Biting the sound bites – “its no worse than the flu…”

As the pandemic has rebounded and restrictions are necessarily being brought back in – however reluctantly – some discredited old chestnuts from the Spring have been picked up, dusted off and pressed back into service in the hope that – if they are repeated enough with sufficient self confidence – people will take them seriously – and even repeat them under the impression that they are being bravely iconoclastic.

This is easy to check. The World Health Organisation figures for annual global deaths from seasonal flu give a range from 290,000 to 650,000, depending on the virulence of the strain. This is with normal health measures an vaccines deployed. The comparison looks like this.

So all the exceptional measures taken have kept COVID deaths down to somewhere between one and a half and three and a half times the annual impact of season flu in an eight month period. Imagine the death toll if we’d actually have tried to “let it rip” and “take it on the chin.”

In the UK, on average seasonal flu kills 17,000 people a year. Official government figures (which are on the conservative side in more ways than one) state that there have been 43,726 deaths so far. The ONS statistic for the number of excess deaths for the COVID period compared to annual averages is over 67,000 – a more accurate indication of its impact. That looks like this.

The columns for COVID should have an arrow head on them – because they are still going up.

With no vaccine and with exceptional hygiene and social distancing measures deployed, global deaths from COVID19 are over 1,008,000 so far; and with a daily death toll at a steady 5,000 or so it clearly has a long way to run until either an effective vaccine is found or effective measures are taken to eliminate the virus. It bears repeating that it took China just six weeks to eliminate domestic infections – keeping their total death toll below 5,000; so the aversion in the West to learning from their experince is looking more and more like self harm as time goes on and the casualties mount.

All figures accurate as of 20/10/20.

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