Our Current Thinking on the Coronavirus
The Coronavirus has brought the world into a virtual stand-still as governments and world organizations scramble to better understand the virus, find a vaccine and contain the outbreak. Schools are shutting down, companies are advising employees to stay home and international travel has nearly halted. The global economy and stock markets continue to spiral as people wait eagerly on some form of optimism to surface. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict when resolution may come, and it may be quite some time before a tested, reliable vaccine is developed. Kombat Group Thailand’s response to the global pandemic will be to carry on. We’ll be here with our doors open, living life, doing work and honing our craft. Below we’ll describe in greater detail our current thinking on the Coronavirus and why we have decided to stay in the fight.
With 4,636 deaths to date, no vaccine yet discovered and an estimated high fatality rate, there is legitimate reason for global concern. It is not our intention to discount the virus or advise readers to act or not act in any way. Kombat Group Thailand does not claim to be any kind of medical authority nor legitimate source of information concerning COVID-19. We therefore cannot take responsibility for any risk you may or may not choose to take. This is merely our CURRENT thinking on the matter as we do not know the potential of this virus and how things may develop.
A Pandemic of Fear…
The greatest effects of the virus thus far have not been due to the virus itself but due to the mass hysteria surrounding it. Global markets are not collapsing because so many are sick and cannot work. They’re spiraling because so many are afraid to get sick. Is the fear justified and will more and more continue to get sick? We don’t claim to know, but the current global pandemic appears to be more a pandemic of fear than of viral disease.
That’s not to say the virus itself has not caused real damage to human lives. Coronavirus has taken 4,636 lives to date. That’s a significant number. Each of those lives were real and mattered. So we don’t intend to discount those lives at all. BUT it is worth taking note of other leading causes of death simply to add perspective to the number 4,636.
Below are some numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the leading causes of death in 2017 IN THE UNITED STATES ALONE:
Heart disease: 647,457
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
Influenza and Pneumonia: 55,672
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 50,633
Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173
We have no intention of discounting the number 4,636 by its comparison to much larger numbers. That would be like saying the death of one isn’t a big deal because 75,000,000 died in World War II.
Our point is this:
Coronavirus simply is not the leading cause of death in the world. It’s not even close. And it’s important to illustrate this point because anyone watching the news right now is led to believe that COVID-19 is in fact the leading cause of death. It’s not. Period. Will it become the leading cause of death moving forward? We don’t know. But suffice to say that right now, it is not.
Now many will point out that the real cause for alarm is the potential of the virus given its high fatality rate…
3.4% is one of the more common numbers seen on the internet. That’s a high rate. Spanish Influenza had a fatality rate between 2-3% and killed an estimated 50M people.
So any concern for COVID-19 in light of this number is valid, but there are many flaws with this figure as discussed by leading experts in the field.
Fatality rate is calculated through simple division: number of deaths/ number of cases. The trouble is we really have no idea how many actual cases there are. Coronavirus’s estimated fatality rate would be more accurately defined as the number of deaths/ the number of people that get sick enough to go the hospital. The largest study on COVID-19 cases to date was conducted by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Protection and studied 44,672 confirmed cases in China. The study found that 80.9% of cases exhibit mild symptoms.
This shows that most people are simply not getting very sick. It is therefore reasonable to say that many people infected are not going to the hospital. (People don’t go to the hospital if they’re not sick…) If people don’t go to the hospital, there is no confirmation of their case. Without confirmation, an accurate fatality rate is impossible to estimate.
This can be considered both good and bad news.
Bad in the sense that infected people are often unaware of their status and unknowingly spread the illness. Good in the sense that most people aren’t even getting sick!
A closer look at the numbers…
What we don’t see very often in the news is who is actually dying from this. This same study in China –which is arguably the single most telling study on the effects of the virus to date — found that the fatality rates varied greatly by age group and existence of preexisting conditions.
Fatality Rates by Age (China CDC Study):
0.2% of patients aged 10-39
0.4% of patients aged 40-49
1.3% of patients aged 50-59
3.6% of patients aged 60-69
8% of those aged 70-79
14.8% of those aged 80+
Fatality Rates by Cases with Preexisting Condition (China CDC Study):
10.5% of those with Cardiovascular Disease.
7.3% of those with Diabetes.
6.3% of those with Chronic Respiratory Disease.
6% of those with Hypertension
5.6% of those with Cancer.
0.9% of those with NO preexisting condition.
Note the clear trends here. Now this isn’t to say that old and sick people don’t matter. It’s just important to recognize this virus is not decimating young, healthy populations.
0.2% Fatality Rate of younger cases.
0.9% Fatality Rate of healthy cases.
Coronavirus Deaths in Thailand: 1
One person in Thailand has died from Coronavirus to date.
Now he was only 35 years old…but he also had dengue fever. As shown in the study, comorbidity matters and plays a huge role in the fatality rate of COVID-19.
We acknowledge that the development of this virus and its potential effect on the human population is still unknown. We therefore do not make any conclusive statement about what the virus is, what it will become and how anyone should respond. This is merely our thinking and the key points we wish to highlight:
- Corona is not a current leading cause of death.
- The current fatality rate is likely overestimated.
- Of those currently infected, most do not die.
- Of those currently infected, most do not become seriously ill.
- Of those deceased, most were compromised due to age and other illnesses.
- One person in Thailand has died from Coronavirus to date.
In any given decision, we identify potential risks and determine our willingness to undertake them in relation to the perceived benefit. There is always a trade off. Driving is dangerous, but it gets us to our destination quickly and easily. Traveling is dangerous, but we appreciate the experience and novelty of a foreign land. Boxing is dangerous, but we grow from the challenge. Life is dangerous, but we enjoy the ride.
With OBESITY causing 2.8 million deaths per year, Kombat Group Thailand believes it may be safer to maintain operations and keep fighting.
We will always mitigate risk at Kombat Group Thailand. Travelers from higher risk countries are quarantined for two weeks prior to entering the gym. Our facilities are sanitized thoroughly everyday, and we do not schedule trips to highly populated areas of the city. But we will keep our doors open to students wishing to learn to box and experience everything Thailand has to offer.