However the situation is confusing to many so last night I thought to put some of what I learned about writing toward outlining the threat that Covid-19 (Coronavirus) represents.
Hope this helps everybody understand what we are facing.
- In a normal flu season for every individual infected 1.3 additional people get infected. Of the people who got infected less than .1% died thus giving 35,000 to 40,000 annual death in the United States due to the flu.
- The H1N1 virus circa 2009 was around 1.5 people infected for every person who came down with the virus. Fatality rate was three time higher at around .3%
- In contrast for Covid-19, for every person infected 2.2 (Jan 2020) to 2.7 (Feb 2020) additional people will get infected. Of those people who get the disease 3.5% will die.
- Different age bracket respond differently with those 70+ have been suffering a 16% fatality rate due to Covid-19
Covid-19 numbers slightly more deadlier than to that of the 1919 Influenza virus which has an infection rate of 1.8 and a fatality rate of 2% to 3% The 1919 influenza 'Spanish Flu' had a 4% to 20% death rate. Misread the table comparing past influenza outbreak.
This based on data using standard epidemiology procedures in place for decades.
Furthermore these are fatalities, an order of magnitude (10x) more cases do not result in death but do require medical intervention and hospitalization.
In the case of the flu the annual flu shot means that actual number are far less than just multiplying the fatality rate by the population.
For my small rural town which has a population of 30,000 (city and the two surrounding townships) this means the following
- During a normal flu season (Nov to April) we can expect around 30 flu related death. The actual number will be less because of the flu shot. We can also expect 300 cases requiring hospitalization spread across those months. The actual numbers will also be less because of the flu shot.
- With Covid-19 which has no vaccine at this point, my town can expect 900 deaths probably spread across three months. More seriously we can expect 9,000 severe case requiring medical intervention like hospitalization.
- This compounded by that fact that in the case of the annual flu the onset of the disease is 1 to 4 days. For covid-19 the onset period is 3 to 14 days. A person can pass on the infection during the onset period for both.
- Moreover the fact without further measures to help the medical system handling Covid-19 cases this means all the other things like those having complication from the annual flu, trauma, infections, seizures, cancer, etc will have problem getting proper treatment thus driving up their death rate.
My town can't handle that. Nobody can handle that which is why we saw in Wuhan emergency hospitals being erected overnight.
What we can do is slow down the spread so these 9,000 cases and 900 death are spread across a longer span of time. So that those cases and the other cases get needed medical attention. And just maybe a vaccine will be developed or enough of a quarantine is place so that the cases start declining.
Be safe and I hope the above helps you make an informed decision about what you and your family needs to do.