Future of Covid 19

The stock market keeps rising and falling as different ideas on the future of covid-19 come through.

Follow up to the unemployment: how many people will die of unemployment per year?

About 6,400 people per year per 1% extra unemployment (currently 10% more or so). That is based on these figures: 74% increase in all causes of mortality for being unemployed.

“Individual Joblessness, Contextual Unemployment, and Mortality Risk,” July 2014 American Journal of Epidemiology

Currently, the number of deaths are 863.8 deaths per 100,000 population. The number unemployed will be about 10 million due to covid 19.

At what point will the number of unemployed deaths reach parity with the number of deaths from covid 19?

That is difficult to measure directly, as we don’t know how many will die from each or what unemployment will be this year. But if we have 10 million unemployed like now, for one year, that will cause 86,380 deaths.

The pandemic has killed far more than that many so far this year, 149,000 deaths.

This isn’t an either/or situation. We cannot recover jobs by ignoring the pandemic. People are worried and often unwilling to go back to work or look for a job.

But if we could address the pandemic quickly, we could save both the lives from unemployment and the lives lost from the disease.

The best way to deal with the disease would be a vaccine, but that is becomming less likely to work, due to antibody disappearance over time. Antibodies become more rare in a person’s blood to deal with covid-19 over time, leaving people vulnerable again. How long this takes is a mystery, but it seems to be lasting months, not years.

This could reduce the chances of developing herd immunity, vaccines, and other treatments. But we have a proven, working, legitimate strategy that has worked in any country that has tried it.

Test everybody. Isolate the virus to a few small areas through extensive testing and test everybody in the areas. This will cost money, but far less in treasure and life (remember from previous articles, $7 million is the reasonable estimate of a life’s worth, so we are talking tens of billions of dollars).

We need to proceed with a “test everybody” strategy. This would require more tests, more than once. Almost a billion tests. Fortunately, we have two trading allies who can produce the tests america cannot: South Korea and China.

Testing kits in the USA cost $119 (for several dozen tests in each). “About $23 per test to the end user, in this case our health care providers”.

The math is simple! $23 for a billion tests? That’s $23 billion!

We are paying more than that per month on extra unemployment alone! The federal government needs to get its act together and provide these, for free, to everybody. Tests can cost uninsured persons in excess of $1000! We have no time for that.

And we could vastly reduce deaths, and have a semblance of a chance to return to normal life.

The future of covid 19, if we continue as we are, will be more deaths from unemployment and disease. More panic and closures and lost business and tourism. More lost face.

But imagine if our current administration stepped up and delivered one billion tests! It’s easy, it’s cheap, its simple to do for free. Congress could pass this without the administration as well, if they wanted to do so. It would be a small part of either the current federal budget or one congressional bill.

Write to your congressman, with me, and ask for the billion tests. Ask the current administration to back this, and let’s be ready to reopen soon.