I noticed a couple of headlines today about European Coronavirus Cases skyrocketing. Are the numbers being reported something that we should make major changes to our economies? Are they scare tactics? Are they real?
The numbers are real, but the value in those numbers is not. Governments and states have been tweaking controls on their citizens to limit hospitalizations to a controllable level. Many states in the United States have lifted restrictions and seen new COVID-19 cases increase along with some initial hospitalization. Those numbers are dwindling today.
One was from the Sun (https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/politics/12725279/second-lockdown-pubs-close-10pm/) and the other WebMD (https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200920/very-serious-situation-unfolding-in-europe). I started this search based on a graphic that showed a quadrupling of new COVID-19 cases possible in the next 30 days.
I have raised the topic of headlines and new cases before. Just because there are 10,000 new cases of COVID-19 does not mean there are 10,000 new deaths. The articles will cover the new cases in detail and usually not mention the new burden on hospitals nor the increase in daily deaths.
A recent example was the major eruption of new COVID-19 cases on college campuses. Exponential growth was seen in new cases among college students. However, there were no hospitalizations and no new daily deaths. It takes about five days or so to register new hospitalizations and around 17 days after infection to reflect an increase (or decrease) in daily death counts from COVID-19.
I went to WorldoMeters.info and did some research into the United Kingdom, France, and Spain. Those three countries seem to be making headlines around the world. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/uk/ gives the view of the coronavirus pandemic from Day 1.
In July, the United Kingdom experienced around 700-800 new COVID-19 cases daily. The new cases rose to 1200-1500 a day in August and continued to rise in September from 1700 at the beginning of the month until 4400+ on the 19th.
The daily death rate does not show any alarm. July and August’s daily deaths were in the 10 to 20 range. In September, the rate continued until this past week and saw increases in the range of 20-30. If the new cases of COVID-19 quadruple in the next 30 days and the daily deaths remain under 50 (currently at about half that rate), is there real concern?
The real concern is relative. If my grandmother died from COVID-19, it becomes personal and real. If a group of senior citizens succumbs to the disease and I do not know them, it is still a tragedy, but not personal and not real. We should have and keep compassion for all infected with this virus.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/spain/ provides a history of Spain since Day 1. Spain’s new COVID-19 cases started rising after June. In July, the daily average was between 400 and 3000. In August, it rose again from around 5000 a day to approaching 10,000 a day. In September, the new COVID-19 cases are falling – from 10,000 to 5000 new COVID-19 cases a day.
The daily death counts are also interesting. From June through most of August there were hardly any deaths. There were a couple of days in August that the daily death count went over 100, but most of the time it was well below 50 deaths per day. In September, the daily death count hovers in the 30-50 deaths per day with occasional spikes – 5 days over 100 and one day over 200. The past two days (ending September 20th) the daily death attributed to COVID-19 is in the 50-60 range.
The daily statistics for France can be seen at https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/france/. New COVID-19 cases stayed below 1000 a day from the end of May until the end of July. Beginning in August, the new COVID-19 cases rose from the 1000-2000 level to the 12,000-14,000 level. However, the daily deaths from COVID-19 have stayed under 100 for most of the summer (end of May through last week). Lately, the daily deaths have been below 50 per day except for two days.
New COVID-19 cases will increase as more people circulate with restrictions lifted on businesses. Those states with their citizens hunkered down will see massive increases as every other state has once restrictions on where and what people can do are loosened. It is a matter of time. Home quarantine does not prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, only delays it.
Headlines that include hospitalizations are worth heeding more than headlines about new cases. Headlines that show massive increases in daily death rates are critical to take note of.
COVID-19 will be with us long after the first vaccine is distributed to the masses. It will be hard to separate COVID-19 from seasonal influenza in cases with mild symptoms – more on that soon. Look at the statistic or data being presented and try to determine if it really is a health risk you should be doing something about!
Life Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com