A few weeks back I wrote an article about how high the risk of dying from covid is. I mentioned that a senior representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) had recently said that the WHO’s best estimate was that roughly one in 750 people who get infected die of the disease. I also mentioned a study published by the WHO, authored by professor John Ioannidis at Stanford University, which was based on antibody data. That study estimated that the mortality rate for covid was around 0,23% overall, which would mean that roughly one in 430 people who are infected overall die of the disease, and 0,05% for people under 70, which would mean that if you’re under 70, the risk of dying of covid is about one in 2,000.
A few weeks back I wrote an article about an observational study published in Lancet that, among other things, looked at whether there was any correlation between stringency of lockdown and the number of people who died of covid. It didn’t find any correlation, which suggests that lockdowns don’t work. That study did have some major limitations however.
Two randomized controlled trials have been published in the recent past, one last year, and the other just a few months back, that look at the effectiveness of curcumin as a treatment for knee pain, and more specifically for knee pain induced by osteoarthritis.
A few months back I wrote an article about the state of the evidence on face masks. At that point, there were no good studies looking at the effectiveness of face masks in preventing the spread of covid-19 specifically, but there was a systematic review that looked at all randomized trials that had been done on face masks for the prevention of respiratory infections more generally. That review found that surgical face masks reduced the probability of getting a respiratory infection by around 4% in absolute terms (17% in relative terms).
I’ve been getting questions about long covid and my standard answer has been that I don’t think it’s any different from post-viral syndrome, a condition that affects some people after a viral infection but that usually clears up within a few months. I’ve been generally sceptical of claims of long covid as some distinct entity for a couple of reasons.
One problem with all the trials of statins is that they look at the probability of still being alive after x years. But that’s not really the question patients want answered. Patients want to know how much longer they can expect to live if they take a statin every day for the rest of their lives. Is it weeks? months? years? decades?