Q&A of the Day – Why all corona comparisons aren’t applicable

Q&A of the Day – Why all corona comparisons to other ailments aren’t applicable 

Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Twitter: @brianmuddradio

Facebook: Brian Mudd https://www.facebook.com/brian.mudd1

Today’s entry: The R0 (rate measuring how contagious the virus is which is double the traditional flu) doesn't matter if the disease is all but harmless. Yes, I lament the deaths. I lament car accident deaths too, but I'm not in favor of banning the automobile.

The so-called "closed cases" do not include those that were "closed" on their own. For every case we know about, there must be at least 1,000 of which we're unaware. Hell, I've had something the last two weeks that matched the symptoms perfectly. I didn't have time to get tested, nor was I concerned in the least. Now I'm well. So, if it was Covid-19, I won't be included in the "recovered" count. That's one person. How many more have had it and didn't know it and beat it on their own?

Still not buying it. Love ya though! And, as I said, I'm still obeying all of what in my opinion are hysterical precautions.

Bottom Line: This is one of the most thoughtful notes attempting to dispute, or provide alternate comparisons seeking to mitigate my reporting on the severity of the virus thus far. I appreciate notes like these because they can help me continue to illustrate why this COVID-19 is far more serious than anything we have a reference point for in modern history. We always have to operate within the realm of what we do know, not what we don't. I’ll explain.

Using your example/hypothetical of undiagnosed cases. That would be true of all ailments. Are there countless people who have the traditional flu but go undiagnosed? Of course. But we still have a diagnosed death rate of 0.0005%. You're right that there are untold #'s of undiagnosed people, but we still have a large sample size, that's now greater than 40x what's needed to have a scientifically significant result under any testing control group. And what we know with nearly 150,000 closed cases is that 16% of everyone diagnosed has died. Now, without a doubt the number will go lower with time. It kills the most vulnerable much quicker than even otherwise healthy people recover from it. It started out in the 20% range in China and settled out at under 5% most recently – which happens to be the lowest anywhere in the world, but even then, it's exponentially more deadly than the traditional flu and that's the rub. 

To put this in further perspective, China which as I mentioned, has the lowest death rate in the world, only has 4,287 active cases. Let’s say that every one of those people were to recover from the virus. The death rate would be 4%. That’s a rate at least 80x more deadly than the traditional flu. And again, that's the best-case scenario. This is why it’s so important to take it seriously, deal with reality whether we like it or not, and place our energy on constructive outcomes. I’ve not made a career out of being wrong and I don’t happen to like the facts and analysis I’ve been providing either. But it’s what’s real and it explains why governments around the world, including right here in South Florida, have reacted in ways not seen in our lifetimes. The good news, is that the progress in China appears to be real with few new cases being reported over the past couple of days. If they’ve turned the corner on the virus in around three months, we can hope for similar or better results.

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