In a special session of the World Health Organization’s 34-member executive board last October 5, 2020, Dr. Michael Ryan, head of WHO’s Health Emergencies said that roughly 10% of the world has been infected with SARS-CoV-2. Dr. Ryan attempts to spin this pronouncement as a bad thing, and adds, “the vast majority of the world remains at risk”. What Dr. Ryan failed to realize is that his statement has just confirmed that the infection fatality rate (IFR) of COVID-19 is no higher than the seasonal flu.
Quoting Dr. Ryan’s “best estimate”, Kit Knightly from Off Guardian computed the IFR. Knightly said, “The global population is roughly 7.8 billion people, if 10% have been infected, that is 780 million cases. The global death toll currently attributed to SARS-CoV-2 infections is 1,061,539. That’s an infection fatality rate of roughly 0.14%. Right in line with seasonal flu and the predictions of many experts from all around the world.” [This figure is even higher than the CDC estimates, see CDC updates planning scenarios, shows IFR lower than flu].
Editor’s Note: The following article from the Off Guardian shows us the importance of critical thinking. If we were all just reading the news and accepting reports as is, then we wouldn’t have been able to catch the implications of Dr. Ryan’s statements. We would have been panic stricken, because after 7 months of coronavirus restrictions, only 10% has been infected (which is the exact response of media and governments after hearing Dr. Ryan's statement).
Thank goodness for quick thinking journalists like Kit Knightly who can connect different information together to create a logical conclusion.
Also, take note that even if only 10% of individuals have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, it doesn’t mean that collective immunity against the virus is still at 10%. Several studies are already showing us that the herd immunity threshold (HIT) for SARS-CoV-2 is much lower than previously projected. Moreover, there are a number of evidences showing cross-immunity and T-cell immunity among the general population. Read Herd immunity may be closer than we think to learn about the HIT of COVID-19 and New study found pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 immunity in general population and Why are some populations more affected by COVID-19 than others? to learn about cross immunity and T-cell immunity.
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