Tobi’s Down and Dirty Guide to the coronavirus… or, Why Are We Freaking Out About A Virus?

I know I write romance but I’m also a science geek, so, I thought I’d put things into perspective for those of you who are super anxious or lackadaisical.

  • Things to know:
  • The flu has a <2% fatality rate, meaning 3-4 out of 200 people will die from the flu. (1) (These numbers correspond with footnotes at the end so you don’t have to take my word for it.)
  • 67% of the flu deaths occur in people over the age of 65. (2)
  • It’s hard to know exactly how many people have died from the flu because many have other underlying medical conditions. However, the CDC estimates that 61,000 people in the United States DIED of influenza (the flu) in the 2018-2019 season, which runs from October to October. (3)

But Tobi, I read this article for Coronavirus information, why are you hitting me with flu info first? BECAUSE WE KNOW AND UNDERSTAND THE FLU, sort of. Most of us have memories of the H1N1, swine flu, hitting the US so I’m using this as a comparison for the coronavirus. Imagine twice as many people dying when infected.

  • The coronavirus has a fatality rate of 3.4%, meaning 7 out of 200 people will die from this disease. Twice as deadly as the flu and could be even more deadly. (4)
  • Less than half of the population of the US takes advantage of the flu vaccine (5) and we have an estimated 20,000-52,000 deaths for flu this year in the United States. (6)
  • Reminder: Coronavirus is twice as deadly and we have no vaccine.
  • Symptoms appear within 2-14 days of exposure–that means people who were
    coughed/breathed on by a person infected feel fine for up to two weeks. The virus is spread by person-to-person contact. (7)
  • As of March 8, 2019, scientists don’t know how virulent coronavirus is. Meaning, how likely are you to get it if you are exposed? How much of the virus does it take to infect you? I’m sure they’ll have those facts, but this started less than three months ago and 101,927 people are infected. (8)
  • WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? (9)
    • WASH YOUR HANDS LIKE YOUR WASHING JASON MOMOA!
    • COVER YOUR MOUTH WHEN YOUR COUGH AND SNEEZE!
    • Get the flu vaccine.
    • If you develop a fever and upper respiratory symptoms CALL your doctor from your home and tell them about your symptoms. (Quarantine yourself)
    • If you’ve come in contact with someone who is infected, call your doctor from
      your home and tell them. (Quarantine yourself)
  • Please, wash your hands frequently. Cover your mouth with your sleeve when you cough or sneeze. When you cough, sneeze, or blow your nose, wash your hands before touching anything else. You may be young and not at risk for dying from this virus, but others are.
  • In the US we wear seat belts, bike helmets, motorcycle helmets, and yet we don’t wash our hands before we eat.
  • Be mindful of touching things.
  • Check on your elderly relatives by phone, especially if you may have been exposed.
  • The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control are taking the coronavirus seriously and regularly post updates on their websites. I strongly encourage you to go directly to those websites rather than your typical news outlet. You’ll get the facts straight from the source.

FOOTNOTES

1 Global mortality associated with seasonal influenza epidemics: New burden estimates and predictors from the GLaMOR project https://www.ncbi.nkm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6815659/
2 Global mortality associated with seasonal influenza epidemics: New burden estimates and predictors from the GLaMOR project https://www.ncbi.nkm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6815659/
3 Cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season—2018-2019.htm
4 Who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
5 Cdc.gov/flu/fluvaxview/coverage-1819estimates.htm
6 Cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/preliminary-in-seaswon-estimates.htm
7 Cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/we/mm6908e1.htm
8 Whi.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports
9 Cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html#anchor_1580064337377

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