Since March 20, 2020, about 2 million people have died in association with coronavirus worldwide. To clarify, this does not mean they necessarily died directly from covid. Many people died with a pre-existing condition and were already at death’s door, and if they tested positive for covid and died, their cause of death was listed as SARS-Cov-2 infection rather than pneumonia or dementia or cancer.
Every year, about 56 million people die around the world from various causes. The main cause of death worldwide is cardiovascular disease, claiming 17.79 million lives each year. After that are cancers, claiming 9.56 million lives each year.
Deaths attributed to coronavirus, at around 2 million over the last year, are vastly outnumbered by several other causes of death, including: cardiovascular diseases and cancers, as mentioned above, as well as respiratory diseases, dementia, and digestive diseases. In the same ballpark as coronavirus death tolls, around 2 million people die every year from diarrhea, neonatal disorders, and diabetes. I know: the narrative is “if we hadn’t shut down, many more people would have died.” Maybe so. And maybe not. Look at Sweden, who didn’t have any shutdowns and had similar rates deaths as countries with lockdowns. However, Sweden has had a death rate higher than its Nordic neighbors…at least, so far.
This is the first year that SARS-Cov-2 has been identified and tracked. The other diseases mentioned above have taken lives consistently every year for a long time. It will be interesting to see what happens with coronavirus in the future in terms of collecting data. Maybe it will just be lumped in with “respiratory diseases”; maybe the numbers will be relatively small because herd immunity will be reached at some point.
Also interesting is that the vast majority of coronavirus related deaths are in the elderly (age 70 and up) and children tend to have mild to no symptoms of the disease. In comparison, diarrheal diseases takes close to 2 million lives each year, many of them children. Diarrhea kills 2,195 children every day—more than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined. Diarrheal diseases account for 1 in 9 child deaths worldwide, making diarrhea the second leading cause of death among children under the age of 5. Sadly, diarrhea is easily treated in the developed world, but in poorer nations, access to treatment is scarce or unavailable and many die as a result.
Why do we care so much about coronavirus deaths and not about other causes of death? Why have we gone into a panic about it? Where is the panic about cardiovascular disease and diabetes, in a culture of fast-food dining and the highest obesity rates in the world? Where is the panic about cancer, in a world filled with BPA, glyphosate, and chemical additives in food?
If we apply the same logic used for instilling mask mandates and shutdowns, should the government instill mandates on businesses and activities that encourage the development of the most prevalent and preventable diseases in the world: cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes? Should focus on sending basic medical care to areas of the world stricken with diarrhea, so that their children can live?
And lastly, why do we view death as something to avoid, something that is unacceptable? We all have to die. The life expectancy in the USA was 39 years old not too long ago. If we live to be 80 and happen to die from covid or any other disease, we’ve lived longer than most people on this planet get to live. Why isn’t it ok to die from coronavirus? I don’t mean this in a heartless way. I mean it sincerely. If someone dies from heart disease, it seems acceptable. And cancer–we accept that people die from cancer and grieve their loss and move on. We don’t shut down businesses or impose harsh mandates on all of society to try to prevent people dying from heart disease or cancer or even flu or pneumonia.
These are things I am pondering tonight, in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. Some people will be offended by what I write here if they were to read it. I don’t care about that anymore. I feel like I am coming out of the closet in a way. It is good to get it out of me.