Those who argue that “the cure is worse than the disease” are arguing for mass deaths. In graphs.

The measures taken in China have eliminated domestic infections and kept the total number of deaths to just over 3 000. This is a staggering achievement. The potential number of people who could have died can be worked out using the standard figures Health Experts are using throughout the world as a rule of thumb. 80% of the population infected with a 1% fatality rate. With a population of 1, 439, 000, 000 people this means that the number of people who could have died in China in a matter of months is 11,500,000 (1% of 80% of 1.439 million). Compare this with other disasters and you  get a better sense of the scale of this. The Y axis is in millions.

coronavirus china 2

The UK picture

The projection made by Imperial College for deaths in the UK  the attempt to ride the tiger implied by the “herd immunity” approach – is half a million in a matter of months. This is more than total UK casualties (military and civilian) through the whole of World War 2.coronavirus UK

The prospect for the United States

A similar projection of 80% infections and a 1% fatality rate would produce 2, 800,000 deaths in the United States. This would be the single most catastrophic loss of life in any one event in US history, more than twice as many dead as during the four years of the Civil War. The most recent domestic trauma, 9/11 with 3,000 dead, barely registers on this graph.

coronavirus US

These figures speak for themselves.

China is to be applauded for clamping down hard on this virus. Those in the “West” arguing to “take it on the chin” like Trump, Bolsonaro and their acolytes on the Alt right are careless of mass deaths among their own people.

3 thoughts on “Those who argue that “the cure is worse than the disease” are arguing for mass deaths. In graphs.

  1. Your population figures for China are out by a magnitude of 1 million. The current population is 1.386 billion according to the UN. Otherwise good stuff, although the 1% death rate is possibly too high. South Korea said there’s was 0.86% and that would make quite a difference to the projections. Truth is some of this stuff is highly speculative. But your basic point that a rigorous testing regime reduces deaths is absolutely spot on.


    1. Point taken on China’s population. So that would be 11 million deaths on a 1% death rate of 80% of the population being infected. I’m taking 1% to be a fairly conservative estimate given that the current death rate in the UK is about 4%; which would give an even more terrifying projection. The absence of comprehensive testing here fits with a “herd immunity approach” much more than any attempt to actually control this thing.


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