharmacies, grocery stores (Meijer, Family Fare), and liquor stores. The big box stores are full of bored, scared, unemployed people. The ability of viral spread is very high in these stores. Also, fast food stores are busy with drive-through business. It only takes one asymptomatic window cashier at these drive-throughs to spread the virus to literally dozens of carloads of people.

Therefore, containment and mitigation are abject failures. They do not help the situation because they are not being practiced! Nor can they be; our borders are thousands of miles long. Our population needs to eat and get medicines and health care. It is completely unrealistic to believe that mitigation efforts can succeed in a country this big. In totalitarian China, a wall was literally built around Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, to contain and mitigate the virus. Unless we want to become a totalitarian state, we can't do that here. If we can learn anything from this epidemic is that mitigation efforts that destroy our economy were some of the biggest boondoggles ever foisted on the American people. Even worse, they aren't necessary. We have better ways to combat this virus.

What can be done to end this epidemic? The answer is herd immunity. Let those who will not die nor become seriously ill from the disease get infected and immune to the disease. Don't close schools - open them up! Don't close universities - reopen them! Let those under the age of 65 with no significant health problems go to work. Their risk of death is very close to zero. They become the wall that stops the virus. Our current strategy of isolating these healthy people from the virus: a. is not working - the virus is still spreading and b. for those who theoretically may be shielded from the virus, they will get exposed later. Our current strategy is actually leading to a prolonged COVID-19 season! Herd immunity works and despite our current efforts to mess it up, herd immunity will be the ultimate reason the virus dies down. We should promote the concept, not try to stop it. Unlike the influenza epidemics of the past, this virus is not attacking young people. We can use herd immunity to our collective advantage.

Media pundits falsely railed against college students spending spring break on the beaches of Florida. Wild behavior aside, these partiers represent the most effective approach to stopping the spread of the virus, i.e., sunlight and herd immunity of the young and healthy.

If a 10 year old theoretically is not exposed to the virus and is allowed out of the house in 2 months, gets the virus (mild cold or even less symptoms) and then visits Grandma and she dies, who is responsible for that?

Public health leaders have focused on trying in vain to prevent the spread of the virus. They have not looked at the ramifications of suicide rates when people are forced to be sequestered for this length of time. Also lost are the mental and physical consequences of this huge hit to our economy. Have any of these experts even remotely factored in the economic damage to our healthcare system from the loss of jobs and businesses in the United States? It certainly does not seem to be. No country can adequately fight an enemy like an infectious disease without a working economy.


Many are more concerned with what is happening to American society than what the virus will do to us medically. Bad government policies are leading to economic destruction, possibly on a scale not ever seen in our country. This is being imposed upon us. State governors seem almost in a race to see who can cause the most dramatic removal of basic constitutional liberties. Some states have police officers pulling people over to quiz them where they are going. Some businesses have printed papers that their employees carry to show they are going to work in an essential business. All of this for a projected 5909 deaths from the virus! All of this is reminiscent of Nazi and communist state control of people. It seems to be working; with their willing accomplices in the media, Americans at this time are seemingly eager to exchange their freedom for what they believe to be security and safety. What they don't realize is if this is allowed to continue, they will lose their security, safety and their freedom.

What will happen with the next epidemic? Will we do this for the next outbreak of flu? Or Strep? Or drug overdoses? What type of precedent will this set?

Federal and state leaders are using bad public health policy to promote even worse regulation. Several have remarked that this epidemic offers those who wish to subdue the population an excellent way to see what works and how long it takes to corral people into almost total submission; it's taking about a month.


(note Catholic bend- author is Catholic)

Due to panic about the virus, most churches have closed. This may be unprecedented in world history. Throughout the ages, churches have been open and increasingly active during times of famine, pestilence, and war. Instead, what is happening in the United States is that churches have shuttered. For Catholics who believe that the Mass is the ultimate church service that provides the most proper atonement for sins and petition in times of strife, the closure of churches is just plain wrong. Perhaps this is a chastisement of God for a society that is post truth: it is post-Christian and post-science (exhibited by panic, even among physicians and scientists). Where is the call for prayer, repentance, and mercy? President Trump announced a national day of prayer for this virus. Where were our bishops? The only observation that can be made is that American bishops, as a group, lack supernatural faith. What's also disgusting is that they are offering no pushback whatsoever for the denial of religious liberty instituted by numerous governors. Having outdoor services and instructing church members to stay home if they are ill or at high risk for infection are common sense measures to employ. If we are concerned about social distancing, how about increasing the number of church services (as has been done by some churches in the United States) instead of closing them?

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy Name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Have mercy on us. Free us from the grip of fear and panic. Forgive us for all of the wrongdoing that should bring Your wrath upon us.

Martin Dubravec, MD
Immunologist Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Cadillac Cadillac, MI

Update 4/5/2020:

State Lockdowns Aren't Having an Impact in COVID-19 Death

Many states have instituted massive lockdowns ("stay at home" order) of their populations to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Some states have chosen not to do so. The goals of these lockdowns have included the proposition that they would slow the spread of the Coronavirus Sars-Cov-2 virus which causes COVID-19 and thus prevent death.

Is this helping? One way to look at this would be to compare the COVID-19 deaths in states that do and do not have stay-at-home orders in place. Although these comparisons have their limitations, nonetheless, the statistics speak for themselves and can be used to assess the effectiveness of a lockdown policy.

As an example, let's compare Michigan with states that do not have a stay-at-home order. When adjusted for population, here is the breakdown of COVID-19 deaths per population of the state as of today:

As of April 5, 2020 Source:
covid-19 deaths
Now let's compare states that have a lockdown order compared with a neighboring state that does not:
Covid-19 deaths
Not only does the above data show that lockdowns are having no impact, but continued restrictions of residents raises the risk of increased suicide, drug abuse, domestic violence, and civil unrest, among other issues.

Please also note the following statistics when looking at deaths from Coronavirus:
US deaths
The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious crisis not to be taken lightly. Our response to it should not make it worse.

Martin Dubravec, MD
Allergist/Clinical Immunologist
Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Cadillac, MI