Forensic Pathologist: No One in Hamburg Has Died of COVID-19 Alone


In the following clip from a German TV news show, a professor of forensic medicine at a university in Hamburg explains why the fear and hysteria about the Wuhan Coronavirus is significantly overblown.

Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:00 Now we’ll speak with someone who caused quite a stir in the media over the last few weeks.
00:07 Professor Klaus Püschel is the head of forensic medicine at the University Hospital
00:12 Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). He and his colleague are autopsying
00:15 all those who died of COVID-19 in Hamburg.
00:18 In his opinion, the fear of the virus is exaggerated. COVID-19 is a comparatively harmless disease.
00:25 He’s my guest now in the studio. A very warm welcome to you, Professor Püschel. Just to clarify,
00:30 you think that Corona is affecting us and society
00:34 in a completely inappropriate and exaggerated way. Is that right?
00:39 I stand by that. To make it clear, I’ll say that I think
00:45 it’s completely exaggerated, for example when this virus is
00:52 referred to as a KILLER VIRUS. When people are very afraid of it.
00:57 I think it’s really completely inappropriate when
01:01 a president tells his people that we are at war, or
01:04 when the German chancellor compares the situation with the last world war.
01:10 We have a virus here that we already know in principle.
01:16 However, this is new version which came to us as a pandemic,
01:23 so we have to react to it in a very special way.
01:27 It’s the fear that always eats souls. The individual — you and I —
01:32 we don’t have to be particularly afraid. There are many other dangers
01:36 occurring in life that affect us far more.
01:40 Ten days ago in an interview with a major newspaper,
01:44 you said that you hadn’t had a single case of COVID-19
01:48 on your dissection table. Not one had died from the illness COVID-19 alone
01:52 without another pre-existing condition.
01:56 Is that still the case? —Yes. That remains the case. All [COVID-19] deaths for this region,
02:03 which have now passed 100, have been autopsied, and each one had serious pre-existing diseases.
02:12 They were between 50 and 100 years old. The average age is 80 years old.
02:18 This indicates clearly that these are people who aren’t
02:21 in good general condition. Here I must add that they all had
02:25 at least one special or rather even several diseases.
02:30 Cardiovascular disease, heart attack, enlarged heart,
02:35 constriction of the coronary arteries, calcification of the arteries,
02:38 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
02:41 Also liver disease, cirrhosis, kidney insufficiency,
02:45 metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, dementia, and
02:50 in such conditions the immune system is weakened and does not react adequately.
02:58 What do you find in the victims of COVID-19 when you open them?
03:02 The many pre-existing diseases that I’ve spoken of.
03:06 We regularly find respiratory infections and pneumonia,
03:11 and with the pneumonia come a variety of other complications.
03:16 On the one hand the virus-related cellular changes,
03:21 which are very typical, but also accompanying infections,
03:27 so-called bacterial super-infections, and nosocomial infections.
03:31 What is that? —These are diseases that
03:34 you only get when you are in hospital or undergoing medical treatment,
03:38 due to its not being sterile everywhere.
03:41 The hygienic conditions in our country are comparatively good,
03:44 so it cannot be compared to the situation
03:47 in other countries. We think that is important in the cases of pneumonia. I always point out
03:52 that relatively often pulmonary embolisms are due to thrombosis,
03:57 which is why I always say, please stay active and keep moving.
04:02 Please stay active and keep moving. Thank you very much for your assessments and your visit,
04:06 and your explanation, Professor Püschel from the Forensic Medicine Department
04:09 at the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE).