As so often in life, for Coronavirus, too a little perspective can go a long way.
Italy has 60 million inhabitants. At an average life expectancy above 80, but one of the oldest populations in the world, you can expect, very approximately, 800k to 1m people dying of old age every year. Many of the – since yesterday, more than 2,000 – victims of the Coronavirus were very old people, to whom the virus gave that last little push into the grave. Sad, of course; but it gives some perspective.
Do you want more perspective? Italy kills, last time I looked, more than 100,000 babies in their mothers’ very womb every year. How is that for perspective?
You can play this game longer: for example, I would love to get official statistics about smoke-related deaths in Italy. I am pretty sure it would make for sobering reading.
More of that: IIRC, the number of death in France attributed to the great heat of Summer 2003 was estimated between 20000 and 30000, of course due to the “harvesting effect” of the heat on the old and sick. The figures might have changed once more accurate data were available; but again, you get my drift…
Yes, we need to apply rules of common prudence and common sense. But it smacks of panic and sheer hysteria to cause grave damage to the world economies in an attempt to reduce the impact of the disease.
In my eyes, the priority now should be the mobilisation of army and industry to create field hospitals and proceed to the production of medicaments and equipment as soon as possible. If this is tackled with the same determination that would be used in war times, it can be done fast. A ventilator is likely no horribly complex technology, and matters of patents etc. can be settled later. In the age of 3d printers and flexible production equipment, this should be doable rather fast.
But the approach of Governments like the British one (no closure of schools, no bans on movements) seems the one most suited to safeguard millions of jobs besides the elderly.
Hong Kong closed schools. Singapore didn’t. There is no evidence the school closure brought any benefits.
Concern, yes. Prudence, yes.
Closing factories everywhere? No.