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The politicians were wrong—predictions on coronavirus deaths were wild exaggerations

The facts are in. The COVID-19 death predictions of governments are proving to be wild exaggerations that have inflicted unnecessary fear, anxiety and stress on millions of people.
John Carpay Calgary, AB

The facts are in. The COVID-19 death predictions of governments are proving to be wild exaggerations that have inflicted unnecessary fear, anxiety and stress on millions of people.

In mid-March, the United Kingdom and other countries listened to predictions by Dr. Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, who predicted as many as 510,000 COVID-19 deaths in the UK and 2.2 million deaths in the US. These numbers were relied upon by the United Kingdom and governments around the world to justify imposing lockdowns.

As of May 22, 2020, US deaths were 97,102 (4 percent of the Ferguson estimate) and UK deaths were 36,393 (7 percent of the Ferguson estimate). COVID-19 deaths in the UK, the US, Italy and globally are within the same range of the annual flu, which kills between 291,000 and 646,000 per year.

It appears that governments in Canada also used Dr. Fergusons methodology when restricting our Charter freedoms to move, travel, associate, assemble and practice one’s faith. In Alberta, for example, the government warned that as many as 32,000 Albertans would die of COVID-19. In fact, 132 Albertans have died of COVID-19 as of May 22, 2020, not 32,000.

Claims by politicians and Chief Medical Officers that COVID-19 poses a serious threat to young and healthy people are also demonstrably false. In Alberta, 96 percent of the 132 people who died of COVID-19 were 60 or older, and 68 percent were 80 and older. Not a single death amongst anyone under 20. The five deaths in the 20-59 age group were people with serious underlying health conditions, which again makes COVID-19 like the annual flu, which disproportionately afflicts and kills people who are old, weak or less healthy.

Alberta’s death stats are similar to those of other provinces, and of countries around the world. If COVID-19 actually did kill one-in-a-million healthy young adults—which it does not—it would be in league with other very rare diseases. Tragic, yes. But not preventable without paying the very high price of jeopardizing the lives of other people, who are equally precious.

Still, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney continues to publicly compare COVID-19 to the Spanish Flu of 1918-20, which killed between 20 and 100 million adults around the world, most of them ages 20 to 40, at a time when the world's population was less than two billion.

In contrast, as of May 22 COVID-19 had claimed 338,000 lives around the world, the vast majority of them elderly people with serious health problems, and world population is about 7.8 billion. The Spanish Flu killed between 1 percent and 5 percent of the population of the entire world. COVID-19 deaths constitute 0.000043 of world population. Anyone comparing the two must be woefully ignorant of facts, or engaging in deliberate fearmongering.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and other Premiers continue to keep schools closed "to protect the children" when, in fact, children are more likely to be struck by lightning than to die of COVID-19. Canadians are asked to accept the destruction of their livelihoods and the continued violations of their Charter freedoms, all to "reduce the spread" of a virus whose lethality is, demonstrably, no worse than the lethality of the annual flu.

Chief Medical Officers in BC, Alberta, Ontario and elsewhere have cancelled tens of thousands of medically necessary surgeries, which are misleadingly described as "elective" when "non-emergency" is a more accurate term. The surgical removal of a tumour to determine whether it’s benign or cancerous is "elective" only in the sense that you could perform the surgery tomorrow or next week, and need not operate this minute or this afternoon. The cancellation of these cancer-screening surgeries will mean that many Canadians will find out too late that their tumour was, in fact, cancerous.

Patients have died and will die, on account of their medically-necessary and life-preserving surgeries having been cancelled. In Ontario, the University Health Network has estimated that as of April 29, 35 people had died after their cardiac surgeries had been cancelled for the purpose of increasing COVID-19 capacity within the Ontario health system.

Canadians have been asked by their leaders to accept the lockdown's predictable consequences of increases in depression, anxiety, alcoholism, drug abuse, spousal abuse, seniors dying alone at home, and a myriad of other ills one can expect when millions of otherwise healthy people are subjected to what verges on house arrest.

The Charter places the onus on politicians —not on those who elected them—to explain how Charter-violating lockdown measures are causing more good than harm. That would mean, among other things, calculating specifically how many lives the lockdown measures saved, and how many it killed. There is no hard data for either set of numbers, but this has not stopped politicians like Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott from claiming that her lockdown measures have saved "thousands" of lives.

Public policy should be based on facts, not fearmongering. Claiming responsibility for saving lives is easy and fun. A scientific, evidence-based approach is difficult and highly unpleasant, as it may put you in the position of having to admit that the lockdown did far more harm than good.

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John Carpay
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