THE REAL CAUSE OF THE UNITED STATES' HIGH COVID DEATH NUMBERS WILL SURPRISE YOU.
by Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.
One of the many points of contention brought up during Tuesday's fiery presidential debate was the issue of the United States' high coronavirus case and death numbers. The allegation of America's high numbers relative to its population was espoused by former Vice President Biden when he lamented that the United States owned 20 percent of worldwide deaths while possessing only 4 percent of the world's population. Predictably, he then did his best to pin the responsibility for these stark statistics on President Trump.
Indeed, as of this writing, the United States has approximately 21 percent of the world's coronavirus deaths and cases, but the reason for this is never reported by the press and has nothing to do with the President's conduct. In fact, the reason may surprise you.
As part of my book Coronalessons, which Amazon did its best to ban and whose existence it is still trying to suppress, I assembled data regarding the number of per capita cases and deaths of COVID-19 throughout the world. My team performed univariate analyses comparing the effects of a country's per capita COVID-19 case and death rates with its national healthcare ranking, per capita GDP, physician density, population density, and life expectancy. We selected the countries with the one hundred highest per capita cases of COVID-19 as of May 2, 2020, according to Woldometer.com and employed the demographic data published by the World Bank in our analysis. The nation's healthcare ranking was obtained from the admittedly dated world rankings published by the United Nations in 2000, the last year it did so.
The results were startling. Surprisingly, as the number of physicians per capita improved, the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 exponentially increased! Figure 1. Relatedly, the better the country's health care system, the worse it performed. And when we looked at the number of hospitals per capita, the greater the hospital density, the poorer the nation performed. In fact, the mildest correlation we found was a nation's per capita testing with the number of deaths and cases.
These results were contrary to our preconceived expectations. But the findings were explainable. Amongst the strongest correlations were those between a country's life expectancy and its per capita cases and deaths. Figure 2. This correlation was completely
expected based the virus's heightened threat to the elderly. What's more, for a nation to amass a greater life expectancy and thus a higher elderly population, it requires a robust healthcare system with lots of doctors and a myriad of hospital beds. And what's required to amass these? Wealth. Indeed, there was a direct, linear relationship between a nation's per capita GDP and its per capita cases (Figure 3) and an exponential relationship to per capita deaths. Figure 4 In short, the richer the nation, the more likely its citizens were to contract the disease and to die from it.
But still the question remains, how is it that the higher number of per capita cases could be explained by a nation's per capita GDP? Here again, then answer is simple. Travel!
COVID-19 is spread purely through the intermingling of contaminated people with others who would otherwise not have come across the virus. It is to the richer nations that people travel, either due to business or pleasure, particularly early in the pandemic before anyone could do anything about it and before many even knew they were infected.
With these factors in mind, one can almost predict the global course of COVID-19. As we know, the pandemic began in Wuhan, China. From there, the principal locations of its initial spread were to Italy and Iran through contacts related to the Belt and Road Initiative into which each country had entered with China. Recall
that even after China knew of the virus's propensity for inter-human transmission it did nothing to stop international travel from within its country.
True to our predictions, the spread from Iran, a relatively poor and isolated country, did not blossom, but for Italy, the experience was entirely different. In Italy, the government tried, unsuccessfully, to contain the spread in the northern third of the country where the virus had entered via Chinese interaction, but the virus quickly spread south as Italians easily moved throughout the peninsula. In the meantime, a colossal soccer match in the northern Italian city of Atalanta allowed for the intermingling of Italians and Spaniards where the virus spread next. Shortly thereafter, in Madrid, the international women's march allowed for further spread to take place.
A related dynamic began occurring in Europe that was also predicted from our correlations: the deaths of massive numbers of elderly patients. In Italy, the dynamics revolved around the sharing of living quarters between the younger generations and the older ones. In Spain, like in France and England, the decimations largely took place in nursing homes.
Additionally, throughout this time, travel was robustly taking place between China, Europe, and the United States. Like a hidden landmine ready to go off, the virus took hold in our population before we even knew it. Ours is the richest country in the world, and perhaps the most heavily visited. It was, predictably, the ultimate destination for SARS-COV-2, and without any means of detecting it, there was nothing the President or any other authority could have done to prevent it. Needless to say, shutting down travel from China on January 31 was logical and helpful, but in the end it was insufficient to keep the virus from reaching our shores, and our nation's epidemiology behaved exactly as our model would have predicted.
Before closing, one other point is in order. If Biden is going to spuriously accuse the President of doing a poor job merely based on the United States' relative contribution to the global prevalence and death rates of the virus, he should even more zealously criticize New York, which is singlehandedly responsible for 15% of the nation's COVID-19 deaths. Governor Andrew Cuomo recklessly ignored the already established pattern of nursing home vulnerabilities by irresponsibly and selfishly insisting that hospitalized elderly patients be transferred there. Under his watch and because of his actions, New York's nursing homes became a cesspool of death and infection when many of the fatalities could have been prevented.
So what's the real cause of the SARS-CoV-2's attack on the United States following China's disregard for the wellbeing of its neighbors? The answer is the world's attraction to the United States because of its wealth coupled with the relative advanced age of its population due to its superior healthcare. But neither the mainstream press nor Mr. Biden will ever admit to this because it would decimate their false claims against President Trump. And thus the true cause of our plight with this pandemic remains hidden from the public.
For more findings on the COVID-19 pandemic that are not reported by the press, such as information on hydroxychloroquine, the timeline of the pandemic, China's and the WHO's roles in propagating the disease, and the disruption of constitutional constraint by certain governors, please go to our store and get your copy of Coronalessons.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He served in the Florida House of Representatives. He is the author of numerous books including The Federalist Pages, The Case for Free Market Healthcare, and Coronalessons. He is available for appearances and book signings, and can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopedic surgeon living in Florida. He is a lawyer, author, and former member of the Florida House of Representatives. He is available for speaking engagements at email@example.com