What’s the Difference Between 600K and 0.18%? Perspective

A few weeks ago, I was having dinner with my in-laws. During the course of of the conversation, while we were all sitting on the porch, watching the little kids play in the pool, my Mother-In-Law asked my daughter if she had been vaccinated (against COVID of course). When my daughter indicated she hadn’t, the grilling and interrogation began. I was so proud of her for not backing down from the senseless and viscous shaming until I finally stepped in said that (paraphrased) no one in our house had received the COVID vaccine and at the present time, no one would be receiving the COVID vaccine.

Of course, I understand why she and my Father-In-Law took the vaccine. They are both advanced in age (75+) and have specific health concerns where it makes sense, for them. However, one thing that my Mother-In-Law stated, that I hear incessantly, did cause a cringe. That tidbit, specifically some flavor of “COVID has killed 600,000 people” made me take notice. Being an engineer and a math focused guy, I am all about analyzing data, evaluating risk/reward, and determining the cost/benefit for actions in both a micro and macro scale, so I honed in on 600,000 people who had died from COVID.

My first step, as any good scientist would do, was to evaluate the claim of 600,000 lives lost due to COVID. From the CDC, to countless other studies, that number, at least at the time of my writing this article, seemed to be a pretty accurate statistic. Some folks claimed more. Some folks claimed less. However, in my opinion, based on the reading of various articles from multiple sources, the arguments for each (too high or too low) seemed to cancel each other out, leaving me to accept 600,000 as a workable number. Even if the number were higher or lower, I don’t believe it would be more than +/- 10%.

At first, I thought 600,000 sounded quite large. That is roughly equivalent to the number of casualties in the Civil War. Or filling Ohio Stadium (yes I am a buckeye fan) six times. Or approximately the entire population of Nashville or Louisville. So yes, that’s pretty big! But then I remembered, that 600,000 metric is spread across the entire Unite States and you know what that number represents?

Approximately 0.18% of the entire population

Now, consider the following for 2019 according to the CDC:

  • Total deaths in the United States: 2,854,838
  • Heart disease: 659,041
  • Cancer: 599,601

When viewed through a different lens, suddenly 600,000 doesn’t seem quite the enormous number, at least not in the context of our great country, as I once thought.

Over the course of the last 15 months, we have also been pounded by the media about how dangerous this virus is, with the media inundating us with case and death counts and mortality rates as high as 5%. Of course with lowering case loads and more advanced knowledge of how to treat COVID, the reported mortality rate has dropped from that peak down now to approximately 1.85%. Nearly 2 out of a 100 people contracting the virus died? That seemed pretty high, until I realized that is based on confirmed cases, not actual cases. The media has simply been providing to us case counts based on confirmed test results. We all know that is not the real case count. According to a report provided by NPR, the actual case count is at least 5X’s the confirmed case count, possibly more. So, take that 1.85% mortality rate, divide by 5 and suddenly, we are at a an actual rate of approximately 0.37%.

So we have taken incredibly drastic measures to lock down our society, destroy our economy, change our election law and even face forced vaccinations for a virus that has an overall mortality rate of 0.37% and when considering age as primary factor, a mortality rate of approximately 0.15% for people <65.

None of this is “disinformation.” Everything I have written is fact in the public domain and the math is nothing that a typical eighth grader wouldn’t be able to complete, provided he or she had the intuition to make the calculations. This is merely an opportunity to see 600,000 from a slightly different perspective.