The Coronavirus does discriminate

An advertising campaign in Victoria seeks to convince young people that the Coronavirus is a threat to young and old. But the most startling fact is that as of the time of writing no-one under 30 in Australia has died from the virus.

The statistics are clear. As of 9th August, Australia has had 21,397 recorded cases of the Corona virus and 295 people have died. Of the age brackets those in their twenties have recorded by far the most cases. The next highest incidence is for those aged 30 to 39.

But the most startling fact is that no-one under 30 has died. And only one man aged between 30 and 39 has died. Overseas studies confirm the low risk for children with the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention concluding: “Most reported cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in children aged under18 years appear to be asymptomatic or mild.”

In Australia all the age brackets from 60 up have recorded far fewer cases than the 20-to-29 and 30-to-39 age brackets. But the 60-plus age brackets have by far the most deaths.

Ninety-seven per cent of those who have died so far in Australia were over 60. The median age of death from Covid 19 is over 80.

Those aged 80-to-89 have recorded by far the most deaths – 117 in total. Some 83 people aged over 90 have died; 72 aged 70-to-79; and 20 aged 60-to-69.

Despite these figures the latest Victorian advertising campaign claims that the virus does not discriminate. Clearly it has the ability to infect anyone.

But just as clearly it does discriminate in its impact on the various age groups. It kills old people and it rarely kills young people. Check the official Australian Government statistics as of 10 August here.

Covid 19 is often compared with the Spanish flu. But it is distinctly different. Not only did the Spanish flu kill a staggering 20 to 50 million people, in its second wave it killed both young and old and had a frightening killing spike of those in the prime of their lives, the 25-to-35-year-olds.

Such a disease is terrifying, justifying lock-downs, masks and anything that can be thrown at it.

Today it’s assumed by many commentators that we are having the once-in-a-hundred-year Spanish flu-like pandemic and another won’t occur for a long time. But there’s nothing to say that a genuinely Spanish flu-like virus could not hit us next year, or any time in the near future. What would our response be then?

Having harangued us about how we should not leave home, not go fishing or play golf “because it’s not worth someone’s life” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who initially imposed the harshest restrictions of any premier in the land, has now shifted tack. Young people are becoming aware that they are not likely to die from this disease and Andrews is now trying to convince them that there are other frightening long-term consequences if they catch the virus.

But if they’re honest, health authorities should point out that Covid 19 is not alone in being a virus that can have consequences after the victims get over the initial infection. Instead, while daily blasting us with endless facts and figures about the virus, the authorities appear to ignore or play down the serious adverse health impact of their lockdown policies. And here I am referring to health impacts that actually kill young and middle aged people as well as old people.

We are not getting a daily report from the Premier on suicides, domestic violence, self-harm, cancers going undetected, failure to attend to dental needs which can lead to other serious poor health outcomes and the impact of the postponement of elective surgery.

Cancer referrals to Australia’s leading oncology centres are down by one third.

This is not because Covid-19 has somehow cured cancer. What has happened is that people are being scared off going out and getting the checks, or they see themselves as banned from going out to get checked. Around the country people are told to get a Covid-19 test if they have a sniffle or a cough, even though for most who test positive, the infection will have little adverse impact.

Meanwhile countless others will suffer the serious consequences of not having their cancer detected early or having their elective surgery postponed. According to one study published in The Lancet as many as 3,621 additional people may die from breast cancer, bowel cancer, lung cancer or oesophageal cancer in the UK over the next five years because of delays in testing and diagnosis due to the COVID-19 response.

The sedentary lifestyle imposed by the lock-down will also have adverse long-term health consequences for some – increased risk of diabetes, breast and colon cancer, higher blood pressure etc.

And on top of that, for many there will be the depression and despair from the loss of jobs and the prospect of long-term unemployment. What are those who are so keen on the lock-down today going to say in eighteen months to the desperate youth who says she is useless because she has applied for a dozen jobs this week and not had one positive response?

This misery is imposed on us by the lock-downs and the response to Covid 19. Not by the virus in itself.

The Corona virus is not going away. There is no eradication, no elimination. New Zealand or the Northern Territory have not eliminated it any more than Antarctica has eliminated it. At best all they can do is keep their doors locked. But unless they are to become some sort of self-imposed permanent pariah state it’s only a matter of time until the virus turns up.

Only an effective widely rolled out vaccine will eliminate Covid 19. At this point in time researchers do not even know whether people can catch the disease more than once.

And if a vaccine is to have a really positive effect it would have to stop the old people who are dying from Covid 19 from getting infected. Vaccinating young healthy people who, if they caught the disease, would live through it with little impact will do little to alleviate concerns.

We are told that 739,000 people around the world have died from Covid 19. Sounds horrific, but this should be seen in perspective: 57 million people die every year.

Every death is a tragedy but none of us live forever. Until recently it seemed the world accepted that old people died. But in the corona virus tunnel-vision world a belief has developed that the young and middle-aged should be sacrificed in the hope that we can extend the life of the elderly. In doing so they also impose a miserable isolated death on those who are sick and dying.

The governments and health authorities accentuate the consequences of the Covid 19 infection while ignoring or playing down the health consequences of people getting the sack, going bankrupt and having their dreams destroyed. The recession/depression the health authorities and governments have condemned us to will go unmeasured. But they will result in many deaths and serious mental health issues.

print

Paul Malone is a journalist and author with over 30 years of experience having worked for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Financial  Review and the Canberra Times, where he was Political Correspondent for five years and wrote a weekly column until late 2017. His latest book Kill the Major – The true story of the most successful Allied guerrilla war in Borneo will be released in July

This entry was posted in Health. Bookmark the permalink.

Please keep your comments short and sharp and avoid entering links. For questions regarding our comment system please click here.
(Please note that we are unable to post comments on your behalf.)