So It’s A Bad Year For ‘Flu Then?

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Duelling estimates of the infectivity and death rate from the coronavirus. In The Guardian we get one trying to straddle the differences:

There is growing evidence that, on average, people who show Covid-19 symptoms have a 1–1.5% risk of death. This has been estimated in studies of data from Wuhan, early international cases, and the Diamond Princess (with data adjusted to account for the older age of the cruise ship passengers). But this 1–1.5% risk just tells us what happens to people who have clear symptoms. If, as the above studies suggest, only 20–80% of infections come with symptoms, it would mean that for every 100,000 people who get infected with Covid-19, we would expect somewhere in the region of 200–1,200 deaths (ie between 100,000 x 20% x 1% and 100,000 x 80% x 1.5%).

OK, at that lower end of that range this makes is a bad year for influenza. We have had recent years with tens of thousands of deaths. At the top end rather worse than that, yes. Assuming that everyone in the country gets it (they won’t) and there’s that 1,2% rate then that a doubling of the annual number of deaths.

Except, well, some substantial portion of those who die are those who would have died anyway.

Which does lead to the only important question right now. For this we close down civilisation?

Hey, maybe we should ‘n’all but the possibility that we shouldn’t is there too.

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Sceptic
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Sceptic

No it isn’t. As coronavirus spreads, it threatens to put a much greater burden on health systems than flu does, and greater than most or many are prepared for, because, as a new virus, there is no herd immunity and no proven therapy or vaccine as yet. This alone is a valid reason for the measures being taken. Trump just looks more of an idiot the longer he keeps up the laisser faire attitude of which Tim is here a proponent.

Spike
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Spike

Comfortable business-as-usual for our “health systems” is not a criterion. They exist to serve us, not we them. Over here, we have a Constitutional right to “peaceably assemble” with no exception for government workers in white lab coats who insist that there is a cold going around.

Walzingmatilda
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Walzingmatilda

‘They exist to serve us’ – at what cost, to you, is capacity ramped up to do that, how long does it take to train a doctor, how many expensively trained health professionals will die from viral overload in this forest fire? You ‘peacefully assemble’ away; no one with a grain of sense wants to meet you.

John B
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John B

How many have been consumed by the flames so far? Oh, none?

Walzingmatilda
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Walzingmatilda
John B
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John B

‘… people who show Covid-19 symptoms have a 1–1.5% risk of death. This has been estimated in studies of data from Wuhan, early international cases, and the Diamond Princess (with data adjusted to account for the older age of the cruise ship passengers).‘ Not quite. The 7 deaths on the cruise ship were over 70. All the observed evidence elsewhere to date shows mortality to be confined to elderly and many also with underlying conditions. The risk of mortality is not therefore even across the age range, (zero for under 10 for example), so applying the same risk of death… Read more »

Walzingmatilda
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Walzingmatilda

No, only ice rinks to hold the bodies…

John B
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John B

In the next few weeks when people realise they are out of work and running out of money they may start to question the mantra of “total lockdown”. It is still a flu epidemic as happens very 20 or 30 years. There has to be a balance between stopping all economic activity and isolating those most vulnerable. Europe may be able to cope with a few weeks of this but in the likes of India and Nigeria people be starving in that time. Let’s have a quick and urgent debate on restarting the economy please. It can’t go on like… Read more »