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Researchers Find COVID-19 Not as Infectious as Originally Thought

U.S. Case Numbers Rose Due to Deliberate

Double- and Triple-Counting the Same People


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal

August 26, 2020


   As U.S. COVID-19 recoveries reach 2 million successful outcomes, a new peer reviewed medical report in Oxford University’s Quarterly Journal of Medicine (QJM) found that 80 to 90 percent of family members of a COVID-19 patient did not get infected during the first few days of the infection when the virus is most contagious.  During that time period, the infected family member may not even have known he or she had COVID-19 so there was no isolation, no social distancing and no mask wearing in the house around infected family members with whom the most contact was made on a daily basis.

   The report, entitled, Secondary Attack Rate of COVID-19 in household contacts: Systematic Review was published in QJM in July, 2020 by Dr. Komal Shah, Ph. D.; Dr. Deepak Saxena, MD, Ph. D.; and Dr. Dileep Mavalankar, MD, P.H.1

   The team looked at over three hundred peer reviewed medical studies and narrowed them down to thirteen.  They found that a significant proportion (50 - 95%) of contacts did not develop infection in spite of continued contact with positive cases, indicating a possible role of natural immunity or resistance to COVID-19.

   Dr. Mavalankar, one of the authors, is the Director of India’s Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar.  He was interviewed by Karan Thapar about his team’s findings on The Wire.2

Studies show that a COVID-19 victim is most infectious in the two days preceding symptoms appearing.  That means that at that stage, people in the same household would not be aware they are around a COVID-19 victim.  They would not be wearing masks, they would not be social distancing.  Despite that, this study found on average 80 - 90 percent of family members still do not get infected.

   “That is what the results are showing.  We were also surprised.  We have been told that if you go out for five or ten minutes, do some interaction in the market, you may be likely to get infected.  But what was surprising was that within the household not many people are getting infected,” said Dr. Mavalankar.   “[COVID-19] is infectious.  It is spreading.  There is evidence that within months it has spread throughout all the world with minimal contact [at] airports, airlines, wherever people have been.  But, I would say that a lot of people are not - it seems - susceptible.  It may be infectious, but the host has to be susceptible to the infection.  Even in the household [with] the concordance between the husband and the wife - suppose the husband is infected - the chance of wife getting infected is only 45 to 65 percent.  It is not one hundred percent.  So, the people who sleep in the same bed are also not one hundred percent getting infected.”

   This wide-spread resistance to the infection was noted by Dr. Karl Friston, a neuroscientist at University College, London, who simply looked at the infection numbers last Spring and noticed the same thing.  Coining the term, “Immunological Dark Matter,” Friston found in some societies as many as 50 percent of the population didn't catch COVID-19 even if they were exposed to it and were surrounded by others who were infected.

   “When we read Karl Friston's work, we very excited,” said Dr. Mavalankar.  “We were feeling that how come this highly infectious disease there is evidence to show that it is spreading in the population but in the family it is not spreading.  When we saw Karl's work we were excited and we did interact with him and even organized a webinar to understand his theory fully.”

   Mavalankar's team's research is the first to actually support and corroborate Friston's theory that while the disease is infectious, a lot of people are simply not susceptible to the infection.  Explaining it in layman's terms, Karan Thapar, who interviewed Dr. Mavalankar on his findings on the YouTube channel, The Wire, said, “From a layman's point of view, it actually amounts to the same thing.  Whether the disease is less infectious, or whether people are not susceptible, either way, from the layman's point of view, a lot of people aren't getting it.  In fact up to 80 to 90 percent of family members are not getting it from the one patient in their household.”

   Mavalankar said the disease models need to be recalibrated to account for this sector of society that doesn't seem to be affected by COVID-19.  “We need to rethink about the susceptibility of individuals to the virus.  What I see lacking in the discourse is the issue of susceptibility.  Everybody assumes that because it's a new virus everybody is automatically susceptible, which doesn't seem to be the case.   There's also a modeling paper now published from Sweden by Dr. Briton also showing that some portion of the population may not be susceptible.  The susceptibility part I would emphasize.”

    Thapar then pointed out, “What you're saying is important because susceptibility determines how fast this virus will spread and how far.  Dr. Friston actually believed up to fifty percent are not susceptible.  Your global literature review shows that within the same household up to eighty or ninety percent are not susceptible.  This is a very important finding because it means a lot of us are a lot safer from this virus than we originally thought we would be.  This also has huge implications for herd immunity.  Let me take Dehli as an example.  Recently, the ICMR has announced the results of a sero-survey done in Dehli where they found out that 23 percent of the city has had the virus, probably almost entirely asymptomatic.  Now, if in addition to that 23 percent you add the 50 percent that are perhaps not susceptible then arguably Dehli has reached herd-immunity levels.”

   “Dehli is a classical example, I think,” Dr. Mavalankar responded.  “With the sero-survey data coming we were wondering just before that why Dehli cases are coming down.  Of course they did a lot of efforts.  People had done a lot of efforts in most of the places.  They have tried to understand, use masks, distancing, etc. But, what it also shows is that if you have sero prevalence above twenty-five percent and the rates [of new infection cases] started coming down, that may mean it lends some credence to this hypothesis that up to fifty percent may not be susceptible...In New York City and London where the outbreak appears to be over, we may have a similar situation.  We can piece together the global evidence of Friston's theory using ground level data.”

   The quarterly newsletter published by Cary Medical Center in Caribou, Maine unwittingly and independently corroborated these findings.  In their Summer 2020 edition of Caring Together they stated, “The risk of contracting COVID-19 remains low.  Most people who contract the virus recover in a matter of days, often at home, and experience only mild symptoms.”3

   The U.S. CDC recently released a revised COVID-19 Pandemic Planning Scenarios report to update its data from its May findings.  The new data shows that the overall fatality rate is .65 percent - a long way off from the 4 to 5 percent estimated by the flawed and inferior computer model out of Imperial College, London many health departments used at the start of the pandemic.  The U.S. CDC estimates the percentage of individuals who are asymptomatic to be around 40%.  But, those asymptomatic cases are a very noisy number since the PCR tests that are used to determine infection were never designed to be a diagnostic tool and can create false positives.  So, a person who received a “positive” designation via PCR testing, but is not showing any symptoms of the disease, may not actually be infected to begin with.

   In Maine, the hospitalization rates for COVID-19 patients both for regular hospital stays and more advanced ICU care from the beginning of data collection in late March shows those rates to be less than for the regular seasonal flu many Mainers already suffer from on an annual basis.  Maine's current infection rate for COVID-19 has remained flat lined at around 0.8 percent throughout the summer months.  As of August 21, 2020, there was only one person in ICU with COVID-19 in the entire state of Maine.  But the establishment television media is continually advancing the hype and hysteria around face masks and social distancing for a disease that overall isn't having much more of an impact than seasonal flu.





3.   Caring Together, Summer, 2020, Cary Medical Center, p. 4