Coronavirus has killed relatively few Australians. What else is killing us, and how can we stop it?


Early during the coronavirus pandemic, some leaders pooh-poohed the idea that the disease was very deadly.

United States President Donald Trump compared COVID-19 with “the common flu”, which kills about 35,000 Americans per year.

“Nothing is shut down, life and the economy go on … Think about that,” he said.

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk told his staff “the coronavirus panic is dumb” and the risk of dying was “vastly less than the risk of death from driving your car home”.

In just three months, and despite lockdowns, the illness had killed about three times as many Americans as would usually die from either influenza or road crashes in an entire year.

Epidemiologists are still learning about COVID-19, but they estimate it is about 15 to 60 times as deadly as the seasonal flu.

In Australia, the disease killed just over 100 people in three months, thanks to an unprecedented effort to contain it.



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