I specifically do not give figures here. First, they will be obsolete by the time this book is published, and second, there is nothing more inaccurate than statistics: “There are lies, there are monstrous lies, and there are statistics.” When we talk about the number of people infected, we mean the number of people with positive test results. This means that this number is directly dependent on the number of tests performed. It is clear that there are an order of magnitude more people who have had the coronavirus or have been infected than have been registered. After all, in the vast majority of cases, covid occurs in a very mild form of banal acute respiratory infections or is completely asymptomatic. At least some idea of the dynamics of distribution can be given by the ratio of the number of tests performed to the number of newly identified tests. However, we will be able to find out the true scale only after blood tests for antibodies, which indicate whether the coronavirus was in the body or not, become widely available to people. Approximately, we can assume that there are 10-20 times more patients with mild or asymptomatic diseases than were registered.
With mortality, too, the approaches in statistics are different for many. Someone thinks the total number of infected and considers the mortality rate from this figure (mortality of infected), one considers the incidence of people with symptoms, some of hospital patients. Given that the indications for hospitalization in all countries at different times of the epidemic are different, the confusion is obvious. Well, the main question about mortality: did the patient die “from covid” or “with covid”? In the same Italy, the death rate “from covid” recorded all cases of deaths of patients with a positive test for coronavirus, no matter what the true cause of death was: heart attack, stroke, bleeding or cancer. A special feature of covid is that in the vast majority of cases, very elderly people die from it, as a rule, with a bouquet of chronic diseases. In the same Italy, of the many thousands of deaths of elderly people, almost all had a combination of two or three serious diseases. Do you know how many elderly people who died did not have a single serious chronic disease? Three! Just three for 17 thousand.
We have already said that the victims of covid are primarily elderly and weakened people. Young people are infected more often, but the majority of elderly people die from this disease: the average age of those who died worldwide is 75+. Only isolated cases of deaths of covid-positive patients, usually with comorbidities, have been reported under the age of 20 years. The share in the total mortality of people aged 20 to 50 years is less than 1 %. Unlike other respiratory viruses, covid spares children. All diseases caused by viruses that lead to pneumonia, the same flu virus, have two spikes in mortality: in children and the elderly. “Spaniard” – three, it also affected young people in 40-45 years. But covid has only one spike in this sad statistics and it falls on old age. Children can be carriers of the disease and are almost always asymptomatic. This does not mean that the coronavirus is absolutely not dangerous for them – it is just that it is no more dangerous to them than ordinary coronaviruses, they are not sick with covid, they may have serious complications from any viral infection, such as encephalitis or Kawasaki disease.
We will be able to assess the real dynamics of Covid-19 spread when antibody tests are available everywhere.
Dossier on the virus. Fight with a shadow that constantly changes its size, shape and properties
So, what the statistics show us today.
- Young people are more likely to get sick.
- Children are usually asymptomatic carriers.
- Men suffer more often than women.
- Asians and blacks are more ill.
- Severe course and consequences – in the elderly and chronic patients.
- Risk group: obesity, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, lung diseases, chronic liver and kidney diseases.
I can say from my practice: if a patient of 65+ with a pronounced excess body weight arrives. Then our special attention is directed to him: we approach him more often, carefully monitor so as not to miss the moment of deterioration.