Saving us From Those Trying to Save Us

For the vast majority of the population, policy reactions to COVID have been extreme and caused more harm than they have prevented.

The median age in my state of Alabama is 38.6. Among the half of our population that would be considered “young” -- under the median age in our state -- COVID has posed no significant health risk. Per extrapolations from CDC statistics, 421 Alabamians under the age of 38.6 died from or with COVID over the past 22 months. This means the “youngest” 50 percent of Alabama’s population has accounted for just 2.6 percent of all COVID deaths (out of 16,133 total deaths). This also means the "oldest” segment of Alabama’s population accounted for 97.4 percent of all COVID deaths. On an annualized basis, among the “young” half, COVID was listed as the cause of death for approximately 240 Alabamians. Perhaps more easily understood, COVID “killed” 12 middle-aged or younger Alabamians each month in the first year of the pandemic.

Alabama has 67 counties so, on average, each county recorded 0.18 deaths/month among people under the age of 40 in a 12-month period. This means in most months most counties did not record a single death of a person under the age of 40.

One of the best contrarian COVID “metrics” shows the number of expected years lost by a given death. Basically, if a 22-year-old dies from COVID (which almost never happens), this person would have lost 58 years of his or her expected life (assuming a typical life expectancy of around 80 years.) 

If there’s a “silver lining” to COVID, it’s the fact its victims skew so heavily toward the very old… that this disease has largely spared the young who have so much of their lives in front of them.

From researching COVID mortality statistics, I’ve been able to compare numbers of previous causes of death. For example, the Spanish Flu, for some reason, claimed a disproportionate number of young victims.

In 1921, when my grandparents were young, diphtheria killed 15,000 Americans, almost all victims being among children or young adults. In 1921, diphtheria killed 288 Americans/week. This means more young Americans died in one week from diphtheria than young Alabamians died in 52 weeks “from” COVID.

Additional context on the grim subject of mortality is offered by deaths by traffic accidents. In 2019, 930 Alabamians lost their lives in traffic accidents. Not surprisingly, the young die far more often in traffic accidents than the old, which is another reason these deaths are so devastating to families.

According to extrapolations from several information sources, approximately 623 of Alabama’s 930 traffic accident victims occurred among those aged 0 to 39 (deaths at or below Alabama’s median age). So in 2019 traffic accidents killed 2.6 times more middle-aged and younger Alabamians than COVID in the first 12 months of the pandemic (613 traffic deaths vs. 240 COVID deaths). 

In a typical year most Alabamians probably personally knew one or more “young” acquaintances who lost their lives in traffic accidents (and knew many more who suffered  injuries).  In contrast, most Alabamians did not personally know anyone under the age of 40 who died from COVID. Somehow people keep living their lives even with the reality of losing friends or family members unexpectedly. People should carry on as best they can in the face of such deaths. With traffic fatalities, society continues to function at a “normal” level. With COVID (which has caused far fewer deaths) society did not carry on as “normal.” Indeed, our leaders and public health officials compounded the deaths that did occur by making life more miserable or challenging for the 99.999 percent of the population who did not, and will not die. It would have been much better if people had simply said, “We hate it, but deaths happen.” 

Those at the greatest risk of dying from COVID could have (and would have) modified their behavior as they saw fit and accepted that they might lose a few family members or friends in the next year or two.  Instead, the masses meekly allowed our leaders to turn their lives upside down, a prescription we should have known would cause even more unnecessary deaths and hardships… all because of the existence of a disease with a tiny risk of claiming the lives of most people.

A century ago, our grandparents somehow carried on when diphtheria, polio, smallpox, measles, and other diseases were killing far more young people.

The leaders of our country are going to continue to take away civil liberties in the name of “protecting” the public. But these people and organizations are actually harming the public.

If they had done nothing to “flatten the curve” or “slow” or “stop” the spread of the virus, the virus would have still spread, and people would have still died from COVID. (Really, “the road less travelled” by the nation of Sweden was the safest road to travel).

If America’s leaders had not overreacted, many people gone today would still be here today… and more people would be alive a year from now. The future of every inhabitant in the world would not be as bleak as it is today.

Bill Rice, Jr. is a freelance writer in Troy, Alabama. He can be reached by email at

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