The Meeting Place

Coronavirus fatatlity is the wrong yardstick

This article published in Newsweek written by a doctor in Western Europe made me rethink this pandemic, and how I will go about my life in the next months. Spoiler alert, it's pretty damn scary.


That is really scary Veritas. Think I'll hibernate from this instant. Need to go to the supermarket one more time to get more food though. Not worried about toilet paper - will use flannels and rags, disinfect and wash when we run out. Thank you for putting that up. Seems to me we all have a choice right now between complacency and self protection. The latter is more wise than the former and takes into account we all have a responsibility toward others as well as ourselves. I didn't think about the possible long term or permanent ramifications to health following survival of the virus before you put up the article. Just thought you survive or die but a lot of us may be left limping along on damaged scarred lungs for the rest of our days, lives limited by our need for oxygen tanks. 

Yep, Ny19, I was under the impression you got a minor cold and two weeks lying about, then back to the way things were--no big deal. I really don't wish to panic readers here, but when Scomo tells to go about life as normal, think again. Dark Mofo has been cancelled, NRL players warned not to high-five fans, and Liverpool might be awarded the EPL cup if the series can't be finished. What next? Cancel the Olympics? The list goes on. I loaded up on beer to drink at home. But I worry about my Bowls Club and RSL where I go twice a week. Life is not normal but I wish it could get back there soon.

Re your first sentence, I was thinking same. Not anymore. Scomo is a fool so I don't pay much attention to his advice. I think he has made a mess of this. Australia was in a perfect place to take real, effective action but Scomo and other government authorities have fluffed it! We'll all pay now. The fact that so many others, like doctors, were treating it so much more seriously made me sit up and take more notice. Yet there is that sense that many people are still complacent.

FFS! For most healthy people with no underlying health condition, COVID-19 is nearly always a mild illness and many have no symptoms at all! Children are not much affected although it is now thought they may be super carriers (they are always walking petrie dishes anyway) capable of spreading the virus without being affected themselves.

The only people who have a concern are those with health conditions such as high blood-pressure, kidney disease, heart or lung conditions (including asthsma) or diabetes. Yes age itself is a risk factor with those over 80 at most risk. But consider the 103 year old woman and 101 year old man who were recently released from hospital in Wuhan completely well!

Less fear mongering wouldn't go amiss given the appalling way the mainstream and social media are portraying this virus. This is what leads to the panic buying in supermarkets.

The coronavirus' estimated fatality rate appears to have risen to 3.4%, but experts think it could drop again.

Nancy Mackeon

It is 6.5% in Italy. Three weeks ago Italy had 3 cases. It now has over 12,000.

Arrivederci old folks. Has it come to this, the moral and ethical decisions? As reported by Bevan Sheilds in the Brisbane Times

Italian doctors say the coronavirus pandemic may mean patients over a certain age could be banned from intensive care units and left to die to give others a better chance of survival.

"Resources may have to be used first for those with a higher probability of survival and, secondly, who has the most years of life left, and offer the maximum number of benefits to the majority of people."


Do you think it will be the same in Australia Veritas?


No. The government acted fairly quickly to limit, but not yet contain the virus. The problem is the period before symptoms appear and where victims can infect others. It takes just 15 minutes of close proximity. Those asking Tom Hanks for selfies is a an example. Limiting the areas such as crowds in close quarters is probably the only way to stem the escalation of the illness. But doing so will hit the economy hard. I think Scomo has to accept that reality.

I was wrong. Disregard my last comment. This from Dana McCauley reporting in the Brisbane Times about doctors warning of tough decisions here in Australia.

Simon Judkins, a past president of the Australian College of Emergency Medicine, said if the number of infections increased rapidly, there might not be enough intensive care beds to go around - meaning older, sicker patients could be denied emergency treatment.

"But if there is a surge, it's a very tough situation. Like any triage situation, you triage according to who is the most likely person to benefit from the intervention - the person who is most likely to survive."

Yes, I read the Dana McCauley article this morning in the Sydney Morning Herald. That is so worrying and leaves me feeling bereft of hope for the well being of our elderly, which apparently means anyone over 60 if we follow Italy's example. I suspect they won't treat smokers either, of any age, or those with chronic health problems if they don't have enough IC beds and staff. 


Something that gets lost here is that the first epicentre in Italy had a particularly high number of older people. Not to mention the general social fabric of Italy is based around close contact unlike in Australia. Hugging and kissing even starngers is commonplace not just in Italy but other European copuntries such as France for example, but is not the norm here in Australia.

And frankly every single hospital triages patients every single day and makes life and death decisions about patients. This is really no different. If there are limited resources decisions have to be made. Just be happy you are not having to make them.


KSS, have a listen to the ABC daily podcast by Norman Swan. Called Coronacast it runs for about 10 minutes. Today's episode talked about myths and one of them is that only older people are at risk of death. He cites that figures out of Italy and China show that exceptionally large numbers of healthy young people with no prior health problems are succumbing and in Italy taking up most of the hospital beds. These are people largely in their 30's and 40's. Older people are at more risk because of comorbid factors and immune deficiency but that does not mean that massive numbers of young people are not getting seriously ill with it. In Italy they are being treated in intensive care before anyone 60+ because they are thought to have a better chance of recovery.


Even at 6.5% mortality rate it means 93.5 don't die! Calm down. Cortisol is an immune suppressent!


Damnit, put my comment in the wrong place. It actually debates your previous comment much further up the page.

I don't appreciate being told to "calm down" simply because I argue against your supposition that only elderly folk need to worry about this virus. You are sounding arrogant when you make controlling remarks like that!



You are absolutely correct KSS..people not only need to calm down, but also refrain from spreading panic.

The fallout from their insecurities and the spreading of unauthenticated information is.. older people are getting more scared than they need to. Stop it.



I don't care what anyone says  it's all about being pro-active with this virus, and said about a week and a half ago to close down the country, except of course for health and essential service workers.

Also this  piecemeal tokenistic approach to social distancing ie. gatherings of 500 plus yet still allowing thousands to cram onto public transport, attend schools and universities on a daily basis just does not make sense to me.

 This a public health issue first and foremost and the health of all Australians is the priority, sort this out first, then deal with the economics after we're through this.  

Centuries old just simple yet serious  social distancing may be the most effective strategy even in the 21st century.

Also it is not alarmist to stay informed and to accept these are extraordinary circumstances that may require us to live our lives differently for the duration, and most thinking intelligent human beings understand this without panic.

Just pure common sense  to stay informed and be pro-active.

Also NY19 I also heard the Norman Swan TV segment on ABC 24 earlier today, and thought Swan came across not as an alarmist but someone prepared to level with people in clear language.




Thank you Shetso. I too think Norman Swan is doing a good job informing people of the facts. It seems to me that those who accuse me or others of being alarmist would like people to be kept in the dark about facts gained by research since this COVID 19 virus began. Elderly people are not young children to be protected, they are capable and deserving of news based on facts and truth about this virus.

The following is an extract from the Newsweek article:

But why the urgency, if most people survive?

Here's why: Fatality is the wrong yardstick. Catching the virus can mess up your life in many, many more ways than just straight-up killing you. "We are all young"—okay. "Even if we get the bug, we will survive"—fantastic. How about needing four months of physical therapy before you even feel human again. Or getting scar tissue in your lungs and having your activity level restricted for the rest of your life. Not to mention having every chance of catching another bug in hospital, while you're being treated or waiting to get checked with an immune system distracted even by the false alarm of an ordinary flu. No travel for leisure or business is worth this risk.

Coronavirus can live in patients for up to FIVE WEEKS after they first fall ill - more than twice as long as the recommended 14-day isolation period. 

The impact of this virus was underplayed from day one, possibly by Chinese authorities, or because people are only now beginning to understand it. The incubation period is longer than fourteen days; just look at how many people Peter Dutton met. The closures and other measures taken by the government are changing daily. Let's hope it works to slow the contagion.

I read a story today about one of the first people to get this virus. He is 25, caucasian, fit and healthy and lives in Wuhan near the meat markets. He had a cold for a week and was feeling better when he suddenly got a fever and sore throat. After another week he was feeling better again when he developed a cough. Over the next week he became so breathless he could hardly walk to the bathroom and he kept losing his balance so he sought medical attention 3 weeks after getting the cold. He was hospitalised and told he had some sort of new pneumonia. This was before they knew anything about Covid-19. He was treated with steroids to reduce the inflammation in his lungs. Don't know how long he was in hospital but imagine the whole thing from the start of the cold covered more than 4 weeks.

The key point here is that he was one of the first casualities and no one knew what they were looking at or for. This is not the case now.

No KSS, that was not my key point. My key point was that one can have various symptoms for quite a while before the pneumonia sets in. The young guy in point thought he was recovering well from the cold after a week when the fever and sore throat struck. Another week later he was feeling well again when the cough struck. Over the next week he became breathless with pneumonia so went to hospital and commenced the fight for his life. 

Picking on smokers again. The cigarette tax I have paid over the years probably funded the build of at least one hospital, now they'll throw me under the bus if I get it

And drinkers also and those who are drug addicts. 

What ever the government does people will complain. In the early stage when it appeared minor and not wide spread,  flights from China were cancelled and the keyboard warriors emerged claiming racism because of this action. But it was ok for China to have restrictions on other people/ races. 

If you want to control it then people's "rights" have to reduced for the greater protection of the majority.

A lot of speculation taking place.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned, is can you catch this thing more than once?

From what I can find out, the answer is, yes.

No one knows. What is interesting is the response from Boris Johnson whose approach is contrary to the rest of the world. He is allowing the virus to go unchecked in the belief that if a high proportion, 75% of the population gets it, herd immunity will take over. Herd immunity was used against smallpox in 1977 with success in some regions. My opinion is this virus is too unknown. If the drugs to combat malaria and HIV are known to kill COVID-19, then contain the spread of infection until human trials confirm the effectiveness in about 3 months time. This would allay stock market jitters and see a 'V' curve as opposed to an extended 'U' curve recovery.


The UK approach is interesting. It could work? But then again it could see the UK become totally overwhelmed as China was, and now Italy.