Monday, March 16, 2020

Perspective: Don't Panic

Some historical perspective.  The 1918 influenza epidemic had a 2.5% mortality rate.  So far the U.S. coronavirus has a 2% mortality rate.  Gina Kolata’s Flu examines why it was so disruptive.  Unlike most strains, which primarily killed young and old, the 1918 strain killed young adults, causing great disruption to operation of the society.  Coronavirus is mostly killing elderly and other immune-compromised populations.   These are individual tragedies, but our society survives tens of thousands of flu deaths each year, mostly of older people.  Europe is hard hit because it has a much older population than the U.S.  

 Smoking is likely a contributor; China produces and consumes 30% of the world’s cigarettes.  This list of cigarettes consumed per year per person is dominated by European nations.

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