LETTERS: Caution with COVID-19 a small price to pay
Reader John Weaver doubts what we’ve been told about the killer reputation of this virus (See Aug. 6 Times “Is the cure worse than the disease?”) He posits the notion that something is going to kill off those with other health issues if it’s not COVID-19 virus. The logical conclusion would then be that the number of deaths ought to be relatively constant from year to year.
The Journal of the American Medical Association in their JAMA Internal Medicine website published a comparison of deaths from 2019 to 2020 for the months of March, April and May. They note that there were roughly 781,000 deaths in the USA in that time period in 2020. That is about 120,000 more deaths than would have been expected based on prior years. Their conclusion is that official tallies likely undercount deaths due to the virus. This directly contradicts what Mr. Weaver concludes using his statistical sample size of one, the mayor of Apalachicola. The observable increase in our death rate nears 20 percent, clearly very significant.
One would think it also answers Mr. Weaver’s question: “Is the cure and preventive measures worse than the disease?” The USA has fared very poorly in its handling of this disease compared to most other countries in the world. Being careful until we get vaccines seems like a small price to pay if we can get our infection rate down to what even relatively poor countries have managed to achieve.