Government authorities, advisers and analysts who are calling for a continuation of the near-total lockdown of the economy are ignoring five key facts, contends a former top health official at the Stanford Medical Center.
Dr. David Atlas, now a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, argued in an column for The Hill that Americans "are now desperate for sensible policymakers who have the courage to ignore the panic and rely on facts."
"Leaders must examine accumulated data to see what has actually happened, rather than keep emphasizing hypothetical projections; combine that empirical evidence with fundamental principles of biology established for decades; and then thoughtfully restore the country to function," wrote Atlas, the former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center.
The first fact, Atlas said is that the "overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19."
He pointed to a recent Stanford University antibody study that estimates the fatality rate if infected with the coronavirus is likely 0.1% to 0.2%.
The World Health Organization estimate of 3.4% that prompted the isolation policies worldwide was 20 to 30 times higher.
The rate for people 18 to 45 years old in New York City, which accounts for one-third of all U.S. deaths, is 0.01%, or 11 per 100,000 in the population. For people under 18 years old, the rate of death is zero per 100,000.
Fact No. 2: "Protecting older, at-risk people eliminates hospital overcrowding."
In New York City, which has more than 34,600 hospitalizations, the rate of hospitializations from the virus for those under 18 years of age is 0.01%. Even for people ages 65 to 74, only 1.7% were hospitalized, Atlas argued.
Fact 3: "Vital population immunity is prevented by total isolation policies, prolonging the problem."
Atlas noted that decades of medical science shows that infection itself allows people to generate an immune response, controlling the spread in the population by "herd immunity."