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Coronavirus sucks!

It would be ideal if the virus burns intself out due to it being unable to infect new people quickly enough as a result of the measures in place.

Ill probably get alot of dislikes for the next thing im going to say. But, if we were literally staring at the stark possibility of 3 years of lockdowns and minimal economic activity, schools, colleges and universities closed, millions out of work, a mass increase in nationwide mental health problems as a result or potentially having 500,000 die. I think the country would be better off with the latter in the long run.

The former risks a generation growing up with hampered education, earnings and future life prospects just for starters. It risks those currently working unable to plan for retirement, pay mortgages, children growing up deprived of life experiences.

Of course I don’t want 500,000 to die as I have family members who would likely suffer at the hands of it.

A side thought ive had on the death numbers: Of the hypothetical 500,000 id be less interested in that headline figure but more interested in dissecting the figure. Of the 500K, how many would likely have passed away in the near term anyway (COVID19, was the straw that broke the camels back), how many absolutely would not have passed away had COVID19 not been a factor. Id say arguably that last figure is the one that should be of most interest to everyone, how many people has this pandemic got the potential to kill who otherwise would have gone on to live at least another year, 5 years, 10, 20 etc. Based on their current health and average life expectancy in the UK.

Trying to take the emotional attachment to the figures away and look rationally at the data is an important factor. Now of course each and every one of those deaths is a loss and hurt to someone but if youre 85 and already in poor health vs. 40 and in good health those are loss and hurt in a vastly different way.

I feel like im rambling somewhat now. I think my point is, we shouldnt get bogged down in the headline death total, its a big number, a potentially shocking number, but how many deaths have there been in the UK so far of those who really wouldnt have died otherwise, 100, 200, 500, 1000?

Another thought on the daily reporting of those who have lost their lives without underlying health conditions. A stark and real reality in the UK is that although not having true underlying health conditions,  there is a large part of the population whom are in fact unhealthy. I.e. they are overweight by more than a little, have a poor diet, dont engage in regular exercise, smoke etc.

Here is some data from the NHS about how unhealthy the UK is with regard to being overweight

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/statistics-on-obesity-physical-activity-and-diet/statistics-on-obesity-physical-activity-and-diet-england-201

Over the long term this is easily argued to be a far worse epidemic than the current COVID crisis, but given its a slow burning problem than a massive explosion like COVID it wont get the same attention.

According to the data, in 2017/18 there were 710,562 (!) hospital admissions with primary or secondary diagnosis of obesity.

Here’s my hypothetical Joe Bloggs, 35 years old, 16 stone, drinks 10 pints a week, smokes 2 packs a week, doesn’t exercise and eats a lot of crap, think crisps, ready meals, doesnt eat his veg and get enough vitamins. He isnt diabetic, he doesnt have emphysema or COPD or any other listed medical condition. However you surely couldn’t call him a healthy person. There are a lot of these Joe Bloggs in the UK, were one of the top overweight nations worldwide.

If Joe dies, statistically Joe is a 35 year old with no underlying health conditions that has just died due to COVID19. But Joe wasnt really healthy.

Would Joe have pulled through if he wasn’t overweight, exercised, ate well and generally took care of himself?

What do you think?

3 Comments

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  1. Children and people are pretty resilient. A lot more than we give them credit for.

    Many many people failed degrees, or a levels and retook them. The whole world will be the same. There’s a lot of unnecessary worry over just one year of eduction, everyone is in the same boat. Repeat a year, what’s the problem, people aren’t looking to the whole picture, they’ve been programmed to think in a narrow view.

    There’s a lot of handwringing over suffering. Almost as if people enjoy wallowing in it.

    We need to keep a perspective on this. The economic impact isn’t because we don’t have money. It’s because we can’t spend it.

    No one can go shopping for clothes, no one can go to restaurants. This isn’t because of a confidence thing or a lack of supply of money, people want to go out and spend money. I have work stacking up, when we restart it’s going to be crazy busy.

    The people who are becoming unemployed are because of dormant, not failed, businesses.

    This isn’t a normal depression, we will recover extremely quickly. Compare it to World War II and the massive boom afterwards.

    • This is true, and I agree that the recovery route is probably quite different from a normal recession. I think you’re making slightly light of it though; the distinction between dormant and failed is a little arbitrary if you can’t pay for the things you need.

      The government has put a lot of support in place but it’s not 100% coverage of the population and it’s not necessarily 100% of the amount that people are out of pocket. There’s also the issue of a significant chunk of the year when nobody is working and generating wealth. All the time has value, and people are currently spending it watching Netflix rather than working and the government may be filling the gap with some support but ultimately all that lost value needs to be paid for.

      I suppose you could illustrate it with a reduction to absurdity: if we can all stop work for a month and then resume with no consequences then why not 2 months or a year?

  2. The herd immunity people need to read this:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/opinion/coronavirus-parties-herd-immunity.html

    It isn’t just about deaths – although 500,000 deaths should be far more than enough reason not to go this way. There’s also the people who don’t die but get PTSD or heart or kidney problems and are never fully healthy.

    The biggest problem with this theory is that it is a new virus and we don’t know enough about it. We don’t know for sure if you actually get immunity and if you do for how long. Worse still there are viruses where a second infection is far worse than the first – so if you get everybody infected you could be setting them up to die if there’s another epidemic in a couple of years. There are also viruses that can lurk in your body for years and then re-emerge with even worse consequences than the first infection. The herd immunity theory is just assuming that this isn’t the case for corona virus, which may be a reasonable guess but is a hell of a chance to take.

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