The impact of the new coronavirus on human lives is enormous. For the US alone, Covid-19 has claimed the lives of more than 200,000 patients to date. Professor Stephen Elledge of Harvard Medical School calculated that this amounts to a loss of no less than 2.5 million life years. About half of this is due to middle-aged deaths.
No, the coronavirus fatalities are not just the elderly patients who “would die in the foreseeable future anyway,” as some believe. Renowned molecular biologist and geneticist, Stephen Elledge, dug into the statistics of 194,087 American corona deaths to find out how many years of life they have lost. The scientist at Harvard Medical School in Boston was surprised to find that middle-aged patients who died were responsible for roughly half the number of years of life lost by Covid-19 – for a total of 2,572 in the US. 102 according to Elledge’s calculations. That is statistically consistent with the number of Americans who die from cancer in six months. On average, the pandemic claimed 13.25 years of life from them per deceased American corona patient. The loss is higher in male patients (13.93) than in female patients (12.45).
“It was quite shocking,” said the researcher. “The younger half of that population loses as many years of life as the older. And they really need to realize that. ” According to Elledge, most people don’t really understand life expectancy. It does not remain the same from the day you were born to the day you die. The geneticist explains that the longer you live, the more likely you are to live even longer. A man of 70 can have a life expectancy of eight years, but that can remain eight years by the time he turns 80, because that person has apparently already been able to get around a number of potential causes of death.
Who among us wouldn’t have wanted to spend five more years with a father, mother, son, daughter, or close friend?
It is true that younger people are less likely to die from Covid-19 than older people, but it happens that they too do not survive the lung disease. As an example, Elledge gives the death of people in their fifties, who could easily have lived for two to three decades, had the corona pandemic not occurred. The scientist adds that it takes a lot of time to estimate the further life chances of sick Covid patients who did get through, because there could be permanent injuries. Covid-19 could also take good years of life in that group.
Elledge considers that massive loss of 2.5 million American life years as the direct toll of the pandemic. “Covid-19 has wiped out millions of years of productive, active and happy existence,” he concludes. But there is also an indirect toll on an “emotional and economic” level, says Elledge. “Who among us wouldn’t have wanted to spend five more years with a father, mother, son, daughter, or close friend?”
The molecular biologist therefore believes that we should not go too lightly on the death toll. “Most were not on the eve of death, and every death causes a ripple effect of grief and loss.” Elledge is therefore not in favor of striving for group immunity by letting the virus run its course among the younger population.
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