Letter To The Editor: Response To Skolnik

By MARIO SCHILLACI
Los Alamos

In the interest of “telling it like it is” (link), the following should also be considered:

(1) A recent study by the CDC (“Commercial Laboratory Seroprevalence Survey Data”), based on SARS-CoV-2 antibodies found in non-COVID-19 related clinical blood specimens collected in six U.S. locations (more to be added), found that the estimated number of infected cases based on Seroprevalence and catchment area population was 6 to 24 times the number of cases reported (mean of 12.5). Therefore, focusing on cases would seem to be a futile exercise. Number of deaths would seem to be a more reliable, if trailing, statistic.

(2) The number of deaths per 100,000 persons for the states mentioned in the article are Arizona (25), Florida (17), and Texas (9), and the U.S. average is (40). Since Mr. Skolnik seems to have put a political slant to his article, it is of interest to note that states with Democratic governors average more than twice the number of deaths per 100,000 persons as states with Republican governors (45.7 versus 21.1). Additionally, since Mr. Skolnik saw fit to compare the U.S. to other high-income countries, it is worth noting that  the U.S. number of deaths per 100,000 – namely, 40, is less than, for example, France (45), Sweden (53), Italy (58), Spain (61), U.K. (66), and Belgium (85), but more than, for example, Netherlands (35), Canada (23), Switzerland (20), Germany (11), Japan (<1), South Korea (<1). These data were taken from the New York Times “Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count” and “Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak”, both July 4.

(3) While Mr. Skolnick states that “The federal government, for example, has often failed to speak the truth to us about COVID-19. Early on, we were told that COVID-19 was not much of a problem….” On the other hand, he fails to mention that the World Health Organization (WHO) was doing exactly this to us “early on”.

(4) Mr. Skolnick bends the truth a bit when he says that the President “often touted measures … such as the use of hydroxychloroquine” and also raised questions about the possibility of our “disinfecting ourselves”. The President did not “tout” (def. – attempt to aggressively sell something) the use of hydroxychloroquine, he merely stated his hunch that it would be effective. Also, he merely wondered if we might be able to disinfect ourselves, which is obviously a joke. In any case, these instances do not constitute medical advice from the President, and even if it did one would have to be an idiot to follow it.

(5) Mr. Skolnik states that “Our friends around the world are perplexed by our incompetence in dealing with COVID-19…”. Yet, 4 out of the 5 largest countries (by population) in Europe have higher death rates per 100,000 persons than does the U.S. It would seem that we are not doing as badly as he would have us believe.

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