Apart from the false prediction models about how serious the coronavirus would be, a significant source of the fear-hype panic has come from the media exposure of what was going on in Italy. From the overcrowded hospitals to the death rate, Italy was being shown as a template for what other countries would experience in terms of the coronavirus 'pandemic'.
The current total deaths in Italy from alleged coronavirus, is reported as 18,849 according to worldometers.info, with the total number of cases being 147,577.
First, is this a cause for greater concern relative to the seasonal flu that affects the world?
Looking at a paper published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases in November 2019 titled "Investigating the impact of influenza on excess mortality in all ages in Italy during recent seasons (2013/14–2016/17 seasons)", they showed the total deaths during 4 flu seasons:
We estimated excess deaths of 7,027, 20,259, 15,801 and 24,981 attributable to influenza epidemics in the 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17, respectively, using the Goldstein index. The average annual mortality excess rate per 100,000 ranged from 11.6 to 41.2 with most of the influenza-associated deaths per year registered among the elderly. However children less than 5 years old also reported a relevant influenza attributable excess death rate in the 2014/15 and 2016/17 seasons (1.05/100,000 and 1.54/100,000 respectively).
Note that in the years 2014/15 and 2016/17, the death rate from the flu was greater than the current death rate of coronavirus. Of course Italy and other countries have restrictions on movement, isaoltion and lockdowns being imposed which will affect the spread and impact of the virus. To what degree is another matter.
I suggest coronavirus can be looked at as a more severe form of flu, but not a grave and deadly virus incomparable to the flu, as the media and some in the medical establishment want to suggest. Other medical experts have previous and continue to say that the perception and reaction to the coronavirus issue is disproportionate to the threat it poses. You can find biology and infectious disease experts in many countries sharing this conclusion.
With that said, we can also look at who is being affected most by the coronavirus in Italy. Some data from the Italian National Health Institute as of March 30, has been broken down by the Swiss Propaganda Research group. The data shows that the majority of those infected and dying are the elderly. The elderly are among the target group of those in a population most affected by the seasonal flu and respiratory illnesses like pneumonia and coronavirus.
Here is the analysis:
According to the latest data of the Italian National Health Institute ISS, the average age of the positively-tested deceased in Italy is currently about 81 years. 10% of the deceased are over 90 years old. 90% of the deceased are over 70 years old.
80% of the deceased had suffered from two or more chronic diseases. 50% of the deceased had suffered from three or more chronic diseases. The chronic diseases include in particular cardiovascular problems, diabetes, respiratory problems and cancer.
Less than 1% of the deceased were healthy persons, i.e. persons without pre-existing chronic diseases. Only about 30% of the deceased are women.
The Italian Institute of Health moreover distinguishes between those who died from the coronavirus and those who died with the coronavirus. In many cases it is not yet clear whether the persons died from the virus or from their pre-existing chronic diseases or from a combination of both.
The two Italians deceased under 40 years of age (both 39 years old) were a cancer patient and a diabetes patient with additional complications. In these cases, too, the exact cause of death was not yet clear (i.e. if from the virus or from their pre-existing diseases).
The partial overloading of the hospitals is due to the general rush of patients and the increased number of patients requiring special or intensive care. In particular, the aim is to stabilize respiratory function and, in severe cases, to provide anti-viral therapies.
(Update: The Italian National Institute of Health published a statistical report on test-positive patients and deceased, confirming the above data.)
The following aspects should also be taken into account:
Northern Italy has one of the oldest populations and the worst air quality in Europe, which had already led to an increased number of respiratory diseases and deaths in the past and is likely an additional risk factor in the current epidemic.
South Korea, for instance, has experienced a much milder course than Italy and has already passed the peak of the epidemic. In South Korea, only about 70 deaths with a positive test result have been reported so far. As in Italy, those affected were mostly high-risk patients.
The few dozen test-positive Swiss deaths so far were also high-risk patients with chronic diseases, an average age of more than 80 years and a maximum age of 97 years, whose exact cause of death, i.e. from the virus or from their pre-existing diseases, is not yet known.
Furthermore, studies have shown that the internationally used virus test kits may give a false positive result in some cases. In these cases, the persons may not have contracted the new coronavirus, but presumably one of the many existing human coronaviruses that are part of the annual (and currently ongoing) common cold and flu epidemics. (1)
Thus the most important indicator for judging the danger of the disease is not the frequently reported number of positively-tested persons and deaths, but the number of persons actually and unexpectedly developing or dying from pneumonia (so-called excess mortality).
According to all current data, for the healthy general population of school and working age, a mild to moderate course of the Covid-19 disease can be expected. Senior citizens and persons with existing chronic diseases should be protected. The medical capacities should be optimally prepared.
The average age of those who test positively for coronavirus and died (presumably from the disease but maybe not) is 81 years old in Italy. Of those, 10% are over 90 years old, and 90% are over 70 years old.
The elderly are the most affected age group. In the seasonal flu, it's the elderly which were the ones who mostly died in Italy as well. The elderly know they are aways at risk. What happens when a group of people think they 'may' be sick, and think that they need to go to the hospital to be safe? You end up with a lot of people going to the hospital at the same time, thus overcrowding/overflowing the hospital capacity and beds, as we see on the news about Italy.
You can read more of the Swiss Propaganda Research to see the data from other countries as well.
The coronavirus appears to have a more severe impact than other flu strains from previous years. But different flu strains also affect populations differently from year to year, as is demonstrated in the study above about the death rates in Italy, eg. 7,027 in 2013/14 to 20,259 in 2014/15.
The mainstream media has failed to analyze the situation correctly, nor correct their previous false information. People are believing in an illusion created by false information. The only people that "should" (voluntarily, if they want to minimize their risk) be in a lockdown are the elderly, those with chronic diseases, or others in the target group who are susceptible to severe symptoms from the coronavirus, not "everyone". Governments have overextending their reach to control the population. If you fear getting the virus, then you can stay inside. Stop making excuses to threaten people with fines or arrest if they don't fear the virus themselves and want to continue to live their lives normally.