Now that the novel coronavirus has made its way around the world, we’re finally getting a good look at how deadly this virus actually is.
In all cases, except for perhaps the youngest children who are infected, it’s deadlier than influenza. For some, the chances of survival are worse than the chances of surviving a round of Russian roulette.
As we’ve seen since January, the SARS-CoV-2 virus’ oftentimes-deadly interaction with the human body makes it a much larger threat than even the worst influenza outbreaks of the century.
Compared to a 0.83 percent death rate for those people ages 65 and older who get the flu, the fatality rate for coronavirus victims ages 80 and older is 14.8 percent, Business Insider reported March 4, citing data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
For younger people, this holds true to a lesser degree, as seen in the graph below:
— Doug Shen (@vote4dongshen) March 7, 2020
The true X-factor of this virus is the speed with which it spreads and the potential impact on hospitals unprepared for a flood of patients who may require intense respiratory care.
To put the staggeringly high 14.8 percent fatality rate for the very elderly in perspective, compare it to a deadly game of Russian roulette.
Some of the most at-risk patients could load a single bullet into a nine-shot revolver, spin the cylinder, point it at their head, pull the trigger and still have better survival odds than they would with COVID-19.
While countries have been able to prepare their medical systems and supply chains in the wake of the Chinese outbreak, the virus’ exponential spread in countries like Iran and Italy is proving to be incredibly taxing for hospitals.
Thankfully, the United States had a little more warning.
Now that community-based transmission is increasing at a rapid pace in America, our actions at the beginning of the nation’s outbreak will be critical in determining the virus’ long-term impact.
This doesn’t mean you need to panic — in fact, your reaction needs to be the exact opposite.
Hoarding toilet paper, hand sanitizer and bottled water doesn’t do anything but cause shortages and spark panic-buying. Stores crowded with people hoping to brace for the impact of the coronavirus become feasts for the virus, which can live in the air for three hours and on some surfaces for up to three days, according to one study, as Fox News reported.
Thanks to asymptomatic spread and masses of potentially infected people who are untested, it’s likely these panic buys have already caused an explosion of the virus.
Proper and consistent hand washing with normal soap and water, as well as other common-sense precautions, are the best ways to prevent the spread of this virus.
Those with the flu-like symptoms that indicate a possible coronavirus infection should take a sick day or work from home. Spreading this virus throughout the workplace is not something anyone wants to do.
The most important thing to remember about preventative measures is that they safeguard not only yourself, but those who are powerless against the pathogen.
While it’s not as deadly for young people, the virus can easily jump to the elderly and wreak havoc.
Halting the coronavirus’ grim march across the nation is ultimately the responsibility of every citizen.
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