The UK has been hit by a handful of major virus outbreaks over the past 100 years or so. By far the most severe was the so-called ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic of 1918-19. In the UK, the number of fatalities was around 200,000 – equivalent to roughly 0.5% of the pre-war population.
Almost a century later, another strain caused the ‘swine flu’ outbreak of 2009-10. This was a very mild pandemic compared with its forerunner, but is still estimated to have caused 457 deaths in the UK.
There have been two moderate pandemics in recent history: so-called ‘Asian flu’ and ‘Hong Kong flu’.
Asian flu began in southern China and spread around the world in 1957-58. Up to four million deaths have been attributed to this outbreak, including around 33,000 in the UK.
The Hong Kong flu pandemic of 1968-70 also began in southern China and led to a similar number of deaths worldwide – though in the UK the number was higher than for Asian flu, totalling around 80,000.
Someone with Covid-19 usually has mild, flu-like symptoms which are very common and need to be distinguished from similar symptoms caused by other, common cold type, coronaviruses and from allergic symptoms during springtime.
UK death statistics for Covid-19 are probably overstated because included within them are people who have died with Covid-19 rather than from Covid-19, as well as others who had flu-like symptoms but were not even tested for Covid-19.
In 1969-70 there were around 80,000 deaths in the UK from the Hong Kong flu pandemic. But note: there was no UK lockdown. There will not be 80,000 UK deaths from Covid-19. There may not even be 8,000.
Germany’s death rate is not low because they treated Covid-19 better, it’s low because they tested more and only recorded as Covid-19 deaths those which actually were. Hence the number of identified cases better illustrates the true mortality rate of the virus (low overall).
Italy’s relatively high death rate on the other hand is not due to lack of testing but to a combination of their culture and their high proportion of elderly people over 65 (the highest in Europe and second highest in the world after Japan).
Their post-mortem data shows: average age infected 63; average age died 79.5; 99% had pre-existing serious health conditions; only 17 out of 2,500 were 50 or under and ALL had multiple pre-existing serious health conditions.
The UK death rate for Covid-19 is currently lower than the five year average for deaths from pneumonia and flu. Furthermore, many deaths from seasonal influenza and pneumonia are being inaccurately recorded as deaths from Covid-19, even where no test has confirmed Covid-19 infection.
Allow the pandemic to run its course so that we can build herd immunity while mass testing is mobilized and a vaccine developed.
Lift the Lockdown – Protect the Economy – Save Lives.