Commentary

The killer

An artist’s rendition of the SARS-CoV-2 virus/Wikimedia Commons

As the pandemic year of 2020 struggles to an end, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports the number of worldwide, human deaths attributable to the planet’s newest invisible killer is approaching 1.8 million.

In a story free of context, that is a big number, a huge number. It does, however, change a little when context is added.

About 55 million people die around the globe every year, according to the University of Oxford’s Our World in Data.

If one assumes that the 1.8 million deaths from COVID-19 are an addition to the normal 55 million – meaning that 2020 will see 56.8 million deaths – the newest disease will account for about 3.2 percent of all global deaths in 2020.

But whether these deaths will be an addition to or a part of the normal, annual death toll is something medical historians of the future will be left to sort.

Given that it is now well-document many of the dead were seriously ill before the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 found them, it is doubtful all 1.8 million will be considered “excess deaths.” And excess deaths define the number of dead who would have been expected to survive the year were it not for COVID-19.

In countries that reliably monitor deaths in something approaching real-time, there are already indications of large numbers of excess deaths.

England and Wales saw massive numbers in April as Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine records in a radial plot it has been regularly updating since the pandemic began. But the deaths later in the year – while higher than normal in October, November and December (the red line in the plot below) – did not rise to the level of the so-called “Aussie flu” of 2018 (the light blue line in the plot below).

Sweden, which reports deaths on a weekly basis, saw a similar spike for statistical week 13 in mid-March through week 26 in mid-June as can be seen in a graph compiled by Statista. Deaths in that country then appear near normal through October before another smaller spike begins.

It ends in November when deaths begin falling even though the infection rate reported by WHO at that time was at a high for the Nordic country and still rising.

U.S. data is not readily available because it is compiled in different ways by different states and is not always timely. But a group of doctors with the National Center for Health Statistics estimated death projections and concluded there were 299,000 excess death in the U.S. from late January to Oct. 3 of which they attributed two-thirds, or about 198,000, to COVID-19.

Genevieve Briand, the assistant program director of the Applied Economics master’s degree program at John Hopkins University, independently pulled together what data was available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in November and came to a different conclusion.

Firestorm

A heated controversy erupted when the John Hopkins student newspaper reported her conclusion that the overall number of deaths from mid-March to mid-September did not appear to have changed much because of the pandemic.

The newspaper – the John Hopkins News-Letter – almost immediately found itself under fire from critics who said the story was being exploited by some on social media to downplay the significance of the pandemic.

“It’s being used to justify false narratives that the pandemic isn’t deadly and that lockdowns are tyrannical overreach by state governments,” the San Fransisco Chronicle reported.

The News-Letter subsequently scrubbed the story from its website, which led to blowback from conservative media. The News-Letter then reposted the story with this warning:

“After The News-Letter published this article on Nov. 22, it was brought to our attention that our coverage of Genevieve Briand’s presentation ‘COVID-19 Deaths: A Look at U.S. Data’ has been used to support dangerous inaccuracies that minimize the impact of the pandemic.

“We decided on Nov. 26 to retract this article to stop the spread of misinformation, as we noted on social media. However, it is our responsibility as journalists to provide a historical record. We have chosen to take down the article from our website, but it is available here as a PDF.”

Only a fool would argue SARS-CoV-2 “isn’t deadly” because it has shown just how deadly it can be, but it is not the only deadly disease confronting the species. It is merely the newest.

Some of these diseases we worry about. Some we don’t. As humans, we have rather warped views on the risks of death, possibly more so in Alaska than in any other state.

Here we preoccupy ourselves with fears of being killed by bear – odds of death something like 1 in a million – while driving to a wilderness area in a motor vehicle that has a 1 in 106 shot at killing us, according to the National Safety Council. 

Bears are among the oversized causes of death that generate fear in our society along with plane crashes, terrorist attacks, some multiple murders, and now COVID-19.

How this all works is hard to know. Deaths in airplane crashes are among the rarest deaths in the country. The National Safety Council says the odds of dying in such a crash are so low they can’t be calculated.

The odds of dying in a terrorist attack are similarly low, and thus one might think it is the rarity of the event that attracts attention. But lightning strikes, dog attacks, insect bites, random sharp objects and more cause rare deaths and almost never attract media attention.

As for the five most common causes of death in this country pre-COVID – heart disease, cancer, accidents, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke – well, when was the last time you read a news story featuring a victim of heart disease speaking from a death bed about what he or she should have done to prevent that disease?

Most everyone knows about those five causes of death. Many don’t seem to care. If they did, the Safety Council wouldn’t calculate the odds of dying from “all preventable causes of death” at 1 in 25.

And now there is a new form of preventable death – COVID.

To catch it you pretty much have to come in contact with someone who has it or the contaminated air left behind in enclosed spaces by those who have it.

For people who enjoy the luxury of being able to work from home and shop online, this makes COVID-19 easier to prevent than heart disease, the nation’s number one killer.

Not all cases of heart disease are preventable, but the CDC estimates that at least 30 percent – or more than 200,000 deaths per year – would be prevented if Americans ate less and exercised more.

Unfortunately, for a lot of people that’s not easy. They’d rather spend a spare hour on the sofa than on a walk, and if that means they might die sooner, they’ll accept the risk because we are all destined to die.

There is no denying life is a death sentence.

As the author Ernest Hemingway observed in “A Farewell to Arms,” the world “kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”

Hemingway was writing in a novel about the Italian campaign in the First World War, which would leave an estimated 37.6 million people dead. American President Woodrow Wilson in 1917 labeled it “the war to end all wars.”

Barely 20 years passed before another global battle had begun, and by the time the Second World War was over it would have claimed the lives of at least 60 million people.

Close to 6 million Jews were murdered in Europe alone as the Nazis feverishly pursued Adolph Hitler’s mad desire to eliminate European Jewry. At the peak of the killing, almost 500,000 people per month were being executed, according to a 2019 study that parsed old German records. 

Context, context, context

As of this writing, the John Hopkins coronavirus tracker is reporting approximately 335,000 Americans dead from COVID-19 in the past 11 months.

Even with COVID, we live in one of the safest times in the safest of places in history.

It is horrible that 335,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, but some significant proportion of them were approaching death when the SARS-CoV-2 virus found them. The data from here and around the world has consistently found the death toll weighted heavily toward those with co-morbidities, often the ones that come with age.

A peer-reviewed study of Spanish victims of the disease published in The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) at the end of November reported, as have many other studies, that COVID-19 is a two-faced disease.

The study of 2.3 million infected Spaniards found “the infection fatality risk estimate varied with age: less than one per 1000 to age 49, with much lower values in younger age groups (less than 1 per 10,000 to age 29), and increased sharply in older age groups.

“In men aged 80 or older, the infection fatality risk estimate was 11.6 percent (95% confidence interval 8.1% to 16.5%) for deaths with confirmed covid-19 and 16.4 percent (11.4% to 23.2%) for excess deaths. In women aged 80 or older, the corresponding estimates were 4.6 percent (3.4% to 6.3%) and 6.5 percent (4.7% to 8.8%).”

Overall, the study put the infection fatality rate at 0.8 percent, about eight-times worse than the worst of the flu in recent U.S. history. But that overall risk was heavily skewed by the danger COVID-19 poses to older people.

The “less than 1 per 10,000 to age 29” works out to an infection fatality rate of 0.01 percent. That low risk has led some younger people to develop a cavalier attitude toward the risks of COVID-19.

The media/government response has been to try to scare them into different behaviors.

“The death toll of Americans under the age of 40 from COVID-19 – 3,571 -has now surpassed the total death toll from the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” Mark Johnson reported at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at the end of November.

Yes, and suicide claimed the lives of about 18,000 Americans under the age of 40 in 2018, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

This is the problem with numbers. You can make them say almost anything you want by the context you put them in. The first paragraph in Johnson’s Milwaukee story said this:

“A dangerous fiction has made its way through social media and American politics, the idea that COVID-19 is really only a danger to the elderly or those with a severe, chronic illness.”

That’s true enough, but so is this:

“A dangerous fiction has made its way through the mainstream media and American politics, the idea that COVID-19 is killing significant numbers of the young and healthy.”

From a public policy standpoint, the difficulty in dealing with SARS-CoV-2 nearly since the beginning has come in trying to figure out how to get people to behave responsibly so as to slow the spread of the disease without resorting to fear mongering that scares some half to death or leads them to the fatalistic conclusion there is little they can do to protect themselves.

At a fundamental level, protecting yourself from any infectious disease is easy: stay away from the source of the infection. In this case, that is other people and domestic mink. If you can’t stay away, minimize your exposure which in turn minimizes your risk.

Worrying doesn’t help. It just leads to more problems as psychologists warned when the pandemic first began. Some of the problems they foresaw have now been documented.

The Rand Corporation, a think tank, in September reported “American adults have sharply increased their consumption of alcohol during the shutdown triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, with women increasing their heavy drinking episodes (four or more drinks within a couple of hours) by 41 percent.”

Drug use has also increased and along with it overdose deaths, according to the CDC, but drug overdose deaths were their own U.S. epidemic before the pandemic.

“From 1999–2018, almost 450,000 people died from an overdose involving any opioid, including prescription and illicit opioids,” the CDC reported. 

And yet those numbers pale when compared to the big killers in the country – heart disease and cancer. Together those two diseases killed more than 1.25 million Americans in 2018, the last year for which complete data is available, according to the CDC.

As with COVID-19, there are actions people could have taken to help protect themselves from those diseases, but the prevention measures were not as easy as pulling on a mask and pretending all is well.

 

.

Unless the dead are known to us in some way – family, friends, celebrities – we seldom notice until we doc v.

Deaths associated with certain events are oversized in our society: plane crashes, terrorists attacks, some multiple murders, and now COVID-19.

How this all came to be is hard to know. Deaths in airplane crashes are among the rarest deaths in the country. The National Safety Council says the odds of dying in such a crash are so low they can’t be calculated.

The odds of dying in a terrorist attack are similarly low, and thus one might think it is the rarity of the event that attracts attention. But lightning strikes, dog attacks, insect bites, random sharp objects and more cause rare deaths and almost never attract media attention.

As for the five most common causes of death in this country pre-COVID – heart disease, cancer, accidents, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke – well, when was the last time you read a news story featuring a victim of heart disease speaking from a death bed about what he or she should have done to preven that disease?

Most everyone knows about those five causes of death. Many don’t seem to care. If they did, the Safety Council wouldn’t calculate the odds of dying from “all preventable causes of death” at 1 in 25.

And now there is a new form of preventable death – COVID.

To catch it you pretty much have to come in contact with someone who has it or the contaminiated air left behind in enclosed spaces by those who have it.

For people who enjoy the luxury of being able to work from home and shop online, this makes COVID-19 easier to prevent than heart disease, the nation’s number one killer.

Not all cases of heart disease are preventable, but the nation’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that at least 30 percent – or more than 200,000 deaths per year – are preventable if Americans would eat less and exercise more, but for a lot of people that’s not

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31 replies »

    • The WHO dashboard shows 8,985 deaths of today, an increase of 2,821 over the past two months. The country does, however, appear to be past the peak. Deaths have been declining since mid-December: https://covid19.who.int/region/euro/country/se

      The death rate stands at 91.4/100,000 at this point. The UK is at 115.3/100,000. France is at 102/; Italy, 127.0/; and Spain, 110.5/. Germany which was doing well early is now up to 46.8/100,000 with daily deaths still on the rise.

      The U.S. rate is 112.7/100,000, though New York has now joined New Jersey in surpassing the 200/100,000 level and Mass. is closing in on that horrible benchmark though it looks like deaths there are starting to slow.

      The Dakotas, both of them, were in situations similar to Mass. but death rates in both have dropped dramatically since the start of December.

      Sweden is doing better than most U.S. states without the political chaos that has rocked this country, but it ain’t doing nearly as well as Finland or Norway, which closed its borders to most everyone.

      Norway is still in single digits per 100,000, and Finland is at 10.3/100,000 or about a third of the Alaska death rate which is among the lowest in the U.S. at 30.3, putting us just above Hawaii, Vermont and Maine.

      India, where obesity is uncommon, is at 10.6/100,000 with the daily death rate falling rapidly. It’s now a sixth of what it was in September.

  1. Personally my opinion is masks are a hazard and probably a vector for spreading disease among the population. They make it so you cant see a persons face which is the best way to tell if someone you have to interact with is ill . It hides their nose and face color . A distinct public hazard. If i see someone I suspect is ill i get hundred of feet away . It removes my ability to analyze people you meet for illness. Second it suggests to people that have mild symptoms that their mask will reduce disease spread . An extreme public hazard. Third masks are dirty after being breathed in for a few minutes. Contaminated like germ swab carried from area to area . Total vector for disease. Disgusting! To me this suggests all masks except Pirate masks should be banned in public 😉. Im not exactly kidding either.

    • DPR,
      good points,PIA for sure, since my work is usually fairly distanced from most (large shop),and frequently outside where I like it ,virus or not.
      I rarely wear a mask at work, unless I have to make a parts run.
      I have probably a half dozen cotton reusable, which of course your browser google adds throw out like rain these days,(the best Ive seen were printed with a Dia de Los Mue’rtos figure, from a hot sauce manufacturer).
      Throw them in the mesh zip bag into the wash.The best cheap killer of all viruses is age old soap and water, since viruses are basically fat blobs.
      I know, more sh*t to take care of.
      Excellent point on the quick visual exam of the persons visage in front of you, things only picked up on over a lifetime of trying to pay attn.
      Yellow,grey,and once even a very slight yellow green (dont remember why),all bad colors, red is just a bit more frosting on that cake.
      Regardless,take care all into the New Years,fantastic full moon for outside activities(least in the valley).

    • I think a massive disservice was done with the pushing of wear a mask, any mask, mask, mask, mask. Social distancing should have been the message, keep your distance from others and keep the virus from speeding. The problem is that nowadays more people live where they can’t keep their distance from others, so the message was for the masses. Regardless, social distancing should have been the message. Masks are should have been looked upon as a last resort, when nothing else could be done to attenuate the situation you put a mask on.

      People are stupid. A very few, minuscule percentage are by any measure intelligent…the majority of us are just horribly stupid. Go through history and all our achievements as mankind. We do not excel based upon our collective intelligence, we excel because one person had one good idea, and then another person had another good idea based upon that idea. Our collective intelligence is based upon an extraordinarily small group of people who independently had a singularly ingenious idea. Billions of people have shit for ideas, but a precious few at key points have a singular idea that shatters our world as we know it and turns it into a better and/or sometimes worse place.

      A mask only does what it was made to do, trusting stupid people to do even basic things is clearly too much to ask. What we need is someone who can figure out all the answers for us so we don’t need to think about anything and can just go back to being stupid people. DPR, I’m not exactly kidding either.

      • Steve O,I agree with most of your position,as often, but of course theres always the “crux of the biscuit(props to frank Zappa)”,as often.
        Lets say you rolled into emergency surgery,appendix has blown up.Before you go sleepy time, you look around and notice that nobody is masked up, are you ok with that?
        All we have is the same meager preventative tools that we had 100 years ago, we have viral therapeutics,we have viral vaccines.Some going back 60yrs +.
        We have cutting edge nukes with delivery, and leading edge military hardware by the hard drive full.
        We have beautiful modern private sector space rockets, alternative energy in its infancy.Fancy 5g connectivity worldwide.Next gen geared turbo fan jet engines.
        All this fancy stuff, but we have nothing really next gen to protect us from something that technically isn’t alive.

      • Actually it’s completely different but let’s explore this a little further shall we? All modern vehicles in this country and most others not only have their exhaust pipe obstructed but so too their intake, which would be a little closer to making your statement complete. Or maybe you wear your mask only on your exhaust ports and that’s the problem? That’s not what they were designed for.

      • Forgive me Steve O. Merely pointing out that the cells in our bodies need oxygen to stay alive. Carbon dioxide is made in our bodies as cells do their jobs. The lungs and respiratory system allow oxygen in the air to be taken into the body, while also letting the body get rid of carbon dioxide in the air breathed out. So, when someone wears a mask, sometimes 2 masks, they are obstructing the “exhaust” of harmful toxins, thus and yes, rebreathing harmful Carbon Dioxide.
        So, take a combustion engine (or human body analogy above) take in oxygen, combust, and exhaust (exhale) Carbon Monoxide through the exhaust (ones mouth and nose). So, if you obstruct ones mouth/nose during exhale you get toxic Carbon Dioxide build-up which is NOT good for the human body..
        Block a cars exhaust of the Carbon Monoxide release then you harm the car.
        Same principles..

      • I understand the analogy, it’s just faulty. Car engines have air intake filters and exhaust filters. Using your analogy we should be wearing masks on our faces and on our asses. The masks being worn, unless they are faulty or are being worn incorrectly, do not block oxygen or carbon dioxide molecules. Atmospheric oxygen is about 21%, humans can survive with levels down to 19.5% oxygen…if you are wearing a mask that causes you to breath air with oxygen levels below 19.5% then you have a faulty mask or you are wearing it incorrectly. Really, by now the whole mask causing low oxygen levels and high carbon dioxide levels talking point is known to be false, it’s common knowledge and I’m honestly surprised that you would bring it up.

        Why would someone wear two masks? That would be like wearing two condoms.

      • Steve O, believe it or not I saw a doctor wearing 2 masks. I just shook my head..
        Also, there have been very limited studies on “rebreathing” during mask use. Just more propaganda to keep the masses in-line and wearing masks. I actually looked up the complications of medical personnel and long term mask use last Spring and specifically found “there is very limited studies/data on the effects of ‘rebreathing’ for medical personnel although there were concerns with ‘rebreathing’ Cabon Dioxide”. This has been a concern long before Covid..

      • An oxygen molecule has a diameter of about 0.299 nanometers, a carbon dioxide molecule has a diameter of about 0.33 nanometers, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is about 100 nanometers. A P100 respirator filters 99.9% of particles 300 nanometers in size, or about 1,000 times the size of a carbon dioxide or oxygen molecule. Oxygen and carbon dioxide do not have a problem traveling through the masks people are using whether they are P100, N95, or surgical masks.

      • Come on Steve O, you compare the size of one nano partical traveling through a mask when it is millions or billionstraveling all at the same time Through a mask. You are actually going to tell me that there will be complete exhale with zero CD residual after each breath? How about someone running on the treadmill at the gym? You’re going to tell me that a person gets unobstructed normal oxygen intake with a mask on? NO WAY!!! IMPOSSIBLE.

      • Bryan good point. Nothing is simple as it seems . Common sense rules . You are right. If you want a car or motor vehicle to starve for oxygen soak the air filter in water or any fluid. If you want it to breath or intake more oxygen take off the air filter . Same goes with exhaust. . If you want the engine to exhibit full horse power remove anything that blocks the exhaust. Plugged catalytic converters small pipes ect . One guaranteed way to trll if a mask truly is breathable is to duct tape it and seal it to your face so it cant leak or get any air from unfiltered sources, then do a prescribed work out and measure your blood oxygen level with and without mask . Betcha the mask fails the test for full oxygen permeability. Betcha going to be one sad workout person. Masks leak – allowing air and germs in and out from the sides. unless they are a true form fitting like carbon filter type masks/ air tank / astronaut masks ect . Standard used Masks are joke and a large percentage dont wear them correctly anyway. Nose out ect . Bearded men wearing masks – great seal . Totally dumbos feather situation. Oh oh but those videos show a reduced cloud of exhale particulate. Well maybe masks reduces the size of moisture particles so the video cant see where they go ! Reducing moisture droplets to the size that cant be seen easily and float on Air longer. The virus don’t disappear when they touch the mask surface. They are concentrated recycled into lungs and eventually forced through and around after how many minutes of breathing? If the mask isnt built to hold and keep virus forever or built to kill on contact then the mask is a farce germ collection dispenser. Gross ! If the mask was built for the purpose it would say on label- seal to face then discard after 5,000 breaths . Ect . Our school system has failed us and created non thinkers. I disagree with steve o . Humans are inherently very intelligent but they are poorly educated on how to think a problem through and rarely trained to accurately analyze and differentiate and correctly categorize the information they receive. Thats not my opinion thats the opinion of the man who supposedly raised one of the highest IQ humans ever . He claims if you gave him nearly anyone as a child (baring mentally damaged people)he can create a top I Q individual. Of course there is always going to be variations. Humans are not dumb they are just poorly educated. Every day im shocked how smart the people I meet are . Imo

      • Instead of using nanometers let’s use something more relatable. A baseball measures roughly 3 inches in diameter with an area of about 7 square inches, do you think you could throw a baseball through a hole in a wall that was 1,000 times it size? That would be about 3,000 inches or 250 foot diameter hole with an area of 49,087 square feet. Common sense tells us that throwing a baseball through a 250 foot diameter hole in a wall is easily accomplished…that’s the comparison of the size of an oxygen or carbon dioxide molecule in comparison to the particles a P100 or N95 mask actually filters.

        As far as wearing a mask while running on a treadmill, besides being ridiculous, is more a flow related issue and not a filtration issue. Since we are having a reductio ad absurdum argument all you need is a bigger mask allowing for more flow, or maybe just run outside away from others.

        Some people wear masks all day long, they did this before covid and they will do it after covid. I’ve spent hour upon hour wearing a mask before covid and during covid and I still have yet to die of low oxygen or saturation of carbon monoxide. It’s not a comfortable thing to do, but the oxygen and carbon dioxide level issue just don’t add up, they don’t pass the basic common sense test. Yeah, if you saturate your mask, or wear two masks, or breath underwater your mask isn’t going to work correctly…back to the common sense thing.

      • DPR,seems to me, that your point is arguing absolutes.Like many things in life, including democracy, we live in a world of grey zones.THE ONLY mask that will do what you want is a full faced respirator/mask,and HEPPA cartridges or purified air flow.
        WITH a qualified/quantified fit test.Good luck doing that with 300 million, and especially with somebody like me who has a beard.
        Ive shaven for a mandatory full faced purified air resperator fit test.Not a big deal, but thats what it would take.Buy disposable masks,and treat them as such(as in replace often).Or buy the cotton washable/reusable.The nonsense of arguing if a mask is going to protect you as you enter Carrs etc.,is pointless.Everybody is going to pay attention to there own level of importance.
        Human nature is”well I went to that party last weekend and everything is finest what’s the problem.”
        And you could insert the litany of dangerous labels into a lifestyle:cancers,chemical,viral,biological,physical or mental harms into that box.Unfortunately thats how we learn,is in hindsight.
        Its taken me along time to learn that its cheaper to learn by somebody else’s mistakes, rather than my own.
        Does that mean we should live a life of fear?No,just perhaps a bit of caution from wisdom gained by observing common sense and trying to learn from the mistakes of others.And a bit of trying to look over the horizon just a tad.
        Theres nothing new here, this all happened about 40+ yrs before I was born, as has been the reaction by a fairly large minority towards what many feel is a boot heel of authority.Same reaction towards the response of govt to an explosive global outbreak of the “Spanish Flue”.
        It may have been 100yrs ago, but human response/emotions havent changed a bit.
        Whether we like it or not,WE are all in this together.
        Well unless you call a soccer ball Wilson….
        Some of our outcomes may be different on several levels.We’re pretty much like a big ball of herring imo, nothing more, nothing less……

        Still washing those f*cking masks here…..

      • Dave Mc , well at least you wash your masks . Kudos! Yes maybe you are right. Viewing from absolutes . Ive found if you dont fix something in full it just breaks again usually at inopertune moment . Most of my experience has shown that a half assed solution is not a solution. It just creates more variables and complicates a problem. Maybe that mindset is disfunctional in its own way but human existence is not short term . Long term solutions seem to function best . Trading liberty for a mask that is only marginally effective is short term solution at best and at worst actually makes the viral problem more pervasive and softens the acceptance to tyranny. Something that arguably approaches death in its own aspects. Sounds like you are conscientious mask user which is really good and sounds like you choose to wear a mask for it’s possible benefits which is also good . Im only really against non thought and politicians who think they have the right or responsibility to be tyrants and take away free choice or liberty to choose and make personal decisions like what you put on your own face . I feel like i fight for future generations so its an intellectual ground. I have nothing against conscientious thoughtful mask users like yourself. Great job navigating the current culture.

      • DPR,
        Good points, theres going to be winners and losers in this point in history.None of it is fair.
        Some will give more than others, some will take more than others.Some will lose work time,some will lose work.Some will lose liberties,some will take advantage of this,
        Some will lose everything including life, most of those probably were just being hastened to the exit door anyways.
        *Flagrant plagiary alert* These are the times that test a society’s soul.”

  2. At one point, this article almost starts to address the problem of the unending wildly bouncing ping pong ball of random historical facts, analogies, comparisons, the public’s irrational fears, etc., this article then continues on with more of the same. Randomness. Seemingly hoping, like all the other media articles about COVID, to have one fact stick in the readers’ minds that will scare the hell out of them. And then it leaps into the finger-pointing paradigm that so many are adopting like the sheeples they are, the SUPER SPREADERS, those confoundedly irresponsible YOUNG PEOPLE running around with a loaded gun in their hands. How dare they! “Super Spreaders” reminds me of another marketing label some years back sent forth to inappropriately point the finger of blame. Hilary Clinton pointed her finger at the “Super PREDATORS” who she thought were those “evil” inner city dwelling black men. That didn’t work out so well for her. The next marketing label we will now hear constantly will be the dreaded “VARIANT” strain, mutation, or whatever, of COVID that has now supposedly turned up in Colorado. Gotta keep the lie going. After all, people love a good disaster. And they keep talking about it like they do about bear attacks and plane crashes. Never let a good crisis go to waste. Seems like an excuse for the government to digitize billions of new money out of thin air, then send it overseas to launder it through a series of shell companies and back into the pockets of politicians, just like the Biden family, all the while keeping our fictitious global monetary system propped up. Suggestion, how about the media focus on The Great Barrington Declaration?

  3. Try this exercise: based on where you live and how you spend your time, list the 5 ways you think it most likely you’ll die. I’ll go first.
    1. Car going too fast for conditions randomly swerving into my lane.
    2. Slipping on ice and breaking my neck.
    3. Drowning.
    4. Crushed by a falling tree.
    5. Bear/moose/crazy neighbor incident
    It all depends on where you live and how you spend your time. Covid doesn’t rank in my neighborhood,

  4. Jeezus Medred, why don’t you just give it a rest? Your relentless downplaying is beyond dumb. What is so hard for you to grasp here? I’ll pick one here: this endless fat people thing is just stupid! We can agree that obesity factors into what’s deadly weather implicated with Covid or dying while watching Trump bloviate in a Lazy Boy eating a bucket ‘o wings and shooting Buds. Why do you want to marginalize this by laying blame on lifestyle? Why are you not more interested (like me) in why other contries have SO outstriped us in their response to the pandemic (New Zealand et al) in a way that has nothing to do with BMI?

    “New Zealand has the third highest adult obesity rate in the OECD, and our rates continue to increase. One in three adult New Zealanders (over 15 years) is classified as obese, and one in ten children.Dec 3, 2020”

    How many cases of Covid in NZ? I’ll leave that answering to your personal goog alternative interpretation. You really are not serving here sport, you’re just Jonesing.

    • Monk – get off your high horse. If you understood the disease you would understand that health or lack thereof is largest risk involved with covid or frankly enhanced risk of death for multiple reasons. You clearly struggle with seeing the situation from a non emotional rational angle . The angle is – healthy fit people have good odds of survival and health is one of the few variables we can often control. ( thus medreds repeated mention) . Relying on a mask doesn’t work relying on not coming in contact with a nearly invisible virus doesn’t work but fitness and health work combined with an extreme effort to shelter the old snd immune compromised from the virus. Newzealand and America. Apples and oranges. New zealand is easily isolated being a smaller country with minimal world connections compared to America. Everything rotates around America. Impossible to issolate . Nearly nothing rotates around newzealand . Newzealand is awesome but if it disappeared the world would barely notice. It’s incidentally isolated and locking a few planes out and being extreme about testing works there . We are a hub . It wont work here . Shut down America the world literally goes dark. To help resolve an issue or even shed light in an educated way a person must understand the variables and the minutiae to the finest detail. Looking at it from multiple angles. Otherwise you as in you monk just add to the confusion. Monk instead of denigrating others efforts I suggest you do as you have been for weeks now and contribute to the discussion and knowledge base in a constructive maner. Happy new year Monk. Lets turn over a new leaf . Enjoy what little time we have left in a positive fashion.

    • Do you have a globe? If not, maybe go online and look at a map of the world.

      NZ is a wonderful collection of islands in the South Pacific home to less than 5 million people that basically cut off all contact with the world to avoid COVID-19. Surprise, surprise. It worked.

      Any country in a similar situation could do the same. Stopping the spread of infectious diseases isn’t, as the story noted, rocket science. It’s as simple as keeping A from infecting B, C and D.

      The problem comes in maintaining a functioning society while protecting B,C and D from A without building a wall. But then I’m sure you’re a fan of the wall.

      P.S. Facts are not blame or praise. They’re simply facts.

      • Agreed. And think free, as well.

        I was talking with an old friend about conspiracies. His favorite was that Oswald didn’t act alone. I told him I had read many books on the subject but was unable to say I was confident in that conclusion or the opposite.

        I asked him if he believed 6 million Jews were gassed and cremated. He absolutely did. Hilarity ensued. He assumed I was a “denier” and went on a ten minute rant. In the end, he conceded that perhaps the number was closer to 1 million. I neither agreed nor disagreed. But thought it odd that he lowered his belief by 5/6 ths. I wondered if this “logic” would work in other areas. Could you rant for 10 minutes and then send 1/6 of your tax liability to the IRS without consequence? Could you write the check at the car lot for $10K instead of $60K?

        Then we moved to the Apollo missions. This is his favorite. I asked him about the Van Allen belts. Why didn’t they fry the astronauts? A long rant…followed by him saying “aren’t the VAn Allen belts out beyond the moon?” And he asked if I liked “The Big Bang Theory”, whatever that is.

        We finished up with a little 9/11 chatt. What about WT 7 I said. Did the fire in the offices cause the 52 story building to collapse? His answer was “what is WT7?” He wasn’t aware of it, therefore it did not exist.

        Conclusion. When you debate various conspiracies, make sure the other person is not a monk.

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