Q&A of the Day – Why many Americans are becoming infected right now

Q&A of the Day – Why many Americans are becoming infected right now

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: Can you crunch this for us: We have been shut down for over 15 days, right? 1-14 day incubation period. Peak death/hospitalization in two weeks according to Dr. Fauci. This means enough people are catching the virus this week to kill 80k people?

Bottom Line: It’s all about scale and exposure. In an effort to keep the math and calculations at a level that’s easy to hear and read – I'll use the example of Italy. It’s the earliest country to have significant issues with data we can fully trust. Using the two-week timelines, here’s the trajectory of the cases in Italy as the virus reached scale:

Total cases by date: 

  • March 14th: 21,000
  • March 28th: 92,000

If you compare that to the timeline in the United States, as we were about two weeks behind the spread in Italy, here’s what it looks like. 

  • March 14th: 2,700
  • March 28th: 123,000

The US population is greater than five times Italy – when you adjust for population size, we’ve seen the rate of cases in the US exceed Italy’s by nearly double. If you track deaths in Italy it looked like this...

  • March 14th: 1,400
  • March 28th: 10,000

Deaths grew at a faster rate than the spread of the virus in Italy. In the US, the day we crossed 1,400 deaths was March 27th. Today is the day we’ll cross 10,000 deaths, four days quicker than the pace in Italy. This is consistent with everything we’ve seen around the world to date. The virus most commonly kills those most susceptible quickly, taking a lot longer for those who will recover to do so. So, what does all of this mean? The test results have taken an average of five days to be turned around. The data we see as new today is really what happened nearly a week ago. For this reason, we won’t know we’ve turned a corner, whenever that will be, until after it’s happened (though the rapid result tests that are coming online will help big time).

Using the trajectory of the virus, the death rate in comparable countries and the United States – we're on pace to reach 80,000 deaths twenty days from now. That’s April 26th. So back to your original question...The median incubation period for COVID -19 has been just over five days. This means people who contract the virus on or about April 16th would be the people who would put us over the 80,000-death threshold. This takes us full circle. The virus is still spreading in the United States and is projected to continue to be spread until early May based on current trends. This means people alive and well today won’t be in the very near future. These future deaths are currently preventable but it requires a strong effort by everyone to take the recommendations seriously. Carelessness is and will continue to kill for the next month unless the chain in trajectory is broken. It’s my hope, and no doubt those of Dr. Fauci and the entire Coronavirus Task Force to break this trend, but all anyone can do is inform and hope people listen. To date far too many have fought back against the seriousness of this virus – that's a losing strategy. This one’s different. It has been right along and lives can be saved today by people who handle the recommendations as though their lives depend on it. Because for tens of thousands, it does.

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