Not dying is bad for headlines

As the bumpy COVID-19 path back to normalcy bounces along, you would never know that we were headed in the right direction.  Teasers on television and headlines in newspapers report a "surge" in new cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations.  The teasers and headlines fail to mention that the most important measure of our progress in getting ahead of the virus is the number of deaths recorded.  The fact that the rate of fatalities to infection is very low now is seldom if ever mentioned.

After weeks of unnecessarily shutting down our economy and the travesty of closing schools, it was certain that cases of COVID-19 would spike as we reopened society — duh.  When the massive protests and riots around the county over the succeeding weeks are taken into consideration, there ought to be no surprise that cases are increasing.  It is important to remember that the purpose of "flattening the curve" was to delay cases and death from COVID-19 to a future date when our health care capacity was no longer threatened with being overwhelmed.

The great news is that the number of deaths and, perhaps more importantly, the fatality rate (the likelihood of death from infection) have plummeted.  Why?  Because this virus tends to be very mild in the young and healthy — the cohort that has been most susceptible to infection of late.  The CDC data show that as of July 1, 2020, death in people younger than 25 is less than 170 out of a total of 120,000.  It is almost non-pronounceable to state a fatality rate — too many zeros after the decimal point.  My point is this: if you are young and healthy, you have nothing to fear from the coronavirus except the fear-mongering from the media.

The average age of the "new cases" now spiking is 31 years old — similar to the age, by most estimates, of the age of the protesters and rioters recently in the streets.  I looked carefully at news coverage and videos of the protests and riots across the country and couldn't find many who looked 65 years or older.  Moreover, I couldn't see much social distancing going on, either!  Yet we are told that the reopening of restaurants, bars, and retail stores — most of which had tried to arrange for social distancing and some required masks — is the source of the spike in new cases.  I guess it is just a coincidence that approximately two weeks after the protests and riots, an uptick in new cases is recorded.

But it is nothing to die about: the reason we continue to see a drop in deaths from COVID-19 is because we are now seeing a younger group being exposed to the virus, and we are much better at treating it.  Hydroxychloroquine + Z-pack + Zinc has proven effective for early and mild infections.  In addition, doctors are now using anti-inflammatory steroids (Dexamethasone and Prednisone) more aggressively and earlier in the illness to treat the cascade of inflammatory effects from the virus.

The length of hospital stays for COVID-19 is also now dropping.  Early on, I wrote that the COVID-19 fatality rate will turn out to be in the ballpark of a bad influenza season.  This is now becoming the case.  The more we test, the lower the fatality rate as well.  Approximately 98.6% of infected people will experience either no symptoms or mild symptoms, and approximately 99.85% of all infected cases will recover.  When the fatality rate is analyzed by age, it can be shown that children have a 50 times greater risk of drowning then dying from COVID-19.  Moreover, they have a much higher risk of death from an automobile accident than from coronavirus.

A healthy society protects its most vulnerable members and isolates the sick while allowing the healthy individuals to go about their lives.  Let's celebrate the drop in deaths and stop sensationalizing the "new cases" of COVID-19 as worthy of another shutdown.

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