The COVID-19 Mortality Risk vs. Death by Automobile

coronavirus

A study by John P. A. Ioannidis at Stanford Prevention Research Center et al entitled "Population-level COVID-19 mortality risk for non-elderly individuals overall and for non-elderly individuals without underlying diseases in pandemic epicenters" examines the relative risk of dying from COVID-19 in people under the age of 65 and compares this risk to the risk of death in older individuals as well as providing estimates of the absolute risk of COVID-19 death for the entire population.

The authors used data from countries (Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland) and United States states (Louisiana, Michigan and Washington) or major cities (New York City) with at least 250 COVID-19 deaths effective on April 4, 2020.  The death records had to include age which allowed the authors to calculate the number of deaths in people under the age of 65 with no underlying predisposing conditions.  The study then compared the death risk as an equivalent to the death risk associated with driving a motor vehicle.  For motor vehicle death statistics, the authors used data provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the United States and data provided by the International Transport Forum Road Safety Annual Report for 2018 for European nations.

Let's look at their findings.  The authors found the following:

1.) individuals under the age of 65 account for between 5 percent and 9 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the eight European epicentres and approached 30 percent in three of the American hotspots.  

2.) People 65 years and younger had a 34- to 73-fold lower risk of dying from COVID-19 than those 65 years of age and older in Europe and a 13- to 15-fold lower risk of dying from COVID-19 than those 65 years of age and older in New York City, Louisiana and Michigan.

3.) The absolute risk of dying from COVID-19 for people 65 years of age and younger ranged from. 1.7 per million in Germany to 79 per million people in New York City. The absolute risk of dying from COVID-19 for people 80 years of age and older ranged from 1 in 6,000 in Germany to 1 in 420 in Spain.

Here is the absolute risk of dying of COVID-19 for people 65 years of age and younger for all nations/states/cities in the study (in deaths per million people):

Belgium – 11

Germany – 1.7

Italy – 30

Louisiana – 30

Michigan – 18

Netherlands – 6.1

New York City – 79

Portugal – 2.5

Spain – 24

Sweden – 3.3

Switzerland – 5.3

Washington – 4.6

Almost all deaths that took place within the under 65 years of age group occurred between the ages of 40 years and 65 years.

Now let's look at the risk of dying from COVID-19 compared to the risk of dying while driving a motor vehicle.  To calculate the death risk, the authors calculated the following:

"We then divided the estimated miles travelled that correspond to the same death risk by the number of days that have passed since the first COVID-19 death was recorded in each location and until April 4, 2020. The result transforms the average risk of COVID-19 death during the period where COVID-19 deaths occur into an equivalent of miles travelled by car per day."

Here is the absolute risk of dying of COVID-19 for people 65 years of age and younger for all nations/states/cities in the study as miles travelled per day equivalent:

Belgium – 37

Germany – 9

Italy – 48

Louisiana – 88

Michigan – 105

Netherlands – 27

New York City – 415

Portugal – 11

Spain – 57

Sweden – 25

Switzerland – 34

Washington – 11

As you can see, the risk of dying from COVID-19 for a person under the age of 65 is equivalent to the risk of driving a distance of between 9 and 415 miles by car per day during the COVID-19 fatality season.  Most of the COVID-19 hotbeds are on the lower end of this range where the risk of death is roughly the same as the risk of dying from an automobile accident on a daily commute.

Here's the authors' conclusion:

"People less than 65 years old have very small risks of COVID-19 death even in the hotbeds of the pandemic and deaths for people less than 65 years without underlying predisposing conditions are remarkably uncommon. Strategies focusing specifically on protecting high-risk elderly individuals should be considered in managing the pandemic….

Aggressive measures such as lockdowns have been implemented in many countries. This is a fully justified “better safe than sorry” approach in the absence of good data. However, long-term lockdowns may have major adverse consequences for health (suicides, worsening mental health, cardiovascular disease, loss of health insurance from unemployment, etc.) and society at large. It is even argued that lockdowns may be even harmful as a response to COVID-19 itself, if they broaden either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic and thus do not come to medical attention." (my bolds)

Click HERE to read more from this author.


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