By Dr. Anthony Policastro

When Donald Trump returned to the White House last week there was an implication that if you are a strong enough individual, COVID-19 will not really cause you harm.

In the United States, COVID-19 has affected 7.5 million people to this point. Over 200,000 of them died. Was it related to the fact that they were not strong enough?

I have often written about the scientific method. Science does not dwell on anecdotes. It dwells on facts and strong scientific research.

The reasoning behind Donald Trump’s recovery is purely anecdotal in nature.

Science could test that. The first 7.5 million individuals were all treated differently early in the course of their disease.

We know that about 200,000 of them died.

Scientifically we could look at the next 7.5 million people. For that group these are the rules that should be followed:

• At the first sign of deterioration of vital signs they should be airlifted to a hospital

• At that hospital they should have a personal physician responsible for their care

• They should receive non-FDA approved monoclonal antibody

• They should receive a five-day course of Remdesivir at the start of their illness

• They should receive dexamethasone at the start of their illness

• They should not receive hydroxychloroquine since it wasn’t used

That would allow us to determine whether it is the treatment or the strength of the individual that dictates survival.

If another 200,000 or so die, then the suggestion that only the strong survive will have some validity.

If far less that that number die, then the anecdotal diagnosis is incorrect. It would be the early and intense treatment that made the difference.

Clearly, going through all that is over the top. It is unrealistic. It is not something we would ever do. It would also be too expensive.

This is not an example of “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” Every case is different. Every anecdote is different.

We need to remember that COVID-19 is a medical issue.

The virus needs to be treated based upon science. The only thing to be gained from a single anecdote is that you have heard a single anecdote. It really has no relation to other infected patients.

There is absolutely no scientific evidence that the 200,000 plus people who died did so because they were weak individuals.

COVID-19 Update

Nationally there seems to have been a slight increase in total number of new cases.

From August 16th until October 5th there were only two days where the total number of new cases exceeded 51,000.

October 9th and 10th were at 57,000 and 62,000. The numbers then fell back below 50,000. While that appears to be an uptick, it does not look like a very significant one.

Locally we have seen as similar change.

In Sussex County from August 15th to October 1st there were only two days where the number of new cases was higher than 31. From Oct 2nd through the 12th, 9 of the 11 days had 33 cases or more.

Again while that number is higher it does not appear to be significant.

We will need to keep an eye on the numbers over the next few weeks to see if the increase goes higher or is sustained at the present level.

There has been a lot of arguing among political candidates as to how well government agencies have handled the COVID outbreak.

As I said in the past there are multiple factors involved and government is just one of them. However, if we look at the nation as a whole, here is what the statistics show.

In the United State we have almost five times the world average for deaths per nation.

There are 195 countries in the world. If we were being graded on a curve the countries with the 4 highest death rates (worst 2 percent) would get a grade of F.

Those countries are Peru, Belgium, Bolivia and Brazil. The next 27 worst countries (14 percent) would get a grade of D.

With our death rate being the 8th worst in the world, it would put us at a low D. Therefore as a country we have done a horrible job.

While it is not clear how much of that was due to government officials, it is not likely that their performance was much higher than a D grade as well.

Trials for Coronavac have continued. You might recall that this is the one vaccine being manufactured the traditional way. It has been tested so far on 50,000 individuals in China and they are testing it on another 30,000 in Brazil.

Antibody titers after the vaccine appear to be in the 97 percent – 98 percent range.

Side effects to this point have been local reactions to the shot in about 6 percent of patients.

Brazil has ordered 45 million doses at a cost of $90 million. That works out to about $2 per dose.

Coronavac does not appear to be on our radar because it is not a U.S company.