Stephen King wrote a popular book awhile back called The Stand about a rapidly spreading virus that started as a common cold and ended up killing almost everyone it infected. I read it not once, not twice, but three times due to a weird fascination my teenage brain had then with global pandemics and end of world scenarios.
Same thing with Ken Follet’s, Pillars of the Earth. I devoured that book multiple times, hooked from the start by it’s eery portrayal of life during the Black Plague era. Took me awhile after reading it to stop worrying about any dark spots that appeared on my skin, convinced this was the beginning of a painful end for me.
So now along comes this Coronavirus, the culmination of years of nonsensical fears about death crashing head on with my hypochondriac tendencies, now playing out in real time. Oh, have I mentioned that I’ve come down with a cold?
So while my left side brain calmly cautions me “there is nothing to panic about”, the right side is screaming “get thee to Costco ASAP, we need supplies!!” What I’m trying to say is that even though I know better, this Coronavirus stuff scares the crap out of me!!
In the interest preserving my sanity (or proving my insanity), I decided to do some research. Here’s what I found.
According to this very helpful John Hopkins website the latest Coronavirus stats are this: 100,645 confirmed cases worldwide, with 55,753 recovered and 3,411 deaths. Here in the U.S., we have 234 confirmed cases with 8 recovered and 14 deaths.
The WHO estimates the Coronavirus death rate to be about 3.4%, but this also changes dramatically depending on what area of the world you’re talking about and the age and even sex of the patient. This table from Worldmeter has a good breakdown on the death rate by age:
It’s still not that simple because pre-existing conditions play a huge factor too. The Coronavirus is a big threat to those with compromised immune systems and/or respiratory problems, no matter how old. For healthy individuals with the virus, not so much; they are very likely to experience mild symptoms like having a cold or lite flu.
Here is my own view on all this:
- While any death from Coronavirus is bad, it’s good to keep in mind that for most people the risk of dying from it is pretty small.
- Older people are definitely at high risk, which is alarming, but this is the case with regular influenza too
- The numbers of people diagnosed have sky rocketed in the U.S, but that’s because we are finally testing for it properly.
- As those numbers of diagnosed cases continue to rise, the death rate will come down
- Many people already have the Coronavirus and don’t know it because the symptoms can be very mild-if these people were all counted as confirmed cases the death rate would go down dramatically.
- Warm weather tends to inhibit viruses, which is why our “flu season” happens during colder months. With spring just around the corner, let’s hope the Coronavirus behaves similarly.
- The more I stay off social media the better I feel about things
Obviously this is a very fluid situation and things can and will change quickly. The best we can do is stay informed, practice good hand washing hygiene and make sound decisions and stay hime if you’re sick.
At the same time don’t consume too much “news,” as the media has not been reporting on this responsibly. And why should they? Their job is not to inform, it’s all about ratings and eyeballs; the more scared you are, the more apt you will be to watch or read their fear mongering stories.
Many of us will probably get the Coronavirus if we haven’t already and most of us will be fine. Prepare for the worst, expect the best and go on living your life.
That’s all I know