27 March 2020

Interesting coronavirus graphs, including ?triage effect

Comparison of countries embedded above.  State-by-state and other graphs at 91-DIVOC,

I'm also intrigued by this graph -

- and in particular by the steepness of the rise with advanced age.  Obviously elderly patients have an increased prevalence of COPD and coronary artery disease and renal insufficiency etc, which render them more susceptible to the stresses of an acute respiratory distress syndrome.  But I'd be surprised if the co-morbidities differences are that great.  I suspect (though I've not seen it discussed anywhere) that what this graph is depicting is a "triage effect."  You have two admissions to the hospital, one 84 years old, the other 54 years old.   There is one ventilator available; the other patient will receive supplemental oxygen and supportive care.  Your call.   An enormous number of heart-wrenching decisions are being made every day, all across the world.


  1. The age-based differences in mortality rate were apparent even before hospitals reached capacity. I suspect is has more to do with age-related declines in overall immune function - the same reason for which older people have higher rates of shingles/zoster reactivation.

  2. Triage has happened in Italy for quite some time and Spain started recently. Germany drew up "resource management" plans in case of overload.

    It's openly discussed, but with very, very careful wording.


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