Johns Hopkins University of Medicine’s Coronavirus Resource Center, as of April 13 at 7:02 a.m., reported 557,590 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the United States and 22,109 deaths due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
The current population of the United States, according to WorldOMeters.info, is just over 330 million.
Do the math. That means 0.17 percent of America’s population has been infected by the coronavirus. That means 0.007 percent of America’s population has died from the coronavirus — we think.
As Johns Hopkins also notes: It all depends on the testing.
“With more testing, more people with milder cases are identified. This lowers the case-fatality ratio,” the site reported.
That means the number of positive coronavirus cases will increase as testing increases — but very likely, the number of coronavirus fatalities will drop at the same time.
And by logical extension — that means the number of recovery cases will hike, as well.
For this, we tank an entire economy?
“Mortality,” Johns Hopkins went on, speaking of coronavirus fatalities, “tends to be higher in older populations.”
Yes. And guess what else tends to be higher in older populations: death in general. Death due a variety of diseases, ailments, medical complications, health issues and ultimately, stoppages of hearts.
Older people die. That’s what they do.
For this, we abandon the Constitution and civil rights?
The numbers on coronavirus are ridiculously low. The justification for shutting businesses, closing schools, mandating social distancing, shuttering churches and congregations — arresting pastors and park-goers and people who stand too close to others — the justification for all is to keep the coronavirus numbers low, to keep Americans safe and healthy and free of sickness and death. Specifically, 0.17 and 0.007 percentages of the population low.
But look, we could narrow in and focus on any health ailment, cover it ad nauseam in the media; throw up real-time figures on the TV screen to keep people on their panicked toes; roll out the health experts to give their best medical advisements on how to avert a sickness — with the pressure on for them to come up with new and better advisements as each day of non-stop reporting and media-fueled panic flows forth; and “justify,” yes, “justify” in quotation marks, national stay-at-home orders, and widespread closure of, well, everything.
We could do it, say, for the flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that from Oct. 1, 2019, through April 4, 2020, there were between 39 million and 56 million of flu illnesses; between 18 million and 26 million medical visits due to flu; between 410,000 and 740,000 hospitalizations due to flu; and between 24,000 and 62,000 of deaths due to flu.
The CDC says it doesn’t know “the exact number of people who have been sick and affected by influenza because influenza is not a reportable disease in most areas of the U.S.” But if we go by coronavirus standards — so what? After all, the coronavirus models aren’t giving factual numbers. Neither, in some cases, are doctors and hospitals.
Shouldn’t we be throwing up real-time cases of flu deaths as they occur on television, alongside the ticking time counter of the numbers of those who’ve contracted the ailment, alongside a map in glaring red and orange and yellow colors showing locations of the spread — just so people can stay safe and protect themselves, dontcha know. After all, even lowballing gives some alarming percentages.
If 39 million Americans were sickened by the flu in the last few months, that’s nearly 12 percent of the population. If 18 million had to visit the doctor for the flu, that’s roughly 5.5 percent of the population. If 410,000 had to be hospitalized, that’s 0.12 percent. If 24,000 died from the flu during this time span, that’s 0.007 percent of all of America.
And that’s with a shot to prevent the flu. Now there’s a blaring story to report, in real, frightening death-count time, if ever there was one.
So where’s the alarm? Where are the medical experts? Where, by God, are all the face masks to protect you and me and all the good comrades out there tripping over themselves to measure out the proper 6-foot social distancing boundary?
Oh, of course, on the coronavirus, the health people say it’s all about what can happen that’s the danger. It’s all about prevention.
The health wonks — and billionaire philanthropists who are focused on making vaccines for the world — say the precautions of these last few weeks have saved us, and the precautions to come will save us even more.
Sure. Except the math doesn’t really add up. The math, in other words, is fuzzy.
And living on a “what if” of unclear, panicking predictions isn’t exactly living. It’s surviving. It’s surviving in misery.
It’s high time for America to return to living — before there’s nothing worth living for in America any more.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.
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