Found in 1 comment on Hacker News
timr · 2021-12-11 · Original thread
> I'll take a 90% lower mortality rate any day.

Really? Any day?

Read the part you quoted carefully: the death rate in the control group is 3 per 100,000. And if you read the rest of the paper, you'll see that the study population was entirely over age 50.

Remember that the risk of death from Covid-19 goes up exponentially with age -- something like 90% of all fatalities are over age 50 [1]. If you're in the typical HN demographic (<30 yo), your risk of mortality from Covid-19 is much lower than what is reported for baseline here.

I want to put this in perspective. Per The Book of Risks (chapter 8; annual risks) [2], your overall chance of dying in a typical year is 1 in 115 (~870 per 100,000) Your chance of being murdered is 1 in 11,000 (9 per 100,000). The chance you'll die of an accident is 1 in 2,900 (34 per 100,000). From a fall: 1 in 20,000 (5 per 100,000). By getting hit by a car while walking: 1 in 40,000 (2.5 per 100,000).

In other words, your all-ages chance of dying from Covid-19 after two doses is somewhere between your annual chance of dying from a fall, and dying after being hit by a car -- and it's much lower than that if you're under age 50! Divide that number by ten, and you're in the realm of risks that any sane person wouldn't even consider: the annual chance of dying by freezing, for example (1 in 3,000,000).

Point being: dividing a very small number by 10 is indeed a 90% risk reduction, but you have to weigh it against the costs very carefully. There are tons of reasons why I wouldn't take a 90% relative risk reduction, if the baseline risk were quite small (as it is here).



Fresh book recommendations delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday.