“Coronavirus” seems to be the new buzzword on virtually every single media outlet and is by far the most covered topic today.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) topic is very serious, and the point of this article is not to dismiss the importance of being kept abreast as to the development of events surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19), instead it is to emphasize the importance of a sober mind when dealing with such a situation.
What’s worse the coronavirus (COVID-19) or fear surrounding it?
The point of this article is to outline the known cold hard facts about the coronavirus as it stands today and do a bit of a reality check on how much we fear what we appears is an eventual inevitability.
The COVID-19 virus right now has an overall death rate of 3.4159%. This sounds like a very scary number and basically means we put 100 people in a room with the disease, between 3 and 4 will most likely die, and 96-97 will fully recover. That’s a scary proposition no matter how you look at, but it definitely begs a closer look at the raw data.
First off all to make things very clear on how we are arriving at our number is very simple, we are taking the total number of “confirmed” deaths caused by the coronavirus as of today (Feb 29, 2020) which is 2,933 and dividing it by the total number of cases at the same time which is 85,686 to arrive at ~0.03415947.
NOTE: the above 3.145% does not include open cases that could ultimately succumb to the disease. As it stands, with changing protocols, extrapolation of projections on open cases does not allow for accurate forecasting. BBC does a very good job of explaining why.
Breakdown of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases by country
Below we will breakdown the total coronations cases by country. Below table courtesy of World-o-Meter.
Vast majority of coronavirus (COVID-19) reporting is done based on Chinese data
Of the 85,686 cases reported and confirmed as of today, 79,257 are from China. This is a double-whammy in the reporting department, a) because china is not known for accurate reporting due to both incompetence as well as controlling the narrative, and b) china’s medical practices, crowding and lack of preparedness could skew these numbers when compared to the west, which is already preparing for the virus with proper testing facilities, vaccines preparation, and public awareness.
China’s healthcare system ranks #144 out 209 in the world
According to the World Health Organization, China places #144 out of 209 ranked jurisdictions in overall healthcare system performance. To put that in perspective, countries like Gobon, Sudan, Hati, Ghana, Russia, El Salvador, India, Ecuador, Iraq, Iran, Guatemala and Belarus (to name just a few) out performed China in the overall performance of their healthcare systems.
As much as we in the west, especially in America are complaining about our healthcare systems, it is safe to say that we are far better prepared to handle the outbreak then China was and not only should the transmission rate be lower, it stands to reason that the successful treatment rate will be much higher and leading to a number much more promising than the 3.145% above across the board.
Breakdown of coronavirus (COVID-19) death rate by age group
Let us break down the death rate of the coronavirus by age. According to World-o-Meter, who has been closely tracking statistics regarding the corona virus, as of February 29, 2020 the overall death rate of the coronavirus broken down by age is as follows:
|80+ years old||21.9%||14.8%|
|70-79 years old||8.0%|
|60-69 years old||3.6%|
|50-59 years old||1.3%|
|40-49 years old||0.4%|
|30-39 years old||0.2%|
|20-29 years old||0.2%|
|10-19 years old||0.2%|
|0-9 years old||no fatalities|
Looking at the above data, it is clear that as we move up the age bracket food chain, the chances of death increase with each increment. However, of the age bracket including children 0-9 years old, we have had exactly zero recorded deaths. Of the 85,686 cases confirmed as of today, this means that our youngest children, who are normally most vulnerable, are actually the safest with regards to the coronavirus.
Young children appear to be the safest from the corovonavirus (COVID-19)
As of today, not a single case of death has occurred in a small child under the age of 10 years old. Our little ones that we are always striving to protect, appear to be safest in terms of mortality rate.
Men appear to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 then Women
According to the chart below provided by Wold-o-Meter, men appear to be more vulnerable to the coronavirus (COVID-19) than women.
At first glance, it looks like men have a far greater chance of dying from COVID-19 then women. True as this maybe, let us look a bit more closely at this data and what it actually means.
Almost 50% of Chinese men smoke cigarettes as opposed to less than 2% of Chinese women
Remember the vast majority of cases of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases have come from mainland China.
Almost 50% of Chinese men smoke cigarettes. According to Statista, a company who tracks global statistics, in 2016 48.4% of Chinese men smoked cigarettes and only 1.9% of Chinese women smoked. It stands to reason that since the novel coronavirus attacks the lungs, that smokers would be more susceptible to complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis and other pulmonary problems that could lead to serious health issues or even death.
Smoking most likely is a huge factor in the skewing in numbers from men to women in terms of death rate from the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Breakdown of coronavirus (COVID-19) death rate grouped by pre-existing medical conditions
|PRE-EXISTING CONDITION||DEATH RATE|
|Chronic respiratory disease||8.0%||6.3%|
|no pre-existing conditions||0.9%|
Those who have pre-existing medical conditions are at higher risk. This includes, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), and cancer.
So overall, the coronavirus is a serious matter, but is it a doomsday virus that is coming to bring us all to the last chapters of the Bible and delivery the Apocalypse? I doubt it, we are more prepared for this, then we are giving ourselves credit for, and the media is feeding this fear to us and we are eating it up hook line and sinker.
No news sells like bad news
If you have ever heard the phrase, “good news travels fast and bad news travels faster,” you will understand why no news sells like bad news, and the media is all about one thing; top dollar for ad spots.
And nothing gets people tuning in to the news like fear. Fear has a way of turning us into zombie news addicts who are constantly tuned into our favorite news medium just waiting for the next piece of bad news.
Panic is probably far more dangerous than the virus itself
What is going on right now with shortages of non perishable food items, and medical supplies in effected areas is a big cause for fear. The fact that fear is causing these shortages and fear mongering is causing a business that capitalizes on it, is just down right disgusting.
In Italy this week, medical masks that normally sell for 10 Euro cents, were going for 15 Euro. That is a 150x markup over the retail price, forget the actual wholesale price that stores and retailers are buying them for.
Panic is driving the markets south
Fear over the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been the catalyst for the worst week in the market since the financial crisis of 2008. I am not saying the markets were not due for a correction, however I am saying that the panic and fear mongering was the driving force behind the market having trillions of dollars wiped from the balance sheet. How many families in America and worldwide will be effected by this panic?
Doomsday and the coronavirus (COVID-19)
The truth is, the most realistic doomsday fear mongering scenario created by the coronavirus (COVID-19) is going to be because of our management of the situation.
If we continue down the path of xenophobia, panic and fear, we will create panic in the markets, hate and xenophobia and this has a far greater chance of leading to the worst parts of the bible than the disease itself.
A sober mind
I close in urging those who are concerned about the coronavirus to stay concerned. Stay alert. If you see some obviously ill and coughing keep your distance. Don’t touch surfaces and then your mouth. Wash and disinfect your hands often. If you cough do so into the inside of your elbow.
These are things we should already be doing. And then finally, don’t think that the coronavirus is a death sentence! If you are reasonably healthy, not a smoker, under the age of 60, you stand a pretty darn good chance of being OK when all is said and done.
The moral of the story – use your brain, don’t buy into the fear mongering which will actually make the entire situation far worse than the underlying outbreak. Use good hygene, and when possible, when watching the “news” make sure you look at the cold hard facts and try to stay away from the fear mongering.