Are we creating an even greater threat than the pandemic itself?
ASTORIA, New York City- Quarantine is the word of the day in New York City. You can hear the word dozens of times as you walk through the streets. People talking on their phones, people talking to each other, people talking to themselves about the seemingly inevitable fate of soon being quarantined.
“We better stock up before we’re quarantined.”
“Let’s go and do it before we’re quarantined.”
“This is what you need for your quarantine.”
People are wearing surgical gloves on the subway. Sellers on Amazon are selling hand sanitizer for $300 per bottle. Stores are selling out of canned food, toilet paper, and water. Universities are closing down. Airlines are canceling flights. Athletic events are taking place without crowds. Music festivals are being shut down. Entire regions of countries are being quarantined. Billions — perhaps trillions — of dollars are being lost.
It makes you think that a deadly global pandemic is here.
Instead, we’re being hoodwinked.
Covid-19 is not the Black Death. SARS-CoV-2 is not Disease X.
0.6%. That’s the death rate of Covid-19 in South Korea, a country that’s actually doing proper testing.
The death rate in China outside of Hubei province is a mere 0.4%, according to the country’s CDC.
The difference in seemingly high death rate in Hubei (4%) and elsewhere in the country is largely due to the fact that when the disease was new people who were infected weren’t properly being tested or were misdiagnosed, and masses of people who had the disease but only had minor or no symptoms were not added into the statistical pool. According to Chinese data, 80% of people who were confirmed to have Covid-19 only had mild ailments, like this lady in Washington who was infected but didn’t even bother going to a doctor.
So let’s safely figure that there were still many more people in South Korea and outside of Hubei province in China who were infected with Covid-19 who were / are asymptomatic or only symptoms so mild that they don’t receive medical treatment, and our 0.6% and 0.4% death rates drop even farther. My wager is on 0.2-0.3%, which makes Covid-19 slightly more deadly than the average seasonal flu but still in the same ballpark. In the US, according to the CDC the death rate for influenza is 0.1%, and we deal with this each and every year without losing a beat.
Speaking of the normal, seasonal flu, so far this year in the US alone there has been 34 million confirmed infections, 350,000 hospitalizations, and 20,000 deaths, according to the CDC. During the 2017-2018 flu season, nearly a million people were hospitalized and over 80,000 people died in the US. Annually, the number of deaths caused by influenza worldwide is usually between 300,000 and 650,000.
So far, around 4,500 people worldwide have died from Covid-19. 30 of which were in the USA.
What’s interesting is that infectious diseases tend to impact certain age demographics differently. The 1918 Spanish Flu, for example, mainly targeted people in the 18-25 year range. Covid-19, on the other hand, is vastly more dangerous for the elderly and people in otherwise poor health — basically the same people that are impacted most by seasonal influenza. In South Korea, who has the best data, 7.2% of people over the age of 80 who contracted the virus die. For people under 30, the death rate is zero.
The reason that the Covid-19 outbreak appeared so deadly at first is that the only people who were being diagnosed were the ones with severe symptoms. It’s like if we tried to calculate the death rate of the seasonal flu only by including in our figures those who were hospitalized — it really wouldn’t give an accurate picture of the impact the disease really has.
This is basically what’s being done in the USA, a country that’s showing a 2% coronavirus death rate but is only testing those with severe symptoms. I personally know of two people in New York City who had textbook symptoms and had potentially been exposed (one from her husband’s infected co-worker and another who recently came from South Korea) who were outright refused testing by the CDC.
So much for trying to protect at risk populations …
From Rapoza at Forbes:
“The U.S. does not yet have the capacity to test at the levels South Korea is currently testing at, which is over 10,000 patients a day. South Korea’s mortality rate, meanwhile, is just 0.6%, which is on par with influenza, a disease that infects millions each year.”
Over 61,000 people in China that have been infected have already recovered, with tens of thousands more on the way. Many people who get infected by Covid-19 will hardly even know it. Most will just get a little sick. It doesn’t really impact children, teenagers, or healthy working age adults.
So is this really something to tank the global economy over?
Is this illness — which is only slightly worse than influenza in terms of death rate — really bad enough to quarantine entire countries, cancel flights with scorched earth abandon, close the universities (whose students are not even moderately at risk), shut down conferences and athletic events and music festivals, and send everyone into a panic, scurrying to the supermarket to buy up all the toilet paper?
If we keep going the way we are companies are going to go out of business, people are going to lose their jobs and medical insurance — and, by extension, be at a greater risk of, yes, medical problems. I’d take a 0.4-0.6% death rate over that any day.
So I have to ask if we’re creating a much worse “virus” than Covid-19 ever could be — the virus of hysteria.