Issue 254: 2020 11 05: Letter to the Editors

5 November 2020

Letter to the Editors


from Richard Faulkner


Dear Sirs

This is a response to David Chilvers’ article in Shaw Sheet 253.

I am 73 years old and more likely to die in the next 2 years (or 10 years) than my 39 year old son based on statistical records. However, I would say that my chances of dying before my 80th birthday from say heart failure (I had rheumatic fever as a child which damaged my heart) or kidney/liver failure (I drink far too much elixir of the Gods) are statistical parameters that can be evaluated. The introduction of the very real chance (even in the Antipodes) of catching COVID 19 introduces another factor with a high chance of causing death.

The addition of COVID 19 into the equation changes my life expectancy and you cannot say that because I am 73 the chances of me dying before my 80th birthday are not changed by the arrival of the new virus. They have increased although I cannot calculate by how much as my health now stands. Presumably they depend on whether I catch the damn thing, so that the chances of dying are say 70% if I don’t get Coronavirus and 95% if I do? In this sense it is a real and greater threat to the “more mature”, than to a 39 year old, where the chances of dying before the 80th birthday are increased from say 70% to 71%. This ignores the possibility of a vaccine of course.


Yours faithfully

Richard Faulkner (in a South Sea bubble)


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