Make no mistake, COVID-19 - The Coronavirus is a grave and serious pathogenic threat...but you're safer than you think...MUCH SAFER.
More cases are likely to be identified in the coming days, including more cases in the United States. It’s also likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur, including in the United States. Widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States would translate into large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time. Schools, childcare centers, workplaces, and other places for mass gatherings may experience more absenteeism. Public health and healthcare systems may become overloaded, with elevated rates of hospitalizations and deaths. Other critical infrastructure, such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, and transportation industry may also be affected. Health care providers and hospitals may be overwhelmed.
The CDC's warning is frank and unnerving. It is an impetus for sober and reasoned action. Stock up on a week's worth of frozen/canned food. Restock your medicine cabinet. Practice proper hygiene. Stay home if you're feeling sick. There is no need, however, to panic. If you're feeling in any way anxious about the coronavirus outbreak, here are five facts to help assuage your worries.
1. The number of cases in China is already falling significantly. Just three weeks ago, China was recording more than 3,000 new cases per day. Officials are now consistently reporting fewer than a thousand. The latest (Mar. 1st) World Health Organization (WHO) situation reportrevealed 579 new cases in China in the previous 24 hours, all but nine of them in Hubei Province, where COVID-19 arose.
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.
3. Only one out of every 1,000 people in Hubei Province has contracted the coronavirus.There have been 66,907 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.
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.
So, are we cool with everyone washing your hands more?
(Photo: Getty Images)