Covid 19 is not like flu, not least because flu hardly kills anyone in the UK

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I am so bored of the government saying crass things like 'we are going to have to get used to living with Covid'. This is, of course, used as an excuse for their policy of withdrawing government support for businesses this summer as they move towards a policy of austerity that is their plan as they try to shrink the role of government in the economy again.

Their logic, often stated, is that we will have to learn to treat Covid like 'flu. The implication is that if we can live with the deaths from ‘flu then we can live with the deaths from Covid. However, that assumes that the number of deaths from Covid are similar to those from flu. And they are not.

I am aware that it is often claimed that flu claims up to 25,000 lives a year. That is the implication of government reports like this which say:

This looks like serious numbers of ‘flu deaths. But note that title with care. ‘Associated’ plays a big part in it, and is deeply misleading.  I prefer this report, because it is accurate as to causes:

Deaths due to coronavirus (COVID-19) compared with deaths from influenza and pneumonia, England and Wales: deaths occurring between 1 January and 31 August 2020.

That report says:

Of all death occurrences between January and August 2020, there were 48,168 deaths due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) compared with 13,619 deaths due to pneumonia and 394 deaths due to influenza.

So, maybe 600 ‘flu deaths a year. Right now we have seen more than 150,000 Covid 19 deaths. Let's not pretend that there is any comparison or that because we can live with ‘flu deaths we can live with Covid deaths.

And, incidentally, the remaining deaths associated with ‘flu in the UK are aberrational when compared to places like Scandinavia. That's because the associated deaths are almost all pneumonia, and those deaths are heavily associated with fuel poverty. A report this week said a fifth of UK pensioners live in poverty. That's what causes those deaths. We need not live with them either. That's just government choice to let people die, just as it will be government choice to let people die from Covid.

We have tiny numbers of deaths from ‘flu a year in this country. Let's stop pretending otherwise. And let’s stop pretending death imposed by government policy is acceptable.