By Bruce A. Smith
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone. Erin Go Bragh, as we used to say in New York – or at least that’s what the banners would say in pubs and workplaces. It translates to “Ireland Forever.” However, the full Gaelic phrase is Éire go Brách, and that means “Ireland until the End of Time.”
The latter feels prophetic in some way. After all, this is the world’s first holiday in quarantine, and without any Guinness the best I can do is hoist my cup o’ tea and wish the best to the Green Isle.
I also toast a Salut to all those in Italy and Iran who are burying hundreds of Covid victims daily. Officials here in the States – not Donald Trump, of course – but all those who really matter are saying the same could happen to us. Specifically, governors like Andrew Cuomo of New York say we’re a week or two behind Italy in the Covid onslaught.
Yet, our young people are resisting the push to isolate and protect themselves and others. Beaches and bars are teeming with Spring Breakers in Fort Lauderdale, and “End of the World” parties are packed to the gills by twenty-somethings, according to the New York Times today.
Yes, initial statistical reports indicate that infections rates are lower for young people, with less severe symptoms and mortality rates a tenth of what a 70 year-old guy like me is facing. With a heart attack history and lots of lung ailments, I’m at an 8% mortality risk. At the extremes, my mom, at 95, is about 20%, while her grandkids and their generation are less than 1%.
Yeah, it’s tough to be young and cooped up, unable to mingle and be single in all the messy and lovely ways that beholds. I get it. But I want to talk tuchas to the young folks:
Self-quarantining is more than doing something to keep you grandmothers alive, even if you think your uncles are jerks and aunties next-to-useless. Many young folks consider Covid to be a welcomed “Boomer Remover,” as revealed today in the New York Times.
But in fact, the young generation has a vested interest in keeping us Boomers around. Consider: how many 25-year-olds have Ph.Ds.? A handful. How many 70-year-olds have a Ph.D.? A hundred-thousand, at least.
How many neurosurgeons are 25? Three, maybe?
How many neurosurgeons are 70? Tens of thousands.
How many 25 and 30-year-olds have experience running major corporations or large governmental agencies? Almost none. How many 70-year-olds? Almost all of this current leadership is 70 or close to it.
So, Gen X and Gen Z, do you want to lose 10-20% of that talent pool? Yeah, I know you want our jobs, but are you ready? I think not. Therefore, take shelter and protect your future – and mine.
On a more personal level, I went for a walk today. Met a new neighbor down the street who was playing with his dog. Some things haven’t changed much since I last walked my streets regularly before I got a car two years ago. One neighbor’s trash pile is still a mess. Another still hasn’t completed their half-finished remodel. Beer cans still littered the shoulders of the roads, and I picked-up three for recycling. Nobody’s garden is further along than mine, though. Spring is still young, even if it was 60 degrees and sunny today. Next week for potato plantings, maybe.
Back to the pandemic, here are some stats to consider from journalist Brian Wang in Next Big Future, circa February 25, 2020:
Coronavirus Fatality Statistics by Age, Gender and Conditions
Brian Wang | February 25, 2020
There are coronavirus (COVID-19) fatality statistics based on age, gender and pre-existing conditions. The rates are mainly for hospitalized cases in China. There is likely 5-10 times as many people who caught the virus but had no symptoms or did not need to be hospitalized or were not diagnosed.
Data is from the Epidemiological Characteristics of an Outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Diseases (COVID-19) – China CCDC, February 17 2020.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is most problematic if you are over 70, a smoker and already had heart and lung problems of some kind.
The higher death rate in men could be caused by higher smoking rates for men in China. Smoking increases the risks of respiratory complications.
Patients who reported no pre-existing (“co-morbid”) medical conditions had a case fatality rate of 0.9%. Having heart, lung, and diabetes increases the rate of death by 7 to 12 times.
SOURCES – Data is from the Epidemiological Characteristics of an Outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Diseases (COVID-19) – China CCDC, February 17 2020.
Brian Wang is a prolific business-oriented writer of emerging and disruptive technologies. He is known for insightful articles that combine business and technical analysis that catches the attention of the general public and is also useful for those in the industries. He is the sole author and writer of nextbigfuture.com, the top online science blog.
My “Hillbilly Haz-Mat Suit” hanging outside my abode. I leave the clothes I wear to town outside when I return home. Not sure how long Covid clings to a pair of jeans and a ball cap, but better safe than sorry.