COVID-19: A Dearth of Death.

“The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.”
Josef Stalin, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Recently, I took a look at official COVID-19 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and observed that based on their reported data COVID-19 would be “away by Inauguration Day“.

Last night, while waiting in line for my healthy salad Taco Bell with about 5 other socially-distant customers a conversation broke out about SARS-CoV-2. One young person mentioned it was difficult to cope with this “terrible pandemic” as they knew 3 people who had died from it. After expressing heartfelt sympathy & condolences for her loss, I reassured her that while each death is indeed a personal tragedy, in the grand scheme of things the individual risk is extremely small, especially for young people.

In a sense, my reply paraphrased Soviet Premier and ruthless Socialist Dictator Joseph Stalin’s popular quote I wrote above – without intent, of course. But as long as I paraphrased the “Brilliant Genius of Humanity” I may as well provide a chart showing the “Grand Scheme of Things“, using official data provided by the CDC:

(Click image to enlarge)
Infectious Disease Death Rate, US, 1900-1996, CDC

Note the very large spike on the chart was a true virological disaster: The Spanish Flu (H1N1) Epidemic of 1918-1919, which killed approximately 50 million people worldwide. In the USA, the Spanish Flu infected over 68 million of the USA’s 103.2 million population, resulting in 675,000 total deaths – more than during the entire Civil War – and about 200,000 during October 1918 alone. While some cities practiced social distancing measures, Democrat President Woodrow Wilson didn’t order the economy shut down or require self-quarantining, face masks, or social distancing, preferring instead to focus on maintaining America’s interest in and socioeconomic contribution to the World War I effort. (In fact, more US Military members died from COVID-19 then from any battle they fought in World War I, some before reaching Europe.) The chart shows the overall death rate per year at roughly 950 people per 100,000 population, or 0.95%.

Compare this to the current estimate for our latest worldwide epidemic, COVID-19: To date the CDC has reported 10,508,864 total cases resulting in 242,216 deaths out of a total US Population of 318,200,000. Or, a death rate of (242,216 / 318,200,000) = 0.000761 people per 100,000 population, or 0.076%. I’ve extended the chart to show just where this rate would be plotted.

Bottom line?

Spanish Flu = 950 per 100,000 people.

COVID-19 = 0.000761 per 100,000 people.

Compared to history, COVID-19 has a “Dearth of Death” (which is a good thing)

Thanks for Reading!

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