In a highly revealing statement, Dr. Michael Ryan, head of emergencies at the World Health Organization (WHO), has admitted that the global body’s “best estimates” now suggest around 1 in 10 people worldwide may have been infected with the coronavirus. With the world population standing at 7.8 billion, this means the number of people infected is approximately 780 million. On the basis that, at the time of writing, the global death toll is said to be 1,098,702, the virus therefore has a fatality rate of about 0.14 percent – a figure significantly lower than the WHO’s original estimate of 3.4 percent and much more comparable to seasonal influenza than originally thought.
Given that lockdowns and other authoritarian measures have been fueled by modeling based on the WHO’s original fatality estimate, Dr. Ryan’s admission raises important questions. For example, the WHO estimates that up to 650,000 people also die each year of respiratory diseases linked to seasonal influenza. While it reports the fatality rate for influenza to be below 0.1 percent, at 0.14 percent the fatality rate for the coronavirus is at least roughly comparable to this and over 24 times lower than originally estimated. As such, when announcing that 1 in 10 of the global population may have been infected with the coronavirus, why didn’t the WHO point out that this would imply its fatality rate is significantly lower than previously reported?
Elaborating on where the figure of 1 in 10 people worldwide comes from, Margaret Harris, a WHO spokeswoman, said it is based on an average of antibody studies conducted around the world. The presence of coronavirus antibodies in the blood indicates a person has been infected with the virus in the past and that they have developed some degree of protection against it. But while the 1 in 10 statistic was portrayed by the WHO as showing the world remains at risk, with a fatality rate of 0.14 percent it would have been just as true to say that 99.86 percent of the people who contracted the virus have survived it.
None of this should be taken as suggesting the coronavirus isn’t dangerous. The virus is dangerous, but only to people with weakened immune systems. The elderly and people suffering from conditions such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, high blood pressure, and diabetes are particularly at risk. But with the world now facing further draconian lockdowns on the basis that a so-called ‘second wave’ of the virus is said to be imminent, we clearly deserve a proper analysis of the data upon which the WHO’s health policy advice is being based.
Ultimately, while the seriousness of the current global situation should not be underestimated, nor either should the ability of ordinary people to evaluate the evidence and think for themselves. Dr. Ryan warns us that the world is “heading into a difficult period.” He may well be right. But in the absence of a proper public analysis of his data, the months ahead may be particularly damaging for the WHO itself.