Every day, Covid-19 cases and deaths keep increasing in various parts of the country. Here are some facts to keep in mind:
FACT: In the United States, as of August 9, according to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 5.06 million confirmed people who have tested positive with Covid-19, since testing started in late January.
FACT: There have been 162,407 deaths reported in the U.S. The CDC reports that 8 out of 10 of these deaths were adults 65 and older. Among all ages the highest rate of hospitalization is among adults older than 65.
FACT: The states that have reported the most deaths are New York with 32,774, New Jersey has 15,874, California has 10,377, Texas 9,157 and Massachusetts 8,735 and Florida 8,186. (Los Angeles County had 4,996 deaths.) The most populous states are California, Texas, Florida and New York.
FACT: People of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from Covid-19. Those comorbidities include:
* Chronic kidney disease
* COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
* Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
* Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher)
* Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
* Sickle cell disease
* Type 2 diabetes mellitus
A July 25-26 Wall Street Journal story (“Chronic Illnesses Increase Risk”) noted that this was bad news for the United States because “Some of the conditions associated with the highest risk, such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes, are more prevalent in the U.S. than other comparable countries.”
Monique J. Brown, an assistant professor of public health at the University of South Carolina, said: “If we had less diabetes, less hypertension, less cardiovascular disease, then we would probably not see the morbidity and mortality that we see today from Covid-19.”
The Journal article stated: “Italian data show fewer than one in 20 of the around 3,000 patients who died from Covid-19 had no chronic health issues before contracting the infection. Almost two-thirds had three or more comorbidities or chronic disease. Doctors in the U.K. and France reported similar observations.”
The authors of a study published by researchers at the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine wrote that “Age was far and away the most significant factor.”
In a second story July 25-26 (“Death Rate Is Rising Amid Surge in Cases”), the WSJ noted, “Most studies estimate that the virus kills between 0.5 percent and 1 percent of people who contract it. The estimates suggest that the new coronavirus is deadlier than the seasonal flu, although not as lethal as Ebola and other infectious diseases that have emerged in recent years.”
FACT: There are always outliers, but generally, young people if they contract Covid-19 seem to have little or no health issues.
FACT: People who are over 65 and catch the disease are more likely to end up in the hospital and have a greater chance of dying from Covid-19. And those over 65 with a comorbidity have among the highest death rates.
According to the CDC, “There is no way to ensure you have zero risk of infection, so it is important to understand the risks and know how to be as safe as possible.”
The question we should ask our public officials is: “How do we keep our seniors safe?” Generally speaking, closing schools, salons, bars, etc., does not protect the most vulnerable.
The CDC offers this advice: In general, the more people you interact with, the more closely you interact with them, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. So, think about:
* How many people will you interact with?
* Can you keep 6 feet of space between you and others?
* Will you be outdoors or indoors?
* What’s the length of time that you will be interacting with people?
And. . .If you are thinking about participating in an event or gathering:
Lowest risk: Virtual-only activities, events and gatherings.
More risk: Smaller outdoor and in-person gatherings in which individuals from different households remain spaced at least 6 feet apart, wear cloth face coverings, do not share objects, and come from the same local area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).
Higher risk: Medium-sized in-person gatherings that are adapted to allow individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and with attendees coming from outside the local area.
Highest risk: Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area.