Another opinion

Miscalculating Risk: Confusing Scary With Dangerous The coronavirus kills, everyone knows it. But this isn’t the first deadly virus the world has seen, so what happened? Why did we react the way
we did? One answer is that this is the first social media pandemic. News and narratives travel in real-time right into our hands. This spreads fear in a way we have never experienced. Drastic and historically unprecedented lockdowns of the economy happened and seemed to be accepted with little question. We think the world is confusing “scary” with “dangerous.” They are not the same thing. It seems many have accepted as fact that coronavirus is one of the scariest things the human race has ever dealt with. But is it the most dangerous? Or even close? There are four ways to categorize any given reality. It can be scary but not dangerous, scary and dangerous, dangerous but not scary, or not dangerous and not scary. Clearly, COVID-19 ranks high on the scary scale. A Google news search on the virus brings up over 1.5 billion news results. To date, the virus has tragically killed nearly 100,000 people in the United States, and more lives will be lost. But on a scale of harmless to extremely dangerous, it would still fall into the category of slightly to mildly dangerous for most people, excluding the elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions. In comparison, many have no idea that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing around 650,000 people every year, 54,000 per month, or approximately 200,000 people between February and mid-May of this year. This qualifies as extremely dangerous. But most people are not very frightened of it. A Google news search for heart disease brings up around 100 million results, under one-fifteenth the results of the COVID-19 search. It’s critical to be able to distinguish between fear and danger. Fear is an emotion, it’s the risk that we perceive. As an emotion, it is often blind to the facts. For example, the chances of dying from a shark attack are minuscule, but the thought still crosses most people’s minds when they play in the ocean. Danger is measurable, and in the case of sharks, the danger is low, even if fear is sometimes high. Imagine if an insurance actuary was so scared of something that she graded it 1,000 times riskier than the data showed. This might be a career-ending mistake. This is exactly what people have done regarding COVID-19: making decisions on fear and not data. According to CDC data, 81% of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States are people over 65 years old, most with preexisting conditions. If you add in 55-64-year-olds that number jumps to 93%. For those below age 55, preexisting conditions play a significant role, but the death rate is currently around 0.0022%, or one death per 45,000 people in this age range. Below 25 years old the fatality rate of COVID-19 is 0.00008%, or roughly one in 1.25 million, and yet we have shut down all schools and day-care centers, some never to open again! This makes it harder for mothers and fathers to remain employed. All life is precious. No death should be ignored, but we have allowed our fear to move resources away from areas that are more dangerous, but less scary, to areas that are scary, but less dangerous. And herein lies the biggest problem. Hospitals and doctors’ offices have had to be much more selective in the people they are seeing, leaving beds open for COVID-19 patients and cutting out elective surgeries. According to Komodo, in the weeks following the first shelter-in-place orders, cervical cancer screenings were down 68%, cholesterol panels were down 67%, and the blood sugar tests to detect diabetes were off 65% nationally. It doesn’t stop there. The U.N. estimates that infant mortality rates could rise by hundreds of thousands in 2020 because of the global recession and diverted health care resources. Add in opioid addiction, alcoholism, domestic violence and other detrimental reactions from job loss and despair. It’s tragic. The benefits gained through this fear-based shutdown (if there really are any) have massively increased dangers in both the short term and the long term. Every day that businesses are shuttered, and people remain unemployed or underemployed, the economic wounds grow more deadly. The loss of wealth is immense, and this will undermine the ability of nations around the world to deal with true dangers for decades to come, maybe forever. We have altered the course of economic growth. Shutting down the private sector (which is where all wealth is created) is truly dangerous even though many of our leaders suggest we shouldn’t be scared of it. Another round of stimulus is not what we need. Like a Band-Aid on a massive laceration, it may stop a tiny bit of the bleeding, but the wound continues to worsen, feeding greater and more elaborate intervention. Moreover, we are putting huge financial burdens on future generations because we are scared about something that the data reveal as far less dangerous than many other things in life. A shutdown may slow the spread of a virus, but it can’t stop it. A vaccine may cure us. But in the meantime, we have entered a new era, one in which fear trumps danger and near-term risk creates long-term problems. It appears many people have come to this realization as the data builds. Hopefully, this will go down in history as a mistake that we will never repeat. Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist Strider Elass, Senior Economist RealClear Politics, May 22, 2020
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On 5/27/2020 8:17 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

He makes a couple of points but he should have left out heart disease. Others have brought it up too, but heart disease is not contagious. You don't get it from others, you can't give it to others. I have some control of it with lifestyle but no control over the heredity portion.
I can have some control over getting or giving a virus. I take some measure to do so.
I do agree some other treatments and elective surgery should have been better managed.
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Bob F presented the following explanation :

Do bats carry SARS-CoV-2?
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On Sat, 30 May 2020 23:34:25 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Has anyone here looked at Vietnam? Zero Covid-19 deaths. They took it seriously, before anywhere else was taking it seriously.
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On Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 1:02:27 PM UTC-4, Jim Joyce wrote:

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Vietnam? Why look anywhere other than the USA? That's Trump's nationalistic approach. We don't need to look at and learn from other countries. We're making America great again, screw the world. We have 100K dead and counting, because Trump refuses to look and learn.
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Pretty hard to claim something is impossible - particularly before any real good attempts have been made. Unlikely - sure - that is OPINION. Impossible would tenf to be FACT - something PROVEN. Generally speeking proving something is possible is pretty easy - proving it is impossible takes a LOT more - - - -
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On Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 8:18:40 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

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Typical deluded, denial BS. Comparing Covid to shark attacks? Really? And it wasn't social media that killed 100K in three months and had freezer trailers in the streets of NYC holding the dead bodies. And that was WITH the serious measures taken to contain it. This is the worst pandemic in 100 years and we still are in the middle of it, it's not clear what will happen now that we're rapidly re-opening and people are being reckless. And what spurs on the recklessness? Deniers.
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On 5/27/2020 8:17 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Ah, a public health policy critique from an economist! I suggest the opinions of those who have studied public health, epidemiology, and related disciplines and have successfully made that field their career are more worth listening to. Heart disease is a terrible analogy to use, as are most any analogies when presenting any argument. You can't evade heart disease by quarantine, and contact tracing. However, the public health literature is filled with historical examples of how those techniques have been effective in the past when dealing with epidemics and pandemics from quite a few disparate pathogens. Also, we currently have dozens of effective medications and numerous surgical procedures and lifestyle changes that have been proven to either control or ameliorate the natural history of untreated heart disease. We have no such medications, surgical procedures or lifestyle changes (short of social distancing or actual quarantine) that are effective against the novel corona virus. The goal here is not to cripple the economy but to buy time until an effective treatment or immunizing vaccine renders this pathogen less of a threat.
If you want to make a case during this pandemic for government subsidies of businesses versus government guaranteed minimal income grants to people in poverty as the more efficient means of restoring a functioning economy, I'll listen to you, because I'll assume that your background gives you enough expertise to know your subject matter and be able to cite historical examples, etc., of data to support your positions. Of course, as a professional, I'll also expect you to be forthright in your disclosure of possible bias on account of your personal political persuasion.
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On Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 10:18:15 AM UTC-4, Peter wrote:

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The other aspect they ignore is if we just let her rip, did nothing, what kind of economy would we have had then? NYC hospitals did not have enough beds, they were almost out of ventilators, there were refrigerated trailers in the streets holding the bodies and that was with the closures and sheltering in place, that worked. We saw whole meat plants with a majority of workers infected. Had that accelerated, it's hard to imagine an economy that would not have had a big impact anyway.
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On 5/27/2020 8:17 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Wrong. The covid virus CAN kill just like the flu, contracting it in itself, is not a guarantee death sentence. That scare tactic is why the lemmings are crying the sky is falling.
People with a suppressed immune system are at the highest risk of death, but still not a guarantee as many have overcome. And if death occurs, it's caused by complication of their system with the virus, but not directly the virus itself. The same applies with the flu. Resolving this issue by hiding behind glass partitions and mask is not the answer except for those who have failing health. Healthy lifestyles is the answer. Increasing your immune system is the answer. Proper eating and exercise is the answer. The lemmings are making it easy for the government and manufacturers alike to capitalize on the scare tactic that everyone has to remain inside a plastic bubble. Bull!
So many followers in this world, so few leaders.
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On Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 4:58:21 PM UTC-4, Hawk wrote:

Wrong. The concern is logical, because Covid is far more deadly than the flue. No responsbile authority or the media ever suggested that it's a death sentence, it's you who's spinning here.

And yet we have many cases of healthy kids, healthy 40 year olds that are dead from Covid. I agree that getting people to adopt healthier lifestyles would save lives. How do you suggest we do that? I think this is a missed opportunity, that public health officials, medical authorities should be using Covid to deliver the message about losing weight, not eating junk foods, stop smoking, etc.
Increasing your immune system is the answer. Proper eating and

Watch what this does to Brazil. I would bet that as a country, Brazilians are far less likely to be overweight, to have diabetes, etc. We'll see how they fair. Their moronic right wing nut job president is a Covid denier.
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On Sat, 30 May 2020 06:04:02 -0700 (PDT), trader_4

This is still a disease that kills the old, weak and perhaps nutritionally deficient. What they don't say about most of these fatal cases is that they are either in assisted living facilities or slums. Certainly it does get a person out of those demographics occasionally but it is rare. If you actually dig into it, you usually do find an underlying condition, even if the victim is in denial about it. (Smokers who won't go to the doctor for that cough, fat people who write off chest pains as indigestion, untreated diabetes etc). It doesn't take much to push those people off the dock.
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On Sat, 30 May 2020 13:08:21 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Although you are correct that the "majority" fit into that category, that still allows for over 50,000 dead americans to NOT fall into that category - as well as possibly another hundred thousand or so that may live with the effects of the infection for the rest of their life - and NOW fall into the category of "those with co-morbidities" due to lung damage etc.
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On 05/30/2020 11:35 AM, Clare Snyder wrote:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/canada-e2-80-99s-covid-hot-zone-is-deadlier-than-chicago-or-la/ar-BB14LeqI
Don't you have something closer to home to worry about? Of course Montreal is just NYC North except the people are rude in French.
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wrote:

Other than passing through I've only been in Montreal twice - and it's a long way from here. Yes - they have their problems in Quebec.
We've had a few local hotspots too (particularly a couple long term care homes), but in the last week in the region very little.
All told so far, 20% of cases have been over age 80+, 8% between 70 and 79, 11% between 60 and 69, 17% between 50 and 59, 15% between 40 and 49, 14% each between 30 and 39 and between 20and 29, and 2% under 19.
This means HALF have been under 60
58% have been female, 42% male. 26% have been health care workers. 57% have been outbreak related (long term care homes etc) 5% have been admitted to ICU 15% have been admitted to hospital (non ICU)
Total test 18280 out of total population of roghly 610,000 Total cases so far 1105 (6.6% of those tested) At this point 10% of those infected have died.(114) 94 have been from long term care homes and 20 from among the larger community 2% (21 cases) are currently hospitalized 14% are still unresolved - not in hospital 73% have been resolved (no longer positive) (812 cases) 5 cases are still pending
I don't have a breakdown of deaths by age
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wrote:

You know they write this shit down.

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On Sat, 30 May 2020 17:10:30 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I know they do, but you "the majority" statement DOES leave a lot of leeway and the concensus among the medical profession is the death numbers are SIGNIFICANTLY UNDER REPORTED
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On Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 1:09:36 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

You left out the healthy too. You deniers seem to have a problem with numbers and statistics. Yes, Covid has a greater chance of killing you the older you are and if you have underlying health problems. But that does not mean it has not killed a lot of people under 60, with no pre-existing problems. Nor does it mean that we should just write off those over 60 as old.
What they don't say about most of these fatal

That still leaves a large percentage of people who are not in assisted living facilities.

That's more denial.
If you actually dig into it, you usually do find an

I say you're the one that continues to be in denial.
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trader_4 presented the following explanation :

Also, that fact that this is not the flu seems to elude them. What seem like healthy survivors of covid today, may be the sick and dying of the next few decades. Not a scare tactic, but merely a recognition of the fact that we don't yet know what it does in the long term.
It behooves us to treat any new virus as potentially very dangerous and not dismiss it as just the flu even if it turns out to be only that deadly.
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