COVID Final Straw in Deaths
Paying attention to trends in COVID-19 is something most people are still doing on a regular basis and trying to base some of their activities on how to be safe and not put themselves at higher risk. But, for most people without underlying conditions, we are at a point where COVID is more like the flu or other common colds. We test positive, have mild symptoms and recover pretty quickly.
Groups at higher risk are those with underlying conditions referred to as comorbidities. Some people have heart disease, others have diabetes, or other chronic and serious health conditions and diseases. There are also people with multiple conditions. A 58-year-old obese man with diabetes, heart disease, circulatory issues, and multiple neuropathies is much more at risk than someone in good health.
When this man contracts COVID, it could be the straw that broke the camel’s back. In fact, it most likely is that straw. With all those other serious health issues, adding a viral infection is just too much to handle.
That same person already has a shortened life expectancy, so maybe they would die within a year, or two, or three. You could predict that a heart attack or stroke is likely to cause death in the fairly near future. But, at this moment, those conditions are being managed with medications and lifestyle changes.
Then that person gets COVID, and that makes it impossible to manage all these things going on at the same time. The man is hospitalized and within a fairly short period of time dies. That is going to be listed as a COVID death. That is because COVID was the last straw added to the mix of multiple conditions.
Current data provided by the CDC indicates that these are the types of patients that represent 90% of COVID deaths. While the number of cases reported is still high, and probably underestimated because of home testing, the hospitalizations and deaths are overwhelmingly older people with multiple underlying conditions and most of the deaths at any age are attributable to this type of patient.
We are hearing about jurisdictions considering new mask mandates and other interventions because of the slight increase in cases. Statistically this makes sense if you don’t dig a little deeper into the details. Even if you do the work to study the data it may also make sense.
Considering that every single person, no matter what their lifestyle or underlying conditions, is important, and we must do “everything” possible to protect those people, then you can reach the conclusion that everyone should wear a mask and isolate. But that’s not realistic. No policy, lockdown or mandate is going to prevent every single case and prevent every single death. China has tried to implement a “Zero COVID policy” and they can’t do it either with the most draconian policies. More people are starving to death than dying from COVID.
Be vigilant in trying to protect yourself and your loved ones, but also do your homework to understand what the data and statistics actually mean. Policies should be based on the best outcome for the country and not going all-in to prevent every case and every death. If we were to do that then we would also have to do things like stopping driving, or swimming, or anything else where we know hospitalizations and deaths are going to result.
The question asked every day is what should we be doing and what can we do. Those decision are largely in the hands of each person, and it is doubtful that government can have much of an impact at this point. Even asking a doctor for advice on what to do, requires the doctor to advise in the most cautious way. A doctor has to tell you what to do to keep you as safe as possible. They might tell you to live in a bubble because that’s the safest way to protect yourself. That is advice. Then it is necessary for each person to take that advice and make the best decisions for themselves. Sometimes that’s good, and sometimes it’s not – but that’s life.