Perspective, Perspective, Perspective

An opinion article from Dr Austin Jeans, team lead for Kufema’s Medical Advisory Committee.

As the mainstream media headlines today shout “Covid deaths cross ‘agonising’ 1 million milestone” and the UN Secretary General describes it as a “mind-numbing” figure, we are again left with a sense of overwhelming panic and fear without any sense of perspective! Today the global death toll from COVID19 has reached 1,006,471 people, which is indeed tragic, but we must look at this within the context of global deaths from all causes before Covid came along.

In 2017 the total number of deaths in the world totalled 56 million, which amounts to an average of approximately 154,000 people dying every day of the year. The current COVID19 death toll amounts to an average of 4,100 deaths per day (since February 2020) ie 2.6% of the average daily global burden of deaths.If we look at the major causes of death worldwide as reported in the 2017 IHME Global Burden of Disease study, we see that COVID19 deaths to date in 2020 are not that large by comparison:

No. of deaths by cause, World, 2017
Cardiovascular disease: 17.8 million
Cancer: 9.6 million
Respiratory diseases: 3.9 million
Lower respiratory infections: 2.6 million
Dementia: 2.5 million
TB: 1.8 million
Diabetes: 1.4 million
COVID 19 (to date) in 2020: 1 million

We see from the WHO and Worldometers data that COVID19 is not as scary as the media figures suggest:
• of the 33 million cases reported worldwide, so far 74% have recovered
• of the remaining active cases, 99% have a mild condition and 1% are serious/critical
• of the closed cases which had an outcome, 96% recovered and 4% died

The latest USA CDC data says that the survival rates for COVID19 are:
Age Group Survival Rate
0 – 19 yrs 99.997%
20 – 49 yrs 99.98%
50 – 69 yrs 99.5%
70 + 94.6%

It is important to ‘keep our finger’ on the facts to help combat the fear-mongering effects of the mainstream media and some political statements. To quote Marcus Aurelius: “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”

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