Vaccines start to roll out all over the world as the first deliveries have already reached destinations or are on their way. The United Kingdom began vaccination already last week, while in the United States, it started yesterday. Also, the first shipments in Canada arrived, and slowly but surely, the production will match demand.
It is, perhaps, the most appropriate moment to discuss why the world was shut down by a disease with only a 1% mortality rate? After all, it is mandatory for people to understand why governments and health organizations went such a long way to shut the economies (in some cases, like in the Euro area or the United Kingdom, they did so twice).
How 1% Mortality Can Ruin a Society
It all starts with a fairly simple point many people miss completely – the law of large numbers. Effectively, the results will come closer to the expected value the more trials are performed. In this case, if we consider the United States with a population roughly of 328 million, a 1% mortality rate means 3.28 million people dead.
This will, by itself, create chaos in any economy. If this is not enough, one should add the people dying regularly, every year, from events like car crashes, etc. So, the actual number at the end of one year is much bigger.
Moving forward, how about the people that survive the infection? As it turns out, for every one person that dies, there are nineteen more that require hospitalization. Moreover, eighteen of those will have permanent heart damage, three will have strokes, two neurological damage, and the list goes on.
To wrap up, that “tiny” 1%, in fact, means 3.28 million people died, 62.35 million were hospitalized, 59.07 million people with heart damage, and so on. The list continues with loss of cognitive function (about 6 million people), muscle weakness (about 6.5 million), lung damage, and strokes (about 33 million people).
All of a sudden, perspectives change. It is not about ruining the economy by shutting it down – it is about saving it.
Europe just announced new full lockdowns in Germany and the Netherlands. Spain tightens restrictions during the Christmas holidays, Italy prepares to do the same, while the United Kingdom reverses back to the toughest lockdown it had during the pandemic.
After all, there is no other alternative. No country can sustain those numbers derived from “just 1% mortality rate”.
Not even developed ones.