Final blog entry – Friday, 30 June 2023

And probably soon forgotten

Covid-19 has become endemic a while ago, joining the ranks of other infectious diseases with possibly eternal low-level presence and occasional flare-up. And as with other deadly infectious diseases, the occasional (refresher) vaccination, particularly of the vulnerable population, will keep mortality low.

The USA as a whole has given out no new data since early June, which is possibly owed to some states having stopped reporting altogether. Its last reported mortality was 0.067 per 100 000. Washington State, however, is still reporting. Here, death numbers are on a steady downward trajectory, although hospital numbers have gone up a little. WA State's mortality of 0.034 per 100 000 is lower than the US average but still higher that that of France (0.018), let alone Germany (0.004) and Tunisia (0.003). 

To be fair, at the time of the last US data reporting, the mortality of Sweden (0.088), Denmark (0.087), Britain (0.056), Portugal (0.045) or even Italy (0.042) was equally high and they all came down (well, we can only assume that the US numbers came down too).

Mortality numbers are provided by One World In Data (OWID) and can be visualised by following this link. OWID data should be available for a few more months after my last blog entry and they will remain my to-go place for a quick check to assess travel risk.

So while we might have gone back to business as usual, we should not forget that Covid-19 is still around and that there are world regions where chances of contracting the disease are higher than in others. When on holiday in the USA, sitting on a crowded train with its insufficient air circulation, I would probably still wear a mask. After all, I would not want risk spending one week locked in my hotel room, feeling miserable.

Another issue that has not miraculously ceased to exist is Post-Covid Syndrome. According to the WHO, over the last three years, Covid-19 has possibly resulted in 1 out of 30 Europeans having been affected by Long Covid (PDF). That is 36 million who could be suffering in silence, left behind as others move on from COVID-19. Not a small number and certainly a burden on society and the economy.

This concludes my blog. My final words are below in the Remarks section.

Summary (reported numbers)

 Daily incidence (now irrelevant), ITU occupancy and deaths are averages of 1-3 weeks of reported numbers
calculated per 100 000 people. Actual numbers might be higher (considerably so for incidence). 
See the help page for explanations.

WA State2.30.200.02409.5%

Final Remarks 

This is it. Over three years ago, when the pandemic was a mere one month old, I became upset about the numbers portrayal by the media. They presented raw numbers instead of putting them in relation to the population size. Raw Covid numbers make a shocking article when writing about countries with a large population and belittle the severity of the disease in places with fewer people.

Has the press learnt anything from it? Maybe for Covid-19. But then just a little. In other areas, numbers are still given without context, which is particularly true for financial data, and thus serve the purpose of forcing an opinion. To answer my own question: probably not.

Looking back, I also changed my own views. On masking, for instance. I was initially very sceptical and even mocked the mask wearers. But I educated myself and learnt from my mistakes.

Based on various data, I correctly predicted in May 2020 that the pandemic would last 3 years.

Will the world be prepared for another pandemic? Only if it were to happen soon. For, how many of us still remember boarding a plane by simply walking up to it, past primitive metal detectors? I routinely arrived at airports half an hour before takeoff; and that was less than 25 years ago. But the younger of us have never known and the older have probably forgotten. Just like we will forget about the pandemic.

Governments will hopefully have a longer memory and laws have been passed to foster future preparedness. But we will also be faced with a huge resistance by a growing segment of our population that lives in an alternative reality. 

I will leave this blog online for some time. Maybe 20 years from now, somebody will find it useful.

But maybe not. 

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