As Coronavirus infections near 100,000 worldwide, fear of mass deaths for the poor

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Here’s a take on the problem from the fine folks at CNBC.



I think at this point we need to assume that it will infect everyone. Enough asymptotic people are walking around, and travelling, that infection is pretty much impossible to stop.

This combines with a few other factors that will ensure widespread infection everywhere at this point. Many countries, US included, have a health and economic system that seems purpose built to ensure that any pandemics are guaranteed to spread (high costs, many low paid workers with no sick days and crappy insurance).

Mortality rates are high enough that we are looking at a major crisis over the next few months. Most people under 50 will be sick for a few days and recover. The problem is in the older age groups, and in the people with comorbidity (hypertension, diabetes etc). The death rate for people over 70 is about 15%, so just about 1:7. The infection rate is high enough that it will take more than a couple of hastily purchased hotels to care for all the people who need hospitalization, it seems likely that health systems will be overwhelmed.

Those kinds of shocks will no doubt crash the economy (certainly the stock market) over the course of the year.

If only there was someone competent at the helm to navigate this difficult year. If only.



2020 Coronavirus deaths, 3300 (to date). 1918 Flu deaths, est. 20,000,000.

This is a good summary of where we are and where we might be headed. Take note of all the qualifiers throughout, we really truly lack basic data points for this bug so far. But for the “It’s no biggie, jus tlike a cold” crowd, please take this as a reality check.


We’re in the middle of this. The spanish flu pandemic lasted for around a year… maybe let’s compare numbers once this pandemic is over before we assume it’s NBD? :woman_shrugging:


Any clue what the 1918 flu death toll looked like less than 2 months into the pandemic? Me neither, but it was not 20 mil. And no, I am not saying this is “just like 1918.” We really do not know where this is going. But the potential is there for it to be bad. Unlike 1918, this COVID-19 does not seem to take the the young and vigorous, which is what made 1918 unique and terrifying. Covid is acting more like a “normal” viral pneumonia, taking the elderly and compromised (mostly.) But it is loose in a totally naive population, with no defenses. For a time, it is unchecked and could rival the death toll of that time, but not the demographic of that toll. Keep in mind, world travel in 2020 is rather easier and faster than 1918, and the world economy is very much more tightly enmeshed.


Spanish flu was very quick and efficient, people developed symptoms and were dead within hours.




I like how every other country seems to have hundreds of thousands of testkits/ability but the USA has officially done only a hundred tests - WTF hasn’t trump/pence/cdc simply asked another country for kits or copied their manufacturing process?

Oh that’s right, because they don’t actually want the public to know and not a single person in the media is asking this question every hour like it should be.


Saw a bit of a rant from Chris Hayes on msnbc. The CDC numbers were blatantly wrong. Numbers collected by several media groups (including his own) were inherently inaccurate (since they do not have access to most of the data) but were better than the CDC numbers and that was absolutely insane.


The Federal Aviation Administration has led the world in regulating best practices for many decades -until the 737 max scandal. Now the EASA is poised to take the torch. A similar story is now happening with the CDC.

I think this is how nations lose their world leader status.


While the poor suffer specifically from lack of access to intensive care should they need it, the rich and poor alike may suffer equally from our economic system being unable to incentivize the development of a vaccine:


they specifically rejected the who’s kits. and, not only that, but we’ve had the genetic sequence since china released in back in january.

some places immediately started the year+ long process to make a vaccine; our government didn’t try to start producing test kits till now.

willful ignorance. just like climate change, air pollution, tax cuts, immigration policy, the census… pretty much anything involving science and experts.


Christ, what an asshole


I wonder where you got your numbers. Here’s what I found

The sample’s overall case-fatality rate was 2.3%, in line with the earlier global estimates for the virus. No deaths occurred in those aged 9 years and younger, but cases in those aged 70 to 79 years had an 8% fatality rate and those aged 80 years and older had a fatality rate of 14.8%.

Paper’s linkes in the article

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you see how pence held back the government testkits so the testing duopoly that exists only in the United States could sell their own on Monday?

How much are those tests from Labcorp and Quest going to cost? All this is going to be shifted to people paying out of pocket? What about the millions upon millions people who don’t have insurance? Are the vaccines going to be done that way too? Because I can’t even afford the shingles vax and I’ve had it twice, wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.


Our current economic system, but we have army labs that work on vaccines, there’s no reason we can’t give them a few billion and have fewer diseases.