Broadly speaking there are two views of the coronavirus pandemic: one is that this is the biggest threat to civilisation in a long time, one that is a lot more tangible than the nuclear annihilation with which we in the West were threatened during the Cold War. The other, extreme version, is that the whole thing is a gigantic hoax.
The governments of the world are caught between a rock and a hard place. If they assume the latter is closer to the truth and it turns out to be a rerun of 1348, we could see tens or even hundreds of millions of deaths, while if they assume the former and it turns out to be no more lethal than common or garden influenza, then literally billions of people will have experienced everything from inconvenience to bankruptcy and worse. Assuming the former isn’t a failsafe error but is by far the lesser of evils.
We have had many reports of identifiable people dying from the coronavirus, many of them quite young. Boris Johnson is 55, and is lucky to have survived the disease. Other, mostly younger people who were not so lucky include these NHS staff. Many famous people have also died, most of them not so young. These include American singer-songwriter John Prine, who was 73, and musician Adam Schlesinger, a relatively youthful 52. Younger people whose deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 are said largely to have had underlying health conditions. Let us though consider just two comparisons from UK statistics. The following estimates of deaths registered in England and Wales can be found on the British Government website:
week 6, 2019 – 11,660 deaths from all causes
week 7, 2019 – 11,824 deaths from all causes
week 6, 2020 – 10,986 deaths from all causes
week 7, 2020 – 10,944 deaths from all causes
week 11, 2019 – 10,567 deaths from all causes
week 12, 2019 – 10,402 deaths from all causes
week 11, 2020 – 11,019 deaths from all causes
week 12, 2020 – 10,645 deaths from all causes
While there were significantly more deaths in week 11 this year and a couple of hundred more for week 12, there have been fewer deaths overall. It remains to be seen if there would have been significantly more without the lockdown and social distancing, but who wants to find out?
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.