Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Day 125: COVID-19 Why are people so fearful?

 

I confess that I am not much of a consumer of mainstream media news. My infrequent forays into it during the epidemic suggest that they are highlighting the more dire predictions of catastrophe. They do this for two reasons: It’s more exciting news, and it contributes to the erosion of the one thing, the economy, that made President Trump’s re-election a foregone conclusion.

But not every American is subject to influence by this narrative; supposedly 90% of people distrust the media. So why are people so fearful? Part of it is that not enough people are paying that level of attention to understand that “case counts” do not differentiate between those who have “flu-like” symptoms and are seeking assurance that they are not infected with COVID-19 virus (80% of the people tested get that assurance) and those that will suffer horribly or die from COVID-19. I have seen local news feature persons who did get ill and survive but had a harrowing experience. So the news is designed to make you identify with the featured sufferer and conclude that the odds you will be in their position is greater than it actually is.

So what are the odds that you will die? The most current CDC estimate (and this is part of the problem: the evolving estimates) is that it is extremely rare for anyone under 50 years of age to die of COVID-19 even if they do present with symptoms (and a lot of people don’t). It does happen, but the fact that it happens to a small number of people does not make it likely that it will happen to you. People die from base jumping accidents, but not everyone engages in base jumping. Similarly, even if you are under 50 years of age your own physiology and life experience are likely quite different from the person(s) under 50 who died of COVID-19. And people under 50 are about two-thirds of our total population, over 80% of our productive workforce, and likely 99% of our parental units with school-aged children.

Yes, the risk goes up over 50 years of age, and then again over 65. But even in the highest age groups the odds of dying are highest in group living situations where people are suffering from illnesses that are killing them more slowly until COVID-19 accelerates the process.

There are people who fit the highest probability for death if they get this disease. Their concerns and fears are justified. And dramatic targeted action to protect them is called for. But not for the vast majority of people. Is their fear based on ignorance of the facts as they are developing? Or something more sinister, manipulation of information to enhance their fears? Or something more general, years of public education on how our lives and behaviors must be restricted to keep us safe?

[Note: Links to all my COVID-19 posts can be found here.]

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 44 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Rodin Member
    Rodin

    I just had to bring this comment into this thread from the PIT:

    Dave of Barsham (View Comment):

    Just ran across the term “Karenwaffe” to describe people losing their minds over others not wearing masks and doing stuff outside. Whoever coined it needs an award.

     

    • #1
    • May 24, 2020, at 9:16 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  2. RightAngles Member

    There are those who understand that an atmosphere of fear and anxiety makes the people more amenable to totalitarian measures. I’ve always known that, but what I didn’t know was the speed with which so many Americans could be cowed into submission and made to stand by while the Constitution and Bill of Rights are thrown out the window in the name of “safety.”

    • #2
    • May 24, 2020, at 9:17 AM PDT
    • 17 likes
  3. Hoyacon Member

    I don’t get out much, so maybe that’s why I don’t see much “fear.” I would agree that people are cautious, most likely because most people don’t want to go through the hassle and possible residual effects of even getting this thing. Is it really “fearful” to wear a mask to a grocery store, particularly in a heavily populated area? Since I don’t consider death to be the only measure of the downside of contracting the virus, I’d say “no.”

    • #3
    • May 24, 2020, at 9:35 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  4. EODmom Coolidge

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I don’t get out much, so maybe that’s why I don’t see much “fear.” I would agree that people are cautious, most likely because most people don’t want to go through the hassle and possible residual effects of even getting this thing. Is it really “fearful” to wear a mask to a grocery store, particularly in a heavy populated area? Since I don’t consider death to be the only measure of the downside of contracting the virus, I’d say “no.”

    I think many many many people are afraid they will die if they get it, not just that it’s a hassle. It hasn’t been described as a hassle. It has been described and promoted as something that you’ll be hospitalized and in the ICU for. (Most recently I saw CBS showing pictures of children in the Ukraine in 2016 as evidence of what children will get from this flu.) The curve and all that referred to hospitalizations and ICU’s – not just sorta sick at home. By their behaviour and responses I take it that people are very fearful- at the low end they avoid eye contact in stores, veer off if you get “near” and at more extreme they write and demand that towns, cities and counties be sealed off and out of state visitors be banned. Companies are marking very significant modifications (many without demonstrated utility) to their well established business operations because employees don’t want to be in any contact with others. Yes – many people are very fearful. 

    • #4
    • May 24, 2020, at 9:53 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The wearing of masks will become mandatory at all times. I’m pretty sure it’s in the Constitution right after the right to an abortion.

    • #5
    • May 24, 2020, at 9:56 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  6. Hoyacon Member

    EODmom (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I don’t get out much, so maybe that’s why I don’t see much “fear.” I would agree that people are cautious, most likely because most people don’t want to go through the hassle and possible residual effects of even getting this thing. Is it really “fearful” to wear a mask to a grocery store, particularly in a heavy populated area? Since I don’t consider death to be the only measure of the downside of contracting the virus, I’d say “no.”

    I think many many many people are afraid they will die if they get it, not just that it’s a hassle. It hasn’t been described as a hassle. It has been described and promoted as something that you’ll be hospitalized and in the ICU for. (Most recently I saw CBS showing pictures of children in the Ukraine in 2016 as evidence of what children will get from this flu.) The curve and all that referred to hospitalizations and ICU’s – not just sorta sick at home. By their behaviour and responses I take it that people are very fearful- at the low end they avoid eye contact in stores, veer off if you get “near” and at more extreme they write and demand that towns, cities and counties be sealed off and out of state visitors be banned. Companies are marking very significant modifications (many without demonstrated utility) to their well established business operations because employees don’t want to be in any contact with others. Yes – many people are very fearful.

    Perhaps I’m projecting my own viewpoints on others, but, to the extent I take precautions, it’s because of the likely effects of simply contracting it–the hospitalization and possible ICU visit you mention. At my age, that could be in the picture. I’m not a fearful person and have been skeptical of big government for most of my life. But if I can do the something that’s a minor inconvenience to avoid a major inconvenience, I will do it. To me, that’s not “fear.”

    It also occurred to me that there may be a geographical element to how one sensibly views this. Although the odds are still well on my side, I’m much more likely to come in contact with the virus than others in the vast majority of the country.

    • #6
    • May 24, 2020, at 10:03 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  7. Al French of Damascus Moderator

    I think the fear is a continuation of the post war phenomenon that helicopter parents are part of. It is complex, probably with many contributing causes: loss of faith, declining family size, increased reliance on government, technological and medical advances.

    • #7
    • May 24, 2020, at 10:10 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Handy dandy little reference chart:

    So the overall morality rate against all cases is even more reassuring when you run the numbers of how the preponderance of cases occur in nursing homes. Not assisted living retirement communities, BTW. You are most at risk if you are elderly and a resident inside a nursing home.

    And this consideration is most important: your risk increases if you are inside a nursing home in a Democrat-run state, where immigration is prolific. In those states, many of the workers in nursing homes are from south of the border. The difference in attitude between an American who works in a nursing home and someone whose real home is thousands of miles away is significant. Also there is the language barrier.

    So the chart:

    • #8
    • May 24, 2020, at 10:16 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor

    I think a primitive response to life that is within all of us is “fight or flight.” We can’t fight what we don’t understand, nor do we have the means to do it, and there’s nowhere to go. So we live in terror or helplessness (or at least some of us do). I live in annoyance right about now. Open up!

    • #9
    • May 24, 2020, at 10:18 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  10. EODmom Coolidge

    Al French of Damascus (View Comment):

    I think the fear is a continuation of the post war phenomenon that helicopter parents are part of. It is complex, probably with many contributing causes: loss of faith, declining family size, increased reliance on government, technological and medical advances.

    In our area it is more likely to be younger age tranche that is fully masked and gloved. My husband says it’s the younger workers – professional and factory -who have been most explicit about whether they will be “safe.”

    • #10
    • May 24, 2020, at 10:22 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  11. MarciN Member

    Fear of germs is pretty much baked into the human being’s psyche cake. :-) This pandemic and the news are playing into a deeply rooted human aversion to bacteria, viruses, fungi, molds, and all other poisons. I know the soap industries would confirm that. :-)

    My husband and I watch NCIS from time to time, and at least once per season, they have a graphic episode on bioterrorism. We think the writers and producers of this most popular television series are saying to themselves, “Wow, just like episodes X, X, and X.” :-) The public has been primed by the mass media for decades to fear a pandemic.

    It’s also forcing people 60 and over to think closely about their own mortality–a fact of life but not the most fun part of it. And it’s fun and optimism that fuel a great deal of the economic activity in our country.

    Here on Cape Cod, in the weekly newsletters I receive from Cape Cod Hospital, the news about the flu, which then became a steady drumbeat of news about the new virus, has now become a sad stream of newsletters to say, “Hey, patients. Where the heck are you? We’re open for business, and you’re not showing up!” I want to say to them, “Well, first of all, we’re playing hooky. I know you thought we enjoyed our doctors’ visits, and I know you tried to make them pleasant, but the fact is, they weren’t. This has been a fun three months! Nothing personal, doctor. :-) But also, the presence of this new virus is making us think about the healthcare strategies we were pursuing in cancer treatment and heart health. Suddenly those measures seem possibly pointless.”

    I think younger people simply don’t want to become carriers of the virus or make themselves sick.

    Then there are 27 million people who do not have adequate health insurance, and they tend to be risk averse. So that’s another chunk of the scared statistic.

    Our society has gone really nuts over the last two decade with preventive medicine strategies. Look at the Internet at the number of medical websites out there. It’s an obsession. Not a healthy one, I might add.

    My point is that there’s a lot going on here. It’s a complex picture in the population of stunned and sometimes afraid people.

    • #11
    • May 24, 2020, at 10:27 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  12. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    EODmom (View Comment):

    Al French of Damascus (View Comment):

    I think the fear is a continuation of the post war phenomenon that helicopter parents are part of. It is complex, probably with many contributing causes: loss of faith, declining family size, increased reliance on government, technological and medical advances.

    In our area it is more likely to be younger age tranche that is fully masked and gloved. My husband says it’s the younger workers – professional and factory -who have been most explicit about whether they will be “safe.”

    @alfrench

    In addition to helicopter parenting styles, the fact that since Jan 20th 2017, the Left has brought about the tremendously propagandized idea that it is a necessity in a decent society to not allow anyone anywhere to ever be afraid.

    Now we have disease whose transmission rate is less than that of the influenza outbreak of 1968. Whose death rate is basically about the same. But we must not allow society to re-open until we know for sure that there are no more COVID germs anywhere, and that no one out there will get sick from it or die. Or even be afraid.

    A good person is now assumed to be the person who lies on the couch consuming CNN propaganda from morning to night. Which of course only makes them more afraid.

     

    • #12
    • May 24, 2020, at 10:31 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Fear of germs is pretty much baked into the human being’s psyche cake. :-) This pandemic and the news are playing into a deeply rooted human aversion to bacteria, viruses, fungi, molds, and all other poisons. I know the soap industries would confirm that. :-)

    My husband and I watch NCIS from time to time, and at least once per season, they have a graphic episode on bioterrorism. We think the writers and producers of this most popular television series are saying to themselves, “Wow, just like episodes X, X, and X.” :-) The public has been primed by the mass media for decades to fear a pandemic.

    It’s also forcing people 60 and over to think closely about their own mortality–a fact of life but not the most fun part of it. And it’s fun and optimism that fuel a great deal of the economic activity in our country.

    Here on Cape Cod, in the weekly newsletters I receive from Cape Cod Hospital, the news about the flu, which then became a steady drumbeat of news about the new virus, has now become a sad stream of newsletters to say, “Hey, patients. Where the heck are you? We’re open for business, and you’re not showing up!” I want to say to them, “Well, first of all, we’re playing hooky. I know you thought we enjoyed our doctors’ visits, and I know you tried to make them pleasant, but the fact is, they weren’t. This has been a fun three months! Nothing personal, doctor. :-) But also, the presence of this new virus is making us think about the healthcare strategies we were pursuing in cancer treatment and heart health. Suddenly those measures seem possibly pointless.”

    I think younger people simply don’t want to become carriers of the virus or make themselves sick. There are 27 million people who do not have adequate health insurance, and they tend to be risk averse. So that’s another chunk of the scared statistic.

    Our society has gone really nuts over the last two decade with preventive medicine strategies. Look at the Internet at the number of medical websites out there. It’s an obsession. Not a healthy one, I might add.

    My point is that there’s a lot going on here. It’s a complex picture in the population of stunned and sometimes afraid people.

    I don’t agree about the young people. It seems like in affluent areas, young people are afraid. Out here in the country, where the helicoptering life style for kids never caught on, as mom and dad needed hardy kids to get up at 4 Am and help them get the cows and horses and chickens in the barn before the big storm, the young people are as vibrantly unconcerned as us older people. (If you are not a frail elderly person living in a nursing home, your risk is not that bad, as my chart above indicates.)

     

    • #13
    • May 24, 2020, at 10:36 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Gary Robbins Reagan

    I sure would love for you to run the graph from Day 113 on a weekly basis. I posted that one on Facebook.

    • #14
    • May 24, 2020, at 12:07 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. Rodin Member
    Rodin

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I sure would love for you to run the graph from Day 113 on a weekly basis. I posted that one on Facebook.

    Here is the link: https://rt.live. It does do weekly increments. I wish I understood the model better. That, and understanding the sensitivity of an increment upward and downward on the scale.

    • #15
    • May 24, 2020, at 12:42 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):

    Handy dandy little reference chart:

    So the overall morality rate against all cases is even more reassuring when you run the numbers of how the preponderance of cases occur in nursing homes. Not assisted living retirement communities, BTW. You are most at risk if you are elderly and a resident inside a nursing home.

    And this consideration is most important: your risk increases if you are inside a nursing home in a Democrat-run state, where immigration is prolific. In those states, many of the workers in nursing homes are from south of the border. The difference in attitude between an American who works in a nursing home and someone whose real home is thousands of miles away is significant. Also there is the language barrier.

    So the chart:

    You left out California.

    • #16
    • May 24, 2020, at 1:25 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    EODmom (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I don’t get out much, so maybe that’s why I don’t see much “fear.” I would agree that people are cautious, most likely because most people don’t want to go through the hassle and possible residual effects of even getting this thing. Is it really “fearful” to wear a mask to a grocery store, particularly in a heavy populated area? Since I don’t consider death to be the only measure of the downside of contracting the virus, I’d say “no.”

    I think many many many people are afraid they will die if they get it, not just that it’s a hassle. It hasn’t been described as a hassle. It has been described and promoted as something that you’ll be hospitalized and in the ICU for. (Most recently I saw CBS showing pictures of children in the Ukraine in 2016 as evidence of what children will get from this flu.) The curve and all that referred to hospitalizations and ICU’s – not just sorta sick at home. By their behaviour and responses I take it that people are very fearful- at the low end they avoid eye contact in stores, veer off if you get “near” and at more extreme they write and demand that towns, cities and counties be sealed off and out of state visitors be banned. Companies are marking very significant modifications (many without demonstrated utility) to their well established business operations because employees don’t want to be in any contact with others. Yes – many people are very fearful.

    Perhaps I’m projecting my own viewpoints on others, but, to the extent I take precautions, it’s because of the likely effects of simply contracting it–the hospitalization and possible ICU visit you mention. At my age, that could be in the picture. I’m not a fearful person and have been skeptical of big government for most of my life. But if I can do the something that’s a minor inconvenience to avoid a major inconvenience, I will do it. To me, that’s not “fear.”

    It also occurred to me that there may be a geographical element to how one sensibly views this. Although the odds are still well on my side, I’m much more likely to come in contact with the virus than others in the vast majority of the country.

    To your point, here in Maricopa County (Phoenix metro) my chances of contracting Covid are pretty small. However, if you are over 65, NOT in long-term care, and test positive, you have a 37% chance of winding up in the hospital and an 11% chance of being an ex-person, so taking some basic precautions makes sense. 

    • #17
    • May 24, 2020, at 1:34 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  18. Rodin Member
    Rodin

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):
    here in Maricopa County (Phoenix metro) my chances of contracting Covid are pretty small. However, if you are over 65, NOT in long-term care, and test positive, you have a 37% chance of winding up in the hospital and an 11% chance of being an ex-person, so taking some basic precautions makes sense. 

    @gumbymark, I thought those numbers looked really odd, but when I reconstructed them from the County Covid-19 website they came out just as you said. The only thing that would make them better is if one knew precisely how many people in LTC are not 65+. Like you, I assumed that they were not enough to make much of a difference. But it would be nice to be wrong.

     

     

    • #18
    • May 24, 2020, at 1:54 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):
    here in Maricopa County (Phoenix metro) my chances of contracting Covid are pretty small. However, if you are over 65, NOT in long-term care, and test positive, you have a 37% chance of winding up in the hospital and an 11% chance of being an ex-person, so taking some basic precautions makes sense.

    @gumbymark, I thought those numbers looked really odd, but when I reconstructed them from the County Covid-19 website they came out just as you said. The only thing that would make them better is if one knew precisely how many people in LTC are not 65+. Like you, I assumed that they were not enough to make much of a difference. But it would be nice to be wrong.

    Of course that would make the odds worse for someone like me as I assumed (to be conservative) they all were 65.

    The other thing that would be helpful, is if they had a gradient beyond just 65+ plus. For instance 65-74 or 65-79 and then older which would probably improve the odds for me.

     

     

    • #19
    • May 24, 2020, at 2:12 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. EHerring Coolidge

    I think being an atheist makes one more afraid of death. They usually, but not always, are Democrats and the younger folks. Lefties tend to be those who want government to protect them and thus are willing to do as the “parent” dictates. They are also bossy, tend to bully, and tend to demand we all believe as they do. We carry a mask in case a store requests/requires one. If they are going to work every day to see our food supply is working, and if our wearing a mask makes them feel more comfortable, it is the courteous thing to do. Otherwise, I don’t wear one because I am not sick. If I were, I wouldn’t be out. It seems to me that one sides fears the government overreach while the other side fears the virus. I don’t fear it. I respect it, like I respect the flu, but I go on living.

    What I don’t get is the fear of reopening. The goal should be to get back to normal as soon as possible, not delay that as long as possible. Those folks seem to have no sympathy for the economic harm it causes others. I also don’t get the rabid hatred of HCQ. Why should taking it for this be any worse than for other things? If they are afraid it will kill them faster than the virus will, then they don’t have to take it. Don’t they understand making people afraid of it will also make them afraid to take it for lupus and other illnesses? 

    • #20
    • May 24, 2020, at 6:44 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  21. James Lileks Contributor

    There are different levels of fear, of course. I still read posts here and there from people who do not leave the house and obsess over their diminishing stock of antiseptic wipes. What are you wiping down, if you never leave the house?

    There’s a larger cohort of people who were terrorized at the start of this, experienced second-hand trauma in the form of reading the daily news (or writing the daily news, for that matter) and refuse to adjust their perceptions of the situation as it unfolds. They still believe in the pervasive Covidian Miasma that lurks on every surface and hangs in every cubic foot of air. But I think the base, elemental fear of the early days has morphed into fear that they were wrong. It’s not the same kind of fear – it’s self-doubt that not only calls your own judgment into question, but seems to empower this Idiots who may end up being stupid, idiotic, correct, and alive. And so they have to act afraid, clothing the emotion in Science and Safety. 

    • #21
    • May 24, 2020, at 7:41 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  22. D.A. Venters Member

    A brand new disease, about which little is known and for which there is no cure, from a country where they were reportedly welding people’s doors shut to keep the spread of it down, comes to our shores, sweeps through the country and even with extraordinary precautions taken by the population, kills nearly 100,000, easily the number one cause of death in that timeframe. Hundreds of thousands of others are hospitalized with it and many have very close calls.

    We are not used to dealing with a communicable disease this deadly. And yes, we all know the chances of dying from it are small, but they’re 100% higher than they were 5 months ago. We all know certain groups are more vulnerable but we also all know and love people in those groups.

    It is not a mystery what people are afraid of. This is a rational and normal reaction to a new problem. Give people time to learn more about it and figure out the best way to deal with it. It’s going to take a little while. 

    • #22
    • May 24, 2020, at 8:17 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  23. Jules PA Member

    I can’t figure out how distrust of the media fits in. For some, it is rejection of information. For others it is paralysis.

    For me the surreal quality of it all is most disconcerting. I just want to wake-up from this nightmare. 

    Maybe we all need to take the Matrix-Red-Pill? 

     

     

    • #23
    • May 24, 2020, at 10:25 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  24. MiMac Thatcher

    News flash- people over 50 own most everything, run most every major organization, and vote- other than that they aren’t very influential.

    • #24
    • May 25, 2020, at 4:40 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. Paul Schinder Member
    Paul Schinder Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    A brand new disease, about which little is known and for which there is no cure, from a country where they were reportedly welding people’s doors shut to keep the spread of it down, comes to our shores, sweeps through the country and even with extraordinary precautions taken by the population, kills nearly 100,000, easily the number one cause of death in that timeframe. Hundreds of thousands of others are hospitalized with it and many have very close calls.

    We are not used to dealing with a communicable disease this deadly. And yes, we all know the chances of dying from it are small, but they’re 100% higher than they were 5 months ago. We all know certain groups are more vulnerable but we also all know and love people in those groups.

    It is not a mystery what people are afraid of. This is a rational and normal reaction to a new problem. Give people time to learn more about it and figure out the best way to deal with it. It’s going to take a little while.

    That’s a lot of fear mongering. It’s easy to find on the web (for example, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1109281/covid-19-daily-deaths-compared-to-all-causes/) that about 8000 people a day die from all causes in the US. (Seems about right, should be about 1% of the total population per year.) The same site shows COVID averages about 1000 per day over the course of the disease (more last month, much less now). So at no point did the Wuhan virus kill more than all causes; sometimes it was the single biggest daily cause of death.

    As for “this deadly”, the antibody tests have been all over the map, but it seems to be far more contagious and far less deadly than the hair-on-fire crowd was screaming at the beginning. Always far more people have the antibodies than have tested positive for the virus (why would you get tested if you had no symptoms?). It’s in the ballpark of the flu (if you believe the flu numbers) according to yesterday’s CDC report (but who believes them any more?), not orders of magnitude higher. (The problem is, of course, that lots of people are resistant/immune to the flu, while no one had Wuhan virus antibodies when this started.) I’m 66 with high blood pressure, and I’m not worried about the Wuhan virus. I wear a mask when I go into stores, don’t when I’m outside bicycling, otherwise my life hasn’t changed that much.

    • #25
    • May 25, 2020, at 5:57 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  26. Bob Wainwright Member

    Rodin: So why are people so fearful? Part of it is that not enough people are paying that level of attention to understand that “case counts” do not differentiate between those who have “flu-like” symptoms and are seeking assurance that they are not infected with COVID-19 virus (80% of the people tested get that assurance) and those that will suffer horribly or die from COVID-19.

    So are you saying that the number of cases we hear every day includes people who never had the virus?

    • #26
    • May 25, 2020, at 6:23 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. Rodin Member
    Rodin

    Bob Wainwright (View Comment):

    Rodin: So why are people so fearful? Part of it is that not enough people are paying that level of attention to understand that “case counts” do not differentiate between those who have “flu-like” symptoms and are seeking assurance that they are not infected with COVID-19 virus (80% of the people tested get that assurance) and those that will suffer horribly or die from COVID-19.

    So are you saying that the number of cases we hear every day includes people who never had the virus?

    @bobwainwright, no — I apparently was not clear. The case count climb is due more to testing of individuals than to an increase in the number of seriously ill or dying. Individuals seek out the testing because they feel ill to some degree. But 80% of those tested are negative for the COVID-19 virus. That negative number will increase as testing on demands increases nationally, or testing to enter work increases. Negative results are not “cases”, but testing produces more “cases” even if the individuals are not particularly ill or become so. My point was that when you see the case count climb you are identifying more people who became infected but that does not mean they will all (or even most) become seriously ill and die. Hospitalizations are the best indication of how severe the illness is, and hospitalization represent less than 20% of the individuals who test positive. I was trying to pack all that into that sentence, and apparently I failed.

    • #27
    • May 25, 2020, at 7:03 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  28. MiMac Thatcher

    Paul Schinder (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    A brand new disease, about which little is known and for which there is no cure, from a country where they were reportedly welding people’s doors shut to keep the spread of it down, comes to our shores, sweeps through the country and even with extraordinary precautions taken by the population, kills nearly 100,000, easily the number one cause of death in that timeframe. Hundreds of thousands of others are hospitalized with it and many have very close calls.

    We are not used to dealing with a communicable disease this deadly. And yes, we all know the chances of dying from it are small, but they’re 100% higher than they were 5 months ago. We all know certain groups are more vulnerable but we also all know and love people in those groups.

    It is not a mystery what people are afraid of. This is a rational and normal reaction to a new problem. Give people time to learn more about it and figure out the best way to deal with it. It’s going to take a little while.

    That’s a lot of fear mongering. It’s easy to find on the web (for example, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1109281/covid-19-daily-deaths-compared-to-all-causes/) that about 8000 people a day die from all causes in the US. (Seems about right, should be about 1% of the total population per year.) The same site shows COVID averages about 1000 per day over the course of the disease (more last month, much less now). So at no point did the Wuhan virus kill more than all causes; sometimes it was the single biggest daily cause of death.

    As for “this deadly”, the antibody tests have been all over the map, but it seems to be far more contagious and far less deadly than the hair-on-fire crowd was screaming at the beginning. Always far more people have the antibodies than have tested positive for the virus (why would you get tested if you had no symptoms?). It’s in the ballpark of the flu (if you believe the flu numbers) according to yesterday’s CDC report (but who believes them any more?), not orders of magnitude higher. (The problem is, of course, that lots of people are resistant/immune to the flu, while no one had Wuhan virus antibodies when this started.) I’m 66 with high blood pressure, and I’m not worried about the Wuhan virus. I wear a mask when I go into stores, don’t when I’m outside bicycling, otherwise my life hasn’t changed that much.

    Your math is off- we have had >1000 deaths per day everyday since the end of March ( not “much less now”). It isn’t in the ball park for flu at all- the lethality is higher, the rate of transmission is higher, the hospitalization rate for those infected is higher(including those under 65 &=that is a big deal) and those who become seriously ill remain so longer than typically occurs with the flu. That is why it’s a big deal- any of those factors alone would be tolerable but all together it makes for a serious healthcare issue. Obviously, we can’t stay locked down but we should not minimize the challenge we face. We need steps to reopen while continuing to combat the virus- such as you are doing by wearing a mask. It is pretty certain that some form of social distancing and banning mass gatherings will continue- but we’ve got to stop letting Walmart be open but not your local small store. It also makes no sense to have different rules for churches and big box stores- If you are responsible and don’t overcrowd you should be allowed to reopen. We are well thru the 1st phase and we need to get on with life while doing reasonable actions to slow the spread- remember if there is a serious 2nd wave that probably means a Joe Biden presidency (for 2 years until the VP takes over b/c Joe can’t find the Oval Office). And the Dems won’t let a crisis go to waste….

    • #28
    • May 25, 2020, at 7:13 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  29. MarciN Member

    MiMac (View Comment):
    the hospitalization rate for those infected is higher(including those under 65 &=that is a big deal)

    This important fact seems to have gotten lost in the coverage over the concern that the hospitals will/did not become “overwhelmed.”

    My daughter lives in the heart of Manhattan, and she is a veterinarian. So she has been an informed bystander these last few months in the worst-hit place in our country during this storm, with a lot of time on her hands to read medical journals. :-) She has been moved to tears in a couple of our conversations with respect for the doctors and nurses working to save lives in the New York City hospitals these past two months. This is a bad bug.

    I don’t have an answer going forward except that I think our policies will have to be much more flexible than they have ever been. That’s why I like my governor’s (Republican Charlie Baker) idea on the contact tracing. Eventually we should move to something that will look like a daily weather report:

    “The virus is really actively infecting people in Cambridge today. Good day to work from home.” :-)

    Until we have reliable treatments and vaccines, the virus will stop the reopening efforts sporadically. We need to prepare now for that. Shutting down the entire country is no longer an option. We’ve used that up, and we can’t do it again. But at least we know now how to handle the disinfection of premises. That is a huge change from where we were six months ago. When this started, I was amazed at how it was blowing through all of our existing barriers to the modern-day infectious diseases in the hospitals and other medical settings. That’s what happened in Lombardy, Italy. That’s because the virus is so small. Now that we know how to handle it, things can get back to normal a little bit.

    We need a different approach to this virus. For a while, for example, we’ll need to apply preventive measures in our communities as those measures are needed on a town-by-town basis.

    We need to think anew in this battle.

    • #29
    • May 25, 2020, at 8:18 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  30. MarciN Member

    By the way, this is why I have stopped reading the news from the rest of the world and just read Rodin’s posts. :-) Rodin does not say that there is no virus out there to be concerned about. And that is good. That is the truth of the matter. We just have to deal with it intelligently and calmly.

    Like Eisenhower looking at the map of the World War II ongoing battles. :-)

    (That picture in my mind has become the standard for how to react to “You’ve gotta be kidding me” crises. What the world map must have looked like to him when he accepted the post of Supreme Commander for Allied Expeditionary Force. :-) )

    • #30
    • May 25, 2020, at 8:24 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.