German physician comments on how the coronavirus is being over-hyped and misunderstood
“And this reminds me of the fairytale about the king without clothes one. And just as a child was able to say ‘Hey, he is naked!’. All the others in the courtyard – surrounding government and asking the government for advice, because they can’t know themselves – they all played along and joined the hype.” – Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg
Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg is a German physician who appeared in an interview on Oval Media to talk about the coronavirus. The clip was part of an ongoing documentary about the coronavirus and its broader implications in media and society.
Wodarg has a distinguished past. He has been in German politics since 1988, and in medicine since 1973, but lately he has been vocal in his view that panic around the Covid-19 Coronavirus has been overblown and exploited by individuals seeking power. As he explains in the interview, Covid-19 is but one strain of coronavirus which account for roughly 10% of respiratory virus cases each year.
“Every new year – worldwide – we have new types of viruses because the viruses have to change themselves.” This is the same reason we are pressured to get a new flu shot every year. The flu virus, which is one of about 100 viruses affecting the public each year, is always changing, making it a moving target for medical doctors.
One of Dr. Wodarg’s fears is that the original test for Covid-19 was developed too hastily. As panic quickly arose, the first protocol was sent out across the world as the standard. “Usually, as a test is considered a product of medicine, it has to be validated,” Wolfgang explains. “That means it has to be checked very precisely.”
And what if a person is dying of something else, but also has the coronavirus? In his view, this rushed testing method combined with hysteria and a lack of context surrounding Covid-19 cases has created a perfect storm for scientists to take advantage of goodhearted yet ignorant politicians and bureaucrats. Unfortunately, government support of scientific institutions creates a situation where scientists are continuously trying to impress government officials and tout their abilities and need for funds, as many scientists argue. “And like this, politicians are being courted by many scientists. Scientists who want to be important in politics because they need money for their institutions. Scientists who just swim along in this mainstream and also want their part… And what is missing at the moment is a rational way of looking at things.” – Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg
We all know that the media hypes up every virus and that people do not think clearly when in a panic. Although nobody knows for sure the extent to which the coronavirus will harm us in the long run, it is certainly wise to be prepared and limit contact with others at this stage, while also being mindful of the long term implications that such radical government reactions can have on our future world.
How Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg sees the current Corona pandemic
“I would like to tell you something about the coronavirus epidemic that we allegedly are having right now. First, I thought this hype is going to end again, but it has increased so much, and we finally have to start taking a closer look.
I worked as a doctor and conducted a health department. I had my own sentinel, my own monitoring system for flu diseases. And every year I observed how many people became sick in an area of 150,000 inhabitants.
Every new year – worldwide – we have new types of viruses because the viruses have to change themselves. If the same viruses just came again in the next year, our immune system would recognize them so they would not be able to make us sick or to multiply – which is what they want. So they regularly have to change a bit and that’s why we have new variants of these viruses every year.
There are about 100 different types of viruses that are changing constantly. Up to now, we didn’t really care which viruses caused this flu… or disease or however you want to call it. But there have been investigations over several years in Glasgow. There they tried to use the available tests – that means they didn’t examine all 100 types, but just the ones they had tests for. So they looked at maybe 8 or 10 different viruses and coronaviruses have always been a part of them.
These are the figures from Glasgow. Starting from 2005 to 2013 they checked which viruses occur among respiratory diseases. And these colored columns are the viruses. The green parts refer to the coronavirus that was always in the mix. The coronavirus normally makes up 7% to 15%, maybe 5% to 14%, it always fluctuates a bit. Hence, it’s just normal that a big part of viruses are coronaviruses.
So, the following happens: In Wuhan, there is the biggest safety laboratory for viruses in the whole of China. So, there are a lot of experts on the topic, dealing with it all day long. Wuhan is a big city, 11 million inhabitants, big hospitals, big intensive care units, always people being ventilated, people with pneumonia… hundreds of them and they did tests with a few patients, less than 50, looked for the viruses they had and examined their RNA in the laboratory and they found a new type. This attracted their attention.
When a virologist finds something like this he puts it in a global database. And this database is accessible for scientists all over the world, in Berlin for example. In Berlin, they checked and compared this new entry and tried to create a test to measure this new variant of coronavirus. Then Dr. Drosten submitted a protocol to the WHO, and it got admitted really quickly.
Usually, a test is considered a product of medicine, it has to be validated. That means it has to be checked very precisely. What does the test actually say? What does it measure? The mentioned test is an inhouse-test developed in the Charite-clinic. But because there weren’t any validated tests and the great panic arose, it was decided to just us this test everywhere. Then Mr. Drosten provided the test. Of course, the virologist can say if the virus is dangerous or not. He can only say: ‘This one is different,’ or ‘We have a test for this’. But is the virus dangerous, Mr. Drosten? How is he supposed to know? He would need further epidemiological data based on observation of how sick the people are. How fast do they get healthy again? Are there fewer victims than before?
That’s why it is important to look at the data from previous years to compare them. To look at the mortality rates to see how many people died of the virus. So while looking for a specific virus, for example, the coronavirus, you can examine the total population. What you will find is that presumably 8% or 10% of the population will have some kind of virus, that makes them sick. But if you examine medical practice, do your tests there, to determine who is sick, then, of course, you would find a lot more positive cases. And if you examine hospitals and take samples there then you would find even more corona-infected people.
That is to say, depending on which proportions of the population you examine – whether it is the whole population, patients in the waiting room, people in a clinic, or when you examine very ill patients in the intensive care unit that are about to die – you will expectedly find these 7% -15% coronaviruses every time you do a test. However, if they die of the coronavirus or of other viruses while just having also corona can’t be determined for sure with this.
So, when you look at the death rates in Italy, you want to know where the tests have been taken. Where and how have these few available tests been used? If they were used in a hospital on serious or terminally ill cases then obviously the corona death rate rises. Just because it looked like it, because of the specific group that was examined.
Mortality, disease-specific mortality, refers to the percentage of dead among the people infected with this disease. And concerning the seasonal acute respiratory disease – commonly known as the flu – there is a mortality of 0.1%, which is already the maximum. That means that one in a thousand flu-infected inhabitants die – every winter. So now we will have to see whether this number increased because of coronaviruses.
The assumption for Germany is that there are 20,000 or 30,000 more deaths than without the flu. This is called excessive mortality. So now that coronaviruses always make up 5% to 14% of all flu viruses – let’s say 10%. Let us assume that in the previous years we tested all seriously ill patients in the hospital on the coronavirus – which of course didn’t happen – we would have expected to find 2,000 to 3,000 people dying of the flu each year, that also had the coronavirus. And we still are far away from these numbers. Apparently, it is the case that virologists created something very sensational here, and with their creation, they really impressed the Chinese government as well.
The Chinese government made something really big out of it, suddenly this was very important politically – completely exceeding the virological frame. All of a sudden, face recognition was installed everywhere at the airports, fever was being measured. The clinical thermometer controlled the traffic on Chinese streets. And all this was so significant that it led to international consequences, politicians had to heal with it, had to take a stand. Then the virologist came into play again. The government asked their own virologists and they confirmed that this virus is a thing to worry about and proposed to develop tests to help measure the virus-like in China.
Something was woven around this. A network of information and opinions has been developed in certain expert groups. And the politicians turned to these expert groups, who initially started all this. And they really absorbed this network, moved within it. This lead to politicians who now are just resting on these arguments, while using these arguments to evaluate who has to be helped, to determine safety measures or what has to be permitted.
All these decisions have just been derived from these arguments. This means that now it’s going to be very hard for critics to say ‘Stop. There is nothing going on.’ And this reminds me of this fairytale about the king without clothes on. And just a small child was able to say ‘Hey, he is naked!’. All the others on the courtyard – surrounding the government and asking the government for advice because they can’t know themselves – they all played along and joined the hype. And like this, politicians are being courted by many scientists.
Scientists who want to be important in politics because they need money for their institutions. Scientists who just swim along in this mainstream and also want their part… ‘We can help too!’, ‘We made an app!’, ‘We have a program for this!’ So many people saying ‘Hey, we want to help too!’, because they want to earn money with it and become important. And what is missing at the moment is a rational way of looking at things. We should ask questions like ‘How have you found out that the virus is dangerous?’ ‘Didn’t we have the same thing last year?’ ‘Is it even something new?’ That’s missing. And, the King is naked.”
April 20, 2020