The chances of a healthy white male of my age dying in the next year is roughly 300/1. Whether you think those odds are high or low may depend on whether you work with me (in which case it’s possible you think the odds should be much shorter) or upon your attitude to risk and your experience of gambling.
Having backed many horses in the past with odds of 300/1 or greater, I’m clearly someone who’s up for a bit of risk. But in thirty years none of those horses have ever actually won – which also makes me feel relatively safe in the survival stakes.
According to actuarial tables (the go-to figures for life insurance companies) I have a 42.6% chance of dying in the next thirty years which also means that I have 57.4% chance of making it to the age of 81 or more. I’m not sure that I really want to live that long, but that’s a subject for a different blog – it depends a bit on how long lockdown lasts, when crowds will be able to return to racecourses and whether Pyledriver (our selection this week) can win the St Leger on Saturday.
Interestingly, my chances of dying of Covid-19 if I were to catch it are roughly the same as my chances of dying from anything at all in the next 12 months – 300/1. And if I lived in a high prevalence area (where the Government says there are 20 weekly cases in every 100,000 people), my chances of catching Covid-19 during the next year would be roughly 100/1 – making the combined odds of my dying of Covid within the next year around 30,000/1.
Our attitude to these risks contribute to our behaviour and there is growing evidence that a divergence in behaviour is creating a significant divide in society. According to a study by Demos published this week, 68% of people who strictly followed the lockdown rules hold negative views of people who didn’t, with 14% saying that they ‘hated’ those people. The reason being that it is selfish to consider only the risk presented to oneself.
Whatever our chance of copping it from Covid this year (many people have better odds than me, but for some the risk is considerably greater), that would still mean that a lot of people will die prematurely. It would be wrong not to care about that, even if Cancer and Heart Disease actually represent a far higher risk than Covid-19, which is why some people get angry when they see others flouting the guidelines.
As part of our plans to help the economy and bring crowds back to Kelso Racecourse (which sadly won’t be at our first fixture of the season on 16th September), we have asked racegoers to help us by doing six things. They’re not complicated, but they are important: maintain a safe distance, sanitise hands regularly, respect the enclosure boundaries, wear a mask indoors, follow the directions of safety stewards and BE KIND.
In our effort to get racegoers back into racecourses, we have a responsibility to ensure that we manage the process in such a way that reduces the risk of viral transmission. We also need to acknowledge that racing is part of the community and that successful communities find ways to work through situations, showing respect and compassion to all, whatever the odds.