The aim of this open letter is not to underestimate the risks related to a viral illness or to spread a political message. The coronavirus and flu are illnesses against which one should protect themselves. Risk groups are the ones who need special protection. However, we need to ask critical questions regarding the extensive restrictions on public life that we are currently experiencing, and which aim at limiting the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In a democratic and open society, it should be normal and the first duty of any citizen, it is a right that are emphasises by the freedom of opinion and freedom of speech. Our concern arises primarily from the really unforeseen the socio-economic consequences of the large-scale drastic restrictions practiced in, first and foremost, Europe and Estonia.
Professor Dr Klaus Püschel, head of forensic medicine and director of institute of the Eppendorf Clinic of the University of Hamburg is one of the few pathologists who has carried out a number of autopsies of the deceased suspected of COVID-19.
In a recent interview published on 3 April 2020, Püschel told the Hamburger Morgenpost: “This virus affects our life in a completely exaggerated manner. This impact has no connection to the risk arising from the virus. I am convinced that the number of people who have died of the illness caused by COVID-19 virus will not be in the top of the annual deaths statistics.” (1)
Therefore, with this open letter we request the responsible people in Estonia to express operatively their position and at the same time we strongly highlight the need to develop strategies for more efficient protection of the risk groups without a nationwide paralysing of public life, and the special measures and regulations in an organised manner.
1. Spreading of the SARS CoV-2 virus
As the volume of testing increases, the rapid growth in the number of cases can be observed. Therefore, there is a slight suspicion that the virus has spread among the healthy population of Estonia without notice and before applying the restrictive measures. In such case, all current and future restriction measures would be in vain. A similar result was observed through systematic testing (2) in the Vó Vecchio province in Italy: namely, it was revealed that when the first case with symptoms was discovered, 3% of the population had already been infected with the virus. A new study by the University of Oxford (3) came to the same conclusion: namely, the COVID-19 virus had most probably reached the United Kingdom already by January of this year and by today half of the population has been infected, and thereby achieved immunity. At that, the majority of those infected had no symptoms at all or the symptoms were very mild. (Study (4))
1.1. Can the responsible people in Estonia exclude with 100% certainty that the SARS-CoV-2virus had already not widely spread in Estonia before the national control measures were applied?
1.2. If that can be confirmed, which scientific knowledge and data has been taken as the basis?
2. Deficient data and statistics
The coronavirus cases, on which we receive daily updated data from the media and responsible persons from all over the world, provide us with information on positive test results. However, there is no data on how many people are really infected. Infectiology differentiates between the traditional infection and illness. There must be a clinical onset of the illness (5). Therefore, the statistics should show as new illness cases only patients who have symptoms, such as fever and cough. A new person who is infected, as determined by the COVID-19 test, does not mean that we absolutely have a new patient who is ill and needs treatment or a hospital bed. However, at the moment it is presumed that five percent of all the infected persons are gravely ill and need ventilation. Extrapolations based on that show that the healthcare system may be facing a significant overload.
2.1. When extrapolating, is a distinction made between the infected people without symptoms and patients who have actually become ill, i.e. have symptoms?
2.2. Does the naming of only the number of persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 not constitute sharing of false information and misleading the public?
There is a number of other coronaviruses that exist for a long time already, but they have gone unnoticed by the media. (6) If it should be discovered that the hazard potential of the SARS-CoV-2 virus cannot be estimated to be significantly higher than that of the other existing coronaviruses, all the countermeasures will most probably prove to be excessive. The internationally recognised professional magazine International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents will soon be publishing a research regarding this question. The initial results of the research are available already now and they allow concluding that the hazardousness of the new virus is NOT different from the traditional coronaviruses. The authors express this in the title of their research “SARS-CoV-2: Fear versus Data”. (7)
3.1. What is the current load of intensive care units with the COVID-19 patients as compared to the other coronavirus infections and to what extent do the persons responsible in Estonia take that data into account when making their subsequent decisions?
3.2. Has the abovementioned survey been taken into account when making the current plans? This, too, must consider the principle: a diagnosis means that the virus plays an important role in the condition of the patient and the underlying conditions do not play a significant role.
3.3. Is there an air temperature from which SARS-CoV-2 is no longer infectious? If so, is the idea of quarantine in summer justified?
4. Underlying conditions, cause of death and autopsies
Fear of the increasing number of deaths is a highly discussed topic in the Estonian media at the moment. Naturally, there is a big difference between a person dying of the SARS-CoV-2 VIRUS or WITH THE VIRUS. At the same time, the mistake is made everywhere in the world where a death caused by the virus is registered as soon as it is identified that the deceased had the virus, regardless of other factors. It is in contradiction with the main requirement of infectiology. According to Bloomberg (8), 99% of the people who have died of the coronavirus in Italy have an underlying condition or up to three underlying conditions. But only when it has been established that the virus played the main part in the illness or death, can the diagnosis be made. The working group for the scientific medical associations of the Federal Republic of Germany writes clearly in its guidelines: “In addition to the cause of death, the death certificate must set forth the causal chain with the main illness. In certain cases, causal chains consisting of three members have to be set out.” (9)
Dr Klaus Püschel confirms that “without pathologic or forensic examinations it is not possible to distinguish if death was caused by COVID-19 infection the death is caused by another cause accidentally related to COVID-19 infection”. (1) Even the president of the Robert Koch Institute in Germany confirmed (10) that the Robert Koch Institute registers all death cases that test positive – irrespective of the actual cause of death – as COVID-19 virus deaths. The average age of the victims is 82 years. The majority of them have underlying conditions. Thus, it is probable that the actual number of deaths caused by COVID-19 is close to zero.
4.1. Does Estonia have official data on if the health files have been critically analysed even retroactively in order to find out how many deaths the virus has actually caused?
4.2. How many autopsies in Estonia have unambiguously confirmed that the death was caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus?
4.3. Have the persons responsible in Estonia simply observed the general COVID-19 infection suspicion trend?
4.4. Are the persons responsible in Estonia planning to continue without criticism the same categorisation as in other countries?
4.5. Have there been patients in Estonia who have had no underlying conditions in the case of whom it has been proven that SARS-CoV-2 is the ONLY possible cause of death?
4.6. How do the responsible persons in Estonia distinguish between deaths actually caused by the coronavirus and accidental existence of the virus at the moment of death or cases of death caused by flu or regular pneumonia, which have almost similar symptoms?
5. Lethality (death rate) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus
At the moment, there are no reliable data in the world regarding the lethality of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is certain that simply dividing the number of registered illnesses by the number of deaths means only a significant over-estimation of the so-called lethality rate (CER). Two medical professors of the Stanford University: Dr Eran Bendavid and Dr Jay Bhattacharya confirm in their joint article (11): “That lethality of the coronavirus is overestimated and it is only 0.01% to 0.06% even in Italy, and thus lower than lethality of flu. A reason for overestimating lethality is the extensive underestimating of the infected (without symptoms).” The Vó Vecchio province in Italy where mass testing was conducted is again set as an example. Thus, lethality is in per-mille. The European total death rate monitoring report dated 26 March 2020 (12) shows normal or even smaller than average numbers in all countries and all age groups, with only one exception (13). Only Italy is forecasting a higher total death rate (the so-called delay-adjusted z-score) in the age group of 65+, which is still significantly lower than the death rates of the flu outbreaks in 2016/2017 and 2017/2018.
5.1. How do the persons responsible in Estonia calculate lethality of the coronavirus in Estonia?
5.2. Based on what do the responsible persons in Estonia define higher lethality of the coronavirus as compared to the flu?
5.3. Which data and scientific grounds are the basis for the answers given to questions 5.1 and 5.2?
6. Measures against the coronavirus are more dangerous than the virus itself, monitoring the number of suicides
Professor Gérard Krause is the head of the epidemiology department of the Helmholtz-Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig. In an interview given to the television channel Das Zweite Deutsche Fernsehen (ZDF) on 29 March 2020, he clearly warns against the consequences of the measures against the coronavirus. His opinion on prohibiting contacts and restrictions for leaving home was: “We should keep these strict social measures as short-term and little as possible, because they may cause more cases of illness and death than the virus itself … For example, we know that unemployment and lack of perspective cause increased number of deaths. This may lead to suicide. Restricting the freedom to move has also negative influence on the health of the population. These consequences cannot be calculated accurately, but they do exist regardless, and it cannot be excluded that these consequences are more severe than those of the virus itself.” (14)
6.1. Are the indicators of suicides among the Estonian population observed from the beginning of implementing the coronavirus control measures?
6.2. In the opinion of the persons responsible in Estonia, what is the impact of the measures against the coronavirus on the deterioration of the health of population?
6.3. Will the measures against coronavirus be stopped when the number of suicides exceeds the actual number of deaths caused by the coronavirus?
7. World Health Organisation (WHO) and its changing of the pandemic alert level in May 2009
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has in total six alert levels for pandemics. Declaring the sixth alert level means for the WHO member states that they execute their national pandemic plans and order, for example, the necessary vaccines and medicines, and apply measures. At the beginning of the swine influenza in May 2009, the WHO changed the criteria for its alert levels and omitted two important criteria from the pandemic definition. Before May 2009, a condition for declaring the highest levels of alerts was an extraordinarily high number of deaths and illnesses in several countries, but today it is no longer so. Today, in order to declare the highest level of pandemic, it is enough if the virus is spreading in at least two of the six WHO regions. That is completely independently of the hazardousness of the virus for the residents of the member states. (15)
Profiteure der Angst (Fearmongers), a documentary made in 2009 by the public broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk in cooperation with TV station Arte, gives a thorough overview of the actual background of the swine flu and the people who took advantage of it. The pharmaceutical industry earned billions with the swine flu that was classified as a pandemic by the WHO but was rather harmless. In principle, all those involved back then, are active during the coronavirus pandemic. The documentary is available on YouTube with Estonian subtitles. (16)
7.1. Are the responsible persons in Estonia informed of the qualitative change of the WHO’s pandemic alert threshold?
7.2. When were the respective adjustments made to the national pandemic action plan?
7.3. Which qualitative changes and adjustments were made?
7.4. What do the responsible persons in Estonia think of the fact that the WHO may declare the highest level of alert for a pandemic without the life and health of people in the member states being in jeopardy?
7.5. Should there be international level corrections made in terms of that?
8. Event 201-Pandemic Exercise on 18 October 2019
Event 201 (17) is a corona pandemic simulation exercise, which took place immediately before the actual outbreak of the pandemic. The exercise was organised by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This exercise took place on 18 October 2019, thus immediately before the corona pandemic. The participants of the exercise included representatives of the (former) Chinese Health Authority, World Economic Forum, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Who and CIA! Thorough information on the simulation has been published on the website of the John Hopkins Centre for Health Security. Recordings of the presentations are also available there. The simulation included worldwide corona outbreak, which was supposed to start from Brazil, not China, but otherwise the simulation is to the detail similar to what is happening in the world.
The discussions, which to a large extent are available at the website, reveal that the aim of the people who had come together to the event, was to significantly expand the global governance competencies and establish large-scale financial foundations that could be used in case of pandemics. As the period between the exercise and the coronavirus pandemic was short, the event could be considered a pandemic plan. All the participants of the exercise have taken a clear lead role in the current COVID-19 crisis – the John Hopkins Centre for Health Security and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (WHO). The following videos are available of the exercise Event 201:
Part 1 – Introduction and Medical Countermeasures (18)
Part 2 – Trade & Travel Discussion (19)
Part 3 – Finance Discussion (20)
Part 4 – Communications Discussion and Epilogue Video (21)
Part 5 – Hotwash and Conclusion (22)
8.1. Were the persons responsible in Estonia aware of the Event 201 – Pandemic Exercise?
8.2. Did responsible persons from Estonia participate in the exercise or discussions? Please list the names of the participants.
8.3. Did the results of the said exercise influence the decisions made later? If so, which decisions?
8.4. In the opinion of the persons responsible in Estonia, is it a coincidence that immediately after the exercise the corona pandemic started?
9. Independence of advisors
All countries of the world rely on the data of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Johns Hopkins University when dealing with the corona crisis. All these institutions and persons have been criticised for years for their very close ties to pharmaceutical concerns and/or Bill Gates primarily due to the fact that their recommendations are not always free from economic interests. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the biggest donors of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The web edition of the renowned German daily newspaper Zeit Online wrote clearly and unambiguously already on 4 April 2017: “The secret leader of the WHO is Bill Gates. The world’s most important healthcare organisation has a problem: it is bankrupt and therefore dependant on donations.” (23) It is proven that during the last pandemics – swine flu (H1N1) 2009/10 and the preceding avian flu (H5N1) – were made possible by the WHO with the exaggerated death toll data. Television channel Arte also discussed the WHO in a long and thorough documentary: Die WHO – Im Griff der Lobbisten (The WHO – In the Grip of the Lobbyists). (24)
9.1. How do the responsible persons in Estonia assess independence of the WHO?
9.2. Which independent advisors are the basis for the analysis of the responsible persons in Estonia? Please list the name of the advisors.
9.3. If advisors who had no conflict of interests were involved, what was their assessment of the coronavirus?
9.4. If advisors without the conflict of interest are not involved, how did the responsible persons in Estonia ensure that the medical data and recommendations are not based on conflict of interests?
9.5. When did the responsible persons in Estonia first learn about the potential coronavirus pandemic?
9.6. From which sources do these data come from and on which scientific claims are they based on?
We are currently not in a medical crisis – the system and people responsible for solving the crisis are in crisis.
It is not the coronavirus that is destroying the foundations of our society, but excessive measures in combating against the virus the risk level of which is the same as flu.
Hando Tõnumaa ja Mariann Joonas
If you wish to sign the open letter, you can do it at Petitsioon.ee
- Killerby et al., Human Coronavirus Circulation in the United States 2014–2017. J Clin Virol. 2018, 101, 52-56
- Roussel et al. SARS-CoV-2: Fear Versus Data. Int. J. Antimicrob. Agents 2020, 105947
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1–c2SBYlMY / (in German) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oB0I5RtxWlE (in Estonian)