The Coronavirus has created a set of protocols and directives from the Diocese of Gaylord (and other dioceses nationwide) devoid of consistency and reality. One of the most significant of these is the notion that we are dealing with a “pandemic” in our area of northern Michigan. However, the statistics simply do not bear that out. For example, Emmet County (Petoskey area) has 125 individuals who have had a positive Coronavirus test or presumed case of Coroanvirus, and there are 4 deaths attributed to Coronavirus. This hospital recently noted a grand total of one person in the hospital with a positive Coronavirus test.
Of importance is the fact that a positive test does not mean a person will have COVID-19 illness. For a person to be truly listed as a definite case of Coronavirus, ie, having COVID-19, that person would have to have symptoms consistent with the disease and have a positive test. To state that there are 125 cases of COVID-19 in Emmet County is simply not accurate as this number represents the number of positive tests. In addition to false positive cases, many individuals may be asymptomatic carriers of small amounts of Coronavirus. Numerous studies have shown that asymptomatic carriers are not likely to spread the virus or may not spread the virus at all. This is reflected on the website of McLaren’s Petoskey hospital: “While there have been initial reports of asymptomatic transmission, the CDC states that the data are not clear at this stage that asymptomatic spread occurs.”
The CDC has recently stated that only 6% of people who have been labeled as Coronavirus had no other medical conditions that could have contributed to their deaths. Therefore, of the 4 deaths in Emmet County, it is statistically possible that none of them were due to (or solely due to) Coronavirus.
With regard to the Munson Hospital System which services a large area of the Gaylord Diocese, positive Coronavirus tests continue to be low. We have almost no true cases of COVID-19 (positive test/infection with Coronavirus + illness from the virus):
Total diagnostic tests: 112,748
Total positive diagnostic tests: 2,113
Total negative diagnostic tests: 110,635
Total positive rate for diagnostic tests: 1.9%
On a larger level, the National Bureau of Economic Research has released a working paper which reviews the effects of government mandated non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) used to address the Coronavirus epidemic. Their conclusions include the following:
- “Across all countries and U.S. states that we study, the growth rates of daily deaths from COVID-19 fell from a wide range of initially high levels to levels close to zero within 20-30 days after each region experienced 25 cumulative deaths.”
- “After this initial period (of 20-30 days), growth rates of daily deaths have hovered around zero or below everywhere in the world.”
- “Growth rates of daily deaths across locations fell very rapidly in the first 10 days of the epidemic and has remained at a relatively low level since then.”
The authors stated that the above findings occurred whether or not the country (or state) instituted a lockdown or other rules (social distancing, masks, etc.).
With all of this data available, we should be able to see that the virus is much less deadly than many believe. It should help us in having confidence that we can be as safe with regard to Coronavirus infection as with the flu.
Then why are these severe Diocesan regulations still necessary? Or were they ever necessary?