We’re told that a growing number of us have Covid-19, or had it in the past. Reporters then find experts to say that there isn’t a good reason to leave your home. Many things are true, but only a few facts are relevant to wise public policy on the Covid-19 coronavirus from Wuhan, China. It seems the media is less interested in informing the public and more interested in selling fear.
We’ve tested some workplaces and reported every worker as exposed if a single person tested positive for the virus. We’ve tested some people more than once, so they could be counted as several people who did not have the virus when they are really the same person being tracked over time. We’ve also seen hospitals inflate the number of Covid deaths when they include people who died after exposure to the virus even though the virus did not cause their deaths. In determining if the virus is dangerous, the answer you get depends on the question you ask.
As of now, Covid-19 is in the general population. Who gets sick is as important as how they are treated. Over half of the Covid deaths are from people over 75 years of age. In contrast, one-out-of-680 Covid deaths are under 25 years of age. Covid kills old people and people with pre-existing medical conditions. As dangerous as that sounds, it means that Covid-19 is slightly less dangerous for the elderly than the seasonal flu and pneumonia.
Even knowing that fact, we now recognize that you shouldn’t put contagious patients into nursing homes to recover. Socialized medicine is slow to learn.
We have some fairly solid data from confined environments like cruise ships, and US naval ships. The average age on a cruise ship is 46 years old, and the fatality rate is about one-in-700. The average age of the sailors on a US naval ship is about 24 years old, and the fatality rate from Covid-19 is about one-in-2000.
Even the simplests questions are difficult. You could test positive for Covid-19 when you were exposed to the common cold if there were still fragments of the virus in your body. You could tests as having an immune response to Covid-19 if you were exposed to an earlier strain of the coronavirus like SARS. The good news is that some of that antibody response may be real. Many of us are walking around with an immune system that will quickly respond to Covid, or at least reduce our symptoms.
That is great news since as of today, there is no vaccine for Covid-19. The only way we reduce the spread of the disease is for enough of us to recover from the disease that the virus can not find enough new people to infect and the virus dies out. The sooner that happens, the better, because Covid isn’t the only danger we face. I’m concerned about your grandma, but I’m also concerned about your kids.
Quarantine, in all its many forms, is a danger too. We’ve seen spiking rates of suicide. Some medical centers report more suicides than deaths from Covid-19.
We also know that drug and alcohol addictions have spiked during the quarantine. That shouldn’t surprise us. Forced lockdowns put millions of us out of work. Increased unemployment leads to a cycle of depression and drug use. We saw it before and we should expect to see more of it with the continuing Covid-19 lockdowns.
The number of deaths from Covid-19 peaked at 2300 per day back on April 16th. We fell to a low of about 500 per day by June 28th. A more important measure is the utilization of acute care facilities to treat Covid-19. If your hospital wasn’t overwhelmed back in the middle of
April, then you should send your kids out to play. You should probably be back at work and your vulnerable co-workers should stay home.
The sooner our kids get the sniffles from Covid the better. We want our kids, the segment of the population that has a low risk from Covid, to become immune to the virus and thus help protect the more vulnerable segments of our population. That is how herd-immunity works, but wait until you’re well go visit grandma.
We protect the weak by letting the strong become immune to the virus.
It is true that some people will become sick and die from Covid-19. Hiding indoors won’t change that other than to shift the timeline to a later date. Quarantine costs lives too. If grandma is in her own home, then the sooner the virus dies out, the safer grandma will be.
We flattened the peak. Now, let’s flatten the fear.
I gave you 700 words. Please share them with a friend who needs them. RM