Here's why Covid 19 is so much more dangerous than the flu.
The Spanish flu of 1918 eventually petered out because so many people got sick that a natural immunity was eventually developed. That has continued to this day. Every new strain of flu arrives at populations now in which most of the population has developed varying degrees of immunity through exposure to various strains of the flu over a lifetime. In addition, many of them have been vaccinated. As a result, the still large number--but low percentage--who die from the flu are mostly people whose immune systems are compromised in one way or another, who have other vulnerabilities, or have not been vaccinated--or two or even three of the above. Flu is still a killer if it can find unprotected victims.
For those reasons, the overall average mortality rate for flu is typically .1%.
In stark contrast, Covid 19 enters populations that have no immunity whatsoever--as far as anyone can tell.
The lowest estimated mortality rate for Covid 19 that I've seen is about 1%. A few estimates are lower, many are higher--often much higher. That means that the mortality rate for Covid 19 is likely 10x higher than what it is for flu these days. In some countries the rate seems much higher--much depends on preparedness.
Another factor. Nowadays, people with a bad case of the flu can be treated without being admitted to an ICU. Flu doesn't overwhelm our hospitals. Serious cases of Covid 19 require intensive medical intervention. That's a big difference, because we know that the mortality rate for Covid 19 spikes drastically when hospitals are overwhelmed, as in Italy.
It's also known that Covid 19 is many times more easily transmitted than is flu and the ability of humans to develop an immunity is still in doubt--reinfections have been reported.
To allow a virus like that--so deadly, so easily transmissible--to enter a population that has no immunity is the height of irresponsibility. If it were allowed to peter out like Spanish flu the death toll would be catastrophic.
Right now the outbreaks within the US appear to be highly localized. That will change if we're complacent about this. If the rate of increase once becomes exponential, we're in huge trouble.
In the meantime, do yourself a favor and read this article. Think about it. I've pasted in the bare intro. As you can see, it's a 24 minute read:
Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now
Politicians, Community Leaders and Business Leaders: What Should You Do and When?
Mar 10 · 24 min read
Updated on 3/11/2020
With everything that’s happening about the Coronavirus, it might be very hard to make a decision of what to do today. Should you wait for more information? Do something today? What?
Here’s what I’m going to cover in this article, with lots of charts, data and models with plenty of sources:
- How many cases of coronavirus will there be in your area?
- What will happen when these cases materialize?
- What should you do?
When you’re done reading the article, this is what you’ll take away:
- The coronavirus is coming to you.
- It’s coming at an exponential speed: gradually, and then suddenly.
- It’s a matter of days. Maybe a week or two.
- When it does, your healthcare system will be overwhelmed.
- Your fellow citizens will be treated in the hallways.
- Exhausted healthcare workers will break down. Some will die.
- They will have to decide which patient gets the oxygen and which one dies.
- The only way to prevent this is social distancing today. Not tomorrow. Today.
- That means keeping as many people home as possible, starting now.
As a politician, community leader or business leader, you have the power and the responsibility to prevent this.
You might have fears today: What if I overreact? Will people laugh at me? Will they be angry at me? Will I look stupid? Won’t it be better to wait for others to take steps first? Will I hurt the economy too much?
But in 2–4 weeks, when the entire world is in lockdown, when the few precious days of social distancing you will have enabled will have saved lives, people won’t criticize you anymore: They will thank you for making the right decision.
Ok, let’s do this.