COVID19 postmortem

The good news is that COVID died while civilization survived

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The Captain


“None the less, he knew that the tale he had to tell could not be one of a final
victory. It could be only the record of what had had to be done, and what assuredly would
have to be done again in the never ending fight against terror and its relentless
onslaughts, despite their personal afflictions, by all who, while unable to be saints but
refusing to bow down to pestilences, strive their utmost to be healers.
And, indeed, as he listened to the cries of joy rising from the town, Rieux
remembered that such joy is always imperiled. He knew what those jubilant crowds did
not know but could have learned from books: that the plague bacillus never dies or
disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen-
chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that
perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would
rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city.”
The Plague - Albert Camus


I’m sure it’s relevant but someone will have explain it to me. :wink:

The Captain

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Perfect straw man argument. I don’t recall anyone saying civilization’s survival was threatened by COVID.

It was about minimizing deaths.

In terms of large, wealthy nations who had an effective vaccine, the U.S., shall we say, “chose poorly.”


Could be a commando hearing impairment. :spider:

The Captain


As I suspected. :face_with_monocle:

1 2 3 4 5 …. 20

I wonder if the reason why the USA had worse results is at least partly because we are fatter than most other people?

Also, it is strikingly interesting that both Spanish Flu (1918-20) and COVID-19 (2020-22) pretty much petered out after about 2 1/2 years.

And probably for the same reason. The body’s immune system does much to protect us but takes a while to build up its antibodies to a new invader.

Certainly could have played a role. The NYT article had a good summary and other studies have shown that the over riding factor is public vaccine acceptance.

Many US public officials strongly discouraged vaccinations and were very successful in limiting public intake. Hence the US had a much higher COVID death rate.


While true, I prefer to look at the optimistic side, which is that the death rate was lower for this pandemic than for the line 100 years earlier. In the US it’s estimated that 0.5% of the population died back then, which would equate to some 1.7m deaths, instead we had “only” 1.1m. That’s a tragedy too, and “it could’a been worse” is faint praise, but better is better no matter how you slice it.

It’s not a perfect comparison obviously, because they had crowded warships coming home to spread it far and wide, and we have our modern transportation system to do the same, and we don’t really know of Covid was more or less transmissible than the Spanish Flu, and we don’t… well, but it’s as close as I’m likely to find for the purposes of conversation.

Anyway. Silver lining and all. Progress. Certainly better than the 14th century. Maybe even better next time. Let’s hope.


I should have said the “Hence the US had a much higher COVID death rate than other industrialized nations.”

No one really know what we were dealing with at the beginning. No known treatments, no known vaccines. Even prevention was barely understood. So lots of missteps in the early days. But after July 2021, things were beginning to become understood. Vaccines were available to anyone who wanted one.

And after that time, COVID death rates in the US raged on at a rate far beyond our peer nations.

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How could that possibly make sense? It is beyond the many.

I think we could have maximized the death toll to make us happier.

Yes of course between the ears we are.

They impacted entirely different parts of the population. The 1918 Spanish Flu was primarily of working age (20-40? yrs old) people. Covid was primarily of older/retired people and people with weakened immune systems of various types. Due to outright lies spread by some groups, a significant number of people ignored warnings about their risk to Covid–and died as a result.

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In 1918 there was no obesity epidemic. Obesity is probably what skewed the impact toward the elderly. Poor working conditions could have skewed the impact toward the working class in 1918. The weak go first.

The Captain

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Well, we’re not gambling, at our age, octogenarians, we just got another booster a couple weeks back. Family wedding coming up, all attendees have gotten boosters recently…

Better safe® than sorry…


Possibly, but the generally accepted explanation is that the higher death rate among young people was due to an over reaction by the immune system. Younger people have stronger immune systems, hence the over reaction is more serious. This is also the explanation why hantavirus is more deadly among young people.

Getting a little wonkier, there are two general types of flu viruses, Type 1 and Type 2. There are many subtypes of each general type. We all likely got one of those two types when young. If (when) that same type comes around again when we’re older we’ll be generally immune, but the younger generation won’t be. If the opposite type comes around when we’re older, we’re at serious risk.

In the Spanish Flu case, the older generation had been exposed to the similar Russian Flu decades earlier and had some residual immunity.

If you are not sure of the outcome you are gambling. I’m also octogenarian. When the vaccines first came out there were lots of horror stories specially around ventilators. There were no such horror stories about the vaccine. When I was invited to get the vaccine (not compulsory in Portugal) the odds, it seemed to me, were better for getting the vaccine than not. So I got two vaccines and two boosters. Were I invited for a third booster I would decline based on the information that has come out since the start of the epidemic. It is 100% bullet proof true? I don’t know but the odds, I believe, are not on the side of getting another booster.

Like it or not, we are all gambling to be on the safe side.

The Captain

:cake: Holy guacamole 22 years! :cake:

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Interesting hypothesis. Thank you!

The Captain

Don’t forget aspirin.

High aspirin dosing levels used to treat patients during the 1918-1919 pandemic are now known to cause, in some cases, toxicity and a dangerous build up of fluid in the lungs, which may have contributed to the incidence and severity of symptoms, bacterial infections, and mortality. Additionally, autopsy reports from 1918 are consistent with what we know today about the dangers of aspirin toxicity, as well as the expected viral causes of death.


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I’ve never really bought in to this “explanation”.

If the immune response is stronger, then why aren’t the immune response REGULATOR mechanisms also “stronger”?
(Irrespective of age).

I file the above explanation under
“Beware of ‘experts’ bearing platitudes”.

Often some expert will belch forth a WAG/SWAG just to massage their own ego.

It “sounds plausible” and placates the Proles.


It’s similar to getting an antibiotic/antibacterial injection for a virus: it placates the Proles, who then feel like they got something.

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