Quote Originally Posted by Mega View Post
If it comes to pass that the Virus is no worse than Flu, GOD HELP THEM!
History a 100 years from now will discuss it.


Italy’s ‘true’ death rate is a warning for Britons who want to end lockdown

The Italian federation of doctors has a message for those who build castles in the air based on theoretical modelling of Covid-19, and for those credulous enough to base policy on such models.

“Whoever is handling the numbers is either incompetent or living in a parallel universe,” said Dr Paola Pedrini, head of the federation’s Lombardy chapter, currently facing the pandemic onslaught.

Those dying at home or in care homes are not being recorded as coronavirus deaths. The true death toll is multiples higher. “We don’t want data confusion to hide the general responsibility for the ‘Caporetto’ of the Italian health system.”

The Battle of Caporetto was where the Italian front across the Isondo collapsed in late 1917 under a combined Austro-Hungarian and German attack, despite General Cadorno’s policy of "decimation" for underperforming regiments.

By all means let us have a lively national debate over the rights and wrongs of shutting down normal economic and social existence for three to six months in order to save lives, but let it be based on reality. Only then can we make an informed moral decision.

We have a "real time" laboratory before our eyes. What is happening at the Italian coal face is not remotely consistent with claims being made by some that the death rate from Covid-19 is akin to seasonal winter flu at about 0.1pc.

Many have jumped on the Oxford University study led by Prof Sunetra Gupta to claim that we already have herd immunity reaching 50pc or 60pc of the population. It merely explores a hypothesis. It concludes that a high level of early spread is theoretically possible, and that therefore we should go for antibody testing quickly to find out who has had the disease. We can all agree to that.

The Gupta analysis is not peer-reviewed but you can get a flavour of reactions in the scientific world from the PubPeer page and from named experts at the Science Media Centre.

The mayors of Bergamo and Brescia – two Covid-19 hotspots – say the reported deaths in their cities are a small fraction of the true numbers. An epidemiological portrait is easy to construct. You compare deaths since January with seasonal averages over recent years. Corriere Della Sera has done exactly that.
Coronavirus live map

The small town of Nembro has 11,600 inhabitants. Typically it would have 35 deaths over the first quarter. This year it had already had 158 deaths by March 24. Yet the official data counts just 31 Covid-19 mortalities. The implication is that the real pandemic death rate has been four times higher.

The same method showed that deaths were 6.1 times normal in Cernusco and Pesaro, and 10.4 times higher in the city of Bergamo. This is partly because Covid-19 care is crowding out treatment for other diseases. But that changes nothing in practical terms. It is all part of the same drama.

The much higher death toll conforms with the grim accounts by doctors facing a lack of beds, ventilators and other vital equipment. They are forced to separate young from old, sending the over-70s home to take their chances.

This is taking place in the richest part of Italy with world-class hospitals. It is what happens if governments delay and let their health care systems break under the strain of exploding Covid-19 cases. Italy was taken by surprise. Britain had weeks of prior warning.

The Corriere analysis also conforms with estimates of a 1.4pc death rate in China published by the University of Hong Kong in a widely praised Nature study (this one peer-reviewed).

You can look at the Italian figures another way. La Stampa reported on Monday – for example – that registered Covid-19 deaths in Alessandria have reached 155. That is already 0.16pc of the entire 94,000 population of the town even if you accept official mortality data – and we know that they are not all infected. It is the same story for nearby Biella and Verbani. The flu parallel is obvious nonsense.

South Korea has done more than 300,000 tests and kept up a rigorous policy of tracing and isolation. Its mortality rate from Covid-19 has been creeping up as slow deaths come in. The country records 158 fatalities out of 9,661 positive cases, a ratio of over 1.6pc.

The Koreans have undoubtedly missed cases. The tests often give false negatives. But it would be unwise for Britain to base policy on the premise that they are massively wrong.

The recorded death rates in countries that test widely is: Norway 0.7pc, Germany 0.9pc, Austria 1.1pc, and Switzerland 2.1pc. They all have good health care systems.

Arctic Iceland has a much lower ratio at 0.2pc. This is interesting but it would be folly for any major state to rely on signals from that one tiny nation. How efficiently does the viral load transmit in glacial temperatures at 63 degrees latitude? There may be variables that make extrapolation dangerous.

The question I have for those in Britain who argue that we should call off the lockdown and restart the economy is what would happen if the virus were allowed to run wild and the death ratios were to track Lombardy.
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You would be looking at a weekly death rate in late Spring that was four, five, or 10 times normal and that would overwhelm the critical care facilities of the NHS many times over. There could be an extra 500,000 or 600,000 deaths before the pandemic burnt itself out.

The tragedy – or scandal – would shatter the reputation of this country. We would no longer have any claim to moral leadership. Authoritarian regimes would have shown more care for their people. The credibility of this Government would be destroyed. This is the tail-risk – not a prediction, nota bene – that policy-makers must ponder.

One has the impression that the Government’s original strategy of herd immunity was crafted in the bureaucratic hothouse of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) committee during those crucial wasted weeks in late January and February without regard for reality on the ground, first in Wuhan, and then in Italy.

Boris Johnson overruled bad counsel in the nick of time. This was a crucial decision that may just have saved the NHS and his own political future. My advice to the Prime Minister now is simple: don’t recoil and repeat the error; don’t listen to those who urge capitulation to "save the economy". The emergency measures of Rishi Sunak have already saved the economy.

The worst thing this Government can do to commercial businesses now is to pursue a half-baked policy of partial containment that causes the pandemic to drag on for six months.

The sooner this virus is contained – and then managed with the East Asian formula of "test, trace, isolate" until we have a vaccine – the sooner the economy will come roaring back.

The article from the Corriere Della Serra :
«The real death toll for Covid-19 is at least 4 times the official numbers»

Nembro, one of the municipalities most affected by Covid-19, should have had - under normal conditions - about 35 deaths. 158 people were registered dead this year by the municipal offices. But the number of deaths officially attributed to Covid-19 is 31

In the hypothesis - not at all remote - that all citizens of Nembro have caught the virus (with many asymptomatic, therefore), 158 deaths would equate to a lethality rate of 1%. That is precisely the expected and measured lethality rate on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and - made proportionally by demographic structure - in South Korea. We have made exactly the same calculation for the municipalities of Cernusco sul Naviglio (Mi) and Pesaro using exactly the same methodology. In Cernusco the number of anomalous deaths is equal to 6.1 times those officially attributed to Covid-19, also in Pesaro 6.1 times. But even more staggering are the Bergamo figures, where the ratio reaches 10.4.
It is extremely reasonable to think that these excess deaths are largely elderly or frail people who died at home or in residential facilities, without being hospitalized and without being swabbed to verify that they have actually become infected with Covid-19. Given the decline seen in the last few days after the peak, flock immunity has likely been attained in Nembro. To a certain degree, Nembro represents what would happen in Italy if everyone were infected by CoronaVirus, Covid-19: 600,000 people would die. The numbers of Nembro also suggest that we must take those official deaths and multiply them by at least 4 to have the real impact of Covid-19 in Italy, at this moment.