Televisions around the world are bombarding us with news of the illustrious dead or young people affected by COVID-19, with updated accounts of the affected, the healed, the dead, the quarantined, the intubated, to keep up with the scarce numbers of intensive care beds still available, concluding with the news of the death of an eighty-year-old Australian woman affected by the relentless virus.
In our parents’ time, a death in a nearby town was heard a few months later, while the news of an immigrant dead in Australia could be heard perhaps years later.
Today no, today through social media and television that give no other news, we are forced to record in our brains and even grieve over the death of an almost 90-year-old who lived in a nursing home for Christian-Baptist believers in some corner of New South Wales.
If you don’t know where New South Wales falls, don’t worry, maybe she didn’t even know it herself, and that didn’t serve to prolong her life, and it won’t serve us to live any longer quiet.
In today’s world, populated by 7.7 billion people (WHO 2020), about 60 million people die each year, of which over 90 percent are deaths from various diseases. To better understand, it is as if the whole population of Italy dies in one year. Or to make a simpler comparison, so many people die in the US every year as much as those living in Albania, or the death of the UK in a year as the resident population in Glasgow: a real tragedy.
But a difficult and delicate discussion such as that of death cannot be made only quantitatively — if a friend dies, or a relative dies, the fact that his fate is the same as that of many others is no consolation, and then we cannot fail to make qualitative assessments.
Let’s see how all these unfortunate people die, because it’s different to die due to coronavirus in a hospital bed without any of your relatives nearby, and unlike breathing blocking having extreme sex like in the 1976 movie ” In the Realm of the Senses”, which actually happens to 1,200 Americans every year.
In Italy, as in all developed countries, domestic accidents represent an emblematic case of 3 million accidents (according to ISTAT 2019 the national statistical institute and INAIL 2018 the compulsory health insurance institute) involving around 3.5 million people, of whom 8,000 die each year. No one asks about these deaths even though it is a slew of deaths from slipping into the shower tub, falling off the stairs, or mistakenly ingesting caustic soda. They are inglorious deaths, but still deaths. Even in the above mentioned case the majority of victims, three out of four, are persons over the age of 65, but to them, unlike the elderly in Australia, there is no mention in the media, not even a quote, not even on the Facebook of the neighbours.
In Europe car accidents cause 27,000 deaths in the each year – 40,000 if we include Eastern European countries; worldwide 1.24 million people (according to WHO 2017) die from road accidents annually. It is as if every two years the whole of Albanians die, or if year the whole of Liverpool and Manchester dies, but if it happens to a relative we say we are baffled and touched, but we never stop for more than a moment to reflect on the global fact.
The possible death in a car accident is not only an accepted risk in our society, counting 2,700 fatal road injuries in UK every year, but it would have been seen is as if it was a death of honor, powered by technological and economic development that has replaced the death of the horse rider in war times. Regarded as a story of courage or unconsciousness, which produces little indignation and few corrections in our lifestyle.
Occupational deaths are around 50,000 every year in Europe alone, with around 94,000 worldwide according to official data from the International Labor Organization in 2017. In Italy, 1,400 people have died from work accidents in 2017, nearly 4 people per day. In the UK the cost of victims at work is among the lowest in western countries: 236, almost one every day of work.
While in China, the manufacture of the world, more than 90,000 people die every year on the job place. Of course, dying on the job, even crashing off the scaffolding of the world’s most spectacular building, is not as glorious as crashing a 200-mile-per-hour Aston Martin, but one can definitely do something about it as reducing the number of deaths at work. Indeed, in most countries, there are institutions that set rules and monitor job safety of activities and infrastructures, but when someone dies, their reports usually show that everything was OK … and no one gets that angry.
The United States annually records a large number of deaths due to drug and medicine abuse, of which approximately 67,000 die each year; you may also consider to add another 13,000 more deaths directly coming from alcohol abuse – in total, 80,000 people a year alone from drugs and alcohol. It is the same population of city like Scutari with a thousand-year history, or like such as Halifax, West Yorkshire, the birthplace of the musician Ed Sheeran, would disappear every year. But human rights defenders oppose a complete ban on drugs. One million people die of HIV worldwide each year, but these are hardly news at all, even less a scandal.
Africa has a population of 1.3 billion people, of whom 35 percent are under the age of 29, in addition to endemic diseases that cause millions of deaths, largely due to lack of infrastructure, hygiene and food, tens of thousands of deaths occur accidental due to injuries caused by wild animals.
Even the hippopotamus, that few may suspect, causes annually 2,900 casualties in equatorial Africa alone, in addition to an average of 2,000 victims of crocodile attacks annually.
In India, according to estimates from the Veterinary Center and the Ministry of Health there are 50,000 deadly snake attacks, on average one every 10 minutes. But it is well known that Africa and India are places where human life is not worth that much, and moreover, they are distant places, and then there are wild areas, and who should care about them?
But but also domestic or grazing animals, playmates and food suppliers for the entire population of the world, cause loss of life. Every year globally around 30,000 people die due to dog bites and further 20,000 due to cow and large cattle kicks. Misfortunes are said and nobody thinks about them anymore. Thankfully, there are only a few dozen people that die from shark attacks every year. Credits to numerous films and warnings, sharks are considered a real danger, and a lot of money is spent on protecting humans from them, which is not the case arising for flies and mosquitoes, which annually kill one million people worldwide by malaria, dengue and tse-tse.
But as the case of Italian animalists, who condemn programs achieved for the development of the country made by Benito Mussolini in extinguishing swampy areas causing the destruction of the anopheles, the malaria-carrying mosquito in Italy, which animalists thought they had the right to live like any other species.
Every year around 9 million people die worldwide, due to lung infections and diseases of the respiratory system, of which 45,000 in Italy, nearly as many in France, about 80,000 in Germany and as many in the Great Britain. Among those numbers this year will be the counting number of those deaths due to coronavirus – many of them would have ended up in this statistic, even without being affected by coronavirus, but with less fuss, less spending, less collateral damage as for the economy and the society in terms of instability, anxiety and mass fear.
But for the COVID-19, in a growing hysteria and demagogy, we are killing the world economy, with costs that will take many years to be recovered as if the blockade of goods and global logistics were to continue, the Great Britain would be greatly damaged by the food supply alone. A part of the world’s workers in the entertainment, tourism, bars and restaurants sectors will suffer incalculable losses. At this point in history the results from the people’s health point of view, could be imperceptible, and fortunately for those who make the decisions, impossible to be calculate.
In the US alone in 2018, there were 1.8 million emergency room admissions for people who have fallen out of bed at night, but do you think any decision has been made to shorten the bed-structure-foots?
Perhaps the Japanese had already understood everything, who for centuries have been sleeping on futon mattresses lying on tatami beds adhering to the ground.
Don’t be stupid, though, staying home is better for now.
This is not intended to be a message to violate reasonable hygiene and health behaviours.
It is not up to you to decide for others, if you do not agree with your government’s policy remember when you go to the polls. Now be accountable and disciplined, because otherwise you could have, and even we will have, significant costs and damages.