Death happens from many causes.

We see and feel coronavirus impacting our lives daily. For a few, it is a vacation. For some, it is a hardship. For most of us, it is inconvenient. The daily number of deaths reached a peak on April 7th with 7,385 worldwide. Yesterday (April 13th) the number of daily deaths was 5421 worldwide.

I reviewed several countries reviewing the number of new cases and the number of daily deaths to ascertain if we have passed the peak. The peak varies by country. Italy was in terrible shape a month ago. The number of new cases is on the decline, as is the number of daily deaths.

Each state in the United States is different based on many factors. Whether we like social distancing or not, it appears that it is decreasing the daily number of new cases and the resultant number of daily deaths.

Why is coronavirus getting all the attention? The number of deaths is insignificant compared to other factors causing death in our world. Part of it is media hype – scare and fear! Another part of it is the non-existence of symptoms for days before one is aware, he or she has contracted the disease. It is hard to prevent what you cannot see.

A third part is an initial inability to test accurately for the disease. If you can’t see it nor test for it, it is scary. There is a real fear of being around someone who might be a carrier (unless you are young and bullet-proof). For me, it is at the risk of infecting a person more susceptible to the disease and possibly cause death.

With no pre-existing conditions, the death rate worldwide is under 1%. This is still higher than the seasonal influenza death rate, but still low. However, with cardiovascular disease, the death rate is 13.2% in confirmed cases. With diabetes, 9.2% in confirmed cases. With chronic respiratory disease, cancer, or hypertension, the percentages fluctuate around 8% in confirmed cases.

If you are under 50 years of age the death rate is under 0.5% and approaches 0.2% for those under 40 years of age. However, those statistics change significantly with increased age. A person in the 50-59 years old group has a 1.3% chance of death. From 60 to 69 years of age, the death rate jumps to 3.6%. For those over 70 years of age, it increases to 8%. And, for those over 80 years of age, the death rate hovers at or above 15%.

Who is at risk? The elderly with pre-existing conditions. Should we have quarantined this group of people first? I don’t know. We make a lot of decisions based on incomplete information and hopes that it works. The implementation of social distancing had a major impact in Italy to reduce new cases of coronavirus.

However, in the big scheme of things, how bad is coronavirus compared to other diseases and factors of death in our world. Here is some data from

From January 1 to April 14, 2020
3,711,406 Communicable disease deaths this year
2,348,033 Deaths caused by cancer this year
2,173,102 Deaths of children under 5 this year
1,429,198 Deaths caused by smoking this year
715,050 Deaths caused by alcohol this year
480,608 Deaths caused by HIV/AIDS this year
385,929 Road traffic accident fatalities this year
306,579 Suicides this year
280,429 Deaths caused by malaria this year
139,051 Seasonal flu deaths this year
121,793 Coronavirus deaths this year
88,367 Deaths of mothers during birth this year

Are some of these deaths preventable? Yes. How long have we known that smoking can kill people? Decades! Yet, smoking has caused ten times the number of deaths compared to coronavirus. I believe that, given adequate time, testing and treatment for coronavirus can make this disease manageable.

Live Long & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –

One Response

  1. Thanks, Red. I like this short, but impactful piece… makes the entire season we are living in seem survivable….and even manageable….appreciate the comparison at the end….puts things in perspective from a worldview.

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