We know Covid has a higher infection fatality rate than seasonal influenza. Therefore we've engaged in many behaviors in an attempt to eliminate Covid or reduce its spread, including:

  • Fines of GBP 200 and more for not wearing a face mask.
  • Indefinite bans affecting concerts and gatherings, as well as one-time life events such as funerals and weddings. Children this year do not have birthdays.
  • Economic shutdowns, accumulating bankruptices and millions of people in severe economic distress (screenshot).
  • Reduced access to health care, including in countries with socialized health care where doctors protect themselves first and serve patients later. Refusals to see patients lead to long delays in diagnosis, which results in increased deaths from non-Covid causes, including cancer and heart disease.
  • Reduced effectiveness of schooling for most pupils and students. Socialization mostly eliminated.
  • Reduction in travel by 70% or more (screenshot).

Let us suspend disbelief and assume these responses are sane. Certainly, they would be if the Covid fatality rate was 90%. However, we know Covid mortality may actually be anywhere from 0.26% to 0.65% to less than 1%.

We do not deploy any of the above measures to stop the seasonal influenza. In the previous link, Dr. Fauci estimates flu mortality at 0.1%. This corresponds with the following studies:

The global mortality study is based on data from 2002 - 2011, when world population ranged from 6.3 to 7.0 billion. Let's plug in these numbers for a range of infection fatality estimates:

Infections#294k deaths518k deaths
3% of 6.3b207m0.142%0.25%
11.3% of 7.0b791m0.037%0.065%

Since the infection fatality estimates for the seasonal flu range from 0.037% to 0.25%; and those for Covid-19 range from 0.26% to 1%; it appears the fatality rate where not wearing a mask becomes a criminal offense is approximately:


Since we're suspending disbelief, we can assume this ethical threshold was arrived at systematically and is very rational.