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Thursday, 14 May 2020

2019 corona virus versus 1918 Spanish flu

Yesterday, an American friend sent me a video on Facebook Messenger: Covid-19 is a HOAX. I replied that I do not agree. Covid-19 is real and results in horrible deaths. I stressed that the micro view is, however, very different from the macro view. Also see my recent blog.

Almost every news item is micro focusing on absolute numbers, like the daily number of deaths and contaminations. This micro view on absolute numbers can, however, also be used in a macro view. My diagram below shows a micro-macro comparison of Covid-19 fatalities versus 1918 Spanish flu fatalities for various territories and globally.



The difference between Covid-19 and the 1918 Spanish flu is mind-blowing. Covid-19 is about 100x smaller (ie, 0.05% vs 4.5%). Actually, the Covid-19 impact is even 250x smaller after adjusting for the average historical mortality (eg, 0.018% vs 4.5%). Please see this Wired article for the numbers in the far right column of my diagram.

In due time, there will be immense criticism about the Covid-19 approach as the numbers did not and still do not warrant the response taken by many countries. Actually, lockdowns probably increased the number of fatalities as a virus is more lethal inside (see my recent blog).

Covid-19 is definitely not a hoax and/but it's certainly not a pandemic like the 1918 Spanish flu.

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Note LO: there's no song to illustrate the above as any song would probably get insensitive.

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