May 6, 2020

Rob Lauer Political Reporter

Ask anyone who doesn’t have the money to pay for doctor’s appointments, medications, biopsies or even dental work if poverty kills? Not having enough money for food, adequate housing and medical care will result in more premature deaths, period. As of today, the Corona virus appears to be simply be a nasty infectious flu. Nothing more and nothing less. And the best way to combat this new flu and save lives requires resources. Every year millions of people die around the world from diseases modern nations have all but conquered because they have the vast resources to maintain a health delivery system to care for most of their people. But what happens to citizens’ long term health when they become impoverished and they no longer get the on going medical care and prevention?

As Reported in the California Globe:

The Facts

According to the World Health Organization, poverty-related diseases, also known as “diseases of poverty,” kill “approximately 14 million people annually.”

According to Our World in Data, worldwide deaths from Covid-19 as of May 4 have totaled 246,999.

According to a report by Oxfam titled “Dignity Not Destitution,” somewhere “between six and eight percent of the global population could be forced into poverty as governments shut down entire economies to manage the spread of the virus. This could set back the fight against poverty by a decade, and as much as 30 years in some regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa. This could mean that more than half of the global population could be living in poverty in the aftermath of this pandemic.”

It’s not the role of California Globe to surmise whose lives are most valuable. However, it’s worth noting that the vast majority – in the high 90th percentile — of Coronavirus related deaths have occurred among those with co-morbidities, with a median death age of about 81. Poverty-related deaths, including hunger, afflict much younger people who might otherwise lead healthy, long lives.

The world has passed peak Corona deaths in every country that’s been hit hard. Even assuming we are only halfway through at 246,000, the total will be less than half a million deaths in 2020. With 14 million dying annually from poverty each year, poverty is 28 times deadlier. And with the economic shutdown expected to force 6-8% more of the world into poverty, that 14 million figure will surely increase.

Therefore, the statement “poverty is deadlier than coronavirus” is accurate and factual.

The bottom line

Poverty is deadlier than coronavirus. That doesn’t mean either is a desirable condition. The smartest plan is to avoid both. But with one threat killing many millions around the globe and growing, and the other seemingly having reached its peak and proving far less fatal than frightening first reports, the path forward is clear. It’s time to get back to work.


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