May 9, 2020
As the Ontario economy is almost all shut down, it is worth looking a little more closely at the state of play with the medical facts of the coronavirus. Millions of livelihoods are being destroyed and lives disrupted. Does this all need a re-think?
In a previous missive, we looked at the critiques of the Imperial College model used by the UK government to lockdown (lockup, sh-h-urely) the entire nation. This example has been followed by the US, Canada and other countries.
According to Ontario government figures, so far there have been 19 944 cases with 1599 deaths. According to the National Institute on Ageing, in Ontario there have been 6815 cases in 289 care homes with a total of 1141 deaths. So the total number of deaths in the population excluding care homes is 458. With the population of Ontario at 14.4 million or thereabouts, this amounts to one death per 31 441 people. Of course, these numbers will change but probably not much in proportion.
From the CDC in the US, we learn that in all hospitalizations, 59% have high blood pressure, 50% are obese, 35% have cardiovascular disease, and 42% have some metabolic disease. 90% have one or more comorbidities , and for the older population (>65 years old) 56% have two or more comorbidities. Of the 458 Ontario deaths outside care homes, and assuming 90% have comorbidities, then if you are reasonably healthy (not diabetic, normal blood pressure, not obese etc.) the probability of your dying is about 46 in 14.4 million, or one in 313 000.
Clearly, isolating and protecting the residents of care homes and retirement homes is the critical part, but does this justify locking down the entire population and shutting down the economy? Why not let the under 50s return to work now?