“Quantifying death and health is a highly sensitive subject, but essential”

Tribune. Behind me in the metro, a discussion is animated. One of the passengers is exasperated. “We are killing our lives for 200 or 300 deaths a day. Except the guys who die, they’re 80 on average, and have high blood pressure. It’s sad for them, but what about us? “ This is because, in the media, there is already talk of a third confinement to come …

At the time, I want to tell the passenger that he is right on two points. The average age of death is actually around 81 years old, and nearly 90% of people in intensive care have comorbidity. But I also want to remind him that the virus is new, that its long-term effects remain unknown (on young and old) and that the health damage would probably have been much more dramatic without the restrictions we know. today. But will that be enough to convince him?

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How long will these arguments be enough to keep the consent to the effort of millions of people whose jobs, studies, travel, lives have been turned upside down for almost a year? What if the pandemic were to last for several more years, without it being possible to foresee the slightest outcome?

An evaluation of the dead according to different criteria

In my opinion, this consent can only come from one condition: the effort must be constantly perceived as democratically desirable. In other words, a majority of us must remain convinced that we collectively have more to gain (and at least less to lose) from giving up normal life than from giving up effort.

Read the editorial: Covid-19: the risk of democratic fatigue

However, if it is currently in the minority, contestation of the effort already exists and could, by increasing, undermine any chance of actually getting out of the current crisis. So what to do? If it is tempting to challenge the challenge, we would benefit from giving it visibility at the highest level of the State, by discussing the indicators on which it is based (contamination rate, case fatality rate, failure rate companies, etc.).

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Let’s take a look at the key indicator of the number of coronavirus deaths. It is not a simple matter. We can, as today in France, count equally all the deceased people who have tested positive for the coronavirus. But we could also assess the number of deaths according to age and the existence of comorbidities.

Three million euros the tutelary value of human life

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