We choose which numbers to publish and ignore what we don’t want people to see.

I saw a blog post this morning that compared the deaths of the coronavirus in China to various deaths in the US. The numbers were calculated to be daily totals. I thought the numbers of deaths were a bit over-exaggerated.

I commented on the post and noticed recently that my comment was removed. Oh, well! The claim of the post was that there were 108 deaths in China yesterday due to the coronavirus. That seemed OK at first. I know the numbers are going up and the total worldwide deaths are around 3500 or thereabouts. That number I could live with at that moment.

The next set of numbers I saw was 26+ thousand Americans died from cancer in one day; 25+ thousand died of heart disease in one day, and 4300 died from diabetes in one day. Those numbers were too high, even for me, who wanted to believe them.

I did some research and found that cancer deaths are around 1670/day (not 26,000+), heart disease deaths around 1773/day (not 25,000+), and diabetes deaths were combined with blood glucose-related deaths and that total was a bit over 10+ thousand/day (not a little over 6000 for diabetes alone). Most numbers were too high, and some numbers were incomplete.

The post claimed there was 28 times the number of coronavirus deaths/day from suicide. I could not believe that figure at all. I see various figures of up to100/day military veteran suicides/day over the years, but it seems that 20/day is the norm. I just checked in the 2019 report by the VA and their current number is 17/day because they excluded Reserve and National Guard personnel who were never activated.

According to the FB post, 28 times 108 equals 3024 suicide deaths/day in the US or a bit over ten-thousand deaths annually. That number doesn’t compute in my mind.

What are the real numbers? https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ is a good source for coronavirus cases and deaths on a daily and accumulated basis. It also includes the numbers for full recoveries. It does not include deaths by age.

I noticed this morning that two people from Florida passed away from the coronavirus. Both were over 70 years of age. One had health problems. One had returned from a trip overseas. The coronavirus deaths are mostly the elderly with acute health issues.

How does the coronavirus compare to the recent US cases of influenza? In the 2017-18 flu season, 48.8 million Americans contracted the flu, 959 thousand were hospitalized, and 79,400 deaths were attributed to flu that season. The next flu season (2018-2019) the number of cases of influenza was 42.9 million Americans, with 647 thousand hospitalizations, and 61,200 deaths. The coronavirus as of 10FEB20 has 104 thousand cases worldwide, 3526 deaths, and 58,559 recoveries.

China, as the worst-case scenario for the coronavirus epidemic, has 80,652 cases, 3070 deaths, 22,061 active cases, 55,521 recovers, and 5489 serious cases. Our flu season is the Fall and Winter. We are approaching the end of the 2019-2020 flu season for the US. This virus is much harder to defend against since it has no symptoms when transmitted to the next person. It is difficult to protect people in crowds.

The swine flu pandemic of 2009 had 61 million cases, with 12,500 deaths in the US, and 575 thousand deaths worldwide. When compared to past pandemics and the recent US flu seasons, the coronavirus is a baby compared to the other viruses.

My research shows that 70-90% of the deaths are related to people over the age of 70. The death rate appears to be around 3%. That means that the death rate for those over 70 years of age is between 2.1 to 2.7%. For those under 70 years of age, the death rate 0.3 to 0.9% which makes it slightly more deadly than the typical influenza virus that appears in the US every year.

The worst-case scenario is that the virus infects someone close to you – a family member or friend and they do not survive. For most of us, the symptoms are no worse than we have experienced in our lives with an occasional cold or flu.

What can we do? The usual precautions that abound everywhere – avoid people who are sick, don’t congregate with strangers, wash our hands regularly, etc. Take precautions when visiting people in the hospital or care center. Consider wearing a mask and gloves and don’t spend much time there. Use a phone or video app to talk or to see the person you are concerned about.

I don’t think elderly care facilities are testing your temperature when you walk in the door, nor are they giving you masks and gloves. Maybe they should. They have responsibility for their patients. With a virus that is asymptomatic, it is easy to pass that virus on to someone who is at high risk of catching it.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin

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