One theme of this year’s COVID19 research reality TV series is the repeated flip flopping of scientists and policy makers. In this case, Johns Hopkins University researchers pulled an article by Genevieve Briand, assistant program director of their Applied Economics degree program which reported that COVID-19 had not increased the number of deaths in the US in 2020. Within a few days of releasing the study, it was pulled from their website with concerns that it was being used to spread misinformation.
Mrs. Briand took data from the CDC’s own website and evaluated death rates in various age groups from February to September. She found a few surprises. First, deaths in older groups were no different before and after COVID-19 spread widely. Second, the rates of COVID deaths surpassed that of heart disease which was the normal leading cause of death. Third, when all causes of death were compared, the increased deaths attributed to COVID-19 nearly equaled the decreased number of deaths attributed to other causes.
With such an important finding published by such a prestigious university, why would they want to remove this from the public’s view? They gave us this reason, “Though making clear the need for further research, the article was being used to support false and dangerous inaccuracies about the impact of the pandemic. We regret that this article may have contributed to the spread of misinformation about COVID-19.”
Let me translate this for you. They believe that they have a right to withhold research findings from you if they believe you will reason contrary to what they want you to believe. This does not surprise me. What surprised me was the fact they actually published this in the first place. This raises doubts about the extreme lockdown measures and the “new normal” that is being forced down our throats.
This removal of an important research finding also makes us question how many other studies have been suppressed before publication. We know that Big Pharma avoids publishing studies contrary to their drugs or therapies. Why would we be surprised that they might also hide studies like this which make us question their policies?
With this in mind, keep asking questions, keep your eyes open and your mind open. The science is not settled on COVID-19. We have much to learn and we cannot afford to ignore any legitimate study like this one. To prepare for 2020 and Beyond, we must remain vigilant and hold our leaders in all fields to a level of integrity worthy of leading us.
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.
Part of the problem is that the articles misrepresented what Dr. Briand actually demonstrated in the presentation. Her findings were compelling — but weren’t exactly what they were represented as being in the text-based articles.
The graphs at the beginning, with the deaths by age group, were a little hard to follow, but I think they were PERCENTAGES of deaths, not total numbers of deaths. So she demonstrated that older Americans were not a significantly higher proportion of the deaths per week during the “high” Covid weeks, but didn’t show anything about the total numbers of deaths.
And then when she got into causes of death, she demonstrated that the number of deaths attributed to Covid *that exceeded deaths from heart disease* were counterbalanced by reductions in deaths from other causes. (That’s easier to show than to say.) That certainly seems to indicate that there’s some manipulation of data happening but, again, she didn’t really attempt to demonstrate anything about the total number of deaths there.
So to say that she showed there aren’t any excess deaths is significantly overstating things. Although I strongly agree that JHU should have left the articles up and CLARIFIED, rather than redacting them.
I also think there are some reasons, looking at the data, to think that the “excess deaths” are not going to be as high as we’re being led to believe, and that a large proportion of them are a consequence of lockdowns, not “Covid,” per se. Perhaps most notably, we know that Covid was circulating here at least as early as mid-December, yet we actually came in comfortably BELOW the “excess deaths” line for the first three months of the year (and WELL below the line for recent “high” years). We don’t see a large spike until mid- to late March, when we started locking down, shutting hospitals or discouraging their use, demanding masks, etc.