The badly named “social distancing” (we need to be social; as Mike suggests in one of his stories this week it’s “physical distancing” that’s important!) truly has worked to blunt the rate of infection, keeping the death rate way down while we wait for a vaccine. Stop the isolation too soon and infections will shoot up, as we’ve seen before. If you’re not already aware of how easy is it for a few sick people to create a huge number of infections, read this article: How a Premier U.S. Drug Company Became a Virus ‘Super Spreader’. It’s sobering. If politicians do something stupid like let our guard down too early, I highly recommend “staying put” for a couple weeks anyway to see what happens.
The idea is not to scare anyone, but to give you some facts to ponder so you can make informed decisions. Consider New York (state), population around 19.5 million. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on March 17 that New York City wouldn’t quarantine — “That cannot happen.” Three days later Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was “now the epicenter of this crisis” in the U.S., with 5,151 cases and 29 deaths. Four days after that, Cuomo noted there was an “astronomical” surge of cases in the city, with new cases doubling every three days. Today, New York (state) passed 10,000 dead from more than 195,000 cases.
Compare that with California, population around 39.5 million, which issued a state-wide “stay at home” order on March 19. Today, California has just short of 700 deaths from 23,428 cases. Yeah, I know what you’re about to say: “But Randy, the people of California are spread out over a MUCH larger state!” Yep: pretty much proves the point. I urge you to stay home and avoid all contact with people who you “don’t know where they’ve been.” Meanwhile, I don’t believe the numbers out of China (3,341 dead out of 84,317 cases): I think they’re way under-reporting what really happened there. Wuhan has around 11 million residents; New York City has about 8.4 million.
(Evening of 17 April 2020): New York (state) has passed 16,000 dead — yes, up 60 percent in four days — out of more than 226,000 cases. California: 949 dead from 27,500+ cases.
Meanwhile, to my suspicion of China “under-reporting” their numbers: today (April 17), CNBC reported that China’s official news agency “has revised upwards the numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths” in Wuhan, the city of origin of the virus, after “a city-wide investigation.” While infections only went up by 325 (to 50,333 cases), deaths jumped by 1,290 (to 3,869). My gut feeling is the numbers are still under-reported. (Source)
Source for the infection/death figures: ncov2019.live. Also see the very interesting and very comprehensive Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic and U.S. Response from JustSecurity.org, a non-profit based at the Reiss Center on Law and Security at the New York University School of Law. The page is still being updated. Last, check out this fascinating moving chart that compares the rate of COVID deaths with the usual top 15 causes of death in the U.S. Mind-boggling!
Covid vs. US Daily Average Cause of Death
By Alex Estrella on 8 Apr 2020
The Chart Animation apparently runs before you can scroll down the page. Click the black button in the very lower left to start it over. Note you can also pause it and move the pointer to where you want, and stay still.
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