“COVID-19 is Worse than the Flu”—For Whom?

“COVID-19 is worse than the flu.” You hear it all the time. You deserve to be scolded if you imply otherwise. Worse than the flu for whom? This has been a problem for this entire pandemic: progressives inside and outside the government don’t want you to know information that would allow you to perform a reasonable risk analysis. They tell you to follow the science, but they don’t want you thinking like a scientist. After all, they aren’t thinking like scientists, why should you? They practice scientism, a faith-based simulacrum of science serving corporate and government interests. They are terrifying people with gross overgeneralization of risk for profit and control. They need a crisis great enough to justify taking away your liberty. Have you read about what’s happening in Sydney, Australia? They sent to military into the city to force people away from each other and into their homes. Is this coming to a city near you?

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggxvtCeiwwE

The answer to the question about risk is that COVID-19 is worse than influenza for the very old, the very unhealthy, and the very sick, but, for most age categories and health statuses, COVID-19 it not more deadly than influenza. In fact, for some age categories, COVID-19 is much less deadly than the flu. For instance, influenza is deadlier for school age children than is COVID-19. For healthy teachers, COVID-19 is not deadlier than influenza. So why the draconian measures being taken in public schools? At my university, if you have not been vaccinated, you have to submit to biweekly surveillance and wear a mask. Exemption from the policy requires employees and students proving access to administrators to the state vaccine registry. But the vaccinated, we now know, can catch and share the virus. My local school board just voted to require masks for younger children in the classroom.

In this blog, I will focus on school age children, since this is driving public school policy and illustrates most clearly the irrationality of the technocracy’s policy prescriptions. Progressives use children to justify their worsening authoritarian impulses. They aren’t just using children; they are harming children, not only because they are traumatizing them (that’s bad enough), but they are making them sick. The vaccine has serious adverse health effects. The vaccine appears to be making the virus more virulent and harmful. Since the facts indicate that influenza is a very serious problem in human societies and it is worse for children than is COVID-19, given the novel demand for mass vaccination, routine testing, and masks and social distancing, what has changed?

When I read and watch the news reports of people from their hospital beds telling others to take COVID-19 seriously, they will get no disagreement from me. I am approaching 60 years of age and have many of the comorbidities associated with negative health outcome with this disease. I take precautions with this disease and dread getting it (although I suspect I had it in March 2020). But when folks from their hospital rooms compare COVID-19 to the flu in the way they do, they leave the impression than nobody is hospitalized or dies from influenza. They make it sound like influenza is “just a cold.” They are doing exactly what they are accusing others of doing: downplaying the seriousness of disease and not listening to the science. The fact is that, across the nation, for decades, people have been hospitalized and died from influenza. Since they are so fond of anecdotes, for that person, how is COVID-10 worse? Completely missing from the news reports are all those who have been injured, sickened, or died from the vaccine. Are there no injured or sickened persons who regret taking the vaccine?

We know that, as of July 22, 2021, from the onset of the pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), about 4.13 million children have tested positive for COVID-19. The AAP believes the number of reported COVID-19 cases in children likely is an undercount because children’s symptoms often are mild, and they may not be tested for every illness. Based on CDC extrapolations, the range is probably at least 18-20 million cases of juvenile COVID-19. But even that is likely an undercount, as the metric is based on all ages. Since children are much less likely to experience symptoms, the factor is certainly greater. This is a good thing, since it means that herd immunity is building among the very young, and since this virus is not going away, that will put them in good shape for the future. This benefits all of us. I anticipate the response of some readers: you would have us build herd immunity to a deadly virus on the backs of children.

How many children have died from COVID-19? I did a deep dive on this back in May (A Moral Panic. A Year Later) and found that, for the entire period of COVID-19 to that point, 287 people aged 0-17 had died where COVID-19 was listed on the death certificate. I hasten to add that we know that rarely is COVID-19 the only factor in a death. Indeed, it is more often a case of death with COVID-19 than from COVID-19. Most of the cases presented with significant comorbidities. Associated comorbidities were diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Want to protect kids from disease? Take on the food industry and demand the government provide resources for parents to properly feed and exercise their children. Where among progressives is the mass hysteria over corporations engineering food that make children sick? Probably in the same place as the hysteria over corporations engineering medicine that make children sick.

What is it for the flu? Keep in mind that the CDC measures flu seasons. They don’t run together multiple seasons. It would be horrifying if they did. Well, it’s horrifying enough: CDC estimates of the burden of illness during the 2017–2018 season are 48.8 million sick with influenza, 959,000 hospitalizations, and 79,400 deaths. The number of deaths from the flu could have been as high as 95 thousand. But let’s go ahead and make it it comparable to the way COVID-19 is being reported. If we combine 2017-2018 stats with those from the previous year, the number of cases rises to 86.8 million cases (more than 100 million top-end estimate), more than 1.4 million hospitalizations (maybe as many as 2.3 million), and around 117 thousand deaths—top end estimate as many as 156 thousand. These numbers didn’t warrant mandatory vaccination, biweekly testing, and masks? Influenza was deadly to as many 156 thousand Americans 2016-2018.

To be sure, there were more deaths under COVID-19 than influenza during a comparable period. But we have to come back to this: for whom is COVID-19 more deadly? That is what you need to know for rational and evidence-based risk assessment and public policy. The CDC estimated 11.5 million cases of influenza in children for the 2017-2018 seasons, with more than 48,000 hospitalizations for the flu, and 643 deaths for children aged 0-17. For 2016-17, there were 251 deaths for children aged 0-17. That’s a combined 894 juvenile influenza deaths. That is more than three times the deaths from COVID-19. And given that the estimates of juvenile influenza are much lower than for COVID-19, the rate of death from influenza is much higher than for COVID-19. Why aren’t health authorities aggressively pushing the influenza vaccine for children?

The evidence clearly indicates that the influenza burden and the rates of influenza-associated hospitalization are much greater for the young compared to COVID-19. Juvenile hospitalization and death rates are much higher for influenza than for COVID-19. (You risk being censored on social media for stating this fact.) Where was the demand for mandatory vaccination, biweekly testing, and masks in public schools for influenza all these years? Where was the moral panic over influenza? Where were the teachers and their unions with their apocalyptic scenarios? What changed?

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Must watch program from this morning. Dr. Robert Malone and Peter Navarro weigh in on the risks on the virus and how authoritarian rule is burying truth.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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