The Corona Virus in Perspective – An OP ED

A Medical Doctor

As of March 8th 2020, an estimated 3000 people worldwide have died from the Corona virus. Now I hasten to add that not everyone reports accurately and there are delays in reporting so the true number could be 3500 or possibly even 5500 That is very sad, indeed, but it also very minor when your consider that 3000 or for that matter even 5000 deaths out of a global population of about 8 billion is indeed a very small number. Just to put it in perspective please consider this.

Ron in Radiation

Approximately 8.2 million people worldwide die from cancer each year. But as horrible as that number is, it too only represents about 1% of the world population. Another interesting statistic is that around 4 million people die each year from obesity related disease. This is interesting because obesity is something we can control where as for the most part cancer is something that strikes fairly randomly. Yet another controllable situation is our consumption of alcohol, yet believe it or not, alcohol is responsible for around 2.5 million deaths each year. And let’s be honest it is the action of those people who over consume alcohol that actually cause the death. Left alone alcohol won’t harm you. Then there are traffic accidents. They kill around 1.3 million people each and every year. And while there are many other examples of things that kill far more than the Corona virus there are some similarities. That disease is influenza and it kills about 646,000 people annually. Compare that to the current Corona virus death toll of about 3000 and maybe a whole new perspective emerges. We also need to keep in mind that a fairly tiny percentage who become infected with the Corona virus will actually die from it. The most likely deaths occur amongst those who are elderly and/or are already struggling with a significant health issue.

Hungover Bear

Yet, for some inexplicable reason, the Corona virus situation has taken America by storm. Stores all across America have empty shelves that once held hand santalizers, bottled water and toilet paper. Apparently fear of a possible quarantine is driving this wild hoarding. But again so far the Corona virus has killed about 3000 people whereas alcohol kills around 2.3 million people annually and yet in those same stores with empty shelves there are often also many shelves brimming with alcohol.

Covid 19

None of this is to say that we should just ignore the Corona virus, My only point is that the extreme over reaction is at least as dangerous as the actual virus. Simple basic and important measures need to be taken to avoid or at least significantly reduce the chance of an infection. Wash your hands frequently with hot soap and water. Hand sanitizes are of limited value and since getting them these days is becoming well-nigh impossible you might consider getting some isopropel alcohol instead. Obviously, washing your hands is always the most important and best practice to protect yourself- but here’s a simple and easy mixture that can also help do the trick. Recipe: Combine in a bowl: ⅔-cup rubbing alcohol (99% isopropyl alcohol) ⅓-cup aloe vera gel. Stir. Decant into a clean soap or pump bottle.


To the best of your ability avoid close contact with strangers and, of course, even well known folks if they happen to be infected. If you need to cough or sneeze cover your mouth and/or nose with a paper towel and throw it away. If you need to fly somewhere try to get a window seat as it removes you somewhat from the crowd. Also wipe down the arm rests, tray table and video screen as well as your seat belt buckle. It is also recommended that you not touch your face. The problem with that is we all do so many times every day so it is a toughhabit to suspend. Also shaking hands is also now considered a bad idea so you might want to go with the elbow bump or simply nod and smile.

Obesity Map

I shall conclude with these observations. YES the Corona virus is a bad thing and the world health organizations are working very hard to find ways to prevent getting it and successfully treating those who do get it. But panic and out of control fear only makes matters much worse. Do implement the recommended preventive measures but also stay focused on the facts and not the outrageous panic sweeping our world. The simple truth is that there is a very slim likelihood of you dying from the Corona virus is about the same as my odds of getting a weekend in Las Vegas with a smoking hot beauty queen while keeping my beautiful bride happy. Of course the later is a fantasy dream while the former is a true nightmare.

I shall conclude with these observations. YES the Corona virus is a bad thing and the world health organizations are working very hard to find ways to prevent getting it and successfully treating those who do get it. But panic and out of control fear only makes matters much worse. Do implement the recommended preventive measures but also stay focused on the facts and not the outrageous panic sweeping our world. The simple truth is that there is a very slim likelihood of you dying from the Corona virus, about the same as my odds of getting a weekend in Las Vegas with a smoking hot beauty queen while keeping my beautiful bride happy. Of course, the later is a fantasy dream while the former is a true nightmare.

Nevertheless let us all take a deep breath and step back from the panic.

Photos: Provided by Ron Irwin

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