Debate Magazine

"Coronavirus Deaths: What We Don't Know"

Posted on the 21 March 2020 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

An excellent article at the BBC, which has saved me the bother of writing something like this myself.
Worth reading in full, the upshot seems to be this:
But given that the old and frail are the most vulnerable, would these people be dying anyway?
Every year more than 500,000 people die in England and Wales: factor in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the figure tops 600,000.
The coronavirus deaths will not be on top of this. Many would be within this "normal" number of expected deaths. In short, they would have died anyway.

One of the charts in that article says that about 9% of people over 80 who contract coronavirus die as a direct result. But the point is, at that age, you'd expect approx. one person in ten to die in the next twelve months anyway.
If you compare the coronavirus deaths table with the 'chance of dying anyway' table, they are pretty much exactly the same. I would assume that the overlap is very high, so additional deaths will be negligible. Worst case, there is no overlap whatsoever (highly unlikely), in which case your chance of dying in the next 12 months has doubled. That sounds worse than it is - if you are in your 30s with a 1-in-1000 chance of dying, that's now gone up to 1-in-500.

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