Matt Grocott presented questionable COVID-19 case fatality rates in his column on Tuesday, including, “The survival rate for individuals between the ages 45 to 64 is 99.9294%.”

The California Department of Public Health lists this data in a table titled, “Cases and Deaths Associated with COVID-19 by Age Group in California,” currently dated June 2. The “60-64” age cohort is notable because it’s the first demographic where the “percent of COVID deaths” (9.2%) exceeds the “percent of California population” (5.9%). The case fatality rate is found by dividing the number of deaths (5,705) by the number of cases (191,442) = 2.98%, or a survival rate of 97.02%

What was most startling to read, though, is that Grocott is a cancer survivor who has received stem cell transplants from the Stanford Blood and Marrow Transplant Program. I’m wondering if Grocott is one of the millions of Americans who are immunocompromised due to his bout with cancer. Anyone taking immunosuppressive drugs, such as prednisone, regardless of vaccination status, needs to be extra cautious to avoid infection because their immune system is weakened.

While cases, hospitalizations and deaths are trending downward, the daily average of deaths in the United States was 459 on June 7, according to The New York Times coronavirus database

As for Grocott’s comparison of surviving lightning strikes with COVID, an average of 49 Americans die annually from them, according to the National Weather Service. Like COVID, lightning survivors can suffer long-term damage.

Irvin Dawid


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(4) comments

Terence Y

Mr. Dawid, Mr. Grocott didn’t present data specifically for California. If somebody picked Podunk, Nebraska and the survival rate was 100%, would that show Mr. Grocott to be pessimistic in his data? No, it would show we didn’t make a comparable comparison. BTW, COVID-vaccinated people can also suffer long-term damage. We just don’t know because the vaccines were released for emergency use. However, the VAERS system is reporting over 330,000 people exhibiting various side effects, including death.

Matt Grocott

Irwin, the data I provided is not California specific but nationwide. That's the reason it is different than what you compared to, however, one could continue to break down the data by region, county or even city. Also, there is the calculation of deaths by COVID vs. overall population, and that is also a different number and is how I posed the question. However, I had trouble finding the data per the way I posed the question so instead I used the specifics for the survival rate of ones who actually caught COVID. The question you asked about being immunity compromised is a good one and a question I asked my doctors in 2016. They were not certain because stem cell treatment at the time was fairly new as post chemo treatment. However, I did have COVID and my immune system worked, obviously, to fight it off, therefore, it seems my immune system is again robust, thankfully. This column had a lot of LTE responses like yours so, even though it was not my plan, I may do a follow-up to go into more detail. By the way, when someone uses a phrase like, "better chance of getting hit by lightening," it is not said as a specific data point to be referenced, at least not for my generation, which doesn't tend to immediately rush to an iPhone for the actual numbers.

Cindy Cornell

After seeing the news about how many health care workers are not getting vaccinated, I wonder if Mr. Grocott would prefer his doctors and nurses to be vaccinated or respect their individual freedom to pass the virus on to him, their patient.

Ray Fowler

Hello, Cindy

I responded to Mark yesterday with the following, "Numbers aside... I think we can trust our intuition and safely say that someone somewhere had an adverse reaction to the vaccine and died. The apprehension surrounding that possibility may be a driving factor for those who choose to not vaccinate. It wasn't for me... I got vaccinated.

Would you deny those folks taking a pass on the vaccination the opportunity to make that choice? If so, would you compel vaccinations? How would suggest such a policy of mandatory vaccinations be implemented?"

Same question(s) to you... do you support mandatory vaccinations? If so, how would you implement such a policy?

BTW... since yesterday... international studies have shown that young males may develop a potentially fatal heart condition due to vaccination... and the FDA just tossed 60 million doses of J&J vaccine. So, I can see where some people are being very cautious about whether they will go ahead with get vaccinated.

What do you think?

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