Coronavirus information

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This was posted on Facebook by James Codella.

 

Hi friends,
There’s a lot of misinformation, manipulation of numbers, and just plain bullshit about COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus) going around out there. I thought it might be helpful to share some recent findings and (to my knowledge) the current scientific understanding of COVID-19 spread and severity so far.
If you have more recent and accurate statistics, please share it in the comments with the source… I’d be very interested in reading about it, and updating this post.
Please see the bottom of this post for sources for all the numbers here.
Anyway, here’s my short, non-bullshit summary:
Without a strong public health response to contain the spread of COVID-19, it’s expected to be more transmissible than seasonal influenza and have a higher rate of severe complications and deaths. If COVID-19 becomes as prevalent as seasonal influenza, we would expect millions of Americans to be admitted to hospitals and at least 1 million additional deaths. This far outpaces seasonal influenza in terms of severity, and would put an enormous strain on our healthcare system.
Luckily, we can prevent this from happening with a strong public health response and everyone pitching in to do their part and take precautionary measures. It’s much easier to prevent COVID-19 from spreading early on, rather than wait and try to contain it later. When I say “strong public health response”, I mean swift and decisive action by our government leaders to curb COVID-19, without regard to “how the numbers look” or any other superficial nonsense.
There’s no reason to panic. However, there’s reason for sensible concern, for us (the public) to take preventative measures, and for our government leaders to listen to the experts and take the necessary measures.
Here’s a few non-bullshit Q&As:
Q: How infectious is COVID-19?
A: Assuming no measures are taken to contain the virus transmission, it’s expected that for every 1 new person infected with COVID-19, 2-2.5 additional people will also become infected on average. This is higher than seasonal flu, which is estimated to be around 1.3 additional infections per newly infected individual.[1] [2] [3]
Q: The flu kills more people than COVID-19 has so far. What’s the big deal?
A: Just comparing the number of people killed by each so far is misleading. Let’s break it down:
* The mortality rate for seasonal influenza is less than 0.1%. [2] [6]
* The mortality rate for COVID-19 is estimated to be between 3-4%. [1] This is more than 30 times higher than the mortality rate for seasonal influenza.
So what does that mean? While seasonal influenza has killed more people overall, COVID-19 is much more serious of a threat. At the time of this writing, there have been about 116,000 known infections of COVID-19 so far, and about 4,000 deaths [10]. If this was seasonal flu, we’d expect only about 116 deaths… on the flip side, if COVID-19 becomes as prevalent as seasonal influenza, we would expect at least 1 million deaths in the USA this year.
Also note that folks who are older, immuno-compromised, or those with respiratory problems are more susceptible to the COVID-19 and serious complications. The COVID-19 mortality rate is ~15% for those aged 80+, 8% for 70-79, and 3.6% for those 60-69. For seasonal influenza, the mortality rate is about 0.8% for ages 65+. [5]
Q: Won’t most people just have mild symptoms?
A: Yes, according to The WHO, “…80% of infections are mild or asymptomatic, 15% are severe infection, requiring oxygen and 5% are critical infections, requiring ventilation…” [7] The CDC estimates that during the 2018-2019 flu seasons, about 1.38% of seasonal influenza cases required hospitalization. [6] Furthermore, there’s also evidence of lung damage in COVID-19 patients who recover. [8] [9] COVID-19 is certainly more severe than seasonal influenza or the common cold.
Q: Can I get Coronavirus from drinking a Corona?
A: No, but you should really be drinking better beer.
With all this in mind, taking steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 seems like a pretty good idea.
Sources and some useful references below:
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Nelson Merchan, Andrea Gartner and 35 others
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