Pools are more dangerous than Covid to small children
Have proper perspective on risk levels
I am getting a bit tired of people assume that a small, non-zero risk is a huge risk.
Upon hearing that a federal judge knocked down a fiat regulation that he liked, one person decided to enact a small twitter drama:
Now, of course, this guy could wear a mask and have his kid wear a mask, etc. Nothing is stopping them from wearing masks if they want to.
As many people point out in this twitter search, many people have worn masks on flights for years before pandemic, sometimes to prevent dry throat/nose (air can get really dry on a plan), sometimes because of the enclosed space for many hours and trying to reduce some infections (though, obviously, many viruses are smaller than the pores in the masks) or allergies (this works for me and dust.)
But here’s the biggest thing: Covid is a minimal threat for little kids.
Let me just focus on the age 1-4 group, which is the group this guy is going on about.
The Covid numbers: fewer than 100 kids age 1-4 have died from Covid so far
So here are the totals, straight from CDC WONDER, just grabbing those who had COVID as their underlying cause of death (that is, their primary cause — I do not mess about with “with Covid” crap).
For the Age 1-4 group in the U.S.:
2021 (provisional): 51
2022 (partial and provisional): 24
Total COVID deaths for children in U.S. age 1-4, deaths occurring through March 19, 2022 with data as of April 03, 2022, data extracted on 19 April 2022.:
The spreadsheet with the results from the search and all the info about when I grabbed the data today, etc. is at the bottom of this post.
There are a total estimated number of kids in that age group of about 15.6 million.
Fewer than 100 children aged 1-4 out of 15.6 million died from Covid.
Okay, keep that number in your mind, because now I’m going to start pulling in the other major causes of death for this age group.
Top causes of death for children age 1-4, using rankable causes
To keep this simple, I’m going to simply show the number of deaths by rankable causes. I will provide some detail for the top rankable cause, as it annoys me that it’s just one blob of a cause — accidents. But I suppose that if “cancer” gets one big category, accidents can, too.
I actually had to expand that top causes list from the usual ten to eleven so that you could see COVID in 2020. It was so low, that it didn’t even get to the top ten for kids aged 1-4 in 2020. And they didn’t even have a vaccine then, huh.
By the way, the count for “accidents” is too low for 2021. Accidental causes of death fall under the “external” causes that get censored for 6 months or so after they occur.
Thing is, the biggest category of accidental deaths for kids aged 1-4 actually occurs most often in summer.
Pools are very dangerous… more dangerous than Covid for little kids
“Accidents” cover a lot of territory.
I can split it out to transport accidents and non-transport accidents.
Our good ole motor vehicle accidents are actually not the largest component of accidental deaths for kids age 1-4 (and, no, drug overdoses are also not a large component of little kid deaths, either.)
Drowning is the largest cause of accidental deaths for kids age 1-4.
Specifically drowning in pools.
Here are the numbers for kids aged 1-4, death by drowning while in pools (ICD-10 code W67), U.S.:
2021 (provisional): 229
The 2021 swimming pool deaths are 4 times that of the Covid deaths for this age group. Let’s ban swimming pools! How dare people!
I did not include the ones where the kids drowned in pools from accidentally falling in the pools (ICD-10 code W68). They were already in the pools, presumably having a good time. So I low-balled the risk of swimming pools.
This brings me to my final point.
Let your kids live life, and take on small risks
I got an email from my kids’ schools today about a supposed exposure to Covid at their school. My kids are teens, in good health, and have been vaccinated. Their risk levels are low. If they were 1-4 years old, their risk levels would be even lower, actually.
I am not worrying about my kids’ exposure to the disease. If I’m going to worry about anybody, it will be Stu, who is over 60, overweight, has metastatic cancer, and is on a chemo regimen.
When my kids were little, I did worry about my neighbors putting in a swimming pool. I was aware of the dangers … but I also knew the orders of magnitude. I knew about needing to put in particular safeguards for our autistic son, but I didn’t go to my town council to have pools made illegal.
Because swimming in pools is fun. And people (and children especially) should enjoy life. Life is for living.
This is not about some guy standing on a roof, with a beer in hand, yelling “HEY WATCH THIS” before attempting a cannonball from 20 feet up… and missing the pool.
This is about having a reasonable idea of relative risks, and not aiming for the very unreasonable goal of zero risk.
I have mainly stayed away from pediatric mortality analyses because they are really boring. Almost nothing is going on there, especially with regards to Covid.
To the extent anything is going on, it’s things other than Covid you need to look at.
For crying out loud, quit throwing meaningless fits. Wear a mask or not. I do not care. But stop with the silly “THINK OF THE CHILDREN” crap.
I just did.
Have you really?
Backlog reading continues!
Pointing out the risk of Covid was below drowning for drowning has cost me a few friends (and booted from some data analysis groups), I'll bookmark this and use your words instead of mine next time :)
While it is troubling that a physician like Jeremy Faust is risk illiterate, it isn't that surprising - it's been a known issue in healthcare, Gerd Gigerenzer writes extensively on this topic . What was more surprising to me the last 2 years wasn't that physicians are innumerate (being married to a surgeon, I understand how the training can focus at times more on the mechanics than analysis), but that epidemiologists are, apparently, risk illiterate as well - which is baffling.
It could be that only a very small minority of epidemiologists are innumerate, and that lack of risk analysis leads them to produce sensationalist ideas, which in turn are more attractive to the algorithms and hysteria of social media, so they overrepresent the profession. It could be. But I'm just disappointed anyway.
I'm looking at the date of this well written piece you put out, which should be in my opinion "viral", but instead I hadn't seen it until digging through your archives, because viral pieces were going around scaring people that "omicron was the 4th leading cause of death for 5-24 year olds". More seductive to scare people I suppose.