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RESEARCH: Tells different story

| May 6, 2020 1:00 AM

Early reports about the coronavirus from Italy and elsewhere were scary — perhaps justifying this drastic shutdown as an abundance of caution. But new science in the last month now shows the virus is far more widespread and far less dangerous than originally feared.

Stanford researchers found that in Santa Clara County between 50 and 85 times as many people have the antibodies — meaning they’ve had the virus — as there are reported cases. In Los Angeles County, USC researchers found it was 55 times as many. The same thing in New York City and elsewhere.

So roughly 49 out of 50 people who got the virus didn’t know they had it. They either had no symptoms or maybe thought they had a cold — nothing serious enough to go to a doctor or hospital.

Researchers have found no evidence that a complete shutdown — as opposed to no shutdown or one limited to the elderly and seriously ill — has any effect on the spread or number of cases.

People forget that the point of the shutdown was not to stop the spread or reduce the number of cases — it can’t do that. The point was only to slow the spread — delay the cases — so a peak didn’t overwhelm the health system.

But that peak never happened. The models were badly wrong. Many emergency-built facilities were rarely or never used.

Many hospitals are now going broke because they canceled paying business to allow for the coronavirus surge — which never happened.

Protect the elderly and seriously ill — but unshackle the rest of North Idaho. Now — not in 15 days or a month.

DAVID LYONS

Coeur d’Alene