Yesterday we talked about facts over fear and I truly appreciate all the responses to that piece because you all “got it!” The coronavirus era may not be my idea of a good time, but it doesn’t mean the sky is about fall anytime soon, either.
The problem is, between that persistent news media Chicken Littleness, and all the sudden social media prophets with their portents of doom, it’s gonna take a lot more than yours truly to turn this tempestuous tide.
Put more simply, I’m duly deputizing each and every one of you to aid me in my pursuit of bringing critical thinking back, because we collectively need to push back against the panic which will make this pandemic worse on every level.
So, lets examine some of unfortunate memes and stories that have been thrust upon us in just the last 24 hours. And the first is that photo of Italian Army trucks transporting coffins to be cremated as that country’s coronavirus death toll surpasses China’s.
All I can say is, there are times I truly wish a picture wasn’t worth a thousand words.
Again, Italy is the second oldest country on the planet which makes them particularly susceptible to this disease, and as the Tribune reported this morning, 87 percent of the Italians who perished were over 70 years old.
The death toll there is further exacerbated by an overwhelmed health care system such that doctors have been forced to provide ventilators only to patients under 80. Worse yet, according to the Chinese experts currently working with the Italian government, that country still isn’t taking this pandemic seriously, so it’s become somewhat of a perfect storm there.
Then we have California Governor Gavin Newsom claiming 56 percent of his state will be infected within eight weeks.
I’ve thoroughly reviewed the CDC worst case coronavirus curves this morning, and unless Californians start randomly kissing each other on the street, there’s no way more than half of the state can contract that disease in two short months.
If that was the case, considering what the virus has done there, 35 million Italians would already have it and not the current 41,000.
Could California eventually go there? With no suppression efforts, of course! But even then, it would take at least a year for it to fully pan out, not eight weeks! We’re still below China’s initial infection curve, which means the Governor’s statement is patently false and beyond reckless.
My best guess is, Newsome is trying to get Californians to take this much more seriously, but as we all know, making dire “sky is falling” pronouncements tends to solicit an equal and opposite reaction which actually undermines our collective efforts to flatten the curve.
Another meme declares an Iranian is dying every 10 minutes, which is true, but what they fail to mention is that’s an interim statistical peak and their total death toll still stands at only 1,284. That country also faces the kind of severe sanctions that mean medical providers are treating victims without masks. Their citizens, who don’t trust their authoritarian government, are ignoring quarantines and travel restrictions.
If the Iranians continue down that path, as you might imagine, it will get much worse.
And lastly, European and American doctors are suddenly saying that half of covid-19 ICU beds are occupied by folks under 50. First, please note that it’s NOT half of the total cases, it’s 50 percent of hospital patients who require critical care.
It’s very important to make that distinction.
Again, what those sound bites don’t impart is the following, according to the CDC:
- 0 percent of ages 0 to 19 hospitalizations require ICU care
- 2 – 4.2 percent of ages 20 to 44
- 4 to 10.4 percent of ages 45 to 54
- 7 to 11.2 percent of ages 55 to 64
And the hospitalization stats range from 1.6 percent for 19-year-olds and under, to 20 to 30 percent for coronavirus sufferers aged 55 to 64. So, the number of ICU admission is actually quite small, but when you extrapolate them across the entire U.S. population, our ICUs would be quickly overwhelmed if the disease progress unchecked.
Another factor in these younger ICU entries is, per Trump administration experts, young folks aren’t taking this pandemic very seriously. We’ve all seen the photos of packed Florida beaches and hosts of New Orleans Mardi Gras revelers. Then, fully believing themselves to be immortal, when they do get the disease, they don’t seek medical care until it’s kicking their posteriors.
So! Now that you’re part of our new critical thinking force, please logically push back against those news reports and social media scions who would have folks believe their death is imminent, because nothing could be further from the truth.
Please don’t get me wrong! I’m not trying to minimize anything, I’m simply trying to put our current situation in perspective!
Meanwhile, let’s keep up with the social distancing and hand washing, and I promise I’ll get back to the lighter and more humorous posts, perhaps as soon as this weekend.