• drhancur

Hysteria and the Coronavirus: Part 2 Addendum

Updated: Jul 11, 2020

I am disappointed and dismayed that the media and public health officials continue to use identified new cases as the measurement of incidence. It is a distortion and contributes to the anxiety that people feel about the true course of the disease. And it perpetuates the myth that the virus will just disappear if people would just comply with social distancing, mask wearing and contact trace if testing positive. For the general population under the age of 55, the more cases the better as we're that much closer to herd immunity.

Let's look at the stats for COVID deaths. As of June 17, there were 103,000 deaths according to the CDC. 92% of the deaths were people 55 or older. 80% of the deaths were 65 or older and 60% of the deaths were people 75 or older. The largest percentage per age group was 33% and that was for people 85 or older. The risk of death for people under 45 is about 2.5%. If you are over 65 and become infected, your risk of death is 5.6% but this number is based on identified cases so the "real" percentage is lower by a factor of about one tenth or 0.56%. For context, each year 450,000 people die from tobacco related illness, that is about 1,230 people per day. And that occurs year in and year out. Influenza kills in the range of 40,000 to 60,000 in an average year. Alcohol deaths are unknown but are certainly greater than the other two by some multiple.

Taken in context, the coronavirus is a serious and sometimes fatal disease but it doesn't come close to tobacco or alcohol. And the attention it is paid compared to the relative inattention paid to smoking and drinking is mindboggling. We know that most problems in healthcare are behavior-related. Obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, COPD-- all are either caused or worsened by how we eat and live.

In my opinion, we are seeing what would have happened in March if we hadn't shut down. Cases would have skyrocketed, as they are now. And hospitalizations and deaths would have too. By percentage, though, the rate of hospitalization and death would not have been as panic-causing as we were told they were. As of June 17, 9% of the 7,800 deaths each day in America were COVID-related. To hear the news outlets talk, you would think that all the deaths were due to the coronavirus.

If you are at risk due to comorbid conditions, do everything you can not to become infected. But do so with the facts about risk in mind.

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