There is a paper, first published in 2008, titled “Pneumonia as a Cause of Death in Pandemic Influenza: Implications for Pandemic Influenza Preparedness” by David M. Morens, Jeffery K. Taubenberger, and Anthony S. Fauci.
It is basically a study of historical data regarding the so-called Spanish flu pandemic of 1918–1919. It’s a short and mildly interesting read but I will make a few brief quotes.
Although the cause of influenza was disputed in 1918, there was almost universal agreement among experts that deaths were virtually never caused by the unidentified etiologic agent itself, but resulted directly from severe secondary pneumonia caused by well-known bacterial “pneumopathogens” that colonized the upper respiratory tract (predominantly pneumococci, streptococci, and staphylococci). Without this secondary bacterial pneumonia, experts generally believed that most patients would have recovered.
So, many deaths during the pandemic of 1918–1919 were due to secondary infections, which is not a surprise. If I have read the paper correctly, over 90% of autopsy lung cultures were positive for at least one bacterium.
The viruses that caused the 1957 and 1968 pandemics were descendants of the 1918 virus in which 3 (the 1957 virus) or 2 (the 1968 virus) new avian gene segments had been acquired by reassortment. Although lower pathogenicity resulted in far fewer deaths, hence fewer autopsies, most 1957–1958 deaths were attributable to secondary bacterial pneumonia, as had been the case in 1918.
Again, many deaths in later pandemics were also due to secondary infections. For example, see “Global Mortality Impact of the 1957–1959 Influenza Pandemic” by Cécile Viboud et al.
The highly simplified message is that the deaths were not caused by the virus alone but the virus with secondary infections. And to be fair, the paper doesn’t claim to have all the answers. Its recommendations for pandemic planning include “stockpiling of antibiotics and bacterial vaccines” which, in itself, is not necessarily unreasonable.
Now, the stats regarding COVID-19 deaths are a mess and I am not in a position to say to what extent so-called COVID-19 is comparable to the other influenza pandemics. Nonetheless, if secondary infections are evidently a problem, then it is interesting that the mainstream message is seemingly all about the so-called vaccine and masks, the latter possibly exacerbating respiratory problems (depending on one’s initial respiratory condition). And this coming from the guy who co-wrote the paper and is now telling you that you may have to wear a mask through to 2022 and/or double-mask.
As a sidebar: here’s an interesting video of a quick test of carbon dioxide concentration under a mask.
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