UPDATE 3/17: Because of how rapidly things are changing, the statistics in this post are not being updated. Please refer to the CDC website for the most current information.
The novel coronavirus now called Covid-19 is a serious illness that’s spreading like wildfire across the globe. While the statistics do look favorable for anyone who contracts the illness, we do need to react responsibly to this situation.
Let’s cover some facts about Covid-19 and how it’s affecting the residents of Lake Hartwell communities.
- There are over 120,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the world
- Of those who are no longer infected, 94% recovered and 6% died
- About half of confirmed cases are still ill, and 12% of those are in critical condition
- There have been 1016 confirmed cases and 31 deaths due to COVID-19 in the US
- There are 23 suspected and confirmed cases of coronavirus in Georgia and South Carolina
Map of coronavirus cases in Georgia, South Carolina
Here’s a visual representation of where the coronavirus COVID-19 cases are in states bordering Lake Hartwell.
Map of coronavirus cases in the United States
Here’s a map from the CDC showing current cases of COVID-19 in the US.
How deadly is the coronavirus?
Calculating the exact mortality rate, or the percentage of people who die from coronavirus infection, cannot be completed until the outbreak is over. All we can do is look at the numbers we have so far.
If you divide the number of deaths (4382) by the number of global infections (121,739), you would get an estimated death rate of 3%. But this is not an accurate measure of how the disease works.
How many of those who have it will die of the disease in the near future? How many people are infected but are not getting tested?
No one knows the answers to those questions. The most accurate mortality rate I’ve seen is 6% which is the number of deaths divided by the number of closed cases. But this number is also inflated because it doesn’t account for those who got the disease and recovered but were never tested.
So it’s really all just a guessing game at this point.
Here’s how the cases in the United States have changed since the beginning of March.
This graph is showing how quickly the virus is spreading vs how quickly people are recovering. It’s too soon to see recoveries, so do not let the spike on this graph cause you undue concern.
Here is a comparison of recoveries and deaths in the US. Again, this graph is skewed slightly because of the timing of the outbreak in the US.
What to do if you’re at risk for serious illness from Covid-19
Whenever there is an outbreak of illness or any global event, it’s normal to be concerned about a threat to your personal health and livelihood. But in our global economy, it’s important to maintain some perspective and react appropriately.
While some people will die from infection with Covid-19, the vast majority of people who become ill are recovering. So this is not a case of global extinction.
However, if you or a family member are over 65 or have underlying health conditions that make you more susceptible to disease, you should follow the recommendations from the CDC to minimize your risk.
- Stock up on supplies such as prescription medications and groceries so you can minimize the need to go out shopping
- Avoid sick people and crowded, closed-in spaces.
- Postpone airplane and cruise travel if possible.
- Wash your hands often and try not to touch your face.
- If there’s a known outbreak in your community, stay at home as much as possible.
- If you get sick, do not rush to the doctor or hospital. Call your doctor and let them know you’re ill.
- Follow your doctor’s recommendations.
Here’s more info for those at high risk of complications from Covid-19.
A calm, realistic reaction to coronavirus COVID-19
While this situation is still evolving, there is no reason to become overly fearful. It’s important to remain aware of the changes that are happening and to be reasonable with our response to this outbreak.
If you can afford it, buying a few extra cans of food and a bottle of Tylenol is not a bad idea. But it’s not necessary to stockpile all the toilet paper in Walmart and lock yourself up in an underground bunker either.
With the total number of cases just breaching 1000 in the US, the vast majority of our population is still uninfected. For healthy people, going to work and traveling are not risky.
But if you have someone in your family who is at risk, you should take precautions to keep them safe.
- Wash your hands before hugging or touching your loved one.
- If you travel or go to a high-risk area, give yourself 5-7 days to confirm that you won’t get ill before visiting your loved one.
- If you travel and get a fever within 7 days, call your doctor and quarantine yourself at home until you’re feeling better.
- Keep up to date with current recommendations at CDC.gov
What’s your take on the coronavirus situation?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!