To me, the big question is how deadly is this COVID-19 Coronavius? Are all of the precautions worth it?

I’ve been having trouble finding an up to date statistic. Let me emphasize that I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I would argue that getting an accurate death rate statistic is going to be nearly impossible.

I found this interesting article that seems to run with a 3 in 1000 death rate:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: I’m a UW-Madison health researcher. Here’s what I told my friends about the coronavirus.

The article makes a point that the bottom number in that ratio is important. So, what if we got the 1000 cases wrong and really 2000 people got sick? That changes everything! Now, it’s half as bad as what we thought.

So, the accuracy of the death rate really depends on an accurate count of the number of cases where people got sick. I’m not convinced that we can get an accurate count at least any time soon.

Are we really convinced that the Chinese government will give us an accurate statistic especially considering our current state of overreaction? For our statistics in the United States, I think it depends on how many people go to the doctor. When I called around a while ago it was $200-$300 to see a general doctor. I think an urgent care doctor is less at $90. Still, if I have a fever and mild cold symptoms, I wouldn’t normally spend the $90 on it. Therefore, if I caught COVID-19, I would argue that it wouldn’t get added into the statistics. If the majority of the cases are “mild”, would most of the cases not get counted in the statistics?

So, looking around, I’ve seen a number of different figures. The Guardian reports a 3-4% rate but estimates that in reality it is less than 1%. ABC seems to agree that the rate will go down as well.

I just ran across another anecdote on Facebook that confirms that we aren’t able to count that bottom number:

My doctors are pretty sure I have Coronavirus (COVID-19). Since I’m not a high-risk case (elderly, obese, smoker, underlying disease), the Tarrant County Health Department would not approve them to essentially waste a test on me due to the severe shortage of test kits. They said the hospital would not be able to test me, either. …. I’m telling you this because today I was made aware by several nurses and doctors that there are SO many more cases in every city than are being reported.

I like what Dr. Sharaway said on Facebook:

But mostly, I’m scared about what message we are telling our kids when faced with a threat. Instead of reason, rationality, openmindedness and altruism, we are telling them to panic, be fearful, suspicious, reactionary and self-interested.

So, let’s temper the panic. I’m not convinced that it is worth it!

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