Media headlines try to keep us feeling fear and paranoia about COVID-19.

Are we fearing fear itself? OMG, another record-breaking day in this state or that state with new COVID-19 confirmed cases! Fear and paranoia about new COVID-19 cases are not justified.

The quarantine was put into effect to slow the rate of hospitalizations. It was not and is not the solution for the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a new virus and none of us have the preformed immunity to it. Most of us have built-in immunity to weather this storm without symptoms, or with mild symptoms.

However, most elderly, especially those with pre-existing conditions do not have either ability to fight this new enemy. Regardless, those most susceptible must be protected. Quarantine is working to protect them.

What is happening in the United States now? Most states have lifted, or adjusted restrictions, and people are out of their homes and circulating around their cities and towns. Alabama (92%), Oregon (84%), South Carolina (63%), Florida (52%), California (40%), and Texas (39%) are reporting daily record numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The percentages after each state are the latest seven-day average increase in new cases. Arkansas, Arizona, Nevada, and North Carolina have reported daily records however I do not have percentages for each.

The headlines tell us to be fearful because this deadly virus is growing out of control. Maybe we should go back under the quarantine rules? At what point in time will the virus die away naturally? Probably never! When we protect the most susceptible citizens, can the rest of society return to a semblance of normalcy?

We hear about the new daily records for confirmed COVID-19 cases, but what does that really mean to the average person on the street? I usually use as my reference source for COVID-19. I was wandering through the digital world today to dig down for details on the states involved in the recent headlines. I found a new website – the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center –

Here is what I found of interest regarding these states. There is a Case Fatality Ratio (CFR) that takes the number of confirmed cases and the number of COVDI-19 deaths and calculates the death rate for each state. Alabama (3.0%), Oregon (3.2%), South Carolina (3.2%), Florida (3.9%), Arkansas (1.43%), Arizona (3.5%), Nevada (4.1 %), California (3.4%), North Carolina (2.6%), and Texas (2.2%). The percentage after each state is the CFR for that state.

97.8% of Texans are surviving the COVID-19 pandemic. How many of the 2.2% are elderly that were not protected early enough? I do not know. If, like other analyses, I have done, then over half of that 2.2% is attributed to a very susceptible portion of the population. Maybe the true death rate for those under 60 years of age in Texas is closer to 98.9%?

Another measure of the intensity associated with COVID-19 infections is the incidence rate (IR) per state. For example, in Alabama, testing is finding 522 people out of every 100,000. The Alabama IR is 522. Oregon (128), South Carolina (365), Florida (352), Arkansas (414), Arizona (491), Nevada (364), California (384), North Carolina (422), and Texas (305). The numbers in parentheses reflect the IR for each state.

Texas, for example, is finding 305 people with COVID-19 out of every 100,000 tested. That implies to me that maybe 5 are serious cases requiring hospitalization, 150 will never have a symptom, and another 150 will develop mild symptoms. 300 Texans will be quarantined to their homes for two weeks.

We also hear about the escalating numbers of hospitalizations with all these newly confirmed COVID-19 cases. The Hospitalization Rate (HR) for each state follows. Alabama (8.8%), Oregon (16.3%), South Carolina (10.5%), Florida (16.1%), Arkansas (8.0%), Arizona (10.4%), and Texas (3.7%). I was unable to determine the other HR rates for North Carolina, California, and Nevada. The website did not list numbers for those states.

I did further research to see what the HR meant to me living in the Houston area of Texas. What does an HR of 3.7 really translate to? The Texas Medical System has a daily update of coronavirus patients and more. The medical system in my area reports that 206 COVID-19 patients are filling 14% of the ICU beds. Another 1,166 non-COVID-19 patients are filling 80% of the remaining ICU beds. That leaves 89 ICU beds (6%) for new COVID-19 and other patients. The Texas Medical System can provide another 1187 ICU beds if necessary.

95+% of every newly found COVID-19 patient will be quarantined to his or her home for two weeks. One or two percent will require hospitalization. A couple of months ago, COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms had a 90% chance of death when placed on a ventilator. Most serious COVID-19 patients with serious symptoms are surviving without ventilator assistance.

Does the United States infrastructure have the capability to survive this pandemic? Yes! We must continue to protect the most vulnerable to this viral pandemic. Can the rest of our society breathe easier? Yes! Are masks and social distancing still required? From all I have researched, it is a significant advantage to wear masks and maintain the recommended social distance from each other.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –


One Response

  1. One thought Red: I am, as you know, 71. I don’t have a bunch of pre-existing conditions for a guy my age. Nevertheless I want and choose to stay as safe as possible.

    I had need to visit a well-known major home improvement chain yesterday (Saturday). In fact I had to visit 2 different locations. I generally wear a mask in public in order to protect others, should I be a carrier. It is the unselfish, courteous thing to do for others. I know it does NOT protect me.

    Frankly, I was appalled. 60% of the customers in that large store were NOT wearing any sort of mask. One younger guy actually looked at me and smirked. Even worse, 40% of the store employees were not wearing masks, either.

    That chain store customer relations department heard from me today loud and clear. I simply do NOT want to be around people who don’t care if I catch the disease and die. To me it is sad that our society has come to this. It is likely that the odds are low that anyone in that store was positive. Still, it costs little to wear a mask, and this retailer actually SELLS masks and could easily provide them for employees.

    I’m in a position where I am semi-retired and do not HAVE to work daily. Others DO, and I think society should do everything we can for each other NOT to do things that might put OTHERS at risk who HAVE to work, HAVE to have their jobs, and would not survive another shut-down. Wearing a mask in public is a BIG part of that. It costs little to nothing and is hardly much of an inconvenience.

    It is sad that the concept of wearing a mask has been used as a political tool to achieve certain political goals by our national leadership. We need some responsibility in leadership that seems lacking.

    Your statistics are very interesting. They give me hope. I make no assumptions from the raw numbers. What I NEVER want to see is the number of deaths that occurred in NY City and State 6 weeks ago. Lots of factors that may not relate to Houston certainly came into play there. Densely packed population. Masses of US citizens and legal residents crowded for hours at immigration at JFK Airport, arriving from Europe. And other factors you have pointed out.

    I think that if this pandemic had been taken seriously long before it was, many of the over 100,000 dead would still be alive today. No one knows — all one can do is assume, and assumptions are often not worth the paper the word “assume” is printed on.

    I find your interest in all this fascinating.

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