The true risk of Covid-19? Not much more than taking a regular bath, explains statistician
By TIM HARFORD FOR THE DAILY MAIL
Take a guess at what percentage of Britain’s population has died from Covid-19. Is it 5 per cent? As low as 1 per cent?
In fact, the toll is less than 0.1 per cent of the country. That means about 41,000 official deaths — or a broader ‘excess death’ count of more than 65,000, depending on how you measure it — out of our population of 66 million.
Now, this is both a national tragedy and 65,000 individual tragedies. The virus is a killer, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
But let’s frame the stats in a different way. These figures also mean that 99.9 per cent of us have so far survived the virus.
Less than 0.1 per cent of Britain’s population has died from Covid-19. Pictured: A health worker performs a PCR test on Wednesday
Barely one in 1,000 Britons has died from coronavirus — and yet the economy is in cardiac arrest, Government debt has run into hundreds of billions and many parents are terrified of sending their children to school.
Offices stand empty. So do railway stations and shopping malls. University lecturers are demanding that their students be turned away. All this, when 99.9 per cent of the country has survived the first wave — and, I hope, the worst.
The vast majority of the people who died were over the age of 65, and the fact is that if you’re under 60, you are very unlikely to die from Covid-19 even if you do catch it.
If you’re vulnerable or elderly, you already need no prompting to take reasonable precautions. In rare cases, the virus can kill the under-30s.