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By Dr Ghassan Karam

A nearly 100-year-old vaccine against tuberculosis appears to have imparted some kind of protection against COVID-19 with two studies demonstrating that nations with a BCG vaccination program report nearly ten times less number of pandemic patients.. Most of the European countries including Italy, Spain and France, as well as the USA do not offer BCG as a part of their national immunization schemes. They are now among the worst affected with thousands of deaths

What explains the fact that the Coronavirus has inflicted more sufferings among the developed countries? Two things: Av. age and Tuberculosis vaccine.

This is the final and definitive iteration of my attempt to explain as convincingly as possible the fact that a virus is an equal opportunity harm giver. It is not influenced by Race, and wealth.

The highest death rates by far, have taken place among industrial countries that have easier access to all resources than their developing counterparts , a fact that is exactly the opposite of what common sense would have suggested.

A simple scatter diagram in logarithmic scale established that the outcome of this pandemic conform closely to the above expectation.The log graph of GDP per capita in nominal terms against death rates for about the 60 countries with the greatest coronavirus casualties showed very clearly a linear positive relationship; the death rate increased substantially for countries with a relatively high GDP per capita.

Once the data corroborated the expectations we had to find an explanation for such totally unanticipated results. We settled on two possible explanations. WHO, CDC and other such healthcare institutions kept on warning older people to be more cautious since most of the victims of the virus were over the age of 60. It was also suggested that many of the younger people who get infected experience often mild reactions only. These common and popular characteristics of the potential victims led us to test the relationship between the death rate and age. Data about average age of the population for a 102 countries was collected As one might expect it became obvious that in practically each developed country the average age was in the low 40″4 while in most developing countries it was in high 20’2 and low 30’s. Some countries, essentially African ones, had an average age in the high teens. This was enough evidence to convince us that this variable should be subjected to more rigorous testing. That we did by choosing age as a variable. The other prospect was that of whether a country has universal Tuberculosis vaccination program? A quick look at a world map made it obvious that probably the association between BCG and death rates in industrial countries is worthy of being also rigorously tested. The Tuberculosis map indicated that only 18 countries have either never had a universal vaccination requirement or did at one time but they no longer do. The countries that had no Tuberculosis vaccination were those of North America, most of Western Europe, Sweden, Israel, Ecuador and Australia. All other had universal Tuberculosis vaccination requirements.

At this stage we were ready to crunch the data. We decided to apply a Multiple regression analysis on the data using a Dummy variable where D=1 for countries with no BCG and D=0

 otherwise.

Results:

Y= a + bD + cA        

Y: deathrate per 100,000 population from Johns Hopkins as of 4/8/2020

a: constant

D: dummy as described above

A: av. demographic age per country

b and c coefficients

Data for 102 countries

Y = 6.9 D +0.076 A -1.9

When D=1    Y = 5 +0.076 A If an A=40 is used the Death rate for countries that do not use BCG= 8.04

When D=0   Y= 0.076 A-1.9 If A=30 is applied then the Death rate for all other countries (Use BCG) = 0.38

Conclusion:The ultimate results are almost identical with those obtained yesterday , prior, to adding the age variable except for the fact that this is a superior explanation of the deathrate premium exercised on industrial countries.

It is hugely important not to think of the above as a model to be applied to individual countries since each of the 102 countries war represented only by a set of 3 variables. This model attempts to explain rationally whether the actual deathrate experiences so far, in this pandemic is influenced by BCG and age. The answer appears to be a strong affirmative one. Note that the absence( none use of BCG) of universal Tuberculosis vaccine increases the death rate by almost 4 in a 100,000 population in an older country. It is also clear that as Age increases so does the death rate; every 13 years age increment increase the death rate by 10 for every million all other things being equal.

We should add at this stage that if the above death rates are applied to the global population then the outcome would be only 2000 above the actual results as of yesterday. Countries with no BCg and an average age of 40 number about 810 million; 810 x 80 = 65,124 deaths while all the rest: 7000 x 3.8= 26600.Total deaths: 91,724!!!!

Average age

Country/TerritoryRankMedian
(Years)
Male
(Years)
Female 
(Years)
 Afghanistan20818.918.818.9
 Albania9532.931.634.3
 Algeria13628.127.828.4
 American Samoa12225.525.126.0
 Andorra1044.344.444.1
 Angola21415.915.416.3
 Anguilla7934.832.936.7
 Antigua and Barbuda10231.930.033.5
 Argentina10531.730.532.9
 Armenia8035.133.336.9
 Aruba5539.337.541.1
 Australia5838.737.939.5
 Austria1344.042.845.1
 Azerbaijan10731.329.833.0
 The Bahamas10032.030.933.2
 Bahrain9932.333.829.5
 Bangladesh14826.726.027.3
 Barbados5938.637.539.8
 Belarus5140.037.143.1
 Belgium3941.440.242.7
 Belize17722.722.522.9
 Benin21618.217.918.6
 Bermuda1743.441.545.3
 Bhutan14427.628.227.1
 Bolivia16224.323.625.0
 Bosnia and Herzegovina3242.140.543.5
 Botswana17024.523.525.6
 Brazil10332.631.132.8
 British Virgin Islands7236.536.336.6
 Brunei11630.229.730.7
 Bulgaria2142.740.944.7
 Burkina Faso22117.317.117.4
 Burma12828.227.429.0
 Burundi22417.016.817.3
 Cabo Verde15625.424.626.2
 Cambodia15725.324.626.0
 Cameroon21018.518.418.7
 Canada2942.240.943.5
 Cayman Islands5240.039.340.7
 Central African Republic19519.719.420.0
 Chad21917.816.818.8
 Chile8534.433.235.6
 China6737.436.538.4
 Colombia12030.029.031.0
 Comoros19619.919.220.5
 Democratic Republic of the Congo21118.618.318.8
 Republic of the Congo19319.719.519.8
 Cook Islands7436.536.037.0
 Costa Rica10831.330.831.8
 Cote d’Ivoire18720.921.020.9
 Croatia1943.041.145.0
 Cuba3741.540.142.6
 Curacao7336.133.539.7
 Cyprus6836.835.538.3
 Czech Republic3342.140.843.4
 Denmark3042.241.243.2
 Djibouti16723.922.125.3
 Dominica8933.533.034.0
 Dominican Republic13728.127.928.3
 Ecuador14327.727.028.4
 Egypt16523.923.624.2
 El Salvador14727.125.628.6
 Equatorial Guinea19719.819.320.3
 Eritrea20119.719.220.1
 Estonia2242.739.446.1
 Eswatini (Swaziland)18221.721.521.9
 Ethiopia21817.917.718.1
 EU2042.941.544.3
 Faroe Islands6437.637.138.3
 Fiji12928.928.729.1
 Finland2642.540.944.3
 France4041.439.643.1
 French Polynesia10631.931.732.1
 Gabon20918.618.418.8
 The Gambia18821.020.721.3
 Palestine (Gaza)[disambiguation needed]22517.216.817.5
 Georgia6038.135.340.9
 Germany347.146.048.2
 Ghana18421.120.621.6
 Gibraltar8134.733.835.7
 Greece644.543.545.6
 Greenland8633.935.032.7
 Grenada10931.531.531.6
 Guam11129.028.329.7
 Guatemala18022.121.422.8
 Guernsey1443.842.545.1
 Guinea-Bissau19120.119.720.6
 Guinea20518.918.719.1
 Guyana15126.225.926.6
 Haiti17423.022.723.2
 Honduras17523.022.623.3
 Hong Kong844.443.545.0
 Hungary2842.340.444.3
 Iceland7036.535.937.1
 India14128.127.228.6
 Indonesia11730.229.630.8
 Iran12330.330.030.5
 Iraq19220.019.820.3
 Ireland6936.836.437.1
 Isle of Man1144.243.344.9
 Israel11929.929.330.6
 Italy545.544.446.5
 Jamaica15226.025.526.5
 Japan247.346.048.7
 Jersey6238.036.340.7
 Jordan17822.522.922.0
 Kazakhstan11230.629.331.9
 Kenya19919.719.619.9
 Kiribati15924.623.825.5
 North Korea8734.032.535.6
 South Korea3641.840.243.4
 Kosovo12729.128.829.5
 Kuwait12429.330.427.4
 Kyrgyzstan14926.525.427.6
 Laos17223.022.723.3
 Latvia1643.639.746.9
 Lebanon11830.529.931.1
 Lesotho16324.224.224.2
 Liberia21217.817.518.0
 Libya13028.929.128.7
 Liechtenstein1843.241.744.5
 Lithuania1543.739.747.1
 Luxembourg5439.338.739.9
 Macau5639.339.539.1
 North Macedonia6537.936.839.0
 Madagascar20019.719.519.9
 Malawi22716.516.416.7
 Malaysia13128.528.228.8
 Maldives13828.228.128.3
 Mali22815.815.116.4
 Malta3541.840.843.0
 Marshall Islands17322.922.823.0
 Mauritania19020.519.521.4
 Mauritius7735.334.236.3
 Mexico13328.327.229.4
 Federated States of Micronesia15825.124.425.8
 Moldova7136.734.938.6
 Monaco153.151.754.5
 Mongolia13528.327.529.2
 Montenegro4540.739.941.8
 Montserrat9433.232.633.7
 Morocco12529.328.629.9
 Mozambique22217.216.617.8
 Namibia18521.220.421.9
 Nauru15026.427.025.7
   Nepal16624.122.825.3
 Netherlands2442.641.543.6
 New Caledonia10132.031.332.7
 New Zealand6337.937.138.8
 Nicaragua15425.724.826.6
 Nigeria21318.418.318.5
 Niger23015.415.315.5
 Northern Mariana Islands9333.632.834.4
 Norway5739.238.440.0
 Oman15325.626.624.2
 Pakistan16823.823.723.8
 Palau8833.432.735.0
 Panama12629.228.829.6
 Papua New Guinea17123.123.223.1
 Paraguay13928.228.028.5
 Peru14028.027.228.8
 Philippines16923.523.124.0
 Poland4640.739.042.4
 Portugal3142.240.244.4
 Puerto Rico3841.539.543.2
 Qatar9033.234.328.1
 Romania4241.139.742.6
 Russia5339.636.642.5
 Rwanda20319.018.319.8
 Saint Barthelemy1244.144.144.2
 Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha3441.942.041.9
 Saint Kitts and Nevis8235.035.234.8
 Saint Lucia8434.833.736.0
 Saint Martin9832.531.633.4
 Saint Pierre and Miquelon446.546.047.0
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines9133.633.833.4
 Samoa16424.424.124.6
 San Marino944.443.345.4
 Sao Tome and Principe21518.418.018.8
 Saudi Arabia14527.528.226.7
 Senegal20718.818.019.7
 Serbia2542.640.944.3
 Seychelles7635.434.936.0
 Sierra Leone20419.018.419.6
 Singapore8334.634.534.7
 Sint Maarten4341.039.942.0
 Slovakia4940.538.842.3
 Slovenia744.542.846.2
 Solomon Islands17922.522.322.8
 Somalia21718.118.317.9
 South Africa14627.126.927.3
 South Sudan22317.317.217.5
 Spain2342.741.543.9
 Sri Lanka9632.831.534.0
 Sudan19819.919.720.1
 Suriname12129.829.430.2
 Sweden4141.240.242.2
  Switzerland2742.441.443.4
 Syria16124.323.924.8
 Taiwan4740.740.041.5
 Tajikistan16024.523.925.1
 Tanzania22017.717.518.0
 Thailand6637.736.638.7
 East Timor20618.918.319.6
 Togo19419.819.520.1
 Tonga17623.022.523.4
 Trinidad and Tobago7536.035.636.6
 Tunisia9731.631.032.2
 Turkey11030.930.531.4
 Turkmenistan14227.927.528.4
 Turks and Caicos Islands9233.333.633.0
 Tuvalu15525.724.726.9
 Uganda22915.815.715.9
 Ukraine4840.637.443.7
 United Arab Emirates11330.332.125.0
 United Kingdom5040.539.341.7
 United States6138.136.839.4
 Uruguay7835.033.136.7
 Uzbekistan13228.628.029.2
 Vanuatu18122.021.622.4
 Venezuela13428.327.629.0
 Vietnam11430.529.431.7
 Virgin Islands4441.039.941.9
 Wallis and Futuna10432.231.333.4
 Palestine (West Bank)[disambiguation needed]18621.120.921.3
 Western Sahara18321.120.921.3
World11530.429.631.1
 Yemen20219.519.319.6
 Zambia22616.816.616.9
 Zimbabwe18920.019.620.4
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