A Journal of the Plague Year (43)


April 28, 2020

The Ontario government seems to be getting a grip on re-opening the province for business. Premier Doug Ford had announced a tentative plan in several stages. A download is available from the Ontario government website
It is broken up into stages:

Stage 1
In the first stage, we will consider:
• opening select workplaces that can meet current public health guidelines
• allowing essential gatherings of a limited number of people
• opening some outdoor spaces
• continued protections for vulnerable populations

Stages 2 and 3 are essentially more of the same but bigger and more extensive. No definite dates are included. Protect, restart, recover are the mantras governing the program. When the stages will be initiated will depend on whether the medical situation is controllable and what the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health recommends. Dates will have to be inserted soon to enable people to plan forward. But a good start.

Switching gears here to a medical study from Italy on the state of patients who die from coronavirus,  the authors found that the mean age was 79 years and more men die than women. Over 2000 patients were considered in the study. There were some surprising results….

Data on diseases were based on chart review and was available on 2,041 patients dying in-hospital for whom it was possible to analyse clinic charts. Mean number of diseases was 3.3 (median 3, SD 1.9). Overall, 3.6% of the sample presented with a no comorbidities, 14.4% with a single comorbidity, 21.1% with 2, and 60.9% with 3 or more.

The main comorbidities were heart disease, atrial fibrillation, hypertension (at 70%), type-2 diabetes, chronic renal failure and obesity. There were many others. Only 3% of deaths involved no comorbidities.

Now that there is a real medical emergency, not one of the fictitious ones dreamed up by granola-crunching Volvo-drivers of the Whole Foods crowd and their rapacious lawyer pals, the anti-vaxxers seems to have been drowned out by people screaming for a vaccine. In Coronavirus: Anti-Science Activism Is a Luxury for the Privileged , Alex Berezow, a microbiologist, gives them a good thrashing:

Being anti-science and anti-technology is a luxury for when times are good. In times of crisis, people beg for help from scientists, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies.
With coronavirus still sweeping the globe and racking up a substantial death toll, it’s hard to find much to be happy about. But here’s one thing: Anti-vaxxers, anti-GMO(rons), and Big Ag and Big Pharma bashers are no longer in fashion, hopefully permanently.
The biggest change may be in regard to the anti-vaccine movement. No matter what, these people will never go away entirely. (They’re sort of like cockroaches after a nuclear war.)

Usually, the antivaxxers are of the same tribe as the anti-GMO types, so this is particularly sweet:

Even more poetic is the fact that some of the vaccines are GMOs. Johnson & Johnson is working on a vaccine that genetically modifies a harmless adenovirus to resemble coronavirus….

When times are good, people complain about the alleged excesses of capitalism and the greed of the healthcare system. But when times are bad, the very same people come begging for help from scientists, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies, proving once and for all that anti-science activism is a luxury for the privileged.

If they’re opposed to vaccines, let’s see them pass it up when one is developed.

Rebel Yell

Arran Gold

The key quote from that Italian report that you cited is “Mean age of patients dying for SARS-CoV-2 infection was 79 years (median 80, range 0-100, IQR 73 -86). …. median age of patients dying for SARS-CoV-2 infection was more than 15 years higher as compared with the national sample diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection (median age 62 years).”

That is a difference of 18 years which further confirms that if you are infected by the virus you are unlikely to die unless you are well beyond the retirement age. Also note that median age in Italy is 45.5 whilst the median age of those infected is 62. You also have to be much older to be infected. Most likely we will see similar distribution in other countries.