Better safe than sorry. How many times have each of us heard that from our moms, dads, grandparents? Better safe than sorry. Frankly, I can think of no better advice. The president is telling us that it will be safe to go out by Easter, that we’ll be free to go to church, celebrate the holiday with our friends and family. Is he right? Every single expert says no.
A little about me. First, I am not an epidemiologist. I’m not a doctor, medical or otherwise. What I am is someone who believes in science and relying on real data. I’m someone who is good as seeing patterns in the data and drawing conclusions. What follows is what I’m seeing.
As of when I am writing this, Wednesday, March 25, 1:35PM EDT, CNN is reporting 441,000+ cases worldwide and 19,784 deaths. The death rate at this point is 4.49%. That’s roughly 1 in 22 people who contract the disease. At this point we are well below that here in the US. We are much earlier in the disease cycle than countries like Italy and China. It remains to be seen what our death rate will be. Here are the concerns…
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is projecting that the state needs 400,000 hospital beds to handle the projected caseload. Only the sickest end up hospitalized. I’ve seen some statistics that range from 40-90%, depending on the age of the patient. If New York sees the same mortality rate as the worldwide numbers then it projects that almost 18,000 will die. The number will likely be higher since only the sickest are hospitalized.
Better safe than sorry.
The numbers get more disturbing if we look at them nationally. We are a country of roughly 330 million. If ten percent get sick and we could see nearly 1.5 million deaths. The reality is more stark if the percentage of people who get sick is higher.
Again, I am not an epidemiologist. They have far better models. I can only speculate that the reason people like Dr. Anthony Fauci are not sharing the projections from their models is because of a fear of creating panic. But if the president is telling people to go out? We need the data to show why he is wrong.
Better safe than sorry.
So what should we do? Listen the the experts like Dr. Fauci. Maintain social distancing standards. Only go out for necessities like food and medications. If you do things like jogging, cycling, or going out for a walk, do it in places that aren’t crowded. If you start feeling symptoms, self quarantine and get tested if they worsen.
The numbers above, the numbers from the models that people like Dr. Fauci follow, are just projections. We can change them, stop the worst case predictions from coming true if we listen to the data and follow the science.