A Problem of Excess

(May 12, 2021)

Epidemics and pandemics are, by definition, fast-moving and difficult to track. These are the diseases that we couldn't keep a lid on, outbreaks that breached our initial efforts at control. It follows then, that ongoing reporting of such diseases won't be entirely accurate, subject to various limitations imposed by testing and recording protocols. This reality is misused by some who believe that reported impacts are exaggerated and societal responses unjustified, but such a belief runs counter to the evidence. Excess mortality is implacable that way; a sufficient number of unattributed deaths will demand explanation eventually, and even the briefest examination of excess mortality figures during…

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Tags: coronavirus, mortality, pandemic

Deadly Parallels

(Apr 15, 2021)

Ever since the unhappy arrival of the SARS-COV-2 virus, COVID-19 and influenza have been compared for a multiplicity of reasons. I'm guilty of it myself: around the time of the first COVID-19 lockdown, a friend challenged me on why governments would consider the imposition of such extraordinary measures. My argument was simply that authorities presumably feared COVID-19 could become the next Spanish Flu. Of course, making such statements at that time might have been considered overreach, but I cited that once-in-a-century high-fatality pandemic disaster to illustrate why such strong measures could be considered both reasonable and warranted. It was odd then to find that influenza comparisons were just…

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Tags: coronavirus, influenza, pandemic

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