As America slowly reopens with many governors still heavily restricting businesses and residents, the CDC released a new report indicating almost every person who died from COVID-19 had an underlying condition.
The going notion about COVID-19’s danger to the general public has morphed from all being at equal risk of death and serious complications from this unknown adversary to researchers and scientists acknowledging the danger from Coronavirus is substantially lower for young people without preexisting conditions.
As of the end of August, 185,000 Americans have tragically died from COVID-19 or COVID-19 related complications. According to the CDC’s latest findings, “for 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned” on death certificates. However, 94% of deaths attributed to COVID-19 had multiple causes. “For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19,” the report reads, “on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.”
The CDC lists the following ailments as qualifying underlying conditions:
- Influenza and pneumonia
- Respiratory failure
- Hypertensive disease
- Vascular and unspecified dementia
- Cardiac Arrest
- Heart failure
- Renal failure
- Intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning and other adverse events
- Other medical conditions
The report also broke down the number of deaths by age and gender, once again confirming those primarily at risk from COVID-19 are the sickly and elderly. According to the report, people under the age of 24 accounted for 337 of the 164,000 reported deaths (CDC data often lags more than the up-to-date reporting by John Hopkins University) despite making up 146 million Americans whereas people over 75 accounted for over 95,000, or 58% of deaths.
Children under 15 are six times more likely to die from influenza or pneumonia than COVID-19. As K-12 schools across the United States remain closed for the 20-21 school year, one must wonder whether the fear for student safety is misguided or based on misinformation.
The CDC reports 15-24 as one age group, so we’re unable to make a full analysis of all school aged kids relative risk to Coronavirus, but even this age block mixed with teenagers and young adults is 17% more likely to die from the the flu or pneumonia than COVID-19.
While there are 84,000,000 K-College aged Americans, only 308 deaths have been associated with that age group, less than 0.002% of COVID-19 deaths nationwide.
A revelation like this has major implications for policies recommended by governors and health officials throughout the country. For starters, the decision to indiscriminately shut down industries and businesses with no real timeline for a complete reopening will be questioned as this virus does not affect all Americans equally. It’s becoming more clear that shutting down the entire economy rather than selectively shielding the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions was the wrong choice.
The average person is now left wondering whether COVID-19 is as severe on its own as we were originally told, or if it’s a disease that primarily exacerbates other already dangerous ailments.
While critics rightfully point out that even one death is tragic and too many, many fail to weigh countervailing risks. According to the New York Post, there is a “37,000 increase [in death] for each percentage-point rise in the unemployment rate. It comes from a book called Corporate Flight: The Causes and Consequences of Economic Dislocation by Barry Bluestone, Bennett Harrison and Lawrence Baker.”
“Here’s the paragraph from Thomas’ book that applies,” the NY Post continues, “According to one study [the one by Bluestone et al.] a 1 percent increase in the unemployment rate will be associated with 37,000 deaths [including 20,000 heart attacks], 920 suicides, 650 homicides, 4,000 state mental hospital admissions and 3,300 state prison admissions.”
“I would hesitate to extrapolate from the old estimates of corporate flight as a means of quantifying present circumstances,” Thomas told the NY Post in an email, adding that “there are too many variables involved now to assert definitive cause and effect between unemployment and the litany of health consequences cited in the 1981 study.” But “it informs our thinking about some of the potential problems that may accompany this wave of joblessness.”
Though factors are different now than back in 1981 when the study was conducted, the effects of lockdown will likely last for decades to come.
Categories: U.S. News