A lot of people are throwing the word “pandemic” around like they know what it means and what it is. It’s a simple regurgitation from the media, politicians, and the medical industry, so why wouldn’t we be saying it. It is a pandemic, but what does it mean? What is the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic? We should look at the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic, and the flu virus and the coronavirus. First, an epidemic affects many people at the same time and spreading from person to person in a locality where the disease is not permanently prevalent (Dictionary.com). A pandemic is more serious and is defined as a pandemic disease is an epidemic that has spread over a large area, that is, it’s “prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world.” The WHO more specifically defines a pandemic as “a worldwide spread of a new disease” (Dictionary.com). The word novel in novel coronavirus just means that is is a new coronavirus, and because it’s new we
do not did not know how it was going to behave, spread or affect us.
Mark Twain said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Always be leary about statistics and numbers, they can be confusing and misleading depending on how the information is gathered, who is gathering it, who is using the numbers, and how they are being used. As you can see, there are a number of areas where stats can be skewed. Stats are good and useful if they are gathered unbiasedly, with good questions or good methods to gather the information. Unfortunately, many are not so forthright in their gathering of information. They use it to support an idea or claim, not as unbias information or facts. This is why I am striving to link all the webpages I gathered my information.
Due to the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu being similar and both being viruses I will be comparing COVID-19 and flu numbers.
As of 8/20/2020, in the US there have been 5,506,929 total cases of COVID-19 and 172,416 deaths. That means that COVID-19 has a mortality rate of 3.13% (CDC Current COVID numbers). Death by flu numbers from the CDC from 2010-2019 average about .13% chance of death. These numbers are based on those who catch the virus. Now if we were to look at the death by population it would be COVID-19 at .05% and the flu at .002%. With either set of numbers, you can say that the mortality rate of COVID-19 is 25x (or 125%) higher than the flu. If all you heard was that the death rate for COVID-19 is 25x higher than the flu, what would you think or how would you react? While any death is tragic, the numbers can be skewed to make them seem worse than they are. Whether it’s 125%, 3.13%, or .13% it’s good to know where the numbers are coming from and what they mean.
From the World Health Organization TB (tuberculosis) is a bacteria that infects 10 million and kills 1.5 million worldwide (WHO). That’s a mortality rate of 15% or 4.8x higher than even COVID-19. However, there is no panic over TB because it’s known and it’s an epidemic (local) not a pandemic (global). In 2018, out of the 10 million cases worldwide a total of 9,025 were reported in the US and 70.2% of those cases occurred among non-U.S.-born people (CDC). Some say that this is a pandemic because it is worldwide, but an epidemic because the larger number of cases are highly localized. However, we don’t think much about TB because we aren’t told to and in the US it’s generally not a big deal.
The CDC stated that the “percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia, influenza, or COVID-19 for week 33 is 7.8%. This is currently lower than the percentage during week 32 (12.6%); however, the percentage remains above the epidemic threshold and will likely increase as more death certificates are processed” (CDC). From tabulating the numbers above it looks like the mortality rate of 7.8% is data pulled from those who have been infected by pneumonia, influenza, or COVID-19 and not based on population.
In a fast-paced world, it’s hard to do your own research and get down to “brass tax” on all the information swirling around us. We should be able to trust the media and there was a time when journalists and news anchors were trusted. When they gave us facts and we formed our own opinions, but the media has become complicit in panic porn and clickbait instead of actually reporting the news. They push opinions and narratives to sells ads and subscriptions to pay their salaries and bills. This might seem a very nihilistic view but it’s not wrong. However, that is another topic.