By CRAIG MEDRED
About 2.8 million people per year die in the United States from heart disease, cancer, injuries and various other illnesses, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Infections related to the coronavirus COVID-19 could kill 100,000 to 240,000 people this year, according to projections offered by government officials on Tuesday.
On paper, those COVID-19 deaths amount to a 3.6 to 8.6 percent increase in American deaths. In reality, the percentage will be lower.
How much lower? No one knows.
But what is known is that COVID-19 strikes heavily at those with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other pre-existing illnesses.
Italian doctors who examined the charts of 355 patients who died in that country reported to the American College of Cardiology that they found “heart disease (in) 30 percent; diabetes, 35 percent; active cancer 20 percent; and other serious conditions.”
Doctors in China have reported similar findings as have officials at the CDC. A CDC study released Tuesday reported, that “among all COVID-19 patients with complete information on underlying conditions or risk factors, 184 deaths occurred; 173 deaths (94 percent) were reported among patients with at least one underlying condition.
“These results are consistent with findings from China and Italy, which suggest that patients with underlying health conditions and risk factors, including, but not limited to, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, COPD, coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic renal disease, and smoking, might be at higher risk for severe disease or death from COVID-19.”
Given that some people who die “COVID-19 related deaths,” as the Boston Globe refers to these fatalities, were destined to die from pre-existing conditions such as cancer and heart disease before the year is out, the number of people reported dying from those diseases is sure to drop in 2020.
How much will it drop? Again, no one knows.
What is known is that more than 647,000 people per year die from heart disease in this country, according to the CDC; and more than 599,000 die from cancer.
What is also obvious is that many if not most Americans are now living in fear of the newest disease to threaten in ways they never lived in fear of those old, established diseases.
“Coronavirus could kill more Americans than WWI, Vietnam or Korean wars, White House projection shows,” CNBC headlined this week.
“CORONAVIRUS HAS KILLED MORE IN THE U.S. THAN THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, DEATH TOLL SOON TO PASS 9/11,” proclaimed Newsweek.
“The coronavirus death toll surged past 4,000 in the United States on Tuesday, eclipsing the total from the 9/11 terror attacks as New York City traded ‘Ground Zero’ for ‘epicenter,’” reported USA Today.
The headlines have stirred a social panic which complicates current government efforts at social distancing, according to a team of researchers at the University of Hawaii, who note that “humans are hardwired to seek safety in numbers, but not hardwired to shelter in place.”
Read more of this column at CraigMedred.news.