In my latest column for AIER, I lament the fact that Covid-19 has come to be feared by so many people as posing a danger categorically different from most that we humans have endured. Here’s my final section:
My always wise friend and sometime co-author Lyle Albaugh has from the start understood that Covid, while certainly no nothingburger, is not remotely close to being the extraordinary monster that it has become in the popular mind. And so he’s having the following information printed on business-card-sized notices:
COVID-19 INFECTION SURVIVAL RATES (per CDC)
Ages 0-19: 99.997%
Ages 20-49: 99.98%
Ages 50-69: 99.5%
Ages 70+: 94.6%
Seasonal Flu Infection Survival Rate (for population as a whole): 99.90%
This single slice of information should be sufficient to put Covid-19 in proper perspective. It makes plain that the risk that this disease poses to humanity as a whole does not differ categorically from the risk of seasonal flu – or, for that matter, from any of the many other perils that we humans routinely encounter. And because these figures show the estimated chances of survival of those who are infected with Covid, even for persons 70 years of age or older Covid obviously is not a categorically unique threat.
And yet, again, humanity has reacted to Covid in a manner categorically unique. It’s as if a hornet rather than a honeybee found its way into our home, and so to protect ourselves from the somewhat-more-threatening invader we commenced to frantically scour every room of our home with a flamethrower.
But I despair that the information shared by Lyle – or even the more extensive information shared by my courageous colleagues at AIER – will have any noticeable impact. Very many people today seem almost eager to be misled about the danger posed by Covid. Much of humanity today appears to perversely enjoy being duped into the irrational fear that any one of us, regardless of age or health, is at the mercy of a brutal beast categorically more lethal than is any other danger that we’ve ever confronted. I hope that my despair proves misguided.