Because COVID deaths are being predominantly borne by the old, and deaths due to war are predominantly borne by the young, I would be very curious to see the equivalent charts in DALYs.
In other words, not "what is the number deaths" but "what is the expected number of healthy years of life lost."
DALY and QALY compared:
You may not believe that "the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members"; but how dare you say that someone losing a parent or loved one is "less damaging". And less damaging to what? The economy? The economy will survive. Your grandparents won't.
I would suggest you consider toning down your outrage. It's important and necessary to be able to compare and contrast tragedies without devolving into arguments about the incommensurability of human life. Such discussions may appear cold and calculating ("inhumane") but we must have them - ignoring a part of reality because it hurts does not make it go away.
I have seen reactions similar to yours around people unused to discussing issues like medical triage. If we truly want to understand a phenomenon, mitigate its impact, and do the actual most good, we need to be able to analyze and compare things from all angles: social, economic, political, moral, emotional, etc.
So long as such discussions are conducted in a shared context of understanding how weighty and intense these issues are (as it seems to me the parent was doing), they are for the good.
And people were clearly happy to make this trade-off every single day pre-corona. We don't lower the speed limit to 30mph, even though that would almost eliminate every single traffic accident. We don't ban certain pesticides that are really bad for the environment, because they work really well and increase the yield. We allow dangerous jobs where people can be maimed or killed, because someone needs to do it. We allow people to go parachuting, we allow smoking, unhealthy food, we allow people to own and use guns, even though all of these things let people injure and kill themselves and others.
Humans are notoriously bad at risk assessment, we undervalue known risks and overvalue unknown risks, and that's clearly what's going on with the lockdown hysteria, because the response is so clearly disproportional compared to how we're handling similar threats with similar risk profiles.
I haven't seen much discussion about at what point damage to the economy means we can't feed ourselves and medicine stops flowing. I have always wondered if we could "pivot" fast enough to feed everybody if the economy literately died.
I did read somewhere that Australian cities have 7 days of clean water after international shipping stops (in war for example). We are dependent on international shipping for chemicals that clean our water.
In the US the value of a human life is about $10 million, or about $150k per QALY.
Every single developed nation has put a dollar value on human life, and continues to do so, because without it you can't possibly allocate scarce resources like healthcare to achieve the greatest good. It helps save more lives than the alternative strategy you propose, i.e. sticking your head in the sand to avoid thinking about it because it's unpleasant.
What I'm suggesting is that we make sure we have food security, make sure we can provide medial care to the best of our ability, then pay whatever it costs to save peoples lives.
I would pay every sent I have to stay alive. I think most people would. I think the governments should take the same approach.
And yes, sure, most of the time it's super hard to decide what to do, but for this virus, we know all you have to do it isolate from each other for a few months. It's not even that hard.
As a side note I can't wait till somebody uses that 10m figure and applies it to deaths as a result of obesity. You think social isolation is hard, you should try giving up sugar, now that is hard!
So I don't think he meant economic loss from the event.
I would be great very grateful to other HNers if someone could point me towards a book or resource for how to effectively communicate with people who are in this mental groove. I feel as though my point was missed, and I can't think of any more effective way to convey it.
(EDIT: I suppose I could say that outrage tends to shut down discussion by inciting emotion over reason. I feel just as strongly about these human lives, which is why I want to be able to talk about them clearly.
I do not think saying this will affect the parent's mode, and I'm wondering if there's some better way to do that.)
Your comment seems to be "cancelling" mine purely on emotional basis despite of prefacing my intentions. God forbid, if I had purely stated it with no warnings.
I agree, it is pretty shitty to thing to say that older people are not as valuable to the society as the young. There is objectivity and truth to it, although it might be unpleasant. I am afraid that this is what's going on in the world today - objectivity takes a backseat, emotional and knee-jerk "cancel" culture prevails. It deeply bothers me.
I would kill him without thinking too hard if it meant saving my nephew, aged 10, from dying. My grandfather lived a full life and I'm sure if he had the choice to trade his life for his great grandchild he'd sacrifice what he has remaining in order to gift the chance at that same full life to his progeny.
On a societal scale we think the same way, an 80 year old dying is less bad than a 10 year old dying, its less tragic both emotionally and from society's perspective, economically. Losing a grandparent is tough, losing a sibling in the prime of their life is terrible, and losing a child is devastating. I can't comment on OP's feelings on the subject, they could have aid it in a callous and inhumane way, I don't know their inner thoughts, but the essence is true even if it is painful.
Obviously, these methods don’t account for the emotional value to loved ones. Maybe they should. Attempts to quantify that could include factors like mental health, and future wages (e.g. losing a parent earlier in life).
There are plenty of elderly who would love nothing more then to continuing to see their children, and their children's children grow up; and who would much rather not die intubated, or worse, suffocating.
Do you really think keeping someone alive in a care home (where most of the deaths occurred) for an extra year or so is the same as someone in tehir 20's being killed?
You seem to underestimate the suffering that the economic damage will cause. It's already predicted that more will die from hunger due to the measures that have been taken than from the virus itself.
WWII had higher civilian casualties then soldiers.
That is not to remove suffering of soldiers, but people here tend to talk about wars as if it did not affected everyone living there.
: Assuming the numbers in the chart are accurate, and that the deaths were evenly distributed across the 4 years
Add the Civil War (~620,000), Spanish Flu (~675,000) and WWII (405,399) to the chart too.
Full factor mortality adjusted tallies from early months don't seem to be included? I can find no mention of full-factor mortality adjustments on covidtracking.com.
In other words, are the numbers verified and adjusted by other methods? Full-factor mortality is among the most accurate measurements of society. Yet there appears to be no mention of it. Did I miss it?
1. The site starts off with "0 deaths" and hovers there for a second or two. I guess depending on how quickly the API can respond.
2. I personally believe COVID 19 is more comparable to the Spanish flu, therefore it should be illustrated on the same graph. I think that is probably 2-3 times the number of deaths due to COVID.
You will never get 20 million Americans per week to line up for testing unless it's the same 20 million over and over. You will never get Americans to sign up for voluntary contact tracing or vaccines. You can barely get half of us to wear masks all the time.
Furthermore, the federal government is limited in what it can enforce. It is up to the states individually to enforce these rules. The populace in many places have no desire to continue a locked-down, mask-mandated existence, regardless of the cost.
If COVID-19 had the same symptoms as Ebola all these things would change dramatically.
I say all this because the Election is marked on this timeline as if it's going to have a major impact on the pandemic in the U.S. I don't believe it will. We may see an impact but I think it will just be a result of having the pandemic fizzling out due to herd immunity etc.
Personally I feel that it has been hyped up beyond belief but I am aware that many disagree. It appears to be around 3 times as bad as normal flu season (going by infection fatality rate), yet for flu we don't really bother much at all. A bad flu season may get some attention in the press but not much more, though a bad flu may double the IFR.
We are destroying economies because of covid, and I predict that the long term damage will be far worse than the virus. I think its important to keep a sense of perspective.
The sheer willful ignorance required to propose that the economic impact is due to policy rather than self-interested reaction to the virus is magnificent. As if restaurants and bars are at partial capacity or closed only because of laws? It's ridiculous.
Laws or not, any business model that depended on close social gatherings, were doomed the moment the virus appeared. And the reality is that quite a lot of business models depend in part on people being closer than 6 feet apart, and they were going to feel an economic impact, no matter what. If that weren't true, we wouldn't see the commensurate drop in the common cold and flu.
It's like some people just want to be simplistic and shift the blame, just because they don't want to accept the unfairness of this virus. And also don't want to confront its disproportionate unfairness either, because that would mean having to at least consider making it more equitable in a distinctly ME ME ME! culture.
This article estimates between 39 - 56k for flu, more than your number.
Also given what you see in this video, coronavirus numbers are likely inflated due to the way they are calculated. Spain, Belgium and US essentially count every death that tested positive as a covid death.
Sweden coped fine without the panic and fear mongering around coronavirus. Looking at the number of deaths occurring just now the pandemic is essentially over for them.
We need to find a way to have an economy and maintain social distance.
It might mean wearing a mask all the time and staying away from work when you have any symptoms at all!
Simple. Stop hyping it up in the media.
Do you now how many people die in the world every day? Wouldn't it be wise to mention that to keep everything in context? Here is a graphic to help you (you will notice that covid doesn't seem that big of a deal, and that is from the height of the pandemic):
Or say we go down your route, lock down everything for flu. Then what about cars, plenty of people die in road accidents? The logical conclusion would be that we all end up living like caged chickens, in sterile bubbles with no interaction where we can do no harm.
Personally I choose quality of life over quantity.
Influenza and corona viruses thrive from November to March, so it might likely get worse.
* Many of the deaths were in care homes, the initial strategy was to send them there (in the countries that got hit early on). I think everyone realised in hindsight that this was a bad decision.
* Many of the most vulnerable people will have died already, the population that is left will be fitter and have more immunity. (A study of Mardid care homes showed 61% of residents had antibodies a few months back, and ~30% of staff).
* A lot more is known about the virus now.
* Everyone's lifestyle has changed massively.