A question worth asking. At what point does economic health become more important than public health?
Because let’s face it there is no public health system if there is no economy to support it, and don’t look now but while we sit at home making puzzles and playing monopoly the world out there is falling to pieces.
The longer the world remains in a lockdown the greater the damage done to the global economy. We are already facing an unprecedented global collapse in trade.
What nobody is paying attention to now but soon will, is that if there is no economy or a poorly functioning one the health issues that come out of that will make this Bat flu look like a walk in the park in comparison.
And we’ll have brought it on ourselves.
“He who defends everything, defends nothing.”
-Frederick the Great
“He who defends everything, defends nothing.” -Frederick the Great
Cardiovascular disease kills over 17 million people annually. It’s the main cause of death globally apparently.
I thought it was stupidity but now Google tells me no, it’s “CVD”. Cardiovascular disease. So much for that then.
Looking deeper we find what causes it.
Too much macaroni cheese, and donuts, which actually means I was right all along. Stupidity IS the main cause of death.
Furthermore, we know what we can do to stop it. Buy a pair of running shoes and actually use them for – you know – running, instead of mooching about the mall from one junk food outlet to another.
Anyway it causes millions of deaths every year and in a minute I’ll tell you why we don’t collectively say…ok that’s it.
Enough is enough, you’re all quarantined and everyone must, for the next 4 weeks, self isolate in the gym on a diet of lettuce and bottled water.
Which if you think about it would save millions of lives, not to mention millions of dollars in healthcare.
I tell you what makes folks freak the pha-kout though. Air travel. Google explains to me that nearly a third of folks are afraid of flying.
Here’s deaths by transport for 2017.
- Highway: 37,133
- Rail (Trains): 761
- Marine (boats & other watercraft): 694
- Commercial Airlines: 0
And did you know that there was a 1 in 3.37 billion chance of dying in a plane crash between 2012-2016.
There was a 1 in 20 million chance of being on a commercial airline flight experiencing a fatal accident from 2012-2016 and when there was a crash 98.6% of those crashes resulted in exactly zilch fatalities — Of the 140 plane accidents during 2012-2016, only two involved fatalities (1.4%).
Ironically folks will gleefully gorge themselves on burgers and fries before boarding a plane, terrified it’ll fall out of the sky.
It’s like popping a slow release cyanide pill and then getting onboard one of the safest forms of transport in the world and thinking to yourself…this thing may kill me.
And the reason for this fear is the same reason folks are terrified of nuclear power (the safest form of power known to man).
When a plane crashes or a tsunami hits, or a Fukushima happens they all do so with an unexpected speed.
This is why our reaction to these events is disproportionate to the events themselves.
Contrast this to “CVD” which doesn’t do its dirty work in one fell swoop.
It’s not like the heart attack man swoops down in one month and takes them all. It kills one in your street, another few across town.
Then it ventures into the next neighborhood before taking up residence in the old age home and poof poor Betty’s gone…and then Bernie across the hall.
We don’t like it, but we just accept it and learn to live with it…like politicians…or herpes.
So now to the dreaded bat flu which has brought the entire world to a screeching halt – literally.
What makes this virus special is its speed, or in medical speak R value.
Let’s put this into context, so far it’s killed about 100,000 people or less than a fifth of what the seasonal flu kills annually.
Ultimately it’s going to kill a whole lot more, but we should be asking ourselves will it even come close to donut disease (CVD)?
Probably not. 17 million remember.
And what if it did meet or even exceed donut disease?
It’d then be a really bad year but not out of the realm of something we’ve all learned to live with – at least with respect to CVD.
I read an insightful piece from recently-retired Professor of Pathology and NHS consultant pathologist, Dr John Lee who states in an article in the spectator.
“The simplest way to judge whether we have an exceptionally lethal disease is to look at the death rates.
Are more people dying than we would expect to die anyway in a given week or month?
Statistically, we would expect about 51,000 to die in Britain this month.
At the time of writing, 422 deaths are linked to Covid-19 — so 0.8 per cent of that expected total. On a global basis, we’d expect 14 million to die over the first three months of the year.
The world’s 18,944 coronavirus deaths represent 0.14 per cent of that total.
These figures might shoot up but they are, right now, lower than other infectious diseases that we live with (such as flu). Not figures that would, in and of themselves, cause drastic global reactions.”
He goes on to explain that the reporting of deaths…or the “new” method of reporting deaths is
But there’s another, potentially even more serious problem: the way that deaths are recorded.
If someone dies of a respiratory infection in the UK, the specific cause of the infection is not usually recorded, unless the illness is a rare ‘notifiable disease’.
So the vast majority of respiratory deaths in the UK are recorded as bronchopneumonia, pneumonia, old age or a similar designation. We don’t really test for flu, or other seasonal infections.
If the patient has, say, cancer, motor neurone disease or another serious disease, this will be recorded as the cause of death, even if the final illness was a respiratory infection.
This means UK certifications normally under-record deaths due to respiratory infections.
Now look at what has happened since the emergence of Covid-19. The list of notifiable diseases has been updated.
This list — as well as containing smallpox (which has been extinct for many years) and conditions such as anthrax, brucellosis, plague and rabies (which most UK doctors will never see in their entire careers) — has now been amended to include Covid-19.
But not flu.
That means every positive test for Covid-19 must be notified, in a way that it just would not be for flu or most other infections.
In the current climate, anyone with a positive test for Covid-19 will certainly be known to clinical staff looking after them: if any of these patients dies, staff will have to record the Covid-19 designation on the death certificate — contrary to usual practice for most infections of this kind.
There is a big difference between Covid-19 causing death, and Covid-19 being found in someone who died of other causes.
Making Covid-19 notifiable might give the appearance of it causing increasing numbers of deaths, whether this is true or not.
It might appear far more of a killer than flu, simply because of the way deaths are recorded.
You realise I’m sure that if you and I did that in the business industry they’d lock us up. It’s called fraud.
But as I always say to my kids.
Don’t bitch to me about the situation…figure it out and make sure you make it work for you.
Winners don’t complain. They attack a problem. Go forth and attack it dammit.
And that’s our job here.
It’s not to bitch about what should or shouldn’t happen because let’s face it nobody cares about what I think, or you for that matter.
Nope…instead it’s best we understand why anything happens because that’ll allow us a better perspective to peer into the future to understand probabilities going forward.
*Featured post photo by Pille-Riin Priske on Unsplash