"Only 377 people under 60 with no underlying health conditions have died of Covid in England. Covid is only really something to worry about if you're elderly or have pre-existing problems."

"The average Covid victim has had a good innings. We can't sacrifice the rest of society to prolong elderly people's lives for a couple of extra years."

"Life expectancy is on average 81 years in the UK. But people die of COVID on average at age 83. Clearly Covid mainly affects people who are already unusually old, and isn't much of a problem for people younger than that."

  1. There have been a lot of deaths of people of working age. According to the Office for National Statistics, there had been 10,603 deaths involving Covid-19 among the under 65s in the UK by the week ending 15 January 2021.

  2. Covid still has a high fatality rate among younger people. A study from October 2020 collected together the best estimates of the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) of Covid at different ages. Here is a summary of the estimated percentage of people of different ages who die after being infected with the coronavirus:

**Age group (years)**    **Infection Fatality Rate**
0-34                 0.004%
35-44                0.068%
45-54                0.23%
55-64                0.75%
65-74                2.5%
75-84                8.5%
85+                  28.3%

These numbers undermine the idea that only the "oldest-old" are at high risk of death from Covid, although of course they are at a substantially higher risk than younger groups (this has the effect of raising the average age of death, obscuring the fact that many younger people still die of the disease).

As we also discuss on our page about the IFR, even a seemingly low fatality percentage translates into a high number of deaths if millions of people get infected. This is particularly so for a relatively new virus for which we're still researching the best treatments, and against which the vast majority of people haven't yet been vaccinated.

The latest update on the total number of Covid deaths from the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) illustrates this issue. Even though it may seem superficially reassuring to see in the numbers above that fewer than 1% of infected people under 65 die from Covid, the data still show many thousands of deaths even in those under 65. The ONS also notes that "the number of deaths up to 8 January 2021 was above the five-year average for all age groups above 14 years" [our italics; see our page on excess deaths].

Source: Office for National Statistics, 19 January 2021

Source: Office for National Statistics, 19 January 2021

  1. A lot of people have pre-existing conditions. When Covid Sceptics talk about pre-existing conditions, they often use a tone that implies that these conditions are rare, and that therefore people who die of Covid were almost always particularly unhealthy before catching it. This is not the case. In the official statistics, "pre-existing conditions" includes a wide range of long-term medical problems, including diabetes, asthma, hypertension, cancer, epilepsy, and a several mental health problems. As is shown in the following graph (from this report), a substantial percentage of people of all ages in England report at least one of these conditions:

Note: LTCs are Long-Term Conditions

Note: LTCs are Long-Term Conditions

Again, pre-existing conditions increase with age, but younger people have them too. The argument the Sceptics would like to make is that Covid only really strikes down those who were previously "very sick". But this simply no longer works when you see the broad definition of "pre-existing conditions", and thus the number of people they would class as "very sick". For example, it would include 40% of all people between 50 and 59 years old.

  1. Deaths aren't the only effect of Covid. Focusing on Covid deaths is understandable. But there are many other effects of this disease, some of which can be debilitating in the long term even if the sufferer doesn't die - and these can affect young and otherwise healthy people. Even without long-term effects or death, the experience of catching Covid is often extremely unpleasant and can often involve hospitalisation or even treatment in Intensive Care. We also cover this argument on our page discussing Covid's IFR.

  2. Young people can spread Covid, too. Even if we accepted the Sceptics' arguments about Covid not being dangerous for younger people (which we don't - but just for the sake of argument), it would still be the case that young people can be infected, and can transmit the virus to older and more vulnerable people. One of the main reasons younger people want to avoid catching this virus is that they don't want to transmit it to older people, for instance older relatives with whom they share a household. There is more discussion of this point on our pages about transmission in schools and the Great Barrington Declaration.

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