COVID VS. CANCER
What is the most deadly?
I started my career as a biostatistician in cancer, which is mostly done with Kaplan-Meier models. Theses models estimate the median time to death (or event) and are represented by a figure with a curve steps down or a cumulative hazard that steps up. If you want to get an idea of what that looks like, check out this well done study for Ivermectin.
Everyone dies eventually, and in cancer, we want to see if a treatment can extend your life. And everyone eventually will catch a respiratory disease, we want to know how long we can delay that with masks and drugs.
Working with cancer statistics is depressing. I know how much longer a person has to live after the tell me they’ve been diagnosed. Some cancers have a great survival rate, then there there are the others that are awful. But no matter what the rate is, I always smile and try to be encouraging, while darn well knowing the median survival rate. I always keep my statistics to myself.
In 2020, you can see that the COVID deaths were higher than the cancer deaths, that was pretty scary. The figure below shows that more people died from COVID in 2020. But look now, in 2021, COVID is no longer the threat it once was. I explain this in my previous article “Its over”. Cancer is now the bigger killer, for all age groups when compared to COVID19.
Every day, your risk of dying from COVID decreases, but your risk of dying from cancer still remains the same.
Cancer cuts your life short. Even if you are in remission, its something you will always have to manage and may pop back up when you least expect it. COVID isn’t like that, there’s a vaccine, natural immunity and developing therapeutics on your side.
COVID WAS NEVER as scary as cancer for kids and young adults. I redid the figure, just for youth deaths under 24. You can see that even in 2020, the risk of death from cancer was higher for the age groups of preschool (0-4), school-aged (5-17) and college-aged (18-23).
We are putting all these pandemic measures on kids in preschool, elementary, high school and college but they were ALWAYS the lowest risk group of dying from COVID. And its EVEN LOWER for that population now heading on into 2022.
Interesting side fact about the cancer VS COVID data, in 2020, cancer deaths were coded as COVID deaths in NJ. I suspect this happened all over the US.
There is always an expectation of population death so I included 2016-2019 (in gray) to provide reference years to have an idea of how 2020 (red) and 2021 (yellow) deaths compare. In April of 2020, you can see slight rise in cancer deaths; slightly higher than what is typical of previous years. Then there is a pretty decent drop in cancer deaths from May 2020 to now. We all know that COVID didn’t cure cancer. If you suspected that there was a bias towards putting “COVID” on the death certificates than other diseases, this proves your suspicions. Its probably not a good idea to give a monetary incentive to code deaths as COVID.