COVID – Why Terminology Really, Really Matters

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick 

Winter is coming]

In the flu pandemic at the end of World War One, the average age of death was twenty-eight 1. In the UK, the average age of death from COVID19 is eighty-one for men, and eighty-four for women. Which is older than the average life expectancy in parts of the UK. These data are from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), as analysed and reported in the Daily Mail 2.

[I do not usually reference newspapers for scientific data, but this article is very clear and understandable for the lay reader].

The risk of dying if you get infected and have serious symptoms, requiring some medical actions – the case fatality rate (CFR*) – also rises exponentially as you get older. In Italy, in the early stages of the pandemic, the CFR for those under twenty-nine was zero per cent. Rising to twenty per cent in those over eighty 3.

[*this figure changes over time. It always falls as more and more people are tested. See previous blogs also about mixing up CFR with Infection Fatality Rate (IFR)]

I am not getting into an unwinnable argument as to the value of human life at different ages. I am simply making the point that COVID19 is, for reasons not well established, vastly more serious in the elderly population. This is very different from previous epidemics. Read complete article HERE