Coronavirus and taking care on the stairs

These are the fatality rates for Coronavirus, which suggest the difficulties start at 50 and get dangerous from aged 60 onwards:

This table shows that the first economy of the world seems to have a surprisingly small occurrence and it may be that the average American’s preference not to travel abroad helps, but it could also be that their insurance based individual healthcare constitutes a perverse incentive both not to report illness nor undergo testing and therefore the virus could be happily spreading without President Trump being any the wiser – as it were.

In the UK, with a Coronavirus fatality rate, thus far at least, hovering around 1% you are still more likely to die after falling down the stairs (code W10* in the linked downloadable ONS spreadsheet) than you are by being diagnosed with Coronavirus. And you cannot prevent stair falling even with self -isolation – unless you move into a bungalow. But at least falling down the stairs is not usually catching.

So why all the worry? Should, instead, bungalows perhaps be compulsory?

If Italy’s current Coronavirus death rate of almost 5% were replicated in Britain, things could quite quickly reach the stair falling death rate and that could be in just six months. That is why it is important to be rid of it as soon as possible.

But in many ways I’d suggest the greatest importance of the epidemic is its ‘side’ effects – on those that fall down the stairs, for example. Roughly 250k require admission to A&E. When so many of the medical resources may be devoted elsewhere something will have to give. That is why epidemics are so problematic – particularly when the UK has a low and declining number of hospital beds per head and almost every other OECD country has a stable or increasing number.

So it may be innovative to treat patients at home but there is little choice.

And appeals to the better nature of those who have been in contact with sufferers to self-isolate is also a recognition of reduced resources – and resources that have been purposely previously reduced by the state-hating government. It is basically an appeal by that government, which is itself entirely motivated by self interest to the rest of us to ‘have a heart’ – a cry to our better nature by those that appear themselves never to have displayed one.

As Dominic Cummings, not himself a Conservative, has been kind enough to point out:

I know a lot of Tory MPs and I am sad to say the public is basically correct. Tory MPs largely do not care about these poorer people. They don’t care about the NHS. And the public has kind of cottoned on to that.

The only small comfort possible is that whereas most diseases disproportionately impact the disadvantaged, this is one where for once they seem not to be those most in danger.

But they still have to be careful on the stairs.