The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, February 29, 2020


As a follow-up to my last post on the hysteria surrounding the threat of COVID-19, a.k.a. coronavirus, it's worth providing yet more information to help put the threat into context and to indicate that irrational fear of the virus borders on hysteria that rejects common sense and hard facts. The media, as I noted, is blatantly encouraging the hysteria because it guarantees viewers or clicks or other on-line activity.

Ross Pomeroy provide us with some context:
1. The number of cases in China is already falling. Where once the graph of coronavirus cases in China showed an exponential climb, it has now leveled off substantially. Just three weeks ago, China was recording more than 3,000 new cases per day. Officials are now consistently reporting fewer than five hundred, with the number still dropping. Seeing much-improved conditions on the ground, big companies like Starbucks and Apple in China are resuming business activities. The latest (Feb. 28th) World Health Organization (WHO) situation report revealed just 318 new cases in China in the previous 24 hours.

2. The vast majority of cases are mild, and the death rate is likely lower than reported. A large study of 72,000 confirmed COVID-19 patients in China found that 81% of cases were mild, another 14% were severe (characterized by difficulty breathing), and 5% were critical. Overall, the death rate was 2.3 percent. More recently, the WHO reported a death rate of 3.8% in China, but noted that it is rapidly falling as standards of care quickly improve. Early on, the city of Wuhan (where the disease originated) was inundated with patients and hospitals could not provide proper care due to overwhelming demand. For Chinese patients whose symptoms started after February 1st, the death rate is just 0.7 percent. (For comparison, the U.S. death rate from 2019-20's annual flu oubtreak is between .06 percent to 0.1 percent. SARS a similar virus to COVID-19, had a death rate of 9.6 percent.) The death rate could be even lower, as very mild cases of COVID-19 that resemble a common cold likely go unreported.

3. Only one out of every 1,000 people in Hubei Province has contracted the coronavirus. There have been 65,914 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in China's Hubei Province, where the outbreak began in December. That sounds like a lot, but keep in mind that the population of Hubei is 59,170,000. The province is slightly smaller than Nebraska, but with thirty times as many inhabitants. With this sort of population density, it's a positive sign that just .11% (roughly 1 in 1000) of the population has caught COVID-19 ...

4. There have been no reported deaths in young children. Though the outbreak has endured for more than nine weeks, there still have been no fatalities in children under the age of nine, with almost all infected simply experiencing cold-like symptoms. Moreover, only 2.4% of cases are in individuals under the age of 18. Kids and teenagers have been surprisingly resistant to the virus.

The death rate for people aged 10 to 39 currently stands at just 0.2 percent. Those genuinely at risk from COVID-19 are the elderly. People aged 80 and up have a 14.8% to 21.9% chance of dying if infected. [But a significant percentage of those people have underlying health problems that are exacerbated by the virus]

5. The world already survived another pandemic just ten years ago.
Remember H1N1, more commonly known as Swine Flu? This was the most recent pandemic (besides HIV/AIDS, which is still considered a pandemic). It began in early 2009 and lasted through late 2010. Between April 2009 and April 2010, there were approximately 60.8 million cases, 274,304 hospitalizations, and 12,469 deaths in the United States alone! Globally, it likely infected between 700 million and 1.4 billion people, resulting in 150,000 to 575,000 fatalities. While this loss of life was tragic, more than a decade later, many scarcely remember Swine Flu. The same will hopefully happen with COVID-19.
Why are these five critically important points—context—not being reported with every COVID-19 story on every reputable media outlet? Why?