April 14 2020: A pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota has been shut down after 238 of roughly 3,700 employees tested positive for COVID-19. That’s 6.4% of the workforce at that location. That one facility represents between 4% and 5% of America’s pork production.
Think about this for a moment, in the context of the people who want to lift the quarantine and get America “back to business”. This business stayed open because providing food is an essential job. Now it’s closed anyway. A lot of people are sick. We’ll see in the next couple of weeks how many they might have unknowingly infected while they were asymptomatic.
Now think about what might happen if non-essential businesses reopen. How many more people will be in contact with one another, opening themselves up to infection, possibly becoming a carrier and spreading the infection.
This. Is. Not. Seasonal. Flu.
I’m tired of people who are still looking at the raw numbers and proclaiming that this is no worse than the seasonal flu. Let’s look at the actual seasonal flu data from the CDC for 2019-2020, shall we? The number of cases in the United States is estimated to be between 39 and 56 million. Deaths are estimated at 24,000 to 62,000. The wide range is due to a lack of testing and consistent reporting.
Let’s assume a worst-case scenario and take the high numbers. 62,000 deaths from 56,000,000 cases is 0.11%. A little over one-tenth of one percent is fatal. These numbers reach back to last Autumn, before social distancing and stay-at-home orders were in place. While we can assume the numbers might be higher, the percentage is consistent with prior years.
Now let’s look at the numbers for COVID-19 as of the moment I’m writing this. There are 558,999 diagnosed cases and 22,861 deaths in the United States. Yes, that’s less illness and smaller death toll than the flu. If you look at the percentages, though, 4.09% of the infected die. COVID-19 is 372 times as deadly as the seasonal flu. If you catch the coronavirus, you are 372 times as likely to die from it than you are from the flu.
Things are shut down for a reason. I seriously wish people could comprehend how dangerous this situation still is. Selfishness will kill us all.
April 14 2020: The Latest Information
Please be sure you’re getting information from reliable sources.
Johns Hopkins links have changed. They have consolidated everything into one resource page.