Eamonn Kelly: Gambling Everything


From top: Covid testing at Dublin Airport; Eamonn Kelly

There is a small percentage chance of dying from Covid-19. The exact percentage is hard to pin down because the risk is age and health related too. But when all is weighed and measured it seems to be somewhere around 1-3%. Here is a link to a study that has gone into this in tremendous detail, offering charts and graphs and all the rest relating to risk assessment.

Generally, it’s safer to be young than it is to be old – old being over 40, hah! – and it is better to be healthy rather than unhealthy. But even allowing for these generalisations there is still a risk of dying from Covid no matter what age you are or how healthy you are. In other words, there are known unknowns to be factored in when assessing risk.

For instance, no one person can know for certain how their particular metabolism will respond to the virus, regardless of what they may think or “feel” or believe about this. In a similar way as no one knows for sure how they’ll react in a crisis until they’re actually in a crisis.

A few months back it was reported in the US that a young man who had attended a so-called Covid party in order to deliberately catch the virus in the belief that this would build immunity, ended up in intensive care. Shortly before he died, he told a nurse that he had “made a mistake”.

His mistake was that while he believed that he was stronger than the virus, he simply had no way of knowing how his metabolism would react to the virus. He was not in possession of all the facts and all the risk factors, and was tricking with something that killed him.


Another unknown is the long-term effects of the virus. It seems that people who caught the virus and recovered are still feeling the effects of the virus months afterwards. Does this mean the virus is still in their systems waiting for an opportunity to go deeper?

Related to this possibility is yet another unknown. Early in the pandemic it was thought by some experts that catching the virus may be related to dosage. This would explain why some health workers succumbed. That a lethal dosage had accumulated in their systems over time.

Might people who have already had the virus and still experience return of symptoms have within them a certain “dosage” which could be topped up by catching the virus a second time? The jury is still out on this as well.

The Stakes

The point of all this being, there is a percentage gamble when exposing yourself to the virus that could result in death. To put it another way, by not observing recommended precautions you are staking everything on winning. The odds are really good that you will win. But if you lose, you lose everything.

There is also the possibility that by not taking precautions you may pass the virus to someone who is susceptible – most likely a close friend or family member – and they may lose everything, due to your choices.

This gamble can be offset by observing recommended guidelines; wearing a mask and washing your hands, until such time as a workable vaccine is available.

The irony of all this is, if you’re the type of person who feels they are resisting an unjust government directive that you believe is infringing on your rights and freedoms, your refusal to participate in protecting yourself and the community may have the effect eventually of forcing the government to implement more stringent laws than might otherwise have been the case, laws that may restrict your rights and freedoms.

Because of the nature of the virus and its opportunistic infection capabilities this has to be a team effort. The whole world could mask up and lockdown, and it would only take one Covid dissident to undo all the good work.

Eamonn Kelly is a freelance Writer and Playwright.

Previously: Eamonn Kelly on Broadsheet



55 thoughts on “Eamonn Kelly: Gambling Everything

  1. SOQ

    Yes there are unknowns like- SARS-CoV-2 found in sewage systems months before CoVid-19 outbreaks and blood samples showing SARS-CoV-2 antibodies 6 months before there was a CoVid-19 outbreak. As for post viral syndrome- is there any evidence that it is greater than say the flu?

    Interesting that Eamonn completely ignores the collateral damage that restrictions do- a list which at this stage is near endless- and the fact that in the longer term, they make frig all difference.

    1. dav

      Interesting you don’t supply any sources for your statements but unsurprising you attempt to subvert a pretty reasonable article.

      1. SOQ

        I have supplied relevant links to these findings on a number of occasions- the sewage reports are from many cities and the antibodies are from Italy. You do know how use a search engine yeah?

          1. SOQ

            Yes well, if you consider empirical scientific evidence to be a conspiracy theory then probably best you don’t.

          2. Micko

            In fairness, SOQ has shared them before – hence me knowing what to search

            So, you’re both kinda right! ;)

    2. Cian

      Ivor said that he would consider 15 deaths per million as a definition for a “second wave” (which is ironic because France’s first wave was just 14.95).

      Belgium currently has a 7-day average of 17.2 deaths per million – well over Ivor’s definition of a second wave.

      Italy peaked last time at 13.5/million and is now 11.4/million; I suppose Ivor would probably argue that Italy hasn’t even hit it’s first wave :-(

        1. Cian


          I can’t think of a scenario where this would be relevant.

          If Ivor told you to eat ten raw eggs every morning – would you do it?

  2. Joe

    An excellent article by Eamon. Good to see a scientific study in the BMJ being linked.
    The long term effects of Covid19 will not be apparent for many years but as multiple studies of the 1918 Spanish flu (ok we all know or should understand Covid is not just a flu ) I would not be surprised if there are subsequent serious health issues. Here is a quite readable article from 2009 prior to the current pandemic highlighting some serious in utero after effects of Spanish flu years later

        1. SOQ

          Depends on what you mean by ‘worked’.

          Slow the spread- possibly.

          Stop the virus- no.

          Kill more people that they save? Definitely.

        2. E'Matty

          There is nothing to indicate this virus had anywhere near the potential to cause mass deaths that the Spanish flu did. Countries with less lockdown restrictions are not discernibly different from those with stronger lockdown measures.

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Yeah, but they’re old and useless so why bother saving them if they’re going to die from being old anyway.

        1. SOQ

          No it is ‘dry tinder’ and it refers to the susceptible people whom die of seasonal viruses every year. It is supported by the data analysis which shows that if a country has a mild respiratory season this year, then it is likely that there will be extra fatalities in the next.

          Despite what most death certs say- a lot of people just die of old age. Death is a part of life.

          1. Cian

            the opposite it true too.
            If there is a peak in excess deaths in one year then it is likely there will be fewer fatalities in the next.

          2. SOQ

            Of course- that is the whole point.

            Those who are nearing death- or my late mother used to say ‘have one foot in the grave’- are going to go one way or another. And if this years nasty doesn’t take them- the next one probably will.

            I genuinely don’t see how anyone could consider this to be controversial or callous- its just mother nature doing what mother nature does.

      1. Micko

        Are we not past this now Daisy, Cian..

        Did we not all agree last week that only 904 people actually died in hospital and that only 133 people died in ICU and that Doctors and families would have made the decision NOT to send their elderly relative to hospital.


        The facts don’t lie

        So come on now, painting people as “not caring about the elderly” when CLEARLY the people making the decisions actually loved and cared for those people and made the best decision for their loved one – is just wrong.

        Please stop it.

      2. E'Matty

        You should have strong words with the medical staff who decided that 95% of those who died with Covid didn’t need ICU treatment.

        1. Micko

          I hear ya Matty

          But, as someone who has had experience making those hard calls and you’ve seen your loved ones go in and out and in and out of effin hospitals, just to be “revived” with antibiotics and brought back to some horrible pseudo life in a nursing home where they can’t even feed or dress themselves – or recognise you.

          Well. sometimes letting them go is the kindest thing you can do. Even if it’s absolute heartbreak.

    2. Just Sayin

      Cian, did you actually read the study that the twitter user is using to base his graphs on?

      “We combined age- and sex-specific COVID-19 death data from 45 countries with data from 15 seroprevalence surveys, to jointly infer the ageand sex-specific IFRs and country-specific cumulative probabilities of

      1: A seroprevalence survey (antibodies search) will grossly underestimate the true infection rate.

      2: The death data from most countries is seriously misleading, often including any death with PCR positive test (or even suspected). Hence the data is almost certain to overestimate the death rate.

      3: Then combine the overestimate and the underestimate for maximum distortion of the truth.

      Note that survey is a pre-print and hence not yet peer reviewed.

      I sincerely doubt it will ever pass review.

      It would be a fail even if submitted to the young scientist exhibition.

        1. Just Sayin

          I believe they mostly die of pneumonia, but the covid deaths can be anything from cancer plus pcr positive test within the last 28 days or any death where there was a previous pcr positive ever.

          Hence the farce of PCR positive test in March, Hit by Bus in June = Covid death in the UK.

          The UK did eventually correct than particular anomoly, but many problems still exist with the method of counting, there and elsewhere.

          Either you are a complete idiot or are deliberately lying.

          I don’t particularly care which it is, it’s just a shame that some gullible people may be frightened by the propoganda that you spout.

  3. Just Sayin

    Nine months in and we’re still seeing rubbish non-science waffle articles like this.
    Shame on you Eamonn.

    The BMJ study that you link quotes deaths “from or with covid” so it is essentially meaningless.

    The rest of the article is just pure speculation / made up stuff, only worthy of the likes of Luke O Neill. etc…

    If there’s one benefit of covid it’s that it’s clearly pointing out who is a total tootlewit and/or can’t be trusted.

    Congrats Eamonn, you are now most definitely on the Muppet list.

    1. ian-oh

      I’m surprised you can say ****wit.

      I have to type ”bullpoo” to get my post on here in a timely fashion!

    2. Daisy Chainsaw

      I think Muppets get a hard time. They’re smart, funny and entertaining so I don’t know why their name is used as an insult. I’d rather be a Muppet than a tinfoil wearing ratlicker.

    3. Micko


      Absolute fear-mongering from you Eamonn

      “For instance, no one person can know for certain how their particular metabolism will respond to the virus”

      What about this instead?

      For instance, no one person can know for certain what cancers are growing inside them, or brain aneurysms or sudden adult death syndrome or suicide from chronic depression or a whole host of super lethal things that might kill you TODAY!!!!”

      Life is scary and really really dangerous and we need to be a bit braver Eamonn.

      All of us, of all ages – you included.

      1. SOQ

        Pretty sure there is a correlation between income streams and level of fear. The less disruption to your income stream, the more fearful you can afford to be.

        And what odds about poor people, sure they don’t matter anyways- just keep throwing glib slogans like ‘we are all in it together’ at them. And those who are losing their hard earned businesses? Serves them right for not getting a comfortable corporate or state job like the rest of us. Possible cancer victim? Wouldn’t have happened if you had a decent private health insurance plan now would it? Mental health issues? Pull yourself together for goodness sake.

        And those lockdown sceptics- they are so bloody selfish.

        1. an older man

          Very good point made. Today a young neighbour was talking to me about COVID. She is pro & Im anti mask. What shook me was her terror at getting it, passing on to her Dad who runs an engineering business. He in turn infecting a worker, getting a positive test and having to close thus going bust. FEAR is now the new tool. I remember the news of nurses getting raped in Kuwait by iraqi soldiers before we had the WMD b/s. Circa Dec 1990. Having spent the last 10 years here & abroad in the health system as patients I have a keen eye on this. Im am NOT seeing a pandemic. Your cases should be deaths. As for a caring system for the weak, you do NOT & never had one. I am acutely aware of cost /benefit treatment being denied to my late wife. Please continue to post as a counter to those that shriek. When this is all over they too like you & I will be forgotten.

      2. Micko

        Totally – and no one gives a fupp about all the staff in Tescos and Lidl out there “risking their lives”

        Sure, let the plebs…sorry “essential workers” risk themselves so we can have cans and sandwiches from Tescos

        We should all take the same level of risk. But we’re fine to “sacrifice” those people to Covid. ;)

        I’d wager not one person commenting on this website works in a supermarket interacting with 1000’s daily – sure how would they have the time. Nope, we’re all sitting at home or in a not so busy job.

        “Now I wonder will the chappy from Amazon call with my new gadget today” Poor guy’s risking his life to deliver that… what a legend!

        1. SOQ

          My main woman Sunetra Gupta nails this one. She argues the Left wing position that lockdowns are actually individualistic rather than communitarian and that there is a hierarchy of risk avoidance based on class. That low risk healthy people are isolating while high risk others are forced to work.

          Not that you would ever know there is a Left wing lockdown skeptic position in Ireland of course- even though we all know it is the poorest and most vulnerable who are getting hit the hardest.

          1. Micko

            Yep, certain people still having to travel to work, while others sit at home on full wages watching their money grow as they have nothing to spend it on.

            The division in the middle classes is going to be massive after this. And as you say, the poorest and most vulnerable who will be hit the hardest.

            But as long as they’re “safe”… sorry – “still alive” to serve us. ;)

          2. Oro

            Should you not be frustrated at entrenched class systems rather than the ins and outs of lockdowns in that case? Like, differences in access to proper healthcare (of which lockdown is a function) across class isn’t the responsibility of the form of treatment (lockdown as a form of treatment via avoidance) rather the responsibility of society and government? Same goes for your blaming of lockdown on supposed suicides (not saying they exist, I haven’t seen any figures (which is weird, I would have guessed you’d have posted them if they exist ;) ) where it really is the responsibility of the government, HSE and local mental health services. I would say ditto re cancer screenings, the HSE has had 7mos now to come up with an inventive way to perform screening. Tbh I don’t believe there will be a long term death increase from cancers missed from screenings that will rise above the lives saved from covid deaths thanks to lockdown. I’m not asserting that as fact just that’s my opinion. Free to correction by someone qualified (that means not you SOQ).

        2. Just Sayin

          Remember back in April, whwn there actually was a pandemic and we were told not to wear masks?

          We were in lockdown and only ventutred out to do the weekly shopping.

          The supermarket workers didn’t wear masks either and were exposed to the great unwashed public (except we were washing our hands frequently).

          Isn’t is amazing that we didn’t kill them or at least a noticeable percentage of them.

          We didn’t, clearly disproving a lot of what was told to us as ‘facts’ about covid.

          But if we were actually told the truth we would see that there was a huge problem in our hospitals with infection control and the criminally negligent mistake of moving hospital patients to nursing homes and spreading the problem there.

          Did the government admit their mistakes? Of course not, they decided to blame us instead and confuse us with stupid rules about masks, and distractions about people drinking on the streets etc…

  4. Bob

    “The true infection fatality rate remains contested, with one review claiming a global rate of 1.04%,9 while another has claimed a range from 0.02% to 0.4%.”

    Why is the OP saying 1-3% fatality and then links to the article which does not back it up?

    1. Micko

      Good point Bob.

      My guess would be that at worst, he is expecting that 95% of people won’t click on that link and take his post at face value.

      Or at best, he didn’t really read the piece in its entirety himself

  5. f_lawless

    “There is also the possibility that by not taking precautions you may pass the virus to someone who is susceptible – most likely a close friend or family member – and they may lose everything, due to your choices.

    This gamble can be offset by observing recommended guidelines; wearing a mask and washing your hands, until such time as a workable vaccine is available.”

    When you say “until such time as a workable vaccine is available” , do you mean continue with the government restrictions until a a vaccine arrives that is shown to be safe and to effectively interrupt transmission?The collateral damage that has been caused to peoples lives and livelihoods has already been too great. We can’t keep waiting indefinitely for such a vaccine that might never arrive. A different approach is needed


    “None of the trials currently under way are designed to detect a reduction in any serious outcome such as hospital admissions, use of intensive care, or deaths. Nor are the vaccines being studied to determine whether they can interrupt transmission of the virus”

    1. SOQ

      And that goes back to my point about vaccines from yesterday.

      SARS-CoV-2 is a virus and CoVid-19 is a disease. The vaccines are designed to prevent the development of CoVid-19- not to interrupt the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, which is what 4 out of 5 of us are doing naturally anyways.

      1. alickdouglas

        SOQ, not having a go at you, but I was commenting at the same time so I saw yours. I’d say that some of the vaccines are designed to interrupt transmission if possible, it’s just that prevention of disease is more straightforward to measure (and clinically relevant). So the vaccines might do it, but the trials that are currently running won’t detect it… In the 1950s this argument (disease vs. interruption) was the source of the hatred between Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin/Hilary Koprowski. Sabin and Koprowski believed that Salk’s design wouldn’t interrupt transmission. One of the reasons Sabin went so far out of his way to promote OPV globally through a collaborative trial in the Soviet Union in 1958 was to try to rub Salk’s face in it (more interestingly, none of them were quite right).

        1. SOQ

          I obviously bow to you superior knowledge on the subject alick and like a lot of others, I really appreciate you taking the time to comment here but- these vaccines are being billed as for CoVid-19 not SARS-CoV-2- and pharmaceutical companies do not make mistakes like that.

          Now if it is the case that they block the symptoms of CoVid-19 then that may indirectly slow the spread because it is primarily by symptomatics but, as someone who has lived through the AIDS crisis, I am somewhat cynical.

          What happen there is that treatments for AIDS had been developed but for a very long time, no treatments to prevent infections.

          Basically there was way more profit in treatments than cure and I fear the same thing is going to happen here. A jab twice a year is not beyond the realms of possibility the way this whole thing is going- and who benefits from that?

          1. Oro

            Actually condoms were a form of treatment to prevent infection. Prophylactic treatment. A layer of material set between the infected person to stop bodily fluids containing virus particles from infecting other people in their vicinity to whom the virus could be passed. Sound familiar?

            Also ofc PEP has been available for decades as a prophylactic which idk how you could not be aware of it. Conveniently forgot about it I suppose.

            Just to posit something, if I am vaccinated for flu, and I inhale a flu particle after my vaccination, transmission of the flu virus has not been interrupted. I think this is what you’re confusingly getting at. You’re trying to suggest that the mechanical presence of viral particles in a person that has been vaccinated against said virus somehow lessens the strength of said vaccine “sure it won’t even stop you from picking up the virus again” when the terms you’re using for that are beyond the scope of any vaccine. You’re doing that thing again where you misrepresent terms in order to form your not cohesive point.

          2. SOQ

            I am saying that just like HIV and AIDS- a treatment was found so that people no longer die of AIDS but curiously cannot prevent HIV infection.

            And that this scaremongering propaganda is now being replicated with SARS-CoV-2 and CoVid-19?

          3. Oro

            Wow. You do understand that treating AIDS v stopping the spread of HIV to HIV negative patients involve totally different ethical and procedural protocols due to risk and side effects from medicine?

            AIDS patients were dying. Therefore using medicines that caused certain side effects was appropriate because they were saving the patients lives. HIV negative patients were not dying. Therefore administering medication that caused terrible side effects wasn’t an appropriate course of treatment. AIDS treatment had to be administered to save lives, HIV treatment to stop transmission could only be administered once it was so finessed that it met far higher standards (negligible side effects).

            You either aren’t commenting in good faith (instinct tells me it’s this), or never understood these things in the first place (altho instinct can be wrong ;) ).

            I notice you didn’t engage my point which dealt with your understanding of ‘transmission’ above. I’ve also noticed you don’t engage with points when someone has very clearly shown you up to be incorrect.

          4. Oro

            While your partners death is a significant part of the tragic legacy of AIDS and how it affected our community, it doesn’t have anything to do with your being factually incorrect in what you said above.

            In the same way that spouses of those that have died from cancer can spout new agey stuff online and suggest that chemotherapy is a ruse, you are also clearly within your ability to spread disinformation about aids and hiv treatment.

    2. alickdouglas

      That’s an excellent article by Doshi in BMJ that you link there. Well worth reading in detail.

      It’s worth highlighting something that Doshi points out that I should have done yesterday; some of the trials have secondary or exploratory endpoints that look at more ‘interesting’ endpoints like shedding, t-cells etc. However, such secondary and lower endpoints are performed only on a subset of enrolled subjects, so although they can give some insight into the vaccine impact for these measures, they will not do it with much statistical power.

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