The NZ government statisticians just released first-half figures on a whole bunch of shit. One of the things that’s popped out is that in the first half of the year, total all-causes death rate in New Zealand went *down* 6% on 2019. It’s the lowest per capita that it’s been since we started keeping records.
In one of those “totally unsurprising if you stop to think about it” moments, it turns out that if you keep everyone quarantined for a couple of months and then lock your borders, you stamp out pretty much every other infectious disease as well as Covid. We’re entering flu season here, and typically we lose around 500 people a year to it. Total hospitalised cases since May this year: zero. Personal experience suggests even the common cold’s way down.
It also turns out that if you lock people in their houses they don’t kill themselves on the road or on sportsgrounds (slightly offset by a rise in home improvement related incidents), and that because they’re not driving around and factories are shut down, air pollution goes down and respiratory illness related deaths also drop.
All of which miles outweighs the modest number of Covid deaths we’ve had.
It’s kinda analogous to the drop in US military casualty rates during Gulf War 1: when everyone’s operating on war rules, less people die of non-combat injuries, so if the actual combat bit isn’t too hazardous, its a net win.
None of which is to recommend this as an everyday approach to reducing death rates, or to relitigate the wisdom or effectiveness of various countries’ covid approaches or the cost/benefit in economic terms thereof. It’s just interesting to see all the moving parts moving.