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Covid was no World War II
But we sure acted like it was.
Mark Oshinskie’s one of my favorite Substack writers. One of Mark’s recurring points (politically incorrect but still true) is that Covid is really only a “threat” to the very old, people who often suffered from many serious pre-existing medical conditions.
I thought about Mark’s recurring theme yesterday when our family travelled to nearby Andalusia, Alabama to enjoy this small town’s excellent “Christmas City” attractions.
The largest Christmas-themed venue is hosted in and adjacent to Andalusia’s Memorial Park. This park includes a statue that includes plaques that list the names of every resident from Covington County who died in America’s wars since World War I.
As I learned from a quick count, approximately 112 young men from this county of 37,500 people died in WWII.
It occurred to me this figure could provide context that would allow someone like me to compare the toll WWII took on this community to the toll Covid took on the same community seven decades later.
The extrapolations and observations that follow all support Mark’s politically-incorrect point that our “leaders” allowed our society to be turned upside down to “fight” a virus that never posed any kind of real threat to the vast majority of the U.S. population.
The two main numbers …
255 - The number of residents from Covington County who have died from or with Covid in the last 33 months.
112 - Number of residents from Covington County who were killed in action in the 45 months of World War II.
However, one needs to parse these numbers to compare the scale of “tragedy” produced by both of these “historic” events.
For starters, the cumulative 255 Covid mortality figure for Covington County is probably subjective and includes any resident of this county who died after receiving a positive Covid test.
We really don’t know how many of these residents died “from” Covid but the figure is certainly lower than 255.
We do know that 112 people from this county were killed in action in World War II.
This number also doesn’t include any deaths from other causes during the war, nor does it include the number of Covington County residents who suffered non-fatal combat wounds.
From one research source, I learned that 8.6 out of every 1,000 Americans who served in the military in World War II were killed in action; 3 “died from other causes” and 17.7 received “non-fatal combat wounds.”
These ARE scary numbers ….
By applying some math, I learned the odds someone who served in WWII would either die (in combat or from other causes) or be wounded was 29.3 people per 1,000 who served. This means 2.93 percent of those who served in this war experienced death or injury due to their service.
Expressed differently, the odds a military member would die from combat wounds or from some other cause was about 1-in-100 (1.16 percent).
These are NOT scary numbers …
According to Infection Fatality Rates (IFR) calculated by Stanford epidemiologist Dr. John Ioannidis, an American between the ages of 20 and 29 has about a 1-in-33,000 chance of dying from Covid (an IFR of 0.003 percent)… and that’s if they even contracted the virus.
By comparison, someone who served in World War II had about a 1-in-100 chance of dying in this conflict and about a 3-percent chance of something very bad happening to him.
383 deaths compared to 1 ….
Risk of a young service member dying in WW II: 1.16 percent (383 deaths out of every 33,000 people serving = 1.16 percent. I picked 33,000 as my denominator to match the example below).
Risk of a young person in this county and America dying from Covid if they contract Covid: 0.003 percent (1 death out of every 33,000 people).
Let’s look at the ages of those who died ….
I also did some extrapolations on ages of death, comparing WWII casualties to Covid victims and applying these percentages to Covington County’s statistics for both categories.
According to Statista, through the first week in December 2022, 26.9 percent of Americans who died with or from Covid were age 85 or older.
Of all the ignored Covid statistics, this might be the most significant and eye-opening. An age group that makes up only two percent of the American population has accounted for 27 percent of America’s Covid deaths.
From a New York Times article published last December, I learned that 75 percent of people who died from or with Covid were age 65 or older.
So let’s now take another look at Covington County’s Covid death numbers, applying these age ratios.
255 - Total deaths
191 - Deaths among citizens age 65 or older
69 - Covid deaths among citizens 85 or older
Or, we could express these statistics this way:
64 - Covington County residents under the age of 65 who have died from or with Covid in the past 33 months. On an annualized basis, that’s approximately 23 deaths per year among the age cohort that has not reached retirement age. These are sad events, but few would argue they represent “Bubonic Plague” type numbers.
Deaths under age 35 are almost non-existent
From previous research on Covid mortality by age group, I learned that slightly fewer than 1 percent of all Covid deaths occurred among those under the age of 35. So, if this ratio also applied to Covington County, this would give us this eye-opening number:
2.49 - Covington County residents under the age of 35 who have died from or with Covid.
These deaths occurred over 33 months, which means that, on average, one person under the age of 35 in Covington County died from or with Covid every 13.25 months.
I would argue that fewer than one death per year among people 35 and under is a “very rare occurrence” in a county with a population of 37,500 people.
Now we can compare deaths of young people from a pandemic to a war
112 - Covington County residents killed in action in World War II.
This means Approximately 2.49 young Covington County citizens died every month of WWII.
Re-stated, on average, the same number of young people from this county died in four weeks of World War II as have died in 148 weeks of Covid (and this is using the surely-inflated official death numbers).
Also, most WWII victims were far younger than age 35. As best as I could determine, the average age of a U.S. military member who died in World War II was 26. (In the UK, the most common age of a war victim was 19.)
Total Covid deaths among those under age 35 in Covington County 33 months into the Covid pandemic: 2.5.
World War II deaths among people in the the same age cohort (actually at least nine years younger): 112.
In Covington County, like in the rest of the country, the vast majority of Covid deaths were people aged 65 and older. Almost every person who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War II was under the age of 30.
In World War II, 407,316 Americans lost their lives in this conflict. Probably none of these fatalities occurred in a person over the age of 65.
With Covid, the mortality numbers and ratios were almost completely flipped. Very few Americans under the age of 26 have died “from” Covid. The overwhelming percentage had already exceeded or were close to reaching the normal life expectancy.
If you want to prevent deaths of your country’s young population, try to avoid a terrible war.
When they happen, pandemics involving respiratory viruses will constitute a mortality threat almost exclusively to the elderly.
Any draconian government responses our trusted leaders mandate to slow or stop the spread of a pandemic will end up producing far more deaths (and hardships) to our country’s younger population than the virus itself.
Vaccinating approximately 70 percent of the population did NOT reduce the death rate from or with Covid.
What we won’t see in the future …
If there’s a silver lining to Covid, it’s that such a tiny percentage of deaths happened among people who otherwise would have lived decades into the future.
Also, in World War II, away from the theaters where the fighting occurred, life largely carried on as normal.
If Covington County - or any county in America - ever produces a memorial to Covid victims it won’t be full of the names of 20 and 26 year-olds. Such a memorial might have the names of only two or three people who didn’t make it to age 30.
That is, I ended up having this strange thought Saturday at Memorial Park in Andalusia: Covid-19 was no World War II. But we sure acted like it was.