Saturday, May 9, 2020

The lockdown death toll

The Silicon Graybeard looks at New York Governor Cuomo's comment that the cost of a human life is priceless.  He's less than impressed:
Get this through your thick skull:  No Matter What You Do People Will Die.  Like when you ordered nursing homes to take covid positive patients in and killed more people in nursing homes alonethan have died in total in all of my state (Florida)?  Like how 66% of patients with covid in NYC supposedly were isolated and staying at home - if it's even possible in NYC to stay in your apartment and not breathe the air from the whole building.  Or the whole block you're on.  

The big question is whether what you're doing is saving more lives than it's costing.  Add up all the good things you're accomplishing, add up all the bad things you're causing and weigh them against each other.  You can't answer that because you don't know any of those except the death count.  
I was listening to the radio yesterday and a (medical) doctor was being interviewed (can't remember his name, but he's from Stanford University's Hoover Institute).  He talked about this exact point - the death toll from the shutdown.  Three points in particular stuck with me:

  • Each month 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with cancer.  Medical Science tells us (loudly and repeatedly) that early detection and treatment is the key to survival.  Well, for two months, people haven't been getting biopsies because Governor Cumo's (and other Governor's) lockdown has basically shut this down.  We won't know the death toll for this for years, but there will be a spike in cancer deaths down the road because of the lockdown.
  • Cancer patients are foregoing chemotherapy, probably because the politicians and the media have frightened them with stories about increased risk for co-morbidities.  They seem to be more worried about catching a hypothetical disease that they are not taking therapies against a disease that will literally kill them.  How many will die is unclear, and we won't know for years, but the number sure isn't zero.
  • Organ donation surgeries are down 85% from a year ago, for the same reason.

There is a death toll here.  Nobody is looking at this, nobody is counting it, but it's real.  As Governor Cuomo put it, human life is priceless.  End the lockdown.


Ed Bonderenka said...

We are looking at it.
We are counting it.
We are bearing witness.

Glen Filthie said...

That may add to the death toll too... When people are ruined, they tend to take an interest in who’s responsible. I’m seeing a spike in animosity toward Jews, vibrants, rich people, posturing healthcare workers... and if the disgruntled act on it... yeah I can see certain people getting hurt. Given the other political powder kegs we’re sitting on... I sure hope these corona cigars were worth it...

Ted said...

Then there is questionable practice of assigning cause of death. For example, splashed all over todays headlines is the death of Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy. Did he die from Covid? or did he die from being Mauled from a Tiger and subsequent stokes and parallelization to the extend that almost any disease would put him over the edge. I have no idea but in most stories after the headline you have to read 6 to 10 graphs deep before they may mention that he was the one that was Mauled. His partner is still alive at 80 not infected.

Goatldi said...

I can tell you that when my husband was in the last years of his dance with chronic lymphocytic leukemia the year before he passed a series of scans that were needed became difficult to schedule as the facility used was so booked with women getting routine mammograms due to the annual breast cancer awareness month it was put off for three weeks from the time the scans were ordered.

I can only imagine the collateral damage in so many ways the lockdown has caused. From mental health to physical health. Least we forget the current Governor of my state releasing current inmates known high risk sex offenders and others to attempt to keep the virus from spreading in house.

Ominous Cowherd said...

I haven't checked in on Aesop for quite a while. Has he noticed the death toll from his chinkypox precautions yet? Or is he still banging on Newsom's shutdown-forever gong?

All this stuff was apparent early on, and as soon as we realized this wasn't flu-bola we needed to get back to work. Stupid or evil people can't or won't see that.

Aesop said...

No one, AFAIK, is advocating "shutdown-forever", least of all me.
And even the ones advocating "shutdown until a vaccine", of which I have heard, are utter morons, since a vaccine will take from 1-∞ years. There's no vaccine for AIDS after 45 years. There's none for the common cold since forever. Demanding one for this bug, which may never happen, is asinine beyond the descriptive capabilities of the English language.

You should maybe check in more frequently. I noted the time was ripe for ending lockdowns - with common-sense precautions - over two weeks ago. This was always intended as a temporary measure, for a host of reasons, not an end unto itself.

As long as what anyone is doing doesn't remotely resemble NYFC's "What virus?" non-precautions approach, it's probably a good idea. We don't need 49 more NYFCs.
Shelter-at-home rules stopped this virtually cold, in most of the country. Unlike recockulous skewed surveys, the infection rate in most of the US probably runs to less than 1%, Outside cities and towns, it's probably only a fraction of that.
OTOH, even granting the 20% rate such nonsense surveys claim, that got NYFC nearly 20K dead, from the virus.

They're why the Big Horse Apple is the poster child for why doing nothing was always a stupid idea.

Just bear in mind that opening things up will still kill more people, just as leaving things locked down will. TANSTAAFL.

We can handle the normal death rate.
We can handle the COVID deaths.
We cannot handle both at once.

And because we now do (and will) have to deal with both, most hospitals have to screen everyone, and anyone suspicious for Kung Flu still goes into isolation, which has cut average hospital capacity by 20-33% in cities. A one-horse town with a 4-bed Urgent Care/half-assed ER can't do that, and hopefully won't need to, because they can't cover both eventualities. So if you get the staff there infected asymptomatically, and they pass it on to Gramps and Grannie, well, tough shit for them, huh?
You want the economy open, that's the price you're asking to pay.
Remember that when the bill comes due.

So when you wipe out a chunk of that demographic some places, like will happen, just remember you knew that was going to happen up front, and suck it up.

Aesop said...

My comments at SiGs still stand:

1) Human life is not priceless. That's been the one constant of biology for aeons.
2) On a long enough time scale, the efficacy of the medical arts is 0%. Since ever.

A germane question is, how many people are you willing to kill through deliberate stupidity?
I would argue that the answer for that should be as close to zero as possible, factoring in all other information. Because at some point, even getting out of bed in the morning entails a risk of death.
Enjoining the government from killing people at either end of the teeter-totter, however, is always good policy, since the most efficient killer of human beings, after disease, is government, back since at least Hammurabic law.

McChuck said...

Aesop -
We aren't killing anybody. (And you wonder why people accuse you of proselytizing "shutdown forever"?) The killer cold kills people. The old, sick, weak and unlucky die of various causes, and this is just one more. You know what? Except for a few Democrat states, where they are forcing sick, old people into nursing homes that were previously virus-free, nobody is forcing sick, old people to leave their homes. They can stay inside as long as they want. Just don't expect the rest of us to do likewise. Shall we forbid grown men from eating steak, because infants can't chew? That makes just as much sense.

This year's Corona deaths, plus the flu, add up to 1998's flu season. The country didn't go full potato then. The hospitals didn't fail. Civilization didn't end. Nobody even noticed. Except the over a hundred thousand people who died of the flu that season, of course. And the similar number who died of the flu the very next winter, as well. A Democrat was in the Oval Office back then, so nothing bad must have happened.

And that's what all this is really about.

Aesop said...

Show your work, McChuck.
You're pulling numbers from God knows where.

Annual flu deaths average at perhaps 20,000/year, for an entire year.
COVID is at 80K in three months.
One of these things is not like the other.
There weren't 80,000 flu deaths any year since 1918.
Feel free to post links to actual data sources ( as opposed to speculation) that specify anything to the contrary.
So, tell me about the year so many people died in two months from the flu, since ever, they were loading bodies into reefer trucks in NYFC with forklifts.

I'll wait while you find that data.

I wish you a lot of luck showing any year in which confirmed number of deaths by influenza tops 10,000.

If you want to talk about CDC's annual SWAGuesstimates, pulled from right between their buttcheeks, let me tell you the ones about deaths from second-hand smoke and anthropogenic global warming. Then we can move on to domestic violence during the Superbowl, and cap it off with deaths from medical misadventure.

When you and 300M of your friends and neighbors asymptomatically spread COVID to 1M or more highly vulnerable people who then die of it, because they couldn't be troubled to wear a face mask or wash their nasty hands, you all will have killed them as surely as if you'd pushed them off a cliff with both hands. A virus doesn't just wander by, low-crawl up your driveway at night, and butt-rape you.

Anyone being Gilligan never grants a pass on moral grounds. Dogs don't know any better than to pee on fire hydrants. Monkeys are expected to fling their feces. people, however, are held to a higher standard of conduct and morality than senseless beasts.

And your right to swing your arm ends where someone else's nose begins. That's what seems to have baffled certain people since this started: the concept that their presumed rights aren't primary above everyone else's, simply because it's inconvenient for them.

That's the argument of a toddler with a wet diaper.

So, knowing that 40% to perhaps as many as 90% of cases of this infection are asymptomatic, you tell me:
Who are those "healthy" people you want to turn loose, and how do you know that?

Answers based on reference to the Underpants Gnome will be automatically disqualified.

Cincinnatus said...

Some are trying to count the cost