"I don't know my Arse from my Elbow" - Old Irish Saying

There’s been times over the last week or so that I’ve thought “I’m losing it.” I start most days with up to an hour of Yoga and Meditation, which helps me to get very centered in myself so that I don’t get lost in the media madness that’s bombarding us every day. But then, as I sit down to my yummy home-made granola breakfast and a freshly roasted coffee, I make the mistake of looking at my messages on my Phone. Within minutes I’ve disappeared into scrolling land on my FaceBook feed. I see that a “friend” has posted a link to an article claiming that 5G is responsible for this virus. Whaaat?

I thought she was a little mad, but ….Whaaat?

The next day it’s someone else asking me to look at a video that claims that we don’t need to social distance at all. Whaaat ?

Then I somehow get lost down a rabbit hole about exosomes. Apparently its not a virus at all.  Its not contagious. It’s environmentally produced, and we are coughing to get rid of it. Whaaaat? 

The I read about the whole Vaccine Conspiracy, Big Pharma and Bill Gates – and my brain starts doing somersaults. What am I to believe? Whaaaat? 

If you’re still with me, are you confused about what’s going on too? Are you all seeing lots of conflicting viewpoints about Covid-19? Are you beginning to be a bit pissed off with how much disinformation is being put out? If so, here’s my rant on the whole thing.

I’ll start in March, when I was very unwell (extremely  unusual for me) with … “something.” I’m an extremely strong and healthy 62 year old, but this ( whatever it was) floored me completely. My lungs felt completely dry. My breath was raspy, and I felt very ill for a while. But I didn’t have a constant fever. I didn’t have much of a cough. So the doctor said I didn’t qualify for a test, and gave me antibiotics for “bronchitis”. The antibiotics didn’t seem to help at al l - although they messed up my stomach big time ( I hadn’t taken antibiotics in over 10 years, so I guess I’m not “immune” to them!)

So after a few weeks I started to feel a bit better, though I had a few days where I woke up feeling fine, and by mid-day I was back in my bed. Anyhow, the whole experience got me wondering about this “virus”. Did I have it? Did my partner Jenny have it too ( she was very sick for a while too).

I began to wonder how many people had it. The doctors were only allowed to test anyone with fever, so if you had it without fever, you weren’t part of the “number of cases” that the media were focusing on. You’ve seen the headline “Number of cases rises to x thousand”. Along with that we were all subjected to “Number of deaths rises by 320 in 24 hours.”   I began seeing a death rate reported in the media. A death rate? Really. You mean, the number of people who have died, divided by the number of “cases.” But hang on. We have no idea how many people have had this – because lots of people have no symptoms (asymptomatic).   

You can see how its really easy to be unsure of what’s actually going on.  Is it as bad as the media are broadcasting? How about we look at it from some other perspectives?

When I look at the Homepage of the Worldometers site, I see a load of figures that are changing constantly. One of them is “Number of Deaths this year.”  Today, May 8th, at 13:19 CET, its 20,707,061. We seem to have forgotten that lots of people are dying – all the time. I just wanted throw that figure in for perspective. Over 20 million this year already.  So I jump onto the Coronavirus page, and THERE’S two BIG headlines  -

“NO OF CASES 3,935,562”   "NO.OF DEATHS 271,170" ( That’s less than 2% of all the people who have died this year so far)

These are the figures the media are focusing on. If we divide NO. OF DEATHS by NO. OF CASES, we get 6.8%  which I have seen reported as the “Mortality Rate.”  It’s not. The experts say that its between 3 and 4%. It’s not.  Yet again, the media are broadcasting fear,  because that’s what they do. You know this.

What I want to do is get to the truth of these figures, and see if, as a world,  we’ve over-reacted. So let's look at it another way, shall we. I go deeper into the site, and I see lots and lots of information, graphs and columns. There’s one  column that I think is the only one we should be hearing about – but it’s not very dramatic or sensational. It’s “deaths per million of population” – and you can sort the whole table by this column, so I do.  You’ll never guess who the top three countries in the world are – i.e. the worst, in terms of deaths per million of population. No, not USA, not UK -  it’s San Marino followed by Belgium and Andorra, then Spain and Italy.

My point is that we’re looking at the wrong figures. The number of cases doesn’t really matter, because as we’ve seen earlier, lots of people that you and me know have had it, but they’re not included in any figures, and then we have to add all the people who didn’t even know they had it ! You see how skewed the picture is.  (Only yesterday I heard that Ireland and France are saying that they have now discovered that there were cases in December.) How many more have there been before the media got hold of it all ? 

What's happening is this – your amygdala (or limbic system) has been hijacked. That’s the part of your brain that’s responsible for survival. Daniel Goleman, who wrote “Emotional Intelligence” coined coined the term “amygdala hijack” to explain how that part of the brain takes over to survive - and puts the thinking brain on hold. So if you feel that something is a threat, you can’t really see beyond that, because your body is flooded with stress hormones and the whole fight flight thing kicks off bigtime. Rational thought goes out the window. FEAR is in charge. And of course, the media love to feed FEAR, by promoting sensationalism and drama. That’s what sells news.

I do realise that people are dying. They are. I also fully accept that the big issue is that the health services cannot deal with a huge number of cases at a time, due to the need for assisted ventilation and constant and intensive care. And that if the health services can’t cope, people die. But again, my question is, does that mean we need lockdowns, or can we handle this in a different way?

So far, from what I can see, it’s nowhere near as bad as it’s made out, FROM A FIGURES POINT OF VIEW.  Because the other HUGE factor skewing all the figures is that most of those dying have pre-existing conditions. That doesn’t make a death less important – or should I say it doesn’t make a life less important. But again I'm simply focusing on figures here. According to another table, if you have NO pre-existing condition ( Heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes etc. ) and you get the disease, the chances of you dying  is 0.9%. That’s right. Less than 1 in 100 people who tested positive and didn’t have another condition, actually died. And remember again, that’s based on those that we know about. And remember again, most of those were elderly. So the figure for those, let’s say, under 65 is going to be less. A whole lot less. I can only guess at it, but I reckon it’s less than 0.3% - less than 3 per 1000.

Last, I find the table I’ve really been wanting to study – here it is

 

AGE

Number of Deaths

Share of deaths

With underlying conditions

Without underlying conditions

Unknown if with underlying cond.

Share of deaths
of unknown + w/o cond.

0 - 17 years old

3

0.04%

3

0

0

0%

18 - 44 years old

309

4.5%

244

25

40

1.0%

45 - 64 years old

1,581

23.1%

1,343

59

179

3.5%

65 - 74 years old

1,683

24.6%

1,272

26

385

6.0%

75+ years old

3,263

47.7%

2,289

27

947

14.2%

TOTAL

6,839

100%

5,151

137

1,551

24.68%

[1] Underlying illnesses include Diabetes, Lung Disease, Cancer,

The number of people who died, younger than 65 without any known pre-existing condition, was 59+25 in this table. That’s 84 out of 6839, which comes to 1.23%. So a little more than 1 in every hundred who died were under 65 and healthy. If we include all those cases where WE DON’T KNOW if there was a pre-existing condition or not, the figure is 4.4%.

OK so far? I know, figures are boring, but I’ve come this far, so stay with me.

We know that the percentage who get Covid-19 that do die (in total) is somewhere around 3.5%, according to the experts.  SO, taking those figures together – IF YOU’RE UNDER 65 AND DON’T HAVE A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION, YOUR CHANCES OF DYING FROM COVID-19 IS ….

At lowest 1.23% of 3.5%.  which is …  0.043%.

At highest 4.4% of 35% , which is     0.154%.

In other words, if 10,000 people (with no underlying condition) under 65 get Covid-19, 4 of them will die. 4.OUT OF 10,000.

If 10,000 people under 65 (and we’re not sure if they had another condition ) get Covid-19, 15 of them will die. 15 OUT OF 10,000.

We’ve locked down countries because of this.

What I’m trying to ascertain is this - should any lockdowns have been put in place, or was it a mistake?  Should we have been looking at those who are at risk of dying, and putting measures in place to protect them, and let the rest of the world get on with life as we know it?  

It’s not that I don’t welcome a pause, I do. I’m not a fan of rampant capitalism at all – quite the opposite. But what’s pissing me off is that I can’t see the facts clearly. Even after researching and writing this, and getting some feedback for my brother, I still think I’m missing something. Or maybe, after 65 days in lockdown, I’ve gone a little batshit crazy!

But hey, if my Maths is way off, do let me know. But don’t come at me for any other reason. I’m simply trying to make sense of it all. If you have more relevant information or you see that my calculations are very wrong, let’s hear it, so we can all be better informed. But remember, I’m not putting myself up there as any kind of expert - but I certainly am a concerned Citizen of the World.