Q&A – How Contagious Is The Coronavirus?

Today’s entry: I don’t get this, seems like the flu is just as contagious, the numbers don’t add up worldwide, or nationally: If the elderly with chronic ailments are the at-risk group (like with any contagion), wouldn’t it make more sense to isolate/quarantine them in the hospice, or elderly care centers. The numbers just don’t add up, and the more we test, the more the numbers are in line with other Flu’s. If after this 50% of the population still gets infected, the question is what did we just do, destroy our economy for what?

Bottom Line: I’ve continued to receive notes like this as I’ve covered the story over the past month. As I’ve reported on closed case death rates, rather than projected mortality rates which have been far lower than reality, I also continue to hear poor information being received. First, the overall death rate is highest oldest but remains far higher than the traditional flu for all demographics except those under the age of ten. Anything else you may hear is fake news. It simply isn’t true that increased testing has shown this to be more “flu” like.

Second, this virus has proven to be far more contagious than the traditional flu virus. The standard used to monitor transmission rates of viruses is called the“basic reproduction number”. The CDC uses the abbreviation R0 for this number. The traditional flu this season has an R0 number of 1.3. This means that for every person who contracts the flu, 1.3 additional people are exposed. Thus far the studied R0 of COVID-19 has been 2.5, or essentially double the level of contagion of the traditional flu. It’s one more measured way comparisons of the coronavirus and traditional flu aren’t applicable. And again, for any new listeners or anyone who hasn’t heard me discuss the difference between estimated mortality rates or death rates that are being miscalculated, we’re seeing death rates for COVID-19 based on closed cases, that are higher than any other modern virus on a large scale.

The accurate death rate is calculated by the total closed cases divided by deaths. As of this entry, there are 119,073 total closed cases and 16,568 total deaths.

That provides a death rate of 14%. That’s what’s real. A virus that is twice as contagious as the flu, and many multiples more deadly. In the early going in the United States, there are twice as many people who’ve died than recovered from the virus. Again, no one wanted to unnecessarily wreck the economy. What’s happening isn’t an overreaction. It’s based on the extent of the threat that this virus represents. We need everyone to take this seriously in order to move beyond it as efficiently as possible. The recent positive diagnosis of many Spring Breaking college students is a reminder of how reckless behavior by selfish/ill-informed people can exacerbate the problem.

Submit your questions using one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Twitter: @brianmuddradio

Facebook: Brian Mudd https://www.facebook.com/brian.mudd1

Photo by: Getty Images

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