May 27, 2020

I don’t think any medical professional would enjoy receiving a lecture from someone who is clearly scientifically illiterate.

Ryland Barton’s charged, leftwing diatribe scolding me for making “claims [not] backed up by science” is itself ignorant of and misrepresentative of abundant scientific evidence.

Take first his assertion that infection with coronavirus does not induce immunity. Actually, all of the science so far indicates that those who recover from the virus have immunity.

Scientists have infected Rhesus monkeys with coronavirus and then shown that they can’t be re-infected. Plasma from patients recovered from COVID -gvf7819 has been shown to neutralize and prevent the virus from infecting cells in the laboratory. Plasma from recovered patients has also been shown to speed the recovery of severely ill COVID -19 patients.

Additionally, the good news this week was that early trials of the Moderna vaccine show that it induces antibodies at the same level as recovered patients. Thus, vaccines are compared with natural immunity to see if the vaccine works.

Moreover, extensive testing with MERS and SARS, also coronaviruses, show that the natural immunity that develops after infection lasts at least two to three years and has been detected in some patients at 11 years after infection.

Instead of there being no evidence of immunity there actually is no scientific evidence that you don’t get immunity after an infection with coronavirus.

The author labels as false my assertion that the virus has been relatively benign outside New York, NJ and surrounding states.

The truth is that New York and surrounding states make up about half of the deaths for the United States. As Gerard Baker writes in the WSJ, if you calculate the death rate for the remaining states you find the virus to be “about as lethal as the average annual influenza.”

Contrary to Barton’s allegations, there really have been fewer deaths from coronavirus in KY than we often see from influenza deaths. It’s true, look it up. The NKY Tribune reported that“for the 2017-18 flu season, Kentucky reported a total of 333 flu-related deaths.” When I reported this fact in a recent committee hearing, there were slightly over 300 deaths in KY from coronavirus.

Finally, the author repeats Fauci’s argument that the appearance of children with Kawasaki’s disease argues for keeping all the school’s closed. Dr. Fauci should know better. Such an extreme public policy proposal as shutting all schools down should be based on scientific evidence.

The scientific evidence is overwhelming that the mortality rate among children 0-18 years of age is very, very small approaching zero. Initial data from Wuhan had zero children dying. New York had zero deaths among children until recently and the mortality rate now is less than 5 per 100,000. 

In the Netherlands, the death rate for children is about 3 per 100,000.

My point to Dr. Fauci was that, at the very least before shutting all schools shouldn’t we evaluate the death rate? Additionally, Denmark opened their schools a month ago without any spike in infections and without measurable transmission from children to adults. Facts should matter, shouldn’t they?

To the wannabe science critics at NPR, let’s talk when you’ve had a chance to enroll in immunology 101, or more likely, enroll in any science class at all. 

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