COVID Deaths

In trying to make sense of the pandemic as new virus variants emerged and vaccines became available, we found that cyclical patterns don’t conform to seasons, deaths lag behind cases by varying degrees, cases and subsequent deaths vary by 10 to 15-fold, regional trends may shift, and case counts may be subject to reporting errors.   How can we anticipate the future if we can’t understand the past? 
These days we’re awash in mask mandate conflicts, continuing vaccination resistance, and warnings that the wholesale disruptions to our lives “ain’t over yet.” While the media tends to focus on administrative conflicts as well as the slight, local, daily up and downticks, here we present a longer and broader view.
The Michelson Philanthropy Prize in Immunology was awarded on Feb. 24 to Dr. Paul Bastard at the Necker Hospital for Sick Children in Paris. Why should you care? Because his work helps us better understand the biology of why some die from COVID-19, while others are seemingly – and are – immune.
Notable changes have occurred since our last COVID-19 progress report [1]. The Omicron variant has taken hold nationwide. The pace of booster inoculation has picked up but resistance to the original primary series persists. Local efforts to reduce exposure to the virus vary widely, creating confusion as to whether the end of the pandemic may finally be in sight.
The published literature on COVID now exceeds 211,000 papers, books, and documents, which include: 22,866 observational studies, 19,591 reviews, 1496 meta-analyses and 781 randomized control trials. These publications comprise the backdrop for our research and writing. The project began in the spring of 2020 based on a limited source of cumulative COVID-19 data and has broadened considerably. Here is what we have learned.
Gerardo Gutierrez, a 70-year old deli-worker employed by Publix grocery stores, died on April 28, 2020, from COVID-19. Sadly, Gerry, as his friends called him, died in a hospital – alone, with his family only able to bid goodbye via video call. Even more sadly, it's quite possible he didn’t need to die if, as his attorneys claim, Publix had acted prudently.