Yesterday I made a facebook post that sparked a good discussion:
A family friend wrote an “open up America!” post. Here was my response:
If we open up completely right now, figure 1/4 of Americans will get COVID-19. It’s about 6% fatal. Here’s the math: 300,000,000 * .25 * 0.06 = 4.5 million dead. That seems a high price to pay for freedom. Thoughts?
That said, I -hate- staying home and hiding from this thing and I know the loss of productivity is staggering. I’m watching my daughter’s development change for the worse and I hate it.
My friend Tim posted an interesting article and I riffed on it here:
“A hundred deaths out of 48,000-81,000 infections corresponds to an infection fatality rate of 0.12-0.2%,” they report.* That’s about the same infection fatality rate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates for seasonal influenza.”
So maybe if we open up completely, the math looks like this: 300,000,000 * 0.25 * 0.002 = 150,000 dead total.
I wish we knew which way we were headed.
And here is today’s post in the form of a (very long form) question:
So, how dangerous is COVID-19? Should we get back to our lives?
Looking to Sweden’s death toll may be useful to see what may happen in the US. Sweden didn’t shelter-in-place.
This page (https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality) shows Sweden having 32 deaths per 100,000 people, (that is a mortality rate of 0.032%) which isn’t the highest mortality rate; why don’t they have a higher mortality rate with their open policies??
If 0.032% mortality is what we can expect in total, and people actually recover, then there is a strong argument for us to just go back to work, yes?
What am I missing? With a 0.032% mortality rate, the US would be expected to have a total of 102,400 deaths (calculated by 320 million people * 0.00032). That’s… honestly… not bad. That’s in the realm of a “really bad year with influenza”. There are lots of reports out there that say comparing COVID-19 to the flu isn’t reasonable. Why not? In all seriousness, why not?
Let me try to enumerate the important factors of the pandemic. If we can figure out all the important factors and then address them, maybe we’ll get somewhere:
– Concern about a very high mortality rate among individuals that are older and have co-morbidities
– Concern that COVID-19 leaves people permanently injured
– Concern that people don’t build immunity… and subsequently, that the mortality rate will climb insidiously over time.
– Fear. Fear that there is a new disease that we can readily identify but cannot treat.
– what else? What, specifically, am I forgetting in this list?