Studies touted by right-wingers claiming lower coronavirus deaths are unreliable: researchers

In an op-ed published at The Washington Post this Tuesday, dean of Harvard Medical School George Q. Daley, professor and researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Stephen Elledg, and associate professor at Harvard Medical School Michael Springer, contend that when it comes to recent studies that claim the death toll from coronavirus is less severe than previously thought, people should be wary since the studies are unvetted.

"Two recent studies from California, using antibody tests designed to look for immune markers of previous infections, seem to suggest that the virus is much less deadly than many previously thought. But beware of these findings: They have not been vetted and should be recognized as such," the trio writes, adding that the studies "provide a cautionary tale."

"The results suggest the number of people unknowingly infected may be 50- to 85-fold greater than previously suspected," they continue. "If true, this rate of infection would imply a significantly lower mortality rate — around 0.12 to 0.2 percent, similar to the flu. That would be great news, but until proved otherwise, these findings should be treated as preliminary at best."

Why? Because none of the studies have been peer-reviewed.

"Unfortunately, such unverified findings have been widely covered in the news and welcomed by those seeking to hasten the relaxation of current social distancing measures in their rush to reopen the economy. This could erode public confidence in current protective measures."

Read the full op-ed over at The Washington Post.