by James Watkins
I hate to be the debbie-downer on the pandemic, but the question we should be asking, considering how much of an effect the Wuhan virus has had on the world, is why aren’t there more deaths occuring?
Assuming we can believe the official report that the Wuhan virus emerged around January 1, (the day the Wuhan fish market was closed) , it took fourteen days (from January 22 to February 09) for China to top 1000 deaths. 14 days.
Let’s compare this to Italy.
The first death was on February 15. 18 days later Italy reported 79 deaths. It wasn’t until 28 days, March 12, fatalities peak hit 1,000 deaths.
Let’s compare to Iran (if the data is reliable): 18 days in, deaths per day climbed to 145. On day 28, which was yesterday (March 17), Iran peaked at just under 1,000 total deaths.
In Spain, first death reported on March 3. March 18 marks just 17 days since the first death. How many people have died since the first case? 533 deaths.
Things are heating up in Spain. The lockdown should help containment efforts and there should be a drop off, as has happened in the previous examples. China, Italy and Iran have all peaked, at least temporarily, and it usually occurs between 3 weeks and 1 month, the incubation time.
How is the U.S. doing at day 18? The first U.S. death reported was on February 29. March 17 was the 18th day and total deaths in the U.S is 109 (as of 9am March 18, 2020)
China 18 days in = 1,000 deaths
Italy 18 days in = 79 deaths
Iran 18 days in = 145 deaths
Spain 18 days in = 533 deaths
US 18 days in = 109 deaths
Seattle has actually had more deaths than any other State, but only 55 deaths since the first case was reported 19 days ago. Yes, each death is a tragedy, but a thousand deaths by day 18 is even more horrific, which is what has thus far, only happened in China, and we know now that this fatality rate was caused by ignorance, or denial, and probably both, on the part of the Communist Government.
We all understand the real danger with COVID-19 is to people with compromised or weakened immune systems. But the shining light is that the experts are right, the longer the time it takes to grow, the greater our chances are of containing, and then maintaining the spread so that people can get tested and isolated to mitigate further spread and to reduce strain on our medical system.
By this time next year, it is likely we will either have a vaccine or improved treatment measures to reduce fatalities, or both. That’s the good news.
We must all recognize that “confirmed cases” are naturally going to rise because more people are getting tested by the thousands each day. This is what is shocking the system, but it shouldn’t. Cases doesn’t mean deaths. We could have 50,000 cases, but under 250 deaths, which would put this virus at a 1.5% mortality rate. Still high, but if treated early, can be far less threatening than looking at a number that says 80,000 cases and 3,300 deaths, which was China’s worst day.
The charts tell us that with the exception of the 3 hot zones above, Iran, Italy, and Spain, the mortality rates are not exploding nearly as severe as they were in the early days of the Wuhan virus, and that was because the government there let it spread unabated for at least 8 weeks before even admitting they had a problem.
Wash your hands and self-isolate when possible. We can beat this. And the numbers tell us we may already have.
Jim Watkins is a broadcast news journalist and editor and host of the daily podcast Coronavirus Update