Did Social Distancing work for the better or worse?!
The whole panic, closure of all domains of life and social distancing order globally as already been contended in this site, are based on the premise of lowering the spread of COVID-19. Along the same path of thinking and panic in the media created by the governments and authorities, the number of infected cases and not the number of deaths have been focused on. But none of the above measures of life closures and social distancing have lowered the rate of mortality from this coronavirus worldwide. Looking at the following table of the number of infected cases and deaths of the top 20 affected countries, on May 16, 2020, USA is the leading country, followed by Russia, Spain, UK, Brazil,, Italy, France, Germany, Turkey, Iran and ends with Pakistan.
|Country||Total Cases||Total Deaths|
But since every reasonable person (apparently except the governments, WHO and other national authorities) would be worried and concerned about the number of deaths and not the number of infected (who have been tested) and about 85% have recovered, a look at the following corrected table ranked by the number of deaths change the whole above table, ranked by the number of infected cases. When we look at the number of deaths and rank the countries accordingly, US is still the leader, followed this time by UK, Italy, France, Spain, Brazil, Belgium, Germany, Iran, and Canada as the top 10 countries with the highest rate of mortality. Surprisingly in the corrected table that should be more vital and center of attention as speaks about the number of deaths, Russia that is the second top country in the number of cases falls down to the bottom and ranks only 18 in the number of deaths with only 2,631 compared to US with 90,346 deaths, two countries with almost similar number of population. In the corrected death table, countries such as Sweden, Ecuador and Switzerland that were not present in the number of cases table, show up in the death table and rank 15, 17 and 20. One could find other interesting comparisons among the countries when compare the two tables.
|Country||Total Cases||Total Deaths||Projected Final Total Deaths|
In the above table with the projection of the final number of deaths probably by early August, still US will be leading with over 314,000 deaths (based on their 21% death rate so far), followed this time by France with projected number of deaths over 55,000 (with 31% death rate), UK with over 43,000 deaths, Spain with over 36,000 deaths, Italy with over 35,000 deaths, Brazil with over 33,000 deaths, Belgium with over 21,000 deaths, and this time Sweden jumps to rank number 8 in projected deaths with almost 21,000. The vital question here is why some countries such as Sweden (42%) France (31%), US (21%), have such high death rates while the global death rate is 15%, and some countries such as Russia holds only a death rate of 3.75%.
In the search for solving the above dilemma, either some countries like Russia do not report their mortality honestly, or some countries with high death rate have not protected their elderly population who compose of 80% of the mortalities in nursing homes. The second possibility sounds more true as the governments have focused on closures of all domains of life and social distancing of their young and healthy population instead of safeguarding their most vulnerable ones and save lives. Knowing that the chance of death of the healthy and young population even if infected is scarce, one wonders and must question why all the efforts were centered on this population than on the fragile elderly ones. The elderly in the crowded nursing homes should have been from the outset totally isolated and protected with no contact with one another and outsiders unless when medical care needed with the most cautioned measures. One simple measure for the protection of this elderly population that perhaps no one though of, should have been even closing their central heating and air conditioning systems and provide them with the mobile heaters and coolers in each rooms of the residents of the nursing homes.
Lastly as detailed and mentioned on this site earlier, COVID-19 has not been spread all over the world by personal contact that otherwise would have taken years to reach this current level of spread. The virus is in the air all over the world, like their sisters, the common cold coronaviruses OC43 and 229E and due to its high strength of spread no one could escape from it even in the enclosures, as air travels everywhere. So if we can not escape from this virus that has rare mortality in the young and healthy population (unlike the influenza pandemic of 1918 that killed mostly young and healthy soldiers of the world war I with over 50% mortality), why all the efforts made for nothing to stop the spread, while we let our elderly population fall off the tree of life in no time?!
Dr.Mostafa Showrki, MD, FRCPC
Lecturer, School of Medicine, University of Toronto