How flat is flat enough?

When all this pandemic crap started, one of the things you heard often was “We need to flatten the curve!“, meaning the number of deaths attributed to Covid-19 had to be controlled. It’s referring to a graph and the “spike” that always appears when something that is being counted goes up unexpectantly.

So here we are, 6+ months into the pandemic and the tag line “Flatten the curve” is not being plastered across the news as much (or at all) as it was in the beginning. Maybe there is something in the actual data that will help explain this.

Looking at the Center for Disease Control’s web site, we find a handy list of the number of deaths attributed to Covid-19. (Thank you Google for finding this in less time that it takes to type in 3 words into my search bar). Don’t just trust me and what I’m saying here, go to the CDC’s web site and look this up for yourself. HERE is the link I used.

Looking at the data, we see 204,613 deaths attributed to Covid-19, out of a total of 2,226,473 deaths listed. That’s just over a 9% death rate when you compare the two.

The CDC web site lists the number of deaths by the week in which they occurred. Here is that data:

Week endingAll deaths involving Covid-19Deaths from all causes
Total Deaths204,6132,226,473
02/01/20058,614
02/08/20159,324
02/15/20058,735
02/22/20558,765
02/29/201159,205
03/07/203559,607
03/14/205558,588
03/21/2057259,113
03/28/203,16562,904
04/04/2010,02572,163
04/11/2016,19078,925
04/18/2017,07476,593
04/25/2015,43473,677
05/02/2013,15369,095
05/09/2011,17066,678
05/16/209,16964,338
05/23/207,17861,456
05/30/206,11559,483
06/06/204,99058,709
06/13/204,19757,819
06/20/203,80257,732
06/27/203,78258,216
07/04/204,47259,492
07/11/205,69761,504
07/18/207,07362,680
07/25/208,07663,605
08/01/208,14263,381
08/08/207,69362,733
08/15/207,02162,077
08/22/206,09660,171
08/29/205,36257,589
09/05/204,57255,780
09/12/204,11654,471
09/19/203,63953,230
09/26/203,33351,118
10/03/202,38843,302
10/10/2081025,601

Now let’s convert this data to a graph. The red line is the total number of deaths that they tracked and the blue line is the number of Covid-19 deaths:

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the “first wave” of Covid deaths had spiked in early April and a second, smaller wave had occurred at the beginning of August.

Looks pretty flat to me.

Meanwhile, the total number of deaths (not counting Covid deaths) has continued to meander along in the 50,000-60,000 range (if you don’t count the last 2 weeks of data, because those numbers have not been finished being counted yet).

Let me say that again: 50-to-60- THOUSAND deaths EACH WEEK attributed to something other than Covid-19.

EACH. FUCKING. WEEK.

I’m reminded of a bit that the late Bill Hicks used to do. Where is the “Pro-life” movement now? Certainly not jumping up and down about this statistic.

A quick Google search finds lots of other numbers to compare:

  • If you compare the number of deaths in the USA (219K) compared to total number of cases (8.12M) it’s 2.50%.
  • If we compare the number of California deaths (16,955) to the total number of California cases (876K) we find it’s 1.94%.
  • If we compare the number of worldwide deaths (1.11M) to the worldwide number of cases (39.6M) it’s 2.81%

Everyone is panicking about the Covid death rate, yet the CDC web site also attributes 480,317 deaths annually to smoking related issues. This means over 25% of the deaths in America are caused by smoking, yet people are not having panic attacks over this. Why not? They should! Emphysema is a lousy way to die, just ask both of my parents…. Oops, too late.

How many deaths happen each year because of other, preventable things? Nearly 1.25 million people are killed in car accidents each year. Yet we are not trying to outlaw cars.

In 2018, there were 48,344 recorded suicides. At least we have a phone hotline for them, woopie doo, that’s helpful…. not. At the same time, mental health is not regarded as a priority, even worse, it’s looked down upon by many folks as a sign of weakness within that person. If we can’t get physical health care for everyone, we sure as hell won’t get mental health care.

And let’s not forget about the non-death related problems in the world…. Those graphs are never ending…. But I digress…..

Like everything in life, you should PUT YOUR EFFORTS WHERE THEY ARE MOST EFFECTIVE. In other words, worry about the important stuff and don’t sweat the small stuff.

About hemibill

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