Dan O'Heirity

Should We Put Our Faith in Science?

I spent a long time thinking about whether to post the video below because it is delivered in a way that is horribly unengaging and because the standard of reporting is just not what I am used to from World is One News (WION). However, I decided to include the video because it provided me with prompts to thought.

I’d suggest watching the whole video or perhaps listening to it as you do something else because, as I said, the delivery is not particularly engaging. If you watch the video through to the end you’ll see that the key point made by WION is that in these times of misinformation and conspiracy theory, we need to put our trust in science if we are know the truth about Covid-19. I’m an academic and so I get the idea which is that scientists publish in academic journals and their works is peer reviewed to ensure the integrity of the research and the validity of the research results. However, the fact is that scientists have multiple theories and multiple perspectives and there will be disagreement amongst scientists over, for example, whether Covid-19 emerged naturally or whether it was manufactured in a laboratory.

Pneumonia Is Far More Deadly Than Covid-19

The video contains interviews and opinions across a number of areas that I am beginning to find increasingly interesting. For example, there is mention of a focus in the news on Covid-19 deaths but no focus on deaths from pneumonia. This is fascinating. Wikipedia, drawing on two journal articles from very reputable academic journals, states that each year, pneumonia affects about 450 million people globally (7% of the population) and results in about 4 million deaths. According to World Health Organization figures, pneumonia accounts for 15% of all deaths of children under 5 years old and pneumonia killed 808,694 children in 2017. I cannot find WHO figures for adult deaths from pneumonia. According to another data source, 2.5 million worldwide died from pneumonia in 2017. For now I’m not interested in interrogating multiple data sources. Rather my point is, as it was yesterday when I looked at seasonal influenza in Australia, that we could put Covid-19 into perspective in terms of other bacteria and viruses causing millions of deaths worldwide each year.

It’s Time To Look At Conspiracy Theories?

The video spends a fair amount of time reviewing conspiracy theories about Covid-19 and there is also mention of the idea of the virus being a hoax. I don’t think that it is quite right to describe the virus as a hoax but I am beginning to wonder whose agendas are being served by perpetuating a fatalistic Covid-19 pandemic story. People will counter that the pandemic is real because we have seen 500,000 or so deaths from the virus. However, my thinking here is aligned with a point made in the video that deaths from Covid-19 could be significantly over-reported. A distinction is drawn – as it was early on in the pandemic – between people dying from the virus and people dying with the virus. Basically if you’re old, with pre-existing health conditions and you catch Covid-19 then a death that would have happened anyway may be hastened. However, the same would like be true if the patient had caught seasonal influenza or if the patient had come down with pneumonia.

I’m not going to go as far as joining the conspiracy theorists but I will say that anyone who takes the Covid-19 news stories at face value is likely being severely misled. There is something else going on with the “idea of a Covid-19” pandemic. This much is obvious just in terms of doing some basic research – as I have done – into the number of confirmed cases and deaths that we see with pre-existing viruses and conditions that result from bacterial infections. If we were to look a little further then we might ask whose interests are being served by perpetuating the story of a pandemic. Well, there has been a seismic shift in relations between China and the rest of the world with governments untangling themselves from their economic overreliance on China. The question to ask is whether this could ever have happened without the Covid-19 pandemic. The answer will come in the negative because the justification would not have been there and the public would never have accepted the personal impact in job losses.

First Published July 20th, 2020

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