Coronavirus 2020: Worldwide Killer or Worldwide Media Hype?
Coronavirus: Media Byplay
Daily we see various reports stating the "reality" of the current worldwide health scare, termed Coronavirus, or COVID-19. First surfacing in China, then spreading around the world due to the ease of travel our world has today, it has seemingly spread to virtually every country and nation on the planet in short order. The effect is being felt in a myriad of ways, from overcrowded hospitals to empty sporting arenas to the stock market falling off a precipice. If you are not feeling the effects of it yet, fear not: COVID-19 is coming to a town near you soon.
The media is doing what the media does, spreading the word, whether fact or fiction. Any, and I mean ANY new story which appears to have an effect on our population in some manner or another is played to the hilt. For the most part, negative stories are preferred. Anything which is scary, or might have a bad side to it is broadcast 24/7 until it either plays out and fizzles, or it is shown to be false and then dropped like a hot potato. At present, this virus is the Main Story on every broadcast, with every network doing its utmost to one up the competition. But is this really The End, a worldwide catastrophe of biblical proportions as it is being played, or is it merely another story meant to up the numbers for the networks, thereby increasing someone's bottom line by a decimal place or two?
What Are The Numbers?
As I stated in the little lead in to this article, I have no agendas; none. I say what I say, I say it with all honesty, I do not desire to have any effect upon the world other than to be an honest person with an opinion in this increasingly dishonest world. I search out truth, and I call those who fabricate stories and such out when I see them. In this case, I will simply lay out a few numbers I have found and allow you to make of them what you will.
Per the CDC, these are the current numbers of individuals ill from:
Number of Dead
34 to 49 Million
20,000 to 52,000
- 2019-2020 U.S. Flu Season: Preliminary Burden Estimates | CDC
Links to key resources on the burden of influenza - CDC
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S. | CDC
See the number of people under investigation (PUIs) in the United States and states with confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Numbers Don't Lie
Seriously, these are the current (March 11, 2020) numbers coming out of the CDC (Center for Disease Control). These are United States numbers, not across the globe numbers. Looking at this, should we be concerned over a mere 29 deaths associated with this outbreak? The largest day of cases confirmed was on March 1st, with 36 cases. Compare this to a known minimum of 20,000 deaths thus far from the flu. The total number of cases of COVID-19 equals roughly 5% of known deaths from the flu, and less than 2% of the estimated deaths. If you want apples to apples, then the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is less than .00002% of the lowest approximate numbers of flu victims.
So, is the media crying "WOLF!"and we are running scared?
To me, it feels a little bit like we are. The stock market dropped 1,400 points in one day; sporting events, which make millions of dollars annually are not inviting spectators to come and watch their events. While this hurts teams and schools, it also hurts those who work for a living, selling tickets, food, drink, parking cars and any number of other jobs where they will lose income, which affects their families, and so on down the line. Team owners might lose a few percentile points of income, but they will survive just fine. They will probably sell the rights to the games for even more income, anyway.
China, who discovered this virus (or at least felt its effects first) has about 81,000 cases with 3,100 deaths for a death rate of 3.8%.
Italy has 9,172 cases with 463 deaths, which is a rate of just over 5%.
Iran is close, with about 9,000 cases and 354 deaths, which leaves its death rate at just under 4%.
It appears as though the rate of death for infected individuals in other countries is hovering around 5% and below, which is still a high percentage of those infected dying. Thus far in America, we are around 3%. The flu, by comparison, is running around 1 to 2% which makes COVID-19 more serious for sure. The problem comes from determining who actually has COVID-19 and who doesn't.
But to be sure, if the numbers do continue to rise hospitals will not be able to handle the influx of patients, and the ICU beds will rapidly fill which will lead to infected people possibly being placed in areas they can infect other people, thus escalating the spread of this virus. Where will it stop?
Cancelling March Madness?
- March Madness and coronavirus: NCAA tournament to be held without fans - Sports Illustrated
The NCAA will ban fans from attending the NCAA tournament due to the coronavirus outbreak.
A penny for my thoughts? Save your penny, you are going to need it.
I believe that while there is a serious concern, part of it could possibly overblown hype aimed at separating you from your hard earned cash. Do I believe people are getting ill and dying? Yes. Do I think EVERYONE is going to become ill in one fashion or another from this virus? No. Do I think everyone will be affected by it? Yes, in one manner or another. Stores are running out of toilet paper, for crying out loud! Hand sanitizer is selling for dollars on the penny online to people who are panicking. People are being told to NOT buy face masks because there will be a shortage for people who really need them, like hospital workers. After all, if they get sick who will take care of you?
Real people are losing real money in the stock market, people whose retirement is in one fund or another. This will possibly be reflected in their future retirement, or lack thereof, when they reach a certain age. Even that sacrosanct spring festival known as March Madness is being affected, with the NCAA announcing today that it will not allow spectators to watch this most holy of holy college events, and is even going to change the Final Four venue from Atlanta to somewhere yet to be announced. This is no little decision: it literally could be the face of things to come. Can you imagine a baseball game without fans? Concerts cancelled across the country due to fears of spreading the contagion? These are distinct possibilities and it won't stop there.
Air travel halted; people not able to drive on vacation from one location to another? Both possible. Hotels going under, restaurants folding, people out of jobs, banks foreclosing on homes, repossession of cars, starvation due to no workers to plant and harvest crops, or drive them from location to location are not out of the question if this continues to escalate. Can you imagine trying to go to Disney World this year? Stuff of nightmares!
But you have to decide the future: Is this real, is this a possibility, or is it merely a ploy to temporarily hold the nation and the world hostage?
I wish I knew, but I don't. But I do know that I hope that this outbreak isn't really going to be as bad as it is being made out to be. But, who knows? Maybe tomorrow I fall ill and become the next casualty. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. We won't find out until it arrives.
This Just In...
- Crowd restrictions to impact Mariners' schedule | MLB.com
With at least the first seven Mariners home games of the upcoming season affected by a restriction on large group events in the Seattle area, team chairman and CEO John Stanton said Wednesday he expects Major League Baseball and the involved teams to
Look what can happen in just a few hours. Disneyland closes. Trump declares no travel for thirty days from Europe beginning Friday. The NBA calls a halt to their season based upon a player testing positive. MLB declares a moratorium on their Spring Training, with an eye towards the actual season.
Looks like the sky might be falling after all. But I still see the actual death rate as being what I presented here, 3 to 5%. Numbers of ill are continuing to rise, but the numbers are well below flu numbers. People are getting well at an ever increasing number. I still don't believe it is as bad as it is being portrayed by the media.
But, people are panicking. The stock market fell again, reaching a low not seen for over a decade. People are making a run on grocery stores, buying products left and right, which forces others (like us) to purchase our needed items early and in larger quantities as a means to prevent being without items like paper towels, toilet paper, hamburger, canned goods and other items we buy normally, just not in a quantity to last us a month, rather a week at a time.
Where I work, they instituted a new policy for everyone, granting sick days where they never have before. If you are ill, take three paid days off. If you test positive for COVID-19 you get two weeks off with pay.
We also now have a schedule to clean our work areas twice daily with items supplied by the company, with other people scouring common areas more frequently. Each of us in my office will do this once every week or two, depending upon who is working when. Things like phones, keyboards, desks, chairs, cubicle walls, and copiers are to be cleaned with disinfectant cloths morning and afternoon.
Will it matter? Who knows? You cannot control the air around you, and that is where it will live and float around for hours until you walk into an invisible cloud of molecules, inhaling them directly into your lungs. Someone could walk by a minute or hour ahead of you, cough and spray their illness out into the air, waiting for you to walk by.
If it is real, we cannot avoid it. It will find its way into a percentage of people, a percentage of them will become ill, and a percentage of them will die. That's the thing about numbers: they do not lie and you cannot avoid their truth. Numbers will out.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Lee Franklin