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The Effectiveness-Lab

Corona virus life realities – drawing-down on our life expectancy

When facing death, in Nakabugu village, the tendency is for us to run to God – the God we call “Kibumba or Katonda“ and the other tribes In Uganda call God: “Ruhanga, Deke, Kaboona, Were, O-kibumba, etc.”

Today is Easter Sunday. And the Christians, especially those that profess the life of Jesus Christ our saviour must have gotten lots of healing. Healing and perhaps redemption from the fear of death by the Corona Virus – COVID 19.

Jesus Christ died for us all on the cross and today, Easter Sunday, also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day after his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.

The irony is is that the death we fear, was boldly confronted by the Jesus we exalt and adore. He sacrificed his blood for our sins – so says the Holy Bible. The Romans crucified him, and he invited them on.

Respectful and thankful to all the sleepless nights and stress by our government officials and clinicians working hard to save lives, in our lifetime, we have not witnessed human beings scared and running away from death, like in the past few weeks.

What is this monster that has unsettled a usually steadfast global herd of humans? What is in it that we fear so much? What is it that we can’t obliterate this time? Even the mighty, with the means and planes to ferry them to the very best health-care systems, are defeated this time. Nuclear arsenals have not eradicated the enemy COVID 19 – so invisible, so sticky, so easy to kill with soap and other chemicals, yet extremely elusive and dangerous. And sadly, the enemy COVID 19 may not be the problem – but what it brings to us, death.

I haven’t left our house at all for the last three days; I’m, together with my household, respecting the government of Uganda total lockdown. We believe the same is true for many readers of this blog.

But let us stop for a second and ask – why are we so scared and have our minds racing like the African cheetah? It’s the fear of death

True, this has been and continues to be difficult for families the world over. It’s not COVID 19 that is the problem per se; it’s death that follows the COVID 19 infection. Death has robbed us of people dear to us – fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, uncles, grandparents, colleagues at work, priests, etc.

Yet, death is a reality that we can’t change or avoid – the significant change this time is that death, courtesy of the Corona Virus, has been brought forward. Many loved ones that have died to the horrendous COVID 19 virus would have died anyway and within the current year. Well, that is according to our Science friends.

The same number of human deaths or be it a tad above the standard curve, would still die by the end of December 2020.

Apparently, COVID 19 is merely bringing forward deaths that would have happened, anyway, within the year. Because of the latter – health systems are stretched to breaking point, there are too many deaths occurring at once – and we are scared. But, spread the deaths a little, and the COVID 19 optics will become more acceptable.

What is the basis for the above hypothesis?

Last week during our routine engagement with the elliptical machine at the small family apartment in Kampala, we listened to a BBC World program that discussed the subject of death to COVID 19 within the UK population.

In the UK, one of the nations most affected by COVID 19 – certain scientists have put it that COVID 19 only brings forward deaths, that would have happened, after all, within the annual cycle. The latter is especially true in a well-run health system like the UK [and by implication: for the well-to-do in countries like Uganda, assuming they can use the money that they have plenty of, and power, to access the best health services].

And we were left believing that COVID 19 or not, on average, a certain percentage of people die each year. The major difference brought about by COVID 19 infections is that fatalities are happening in a constricted period, that isn’t evenly spread throughout the year. It’s akin to bringing death forward, if there were anything like that.

Every year, about 600,000 people in the UK die. And the frail and elderly are most at risk, just as they are if they have Coronavirus. Nearly 10% of people aged over 80 will die in the next year, Prof. Sir David Spiegelhalter, at the University of Cambridge, points out, and the risk of them dying if infected with coronavirus is almost precisely the same.

Please see the graph below – for those whose graph-reading skills are up to speed, to help put the above in perspective:

Some of the lessons from the Science above:

Those who are 95 years (in the UK but also other countries – perhaps 20 or so years shorter than the UK, in countries like Uganda) may not get another year of life, those at 35 years may have a longer lease of life, and those below a much longer lease, etc.

And if the COVID19 virus was left to infect the herd in a not very-controlling manner, 80% of the UK populace would be okay, with 20% likely to be affected severely or killed – the latter, if allowed to happen, would just about give you a year’s worth of deaths, but in a much shorter time.

So – in the name of Jesus Christ Lord, let Christians, like Jesus, not fear death – nothing has changed significantly, save for drawing-down on death timelines; in effect, bringing the end of human life forward, in COVID 19 severely affected cases.

Hurting together with you and wishing you all a Happy Easter!


2 responses to “Corona virus life realities – drawing-down on our life expectancy”

  1. Herbert Mugumya Avatar
    Herbert Mugumya

    Apollo, on this one, I entirely agree with you. You are spot on. We need an analysis of death by age. What is the percentage of death for children, young people, adults and aged? Is COVID19 killing those who would have died during this period anyway? From our public health care, COVID19 has disrupted other critical services for maternal health system, more mothers are dying in labor because it’s difficult to access health facilities for safe delivery. These restrictions are killing some people who would not have died, yet we haven’t lost anyone to COVID19 in Uganda.


    1. @Kairu – spot on! And the next question has to be: looking at global lockdowns from a benefit/harms lens…… interesting schools of thought 💭 have and continue to come up


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About Me

Apollo B. Gabazira is an Ugandan OD. junkie fascinated by matters that render organisations/individuals effective or not. He blogs on effective leadership and management. He is a devoted green-farmer and breeds the Ayrshire cow at Nakabugu, Luuka district, Uganda. Apollo is quite effective at what he chooses to do.


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