How can a disease with 1% mortality shut down the United States?

Originally published at:


Or what anyone with basic math skills will say ‘No shit Sherlock’ to.
1% sounds small but it really isn’t when you are talking 1% of 30 300 Million people.

Edit thanks @Mister44 for correcting my not quite awake brain.


I saw an image of this earlier and looked up the author to get a better link…eeeew. The essay is superb, but I don’t want to send around links in case I have to answer questions about him.


This is what scares me most about Covid-19. If you get sick, it’s not just a lucky roll of the dice if you live our not depending on if your local hospital still has ICU beds. It’s about the rest of your entire life being permanently disabled. That means your life expectancy just went down about 20 years, you aren’t doing all the fun hikes and bikes that you were before, no more jogging, and put that beer down.

New normal, and wear a f’ing mask.


I think these numbers are too speculative, and not from an infectious disease specialist, and not peer-reviewed, so I don’t especially trust his analysis. But even if he is off by quite a bit, it does make the point that death numbers are a fraction of the long-term health impact.


On top of these numbers factor in all the people who are unable to receive proper and timely medical care for life threatening ailments that aren’t observing the shut-down, such as cancer and heart disease, because our medical infrastructure is literally pushed beyond the breaking point.

Doctors and nurses are literally taking pay cuts and then dying to fight COVID-19. When one dies, or becomes permanently maimed by the illness, we can’t just promote someone on the spot to take their place. For a very real example, read this and try not to cry:

I’m so exhausted by the mental gymnastics on display by those trying to deny that this isn’t a very real and very preventable catastrophe that has been unfolding for the past few months.


Not just speculative, sometimes just outright wrong according to his own sources.

One study published in March found that out of 416 hospitalized Covid-19 patients, 19% showed signs of heart damage.



All that is true of this disease in countries that are not totally borked, as we are.

Perhaps it is not the disease but the dysfunction that truly precipitates the oncoming catastrophe

keep focus on russia, trump


Er, I assume you meant 300 million people?


Yeah, even in the early days, when we didn’t know about the permanent damage it causes to survivors, just having something close to a 1% death rate made it enough to screw over the country, even if we flattened the curve. But not flattening the curve, so that the overall death rate increases, not to mention having all these serious health impacts, all of this makes covid incredibly dangerous to the country and its economy. Which means the continuing blithe disregard for the virus and refusal to practice basic hygiene practices becomes completely and utterly insane. Just utterly bonkers.

I can’t tell you how I despair. I live in the SF Bay Area that doesn’t have so many Trump death cultists demanding people not wear masks, but I still see so many people maskless in my neighborhood, which is largely poor and latinx. It’s ignorance, not malevolence that’s leading to mask avoidance. I can’t even imagine living somewhere conservative and having to deal with anti-mask protestors. That would put me over the edge.

Well, so a slight undercount based on current information, then, rather than “outright wrong.” (They were assuming a 1% mortality rate, so they were projecting 18% with heart damage rather than 19%.) Which just reinforces the point being made.


The mortality rate alone should scare the piss out of people. 1% is a lot of folks. Would you jump on a roller coaster if you knew 1 out of every 100 folks who rode it died? They would not just shut the coaster down, they’d dismantle the damned thing, melt it down for scrap, and try to erase its entire existence.

Toss in all the rest of the potential fall out, and yeah… our economy would crash AND way more people would be dead. Lose, lose. But that seems to be what the GOP are voting for.


Hmm… a disease that only kills the 1%, you say …?

As supervillian plans go, I’ve heard worse.


Here is how


Yeah not quite awake then. Fixed.


The economic argument gets weaker every time you look a little closer. In the early days of the lock downs one of the arguments I made to people was to just run the numbers on things like the cost of coffins or cremation for .5% of the population, a couple of days of ICU care for 5%, and a week of sick days for 1/2 the population. Just that was enough to justify an absurdly long quarantine, even without looking at long term damage or the human toll.


Another important piece of information - this is mortality not fatality rate. Mortality is calculated across the entire population & assumes every person has a roughly equal chance of exposure. Fatality is # of deaths divided by # of diagnosed cases… Both in the US and across the world, that has held pretty steady at just under five percent.


His conclusion: “The choice is not ‘ruin the economy to save 1%.’ If we reopen the economy, it will be destroyed anyway.

The world seems split between those who understood this from the beginning and those who never could. Some politicians appear to take a middle ground, but really they’re just trying to pander to the Know-Nothings as centrists are wont to do.


He wrote that 18 of 19 hospitalized patients would have heart damage - 95%. The actual numbers were 19% of hospitalized patients.


Even in wartime, the worst casualties are not deaths, but massive incapacitation. Strains on relief/medical support services, having to deal with elaborate remediation efforts.


Where is he getting the 1% value? As of today about 135,000 have died in the US. That works out to 0.04% of the population. If we double that it’s only 0.08% for the year which is less than 1/10th of the claimed 1%. Anybody got a link that gets me to 1% of the population?

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