Flat White

‘You have stolen my childhood!” Really?

19 May 2020

5:00 AM

19 May 2020

5:00 AM

Number seven in Craig Kelly’s series 20 reasons why the Wuhan Flu is the final nail in the climate alarmists’ coffin.

A child of this century may look at past generations and in their ignorance selfishly snarl “How dare they” and ”They have stolen my childhood”. The Wuhan Flu and comparisons with past pandemics, however, should provide these children with a perspective of how good today’s generation have it.

Just compare the lives of two people, one born in the year 1900 and the other born in the year 2000. To start with, both faced a global pandemic around their 19th birthday, the 1918/19 Spanish Flu and the 2019/20 Wuhan Flu.

While the two diseases are both respiratory infections with common symptoms, deaths from the Spanish Flu totalled an estimated 40 to 100 million people across the world. In contrast, around 350,000 people have died so far from, with, or suspected of having the Wuhan Flu – and although this number is likely to go higher, it still less than one per cent of the deaths from the Spanish flu, despite the world’s population increasing fourfold over the century.

In Australia, which had a population of five million in 1918/19, about 15,000 people died from the Spanish Flu during the pandemic – while in comparison, as of yesterday morning we’ve had 101 deaths associated with the Wuhan Flu from a population of 25 million.

And while the Wuhan Flu has caused deaths mainly amongst the elderly (with an average age around 80) with pre-existing medical conditions, in contrast, men between the ages of about 20 and 40 were especially vulnerable to the Spanish Flu. In NSW, more than 52 per cent of all deaths from the Spanish Flu occurred in people aged between 20 and 39 years. How lucky today’s generation has it.

Today, those in quarantine from the Wuhan Flu are put up in 5-star hotels. In contrast, a century ago they were corralled into sports grounds and lived in hastily erected military tents, like these on Adelaide’s Jubilee Oval. 

And the Spanish Flu was not the only deadly communicable disease someone born in 1900 had to worry about. For back then, the disfiguring disease of smallpox was still rampant, a disease which would go on to kill 300 million to 500 million people over the next 79 years. Even in the year of their 67th birthday (1967), an estimated 15 million people contracted smallpox throughout the world with 2 million deaths. And it wasn’t until their 79th birthday (1979) that smallpox was certified as ‘globally eradicated’ – something that would have been impossible without fossil fuels. Yes, “how dare they”.

And consider life expectancy. Being born in 1900 gave you an average life expectancy of just 32 years – however, if you were lucky enough to be born in Australia or the USA that year, your life expectancy would have been around 50 years.

In contrast, for those born in the year 2000, average global life expectancy had more than doubled to 66 years – and if you were born in Australia or the USA, life expectancy had increased to around 79 years.

Just think, on average someone born in the year 2000, has been given an additional around 30 years of life compared to someone born in 1900.

And while some children today parrot ”you have stolen my childhood” from every 1000 children born in the year 1900 in Australia, on average 173 would die before their fifth birthday. And although we might think that number tragically high, 40 years earlier in 1860 for every 1000 children born in Australia, on average 390 would die before their fifth birthday — meaning that just under forty per cent of all Australian children born in 1860, did not make it to their fifth birthday.

In contrast, thanks to all improvements delivered by free markets and affordable energy provided fossil fuels, by the year 2000 the rate of child mortality had fallen to just seven per 1000 children. And today, it’s estimated that for every 1000 Australian children born in 2020, just four will die before their fifth birthday.

And for someone born in the year 2000, the news just keeps getting better. A recent study by Indur Golkany has revealed there have been dramatic falls in climate-related mortality over the last 30 years, with study’s author noting improvements have been seen in almost every category: ”You see improvement across the board, but most notably there has been a wholesale rolling back of the biggest killers like diarrhea and malaria.”

This new perspective, gained from comparisons with the Wuhan Flu to past pandemics, should create a realisation of not only how good today’s generation has it but, importantly, how things continue to improve — and perhaps how we’d be better off spending billions on medical research, rather than spending billions on subsidies to import more solar panels and wind turbines from China — should drive another nail into climate alarmists’ coffin.

Craig Kelly is the Liberal Member for Hughes.

Illustrations/tables: Craig Kelly/Business Insider/State Library of South Australia/Statista.

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