If the first coronavirus antibody tests are representative of Israel, there is some bad news that is good news.
It was now found that 270,000 would have been infected. So, some news outlets panic, there is no “herd immunity” yet and so after months, most Israelis are in as bad a situation as when the pandemic hit the Holy Land.
That may be true — again: If these first coronavirus antibody tests are representative — but then something much better would also be true. With 270 Israelis dead, that should mean that corona kills 0.1% of all those infected — the same percentage of the common flu!
When we didn’t know how many people got infected without symptoms, estimating mortality was anyone’s guessing game. In fact, conservative estimates came to 3, 5, even 8% — which meant 30, 50 or 80 times the flu!
Now, if this Israeli early finding were a sole, preliminary finding, we should take this with a large chunk of salt. But it is not. A week ago, the US CDC came with something very similar. I didn’t report it because it was such an outlier that I didn’t trust it. It reported that the death rate was rather something like 0.26%, two-and-a-half times the flu. This came after Trump had bullied the CDC so I couldn’t know if they were truthful still.
So, on the one hand, COVID-19 is not more deadly than the common flu. Shouldn’t that mean that we shouldn’t be scared of it anymore and open up our houses and society — which we also don’t lock during flu season?
The answer is a four-fold no, for these reasons:
- It’s deadly like the flu but hardly anyone is immune and no one can be vaccinated so many more people would get infected and die.
- This epidemic doesn’t stop at the end of winter so it’s corona season around the year, killing many more people.
- Unlike the flu, doctors hardly know this new virus so have an extremely hard time treating the bouquet of symptoms that keeps enriching itself.
- The flu is so contagious that — though it may kill thousands — we can’t prevent it — except by vaccination and prayer. In comparison, this new coronavirus is much less contagious and thus, we can and so we must try to stop the bloodbath. Not like in Sweden that wants to ride out the storm until most are immune, with now a death toll of 4,468 with no end in sight.
That this new virus has the same mortality as the common flu but is still much more dangerous and deadly is not counter-intuitive as we see the enormous death toll in New York or the US as a whole, which far outnumbers the yearly flu toll.
So, hurray that COVID-19 is only as deadly as the common flu. But hold your horses or it might kill dozens of times more than the flu kills per year.