Logical fallacy – If both illnesses are spread through respiratory droplets – then why do the measures work to reduce the number of Flu cases, but not Covid cases?
I was reading a recent CTV article where people in the comment section were essentially saying that the Flu has disappeared because of the measures being used to stop Covid. Hand washing, sanitizing hands, social distancing, and mask-wearing they claim are stopping the spread of the Flu – but than why are Covid cases surging?
This is the very definition of a logical fallacy. The definition of a logical fallacy as defined by Wikipedia is “a formal fallacy, deductive fallacy, logical fallacy or non sequitur is a pattern of reasoning rendered invalid by a flaw in its logical structure that can neatly be expressed in a standard logic system.”
Insert the Covid policies stopped the flu argument. Let’s break it down a little further. The following is a list from the CDC website that lists the common symptoms shared between the Flu and Covid.
Here is what the CDC says is different about Covid – which we will discuss later;
So the only notable difference between Covid and the Flu according to the CDC is that Covid seems more serious, and “MAY include change in or loss of taste or smell.”
This makes sense when we consider that as a country we’ve all but stopped testing for influenza – so the deaths would logically go down making the flu seem less deadly in comparison. We statistically have averaged 2000-8000 flu and pneumonia-related deaths annually – where have these deaths gone?
Now let’s discuss the loss of smell and taste argument – as this is also a common side effect of the common cold and Flu.
“Causes of acquired smell loss include respiratory viruses (common cold, flu), traumatic brain injury, upper airway inflammation (rhinitis, rhinosinusitis), neurodegenerative diseases, intracranial/sinonasal tumours, drugs, exposition to toxic substances, irradiation, or iatrogenic among others. “ – The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Stress, anxiety, and depressions effects on smell and taste
“Illness, subjective oral dryness, state anxiety, perceived stress, depression, use of antiasthmatics, and trait anxiety were associated with taste disturbance. It was concluded that perceived taste disturbance might be an interaction of various health factors such as illness and mental condition.”
So in essence, if your depressed, anxious, and or suffering from the Cold or Flu can all have an impact on your ability to smell and taste – imagine that. This was common knowledge to me, as I have suffered from anxiety and depression in the past, and was all too aware of its ability to affect my smell and taste. I once lost about 30 pounds in two months from lack of eating due to diminished taste, or “olfactory senses”.
I think this is an important discussion point to consider when talking about Covid. We’ve had politicians and media hammer it into the public psyche for roughly 7 months about how “dangerous” this virus is. Logically we can conclude that this may affect one’s ability to smell and taste-based off on what the clinical literature says.
What about the loss of smell and taste without any other symptoms?
This too occurs ironically – in human coronaviruses. The following study followed 15 adults who had been artificially inoculated with a human Coronavirus and published their results – here’s their conclusion;
“Damage to the respiratory epithelium (tissue) may occur due to viral infection without overt clinical symptoms. This may well have implications in lung disease; for example in chronic suppurative diseases, where lung function was significantly reduced following symptomatic and asymptomatic viral infections . Further work is needed to establish the mechanism of viral damage to the respiratory epithelium caused by human coronavirus infection.”
“The present results demonstrate that significant damage to the respiratory epithelium (tissue) occurs following nasal inoculation with HCoV, even in those without overt clinical symptoms of a cold. Evidence of disruption of the nasal epithelium (tissue) and ciliary dyskinesia was found in all of the volunteers inoculated with active HCoV even though three subjects had no symptoms of a cold.” – European Respiratory Journal
This is an important finding as it indicates that damage to the nasal respiratory tissue can happen even during asymptomatic viral infections. This means that you could have no other symptoms and still develop evidence of disruption in the nasal tissue – meaning you could lose smell and taste without any other symptoms by being exposed to a human coronavirus (common) not just Covid.
Loss of smell without any symptoms is a common symptom of other coronaviruses but appears to be more prevalent in Covid. This could also be due to the increased studies of this effect, because of it being classified as a “pandemic,” Many of the previous studies covering this topic call for more studies to be conducted – atlas now they are.
After being made aware that someone is “positive” with Covid, the number reporting olfactory dysfunction (OD) goes up much higher in the following studies cohort. This needs to be examined not only through the lens of Covid – but also through the stress and anxiety one incurs after being told they’re Covid positive. We must also evaluate the phycological effects of being told that diminished smell and taste is a common symptom of the virus and its effects on the patient in a blind placebo test – is it the power of suggestion?
“In Lechien et al’s 417-patient cohort, 11.8% reported OD (olfactory dysfunction, or diminished taste and smell) as the first symptom of COVID-19. 173 In comparison, OD occurred at the same time as other COVID-19 symptoms in 22.8% and after other COVID-19 symptoms in 65.4%.” – publication in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
To summarize, 11.8% of the 417 patients reported diminished smell and taste as the first symptom, 22.8% reported it at the same times as other symptoms, and once people had other Covid symptoms – it occurred in 65.4%. What isn’t clear is the participant’s level of fear and anxiety around the virus, or how susceptible they were to the power of suggestion.
Randomized control trials with blind placebos are needed to study this further and determine the effects of all other environmental factors on these symptoms.
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