Back to Normal?

Those touting the need for the U.S. to get back to “normal” as soon as possible are essentially relying on the argument that the coronavirus is dangerous just to the elderly and people with certain underlying conditions, and that those people should stay at home, while the rest of the nation returns to “business as usual.”

The problem with this argument is that there aren’t just a handful of people with underlying conditions, which include those who are obese, smokers, and people with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, chronic and severe kidney problems, and compromised immune systems. According to a paper recently published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, 45% of adult Americans fit at least one high-risk category. But it left out people in institutionalized settings, and in nursing homes in particular, which have accounted for a hugely disproportionate number of deaths.

In effect, too many Americans want to think of the high-risk coronavirus population as just senior citizens and people with underlying conditions, which they believe consist of a small percentage of Americans. In fact, that “small” population is somewhere around half of adult America and quite possibly more. That’s not a “tiny fraction” of the United States.

And for those in that category who catch the coronavirus and have symptoms, early statistics show that roughly twenty percent will require hospitalization. Half of those who survive will require lengthy medical care, and early U.K. studies estimate that roughly as many people as those who died will be permanently disabled and unable to work.

While children and young adults, in general, have a lower risk of serious effects from the coronavirus, that risk still exists, and those effects, while rare, are often life-threatening. In addition, as every week passes, doctors are finding more and more side-effects of the virus.

Also troubling is a series of studies out of China that show that over fifty percent of people infected with the coronavirus – including people who had no apparent symptoms – suffered permanent lung damage. These symptoms are also turning up in significant numbers in the United States.

Back to “normal” fairly soon? Not without more damage to life and health than most people realize.

2 thoughts on “Back to Normal?”

  1. Michael Creek says:

    Just reading that the Covid 19 infected face extraordinary risk levels for even minor operations, e.g. hernia repair. Minor operations 17% risk of death in subsequent 30 days and even higher for major surgery. Study done by University of Birmingham
    There is no return to Normal if infection rates are still high, even for the young and healthy population.

  2. Lourain says:

    To get an idea of what this will look like, go back to the days before penicillin, when one of the most common causes of death was bacterial pneumonia. Life expectancy will go down, and the number of people who cannot work at jobs requiring physical labor will go up. Poverty will increase. Medical expenses will skyrocket, until many people will not be able to afford health care. This is assuming, of course, that we (the people of the United States) do not address these issues. They are certainly not being addressed at the present time by the present administration.

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