How can a disease with 1% mortality shut down the United States?
There are two problems with this question. It neglects the law of large numbers. It assumes that one of two things happens: you die and your 100% fine.
The US has a population of 328,200,000. If one percent of the population dies, that’s 3,282,000 people dead.
Three million people dead would monkey wrench the economy no matter what. That more than doubles the number of annual deaths all at once.
The second part is people keep talking about deaths. Deaths, deaths, deaths. Only one percent die! Just one percent! One is a small number! No big deal, right?
What about the people who survive?
For every one person who dies:
* 19 more require hospitalization.
* 18 of those will have permanent heart damage for the rest of their lives.
* 10, will have permanent lung damage.
* 3, will have strokes.
* 2, will have neurological damage that leads to chronic weakness and loss of coordination.
* 2, will have neurological damage that leads to loss of cognitive function.
So now all of a sudden, that “but it’s only 1% fatal!” becomes:
* 3,282,000 people dead.
* 62,358,000 hospitalized.
* 59,076,000 have permanent heart damage.
* 32,820,000 people with permanent lung damage.
* 9,846,000 people with strokes.
* 6,564,000 have with muscle weakness.
* 6,564,000 with loss of cognitive function.
That’s the thing that the folks who keep going on about “only 1% dead, what’s the big deal?” don’t get.
The choice is not “ruin the economy to save 1%.” If we reopen, the destruction of the economy will still occur. The US economy cannot survive everyone getting COVID-19.