How fears die

The microscopic spec that drives our fears, far left. The PM10 particle is about 20 times larger than the particles that make up tobacco smoke/Wikimedia Commons

With a range from the tropics to the poles both north and south, and an ever-growing population, homo sapiens have demonstrated themselves the most adaptable, four-limbed species on planet Earth, and the most emotionally complex.

Shaped by love and hate, driven by a desire for power and a gift for generosity, we live lives mixed with happiness and fear with the latter one of the most powerful of influences.

Fear of failure. Fear of loss. Fear of the other. Fear of death. And fear these days of an invisible pathogen.

There is an interesting paradox here in that the species needs fear. Lacking anything to fear, humans will invariably create something with which to frighten themselves.

But when subjected to living in fear, we have time after time accepted the danger and found ways to adapt to it in the way the species has found ways to adapt to everything.

The “Blitz” – Adolph Hitler’s attempt to bomb Britain into surrender in 1940 – is a classic example.

As the BBC’s Tom Geoghegan recounted on the 70th anniversary of that nightmare:

“For eight consecutive months, every dawn brought a new terrible toll – more bodies, more craters in the street, more buildings reduced to rubble and more fires.

“People emerged from air raid shelters, from under railway arches or merely from under the stairs, to see if their homes were still standing, or if their neighbors were still alive. Then they dusted themselves down and went to work.”

Four years later when the Allies tried to bomb Germany into submission, the story was the same. Historian Richard Overy in a later examination of this “strategic bombing” campaign designed to end the war without the need for the bloody, boots-on-the-ground, Allied invasion of Europe summarized the bombing as a costly and brutal failure. 

As in Britain earlier, the Germans adapted to death from the sky. When the bombs stopped raining down, they crawled out of their shelters, counted their dead and went back to work because that is what the species has done for tens of thousands of years.

Flatten the curve

And now we are in the midst of a global Blitz of a new but old sort with the arrival of the previously unknown SARS-CoV-2 virus, a deadly spawn of raw nature of the sort that we thought we’d driven from our safe, urban lives.

A hundred years has passed since a deadly pathogen like this decimated the species. Plenty of new viruses came along in between – Ebola virus disease (EVD) in 1976; human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) in 1983 with the disease they cause, AIDS, already spreading a wave of death through gay communities; severe acute respiratory syndrome, the original SARS in 2002; Zika virus disease in 2007; and Middle East respiratory syndrome, the “camel flu,” in 2012.

Not to mention the various forms of influenza that rose to a pandemic or locally epidemic level over the years: the Asian flu (H2N2) in 1957, the Hong Kong flu (H3N2) in 1968, the bird flu (H5N1) which had scientists in Western Alaska swabbing the butts of ducks for pathogens amid fears of the sort of pandemic raging today, and the swine flu (H1N1) in 2009.

All of these diseases killed people, but none killed the way SARS-CoV-2 has because modern medicine found ways to contain the previous diseases.

Not so this one. It didn’t take long for a few infections in China to blossom into a global pandemic, and as of today the global number of dead totals more than 1.5 million, according to the World Health Organization. 

As with most things new and potentially deadly, SARS-CoV-2 scared the bejesus out of most people, and their fears only grew as the mortality rate for those who came down with COVID-19 – the disease caused by the virus – skyrocketed.

The early death rate was indeed terrifying. Of the first 128 people diagnosed with the disease in the U.S, nine died for a case fatality rate of 7 percent. 

This was all out of line with any infectious diseases still in the memories of the living. The rate for the pandemic H1N1 – that so-called “swine flu” – that killed tens of thousands in the U.S. in 2009 was but 0.5 percent.

No infectious disease in recent times had come close to killing the way SARS-CoV-2 killed, which led to a search for historic precedents that stretched back to the Spanish flu of 1918-19. It caused an estimated 50 million deaths worldwide of which 675,000 were in the U.S., which then had about a third the number of inhabitants of today. 

Some pandemic modelers quickly went to work estimating how many people SARS-CoV-2 could kill in today’s much more populated world and came up with huge numbers.

In mid-March, the Imperial College of London predicted 2.2 million dead in the U.S. unless drastic actions were taken. Many states, including Alaska, promptly went into lockdown.

East Coast states – notably New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts – turned into deadly kill zones anyway. Freezer trucks had to be brought in to store all the bodies. 

The rapidly spreading disease and the high early death rates drove fears of a lack of ventilators to provide air to those whose lungs filled with fluid because of the disease. The rising number of infections caused fears hospitals could be overwhelmed.

Unable to do much, political leaders told citizens to stay away from each other to “flatten the curve” of escalating infections to prevent hospitals from overflowing. And this plus the change of season worked to slow the spread.

As summer arrived, and people started moving outdoors, the infection rate began to ease.  As it did, people began to get used to COVID-19 because humans have an innate ability to adapt to fear.

Yes, some people were still catching the disease, but not nearly the number of those who caught it were dying. The United States graph from the World Health Organization (WHO) pretty much says it all:

A small number of infections in April and May produced a large number of deaths. And then deaths began decreasing in proportion to infections even as infections began ticking upward.

Had the rate of death seen in March and April continued, the U.S. death toll could now easily be over a half million. It’s about half that.

As of the end of November, 247,000 Americans are reported dead of COVID-19 for an average of about 30,500 per month. That’s a lot of dead people or not all that many, depending on how you look at it.

About 2.8 million people die every year in the country, primarily from cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). That’s about 233,000 per month.

Still, COVID-19 now ranks as the country’s third leading cause of death. It cannot be compared to the flu as some have tried to do. COVID-19 has now killed about four times as many Americans as flu and pneumonia combined in 2018. 

Treatments for those with COVID-19 have improved and continue to improve, but they are not great and as a result, there has been a concentrated focus on non-pharmaceutical interventions – stay-at-home orders, closures of nonessential businesses, school shutdowns, limits on gatherings and mandated face coverings.

Government officials ordered the latter despite limited evidence that masks made any real difference in slowing the spread of the infection. A raging national debate followed. Months later, a definitive answer on maks remains elusive, but the scientific consensus is that given there aren’t many ways to slow the spread of the disease while maintaining a functioning society, masking is at least worth a try.

There is no denying the better alternative to stop the spread is to cut human contacts to a minimum by restricting people to their homes for all but essential activities. That worked well in Alaska in the spring, but humans are social animals, and you can’t keep them locked up forever, especially after they’ve tasted freedom from the disease.

Running free

Summer, for better or worse, brought its own COVID-19 protection: fresh air.

One study found people were 18.7 times less likely to catch the disease in an “open-air environment” than a closed space. Another found the homeless were three times safer living in naturally well-ventilated outdoor camps than in indoor shelters.

“Previous studies and infection-control guidelines indicate that the degree of fresh air flow correlates inversely with risk of contracting COVID-19 — i.e., the risk is very low outdoors but higher when people are confined in small, poorly ventilated indoor spaces,” MedPage Today noted in the wake of that report. 

Summer made all things better, and people’s fear about COVID-19 began to ease.

International and national sporting events resumed, albeit tightly controlled to try to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2 if it showed up. And it did.

Athletes caught it, and they recovered. Plenty of average people caught it, as well, and the vast majority of them recovered. There were horror stories about how tough the recovery, and how some people suffered lingering illness.

But as of today, 8.8 million Americans have recovered from COVID-19 according to the Worldometer COVID-19 tracker. They outnumber the dead by more than 30 to 1.

This fact has had a subtle effect on many. All of us are far more likely to know someone who has had the disease and recovered than to know someone who has died.

That makes the disease look less threatening. So, too, the high-profile people who caught it and are now back at work – Cam Newton, the quarterback of the New England Patriots, and Andy Dalton, the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys; actors Tom Hanks and Hugh Grant; British Prime Minister Boris Johnson; and, of course, President of the United States Donald Trump, who is old and overweight and thus in the category of people considered most likely to be killed by COVID-19.

All of this influences the behavior of many. People have adapted. Many, if not most, now just want to pull on their masks for public places and go on about life as if nothing has happened even as the rate of infection continues to grow and the need is far greater than in the spring to “flatten the curve.”

That idea has for some reason, however, gone out of fashion. When the Municipality of Anchorage issued a “hunker down” mandate for the month of December, the curve wasn’t even mentioned. 

There were six pages of “orders,” some of them largely unenforceable – “all individuals must wear masks or face coverings and maintain six feet of physical distancing between all household groups at all gatherings” – or seemingly unenforced – “retail stores…are limited to 25 percent of building occupancy.”

No one appeared to be counting heads at the South Anchorage Costco on Friday to ensure the 25 percent limit was maintained, although the store had been religiously doing so in the spring when the state’s first hunker order was issued.

There was no one monitoring all the Christmas shoppers crowding the South Anchorage Walmart on Sunday. Few inside seemed much concerned about social distancing.

The times have changed. COVID-19 is viewed differently now than it was then. Some of the fear has faded. And the messaging has changed.

There is a lot of emphasis on masking. A lot of people have come to accept it as the COVID-19 equivalent of a seatbelt. From behind their masks, they feel safe among the masked.

Whether or not that is the case is uncertain.

“COVID-19—what have we learned so far?” The Lancet, a respected British medical journal headlined Saturday. Below was a summary of information from an earlier Lancet–Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences conference that included this:

“Holger Schünemann emphasised the importance of being transparent about uncertainty. An example: mask-wearing. Pooling evidence suggests that masks might reduce risks of coronavirus spread by 14 percent. But that evidence is of low certainty. The potential impact of mask-wearing also depends on virus exposure. In areas of low exposure, masks may not be necessary. In areas of high exposure, they may be a wise precaution.”

Schünemann is a widely respected epidemiologist at McMaster University in Canada. If he is right about masks, there are any number of situations in which they are unlikely to do much to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

There are better non-pharmaceutical interventions, and the Municipality of Anchorage, to its credit, employed some of them.

Among other things, it ordered the closure of bars and restaurants for the month, which according to the CDC and a lot of studies has a big impact on the spread of the disease. But such closures cannot last long without those businesses dying, and some patrons have now likely reached the point where they’d rather have the businesses survive and take their chances with the disease.

Some consider this sort of thinking irrational, but it is no more irrational than participation in a handful of extreme sports with considerable risks of injury or death.

The death rate for climbers on Mount Everest is about 1 percent, according to researchers at the universities of Washington and California-Davis.

A study from FAIR Health – the largest repository of private health-care data in the U.S. – put the death rate for COVID-19 at 0.59 percent for  467,773 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in this country from April 1 through August 31.

That, it should be noted, was the average death rate for all patients, though the study noted not all patients are the same. The number of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 was about evenly split between those with and without comorbidities, but in the tally of the dead, the patients with comorbidities out-numbered those without by about five to one.

FAIR Health study

There were similar disparities with age. More than 82 percent of the people diagnosed with COVID-19 were under the age of 60. But nearly 70 percent of the people who died were age 60 and older, and the mortality just kept going down as ages decreased.

Only about 10 percent of those who died were under the age of 50, and that dropped to 3 percent for those under age 40 and just over 1 percent under age 30.

FAIR Health

If someone is young and fit, it is not irrational to have a different view of the pandemic than if old and frail. It might be inconsiderate to refuse to give a damn, given that no one has come with a good idea for how to single out the old and comorbid, and then protect them while the disease is spreading like wildfire. But it’s not irrational.

Neither is it irrational for younger Americans to abandon their fears of this disease. But if they do that, how does society get them to cooperate with policies designed to protect the vulnerable?

Among government officials and even more so the media, the answer to that question to date has largely been fear. Examples have been made of the relatively few young people to die. Stories have highlighted the young people who struggled for weeks to recover.

Fear is a great, short-term motivator, but it doesn’t work in the long term when a danger is judged to be permanent. At some point, people simply decide they want to to get on with their lives.

When that happens with COVID-19 is impossible to predict, but the economic pressure on younger Americans, those least likely to have the resources to weather a long economic slump and those most often employed in the service industries now hardest hit by government shutdowns, builds by the day.

Social chaos

When they decide the economic costs are far bigger than whatever fear they have left, what then?

The Spanish flu came at the end of World War I, the “war to end all wars,” so people were much better prepared to deal with daily death than they are now.

In the U.S., the end of the pandemic led into the Roaring 20s, when Americans spent lavishly and lived like there was no tomorrow as the country rushed its way to toward the economic implosion of the Great Depression only a decade later. 

The situation was different in Europe. If a study completed for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York by economist Kristian Blickle in June is to believed, the seeds of Nazism were sewn by the Spanish flu, setting the world on the path to a second global war that would make the first look like a limited skirmish.

“…Influenza deaths themselves are correlated with the share of votes won by extremists, specifically the extremist National Socialist (Nazi) party,” Bickle observed. “This effect dominates many other effects and is persistent even when controlling for the influences of local unemployment, city spending, population changes brought about
by the war, and local demographics, or when instrumenting for influenza mortality.

“The results are possibly a consequence of changes in societal preferences following a pandemic….”

Correlation, as has often been noted, is not causation. And Blickle’s study more or less concedes there was so much chaos in Germany after World War I that it is impossible to say definitively what drove the nightmare that was to come.

But one thing about the German history of the time is clear: the middle lost out to a war between right and left. Both the Nazis and the Communists battled for post-war power in Germany.

 In the 1928 election, the Communist Party of Germany won 54 seats in the country’s parliament to just 12 for the Nazis in a country rapidly splitting along left and right lines.

Two years later, Adolph Hitler led his party to a gain of 95 seats while the Communists added but 23. The 1932 election saw the Nazis finally gain a sizeable plurality as both they and Communists worked to undermine the moderate Social Democrat Party that had led several previous ruling coalitions of the German government. 

Less than a year later, the German parliament – the Reichstag – burned. Hitler blamed the Communists and accused them of plotting to overthrow the government. They were banned from parliament.

In March 1933, with the Communists out of the way, Hitler convinced the Centre Party and Conservatives in the Reichstag to join the Nazis in approving the “Enabling Act” which gave him the power to act independent of parliament to save Germany. The rest is history.

How much the Spanish flu helped power the German political tribalism that put Hitler in a position to seize dictiorial powers is impossible to know. But it is clear that pandemic did not help to stabilize the warring political factions in the Weimar Republic.

On that front, the Spanish flu in Germany and COVID-19 in the U.S. seem to bear some similarities. There is no sign of the latest pandemic bringing Republicans and Democrats together on a compromise as to how best to ensure the common good.

Democrat President-elect Joe Biden hasn’t even been sworn in yet, and he and Republican state governors are already warring over a national mask mandate. 
















27 replies »

  1. Steve O, maybe this will help answer an earlier question you asked: “In an article on the COVID vaccine rollout, CNN says that Americans shouldn’t be alarmed if people start dying after taking the vaccine because “deaths may occur that won’t necessarily have anything to do with the vaccine.

    When shots begin to go into arms of residents, Moore said Americans need to understand that deaths may occur that won’t necessarily have anything to do with the vaccine,” states the report.

    “We would not at all be surprised to see, coincidentally, vaccination happening and then having someone pass away a short time after they receive a vaccine, not because it has anything to do with the vaccination but just because that’s the place where people at the end of their lives reside,” Moore said.

    She then said Americans shouldn’t be alarmed to see people dying a day or two after receiving the COVID vaccination.

    • Bryan,

      I’m not sure what question you are attempting to answer with this, but is CNN ever really an answer to anything?

      • Steve O, in an earlier related article you mentioned something along the lines of “if a person is dying of cancer, but gets Covid and dies, did they die of cancer or Covid? My general response was Covid pays more over cancer or under the Trump Admin it is a Covid death and under the Biden Admin it is cancer. The above statements on CNN are the answer to your question. All a phony shell game my friend.

    • Bryan, 300k have died so far from covid difficulties,if you’d like we could cut that in half, fair enough?
      Russians just hacked literally every govt agency and a few states as well apparently,this has as far as been reported been goin on since last march.Ughm,just wondering,whens the soon to be deposed Commander in Chief going to proclaim something useful?
      Reminds me of ‘Shrubs’ comment and I quote “I looked into the mans soul”.
      And ask yourself which party is the enemy of the nation?

  2. Fear . Its a great topic. I don’t fear much . I live with fear and danger every day and sometimes I leave her to go flying 😉 Our daily lives are filled with danger and fearsome possibilities. Clearly Mastering fear can be done through education with facts and knowledge. Washing our hands , cleanliness,staying home if ill , exercise, medical knowledge and more . Or we can take a short cut . Utilize a prayer I learned from a very devout fearsomely strong monk like man . “Yea though i walk through the valley of death I shall fear no evil because im the meanest sob in valley”🤛 modern medicine ,respect for hygiene and fitness with that strong mindset will help defeat covid as much as anything because frankly its not a new disease and been around for a millennia and is very versatile and not likely to be defeated in full any time soon . So taking the approach of water will work best . Keep working and stay flexible 😊 Just say no to fear . Its like a drug gone bad .

  3. Perhaps a complimentary thought is how fears live . How “catching fear” disrupts the thought process.

  4. Fear is not productive. We know what they say about defeating an enemy.
    Gird your loins.
    Adopt a cold and calculating attitude.
    Shine a long light on him.
    Observe his every move.
    Learn his weakness.
    Gang up and squash him like a bug.

  5. “Democrat President-elect Joe Biden…” Medred always tips his hand even if he waits till last sentence.

  6. I fear the results of rank choice voting. The mayoral election will really smell rank with 10 candidates for mayor and rank choice voting….

  7. Good, comprehensive article but it leaves out an important point about those death numbers cited. Many, many of those are not actually deaths due to COVID. There are documented deaths attributed to COVID of people who died in auto and motorcycle accidents, falling off ladders, and thousands with cancer and other terminal illnesses . . . But recorded as COVID deaths.

    • Bl,well i guess it was all just a hoax.
      How many thousands would u like to take off the rolls.5,10,how bout 15k?
      Did it move the needle much?
      At current rate of 2k per day we’ll make up that 15k in a week,assuming no acceleration.And intervention s notwithstanding that works against the idea of exponential math

      • So Dave , what do you propose we do ? Live our lives in fear – forever? Masks and shutdowns haven’t helped much . The main places to heavily utilize such methods have equal or worse results. New york is a mess. I have a Freind there I haven’t heard from in weeks . Thry might be dead from the disease. Aristotle said something to effect he who has overcome his fears will be free . People are dying everyday of innumerable causes. A great chinese teacher said something to format you shouldn’t give up freedom for expediency towards public policy . Masks and lockdowns are not a solution. They are virtue signaling. With inroads towards facism and tyranny. What do you propose we do ? Real guaranteed solutions? What are they ? BL is right. We don’t know exactly the specifics of the disease stats . Its bad . But how bad ? We know the situation is not good that but there are lots of bad things out there . Far worse than Corona. Heart disease, cancer , sedentary lifestyle. Should we go facist control freak and force exercise and ban beef? Dave What is liberty worth to you personally? Do you want future humans to be enslaved robots? Please do tell your vision.

      • DPR,
        I dont care what you do,nor anybody else who thinks this is about them.
        But a wise man once said”Chance favors the prepared.”
        Actually i think that was a relatively modern wise man,qouting one from ancient greek times.
        Do what u think u have to do hoss.
        The odds of myself catching the ‘rona and dying?
        The odds of me coming down with serious cr*p?
        Higher by a factor of two or three,but still small.
        The odds of me missing work and or transmitting it to others?
        Exceptionally high.
        No fear,just trying to do what I perceive is logical and responsible.Ive had a good yr,for which im very thankful.
        Still a few weeks of work left in the year,I want to squeeze every last $,out of it.
        Just seems like common sense

      • Dave , who said this is just about them ? Are you speaking of your self? Make your last dollars while you can ? Good idea but selfish? Is it not a bit selfish? . (nothing wrong with that though as its human nature so no offense) corona Is obviously a community issue. As its killing many different people and effecting public policy so a selfish view can’t be the only view and be effective. Thats why i ask you in a positive productive fashion- what do you suggest as a balanced solution that benefits humanity and our society long term? Liberty is a building block of what makes us human and humanity in general and similar to protein which is a building block of life. So liberty cant be discounted. Without it our humanity falters. So a balanced public policy with minimum impact on liberty is most functional for society to stay strong long term . Im interested in you positive ideas as im sure many other people are .

      • DPR,
        well since you asked…
        I work to get ahead,I work to make financial targets,I work because I can and I work most importantly because I have drive,initiative,and focus.And the math says I only need 3 more years.
        Ive worked to get by,Ive worked for free,Ive worked for a lifestyle, and last but not least I once had to pay to work(thats called a “hole trip”,as in “go in the hole”).But sooner or later,I always gravitated to the $ end of the spectrum, in the two trades that have dominated my life so far.
        I work to get ahead.
        Thats how we roll in a capitalist society.I get ahead so far ,because I can and want to.
        You want a fairly balanced solution, simple,follow the CDC guidelines.Is it perfect, will it stop The ‘Rona in its tracks, not entirely, but it most likely would help.
        I’ll assume u live in Anch,but it doesn’t matter.My non scientific observations of the social Petri dish that is Carrs grocery in Wasilla,says the last 2 or 3 weeks,a decent sized minority just don’t want to follow CDC guidelines, anymore.
        I don’t know how Anch rolls, but I suspect its the same.If Im wrong, then set me straight.I don’t stop anywhere in Anch and haven’t in almost a year.
        But on my way home I see several Wasilla restaurant’s parking lots pretty jammed, mostly on Fri as you would expect.
        Do the owners deserve a chance to make there building lease and pay there employees, sure they do.
        Is it in societies best interest to pack 60-80 people in each of those 2 buildings, you tell me.
        Hopefully you get the point and see that it is about YOU,and ME.
        With Liberty comes great Responsibility

      • Nicely said Dave . I pretty much agree with what you outlined and especially your final proposition. I dont agree the CDC had the answer. Your other answers are spot on . We must proceed with life at near normal to survive. In the end game people must work to support themselves and they deserve that right. As you said. With liberty comes responsibility. Nicely said all around. Thanks Dave . Logical solutions. Cloth masks are inadequate and may cause equal or greater problems. The biggest danger is programming a public to be non thinkers and accept dictorial edicts . When that becomes the norm its near endgame and casualties will be worse than covid. We were given a brain to utilize not become non thinking automatons who automatically follw dictorial ineffectual unconstitutionally mandated rules . At that point we would follow hitler and do ungodly actions. Similar to what Craig mentions in above article. ( its fun to agree with you dave )

    • BL,

      If, and at this point it’s a pretty big if, deaths are actually being reported to the CDC (not just reported on the news or a website somewhere) as covid related and they are not actually covid related then it is against CDC policy. The CDC policy is very clear on how covid related deaths should be reported and accounted for “COVID-19 should not be reported on the death certificate if it did not cause or contribute to the death.” If a person dies because of covid they are listed as a covid related death, if they would not have died unless they had covid then they are to be listed as a covid death. Put another way they would still be alive if it weren’t for covid.

      • Steve o, you are slightly mistaken and like i said before you misunderstand how covid often kills or how cancer and other illnesses kill . . Say a man with terminal cancer dies with covid from bacterial pneumonia. The death certificate will be filled out as cancer , covid with final death caused by pneumonia. The press or current method of classification will call it death by covid . Ehich is A non factual classification. Lets take it apart . He died by pneumonia period but its now called covid ? Well covid didn’t kill him any more than specifically cancer killed him becouse he was in a weakened state. Covid or bacteria pneumonia would have been literally no danger if not for terminal cancer .( heart disease , obesity, immune system depression ect , So neither covid nor bacterial pneumonia was what set the stage for death. Cancer or other disease was period. Covid and bacterial were subsequent actors. That did not change his final outcome of death by disease. If you want to persist and be illogical then you must say bacteria killed . Thus you are wrong wether it be final death cause or the instigator which was cancer . This factual line of reasoning applies to many covid related deaths . Covid was clearly only a contributing factor as were the others in an equal or slightly above equal fashion. Steve o , please study medicine before you persist in misinforming the public. I know you love to simplify but the truth is a casualty in your methods. Under lying causes are equal or greater to end outcome than pre final death nudge . They deserve equal or greater mention in medical analysis. You draw inaccurate picture for public. Say a terminal cancer patient dies of a cold induced pneumonia. His relatives will say he died of cancer. Severe underlying illness deaths deserve uniform classification. Terminal patients are gonna die of a multitude of minor final causes. I know you dont want to embrace uniform logic but take a step back and meditate on it and study in depth. ( now to be clear i am not knowledgeable on what number of cases exactly would be effected by this miscalculation method and frankly it doesn’t really matter- what matters is loss of liberty and change of public policy for expediency and virtue signaling or ineffective solutions ,when the logic drawn is not assisting the improvement of beneficial solutions) a great mechanic you may be but perhaps taking some time to think in depth could bring us closer to similar understanding. ( I know your intentions are good as are mine so we are on similar page. We just need the same paragraph)

      • lets take a wheel bearing. The bearing seal failed . The bearing was contaminated with dirt water and gritt which damaged the individual rollers causing the cage to start failing . Heat was the final result of destruction damaging the spindle and the wheel starts to comes off . Was it not the failed seal and subsequent lack of maintenance that initiated the complete bearing failure? Maybe it went dry of grease , but you would give equal or better credence to seal and bearing failure and would only be partially correct if you said heat caused the wheel to come off . Heat was a subsequent symptom from seal failure and lack of maintenance. (Similar to covid becomes a danger due to obesity) So at minimum they go hand in hand but more accurately the seal failed thus the bearing was susceptible to failure it got hot and wheel fell of . If you drove slower it could have prolonged life but regardless the bearing failed and caused the subsequent susceptibility to further destruction and end result being the same . Make a little more sense ? . Mechanics and medicine do have some mild parallels. Hope that helps . Obviously theres many ways to see it and I understand your point. The patient would live a bit longer without covid if they didn’t catch inevitably the flu , a cold , or what have u . Thanks for giving me the honor of your attention.

      • DPR,

        On your first comment I would thank you for accusing me of something you are doing in plenty, you accuse me of sidestepping logic while you simply throw it out the window! If the person would not have died but for covid it logically is a covid related death, period, full stop.

        Your second post here brings us closer to an actual understanding of what is going on with covid. You say the seal failed causing the bearing to fail and the wheel eventually falling off. You also say the failure of the seal allowed contamination which lead to the bearing failure and the wheel eventually falling off. And ultimately you say that heat caused by the bearing failure caused by the contamination caused by the seal failure lead to the wheel eventually falling off. If you could mitigate one of those factors would the wheel have fallen off when it did? As you noted most likely not, it would have happened further down the road…that is exactly my point in regards to covid, these people would have made it further down the road, but for covid…which caused the wheels to fall off and cut their trip short. Each cause for our bearing failure that you noted if mitigated could have prevented the wheel falling off when it did. An intact seal doesn’t allow the contamination and heating, maybe a different grease or different greasing method, maybe a better way to dissipate the heat, maybe a different metal used in the spindle, maybe as you said driving a little slower. There are so many reason for when the wheel ultimately fell off. Getting back to the way the CDC tabulates deaths, covid included, accounts for these other factors and it restricts others that’s why if covid didn’t cause or CONTRIBUTE then it’s not a covid related death but if it did cause or CONTRIBUTE then it is covid related. Once again, if the person would not have died but for covid it logically is a covid related death, period, full stop.

        The human body is a machine full of electrical circuits, plumbing, and mechanical linkages. What doctors do and what mechanics, electricians, and plumbers do is not all that different.
        Troubleshooting is a skill and it takes education, experience, and knowledge to correctly troubleshoot using the symptoms at hand and any evidence of what has previously happened. A properly conducted root cause analysis ultimately leads to what actually caused the problem or failure and in a proper root cause analysis you cannot discount any and all of the causes.

      • Steve o , good job clarification of what leads to death or wheel failure. Root causes. With out cancer or root causes regardless of covid nearly no one dies. Without bearing seal failure regardless of potential dirt and or other contamination the bearing doesn’t fail and wheel stays on no failure or heat buildup. Thank you for helping us understand. You the man . Root causes are the cause of failure or death, agreed . They take precedence in trouble shooting or classification of what caused failure. Have a wonderful evening and exceptional holiday season!

  8. My only fear is we are being lied to. Mostly for control and political gain. As I have said from the beginning, this current virus was made specifically to target the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Sure, some “healthy” people have died, but not many. Of course it was bound to happen to a few. ICU units aren’t full of dying Covid patients. Baloney. But, as they say, you haven’t seen anything yet. Wait until the Chinese really become entrenched in America with the coming, corrupt admin., buying land, flooding the population, etc.. wait until they target certain ethnic groups during their takeover of America that “take more than they give”. Take our inner cities. GENIOUS!
    The Chinese have plenty over the Biden family to get what they want and they will take it. Oh, I know, “racism, conspiracies, name calling, etc..”. They care about as much as I do.
    “With over 80 million health profiles, China has the largest DNA database in the world, and growing. In an interview with Fox News, Chang warned that China plans to use this information to create bioweapons designed to target SPECIFIC ETHNIC GROUPS.”

    • Oops! “When California Governor Gavin Newsom set his 85% ICU capacity “trigger” to automatically start a new round of totalitarian lockdowns, he had zero doubt the number would be reached in December. How? Because that number is reached EVERY December. Knowing this, why wouldn’t he prepare by assisting hospitals across his state to increase ICU capacity?
      In any given year, most parts of California reach 90% ICU capacity in December. This is usually due to the surge in flu cases, but the flu is allegedly non-existent this year, replaced on paper by the more lucrative COVID-19 diagnoses preferred by hospitals. They knew it was coming, which is why they made moves separate from the state to increase ICU capacity. “

  9. I’ve had two fears in my life: fear of a broken heart and fear of deadly pathogens. I’ve faced solitude and cold in the wilderness for long periods of time, crazy men who threatened to kill me, dozens of bears, black and grizzly, with no weapns to defend myself with, and poachers as an unofficial “game warden” for the National Park Service, powerful electrical storms on mountain tops. I’ve been charged by a bull elk in full rut. And in these instances I felt temporary fear, or rather hyper alertness, but always some confidence that I could negotiate a safe outcome.
    Not so with deadly microbes. We live in different dimensions. They don’t know that we exist really. They can relate only to our cells. To them we’re merely a molecular resource. Our fear or concern is beyond them. We can’t bargain with them. We can only keep out of their way. And protect ourselves with knowledge of bacteriology and virology. And our ability to make vaccines and curative medications. Fear in this scenario is the wise response.

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