Advocates for reopening economy use ‘junk’ science to make their case | READER COMMENTARY
For The Baltimore Sun|
May 05, 2020 at 4:27 PM
In arguing for an immediate reopening of the Maryland economy, certain advocates repeat the Fox News junk science claim that anywhere between 95% and 99% of COVID-19 cases result in full recovery. But those studies have a fatal methodological error — they inflate the denominator (total cases) relative to the numerator (fatalities).
In any pandemic, there are always many deaths that are never diagnosed at all. A large number of COVID-19 patients have died at home. Particularly early in the pandemic, they were never tested for the disease. A standard epidemiological method of estimating the total number of fatalities caused by a pandemic is to determine the number of excess deaths over the period the disease was identified in the population. Excess deaths are determined by comparing the total deaths over that time period with total deaths over a longer period and then subtracting out the number of deaths that are known to be caused by the disease.