This week: Different angles of the decline in mortality, clean water, easy ways to save lives, and more.
"Progress is not just about the frontier with new technology and invention, but also about how much we can do with what we already know, even now" This is *SUCH* an important point! That the biggest successes or failures lie with implementation, logistics, and getting a sizable fraction of the public to ADOPT the intervention is frequently overlooked. A great example is in vaccines: It doesn't matter if we are able to produce highly effective vaccines with new mRNA or other technology if large segments of the public reject advice to take it
Fascinating. My father is a Third World immigrant born in the 1940s. Several of his siblings died during infancy or childhood including his twin, and seven survived into adulthood. I’ve known this from early age, so the childhood mortality information is not so shocking to me. What I never thought of is how many of his friends were still around with him in his 70s and 80s., And how different things would have been if he had reached his age in a different era. How lonely must it have been to be old!
Thank you for this, really interesting. The story of childhood mortality is so important, because it's easy to forget how bad it was. I knew it was bad in the past, but until I looked into it recently, I had no idea how bad it really was. Access to clean water and proper sanitation is so important and those of us who have it often fail to appreciate how lucky we are.
Brilliant use of data and graphs to communicate with the lay audience. On a personal note: I was born in 1941. I had 5 great, not just good friends. I lost contact with one; the other four are dead. I suspect this is common with men past 80, perhaps less so with women. My wife, kids, grandkids are fine, but I feel the loss. I wonder if there's data on that.
As a former water services technician: thank you for highlighting water treatment!
Back when I was a child, in the 1960s, water treatment and supply used to be called Public Health Engineering. And it still is that. Water engineers like to claim that they have saved more lives than all of the doctors in history. It's probably true.
We in the West have had it too good for too long. These days there are disturbing movements among the the well-to-do suburban set against "chemicals": people who want to remove chlorine from water supplies, among other things (like not pasteurizing milk). Forcible, practical re-education in the microbe theory of infectious disease can't come too soon for such people.