It’s been a bit over a year since this pandemic started. In looking back, I’m beginning to think we should have protected the vulnerable (those with underlying conditions, and those over 75), followed CDC guidelines, allowed virtual school for high school and college students and working from home where feasible, but let this virus run its course. It was wise to flatten the curve and give hospitals time to get a plan in place. Others suggested we should have never locked everything down due to the impact on mental health and the economy. Why? This virus ended up with a death rate of 1.8 percent in the US, unlike 2003 SARS with 10 percent and 2008 MERS with 34 percent death rate for total cases. But COVID-19 was definitely more contagious than its earlier counterparts.
What’s interesting is that Sweden, who never locked down except for those who were the most vulnerable, has the same death rate (1.8) as the US and is closer to developing herd immunity. They also avoided the second covid wave. Although criticized at first for their methods, many are thinking they were on the right track. What’s more interesting is that Taiwan only had 985 cases and 10 deaths (1 percent mortality rate). Of course, they are near China and immediately closed their borders at the first hint of something brewing. I wish we could go back to October of 2019 and cut off travel from China sooner. Israel had a .7 death rate and Singapore was the only country with a 0 percent death rate. I’m wondering what these two countries did differently.
The typical yearly flu has a .1 to .2 death rate. We’ve never shut down for the yearly flu bug. But nearly 10 times the death rate means we needed to put more protections in place. We do have the ability with technology these days for virtual school and work. I’m amazed at the American ingenuity to figure out ways to lessen the spread with plastic barriers and other preventive measures. Research shows it was underlying conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma and chronic lung issues—some of which were caused by our own lifestyle habits—that made Covid-19 aggressive in some more than others.
My heart skipped a beat when I saw that war-torn and starving Yemen had the highest death rate of 24 percent. It’s hard to fight a pandemic when you are starving and deprived of medical facilities and doctors. To date, this pandemic has infected over 124 million worldwide with 2.8 million deaths. This is much less than the Spanish Flu of 1918-1920 which infected 500 million worldwide with 50 million deaths (10 percent death rate!).
What’s even more astounding is that you were more likely to die from the Spanish Flu if under 5, between age 20 to 40, and over age 65 with half of the deaths being those 20 to 40. And these were the days when we had no antibiotics, no antivirals, and no ventilators or high tech equipment. This worldwide pandemic lasted through 4 waves over 26 months with no effective drugs or vaccines to treat this beast.
The US is clearly winning the prize for the most COVID-19 cases (If China and Russia are being honest about their number of cases!). But our medical advances keep our death rate at that 1.8. Compare Mexico with a 9 percent mortality rate. It’s no surprise that the most densely populated areas have the highest number of cases with Los Angeles county winning with the highest number of cases and deaths and New York City counties close behind. The contest against this enemy will be won by the countries who first develop herd immunity and a viable vaccine that works with minimal side effects. Even if you get the vaccine, that vaccine is only enhanced by the condition of your immune system. And the more you exercise, hydrate, sleep and eat foods that support your immune system, the more chance the vaccine will work on your behalf.
Next week, we’ll look at some interesting things that I learned from our trip to the Virgin Islands about COVID-19.
In looking back on this year, what do you think we could have done differently? Hindsight is always easier because you have the advantage of increased knowledge and data. Don’t we all wish we could use hindsight for pandemics (and to buy stocks and real estate!)
For Your Health,
Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate, and adjunct professor. Brant’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, was endorsed by Chuck Colson and featured in many TV and media interviews. Unleash Your God-Given Healing was released in May 2020 after her journey with cancer and was recently awarded the First Place Golden Scrolls Award for Memoirs and was named a Selah Awards finalist. It was written with commentary from an oncologist. Learn more and cancer and wellness prevention blog and book information at www.ginnybrant.com.