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Re: How's business right now? (Also, what and where?) And how are YOU doing?

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Tim Wilson
Re: How's business right now? (Also, what and where?) And how are YOU doing?
on Mar 18, 2020 at 9:38:17 pm

Not to derail this thread into COVID mortality rates, but this is something we're watching carefully, as we have several severely immunocompromised folks both in the house and in our extended family.

Worldometers.info is one of my favorite sites on the web. They count stuff. How many people born today, how many died, how many bicycles manufactured, how many Tweets, how many cellphones sold, you name it -- all updated in real time. It's wild, and wildly addicting candy for stats nerds.

I can't emphasize enough the extent to which I have no political stake in this conversation. I really don't. I've spent most of my life as a stats nerd. I studied sociology and anthropology as both an undergrad and a grad student. Give me the numbers and keep your politics to yourself, because if there's one thing I've learned as I enter my seventh decade on this shiny blue ball, the numbers have more to tell me than anybody's politics.

Anyway, Worldometer.info has a couple of pages for COVID, and they're just numbers. That's all. Numbers. It's your job to draw the conclusions, and I can tell you, looking at the numbers, people are drawing conclusions that are at best incomplete.

Like we've all heard something like mortality rates of 3%, but that's as a percentage of everyone who's gotten it. And btw, that number is going up. Yesterday it was 3%, today it's s 3.4%, and that's
up from 2% when I first started watching this page. But still, because it's so early on, most of the people who have coronavirus still don't know it, and most of the ones we know have it, well, whatever else we know, we know that they're more likely to recover than not.

BUT.

What's staggering is when you look at the numbers for CLOSED cases. One outcome or the other has been achieved. Cured or dead. The good news is that yeah, most people recover. But when you look at the mortality rate for CLOSED cases, it's 10%!!!! Not 2 or 3 percent. TEN.

And that number is going UP! It was just over 9 yesterday. We're not getting any better whatsoever at saving people who have it, which is why the emphasis is so strong on stopping the spread.

(btw, compare this to .002% for swine flu, which is more virulent than the typical seasonal variety. COVID-19 is not that.)

You've probably also heard that the real trigger is underlying conditions, and yes, that's absolutely true. No underlying conditions = mortality rate of .9%. Not bad! Under one percent.

But what are some of the conditions that are problems?

Being male is one of 'em. Ooops. If you're a male, older than age 9, you're already higher than the average rate, at 4.7% mortality, and going up as you age. By the time you hit 70, it's over 8% -- a number which still includes women, who are dying at about half the rate men are....but it's still higher than average in your 40s and 50s.

You've surely also heard that cancer is an underlying condition that's increasing coronavirus mortality, right? Yes, of course: 7.6%. But you know what's even more dangerous than cancer? HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE + coronavirus is DEADLIER THAN CANCER + coronavirus, at 8.4%.

Respiratory ailments including asthma: 8.2%
Diabetes: 9.2%. (This number is one of the few going down, but then again, millions of people with diabetes don't know they have it. Are you SURE you don't?)
Cardiovascular disease: 13.2%.

Some forums at the COW skew older than others, but our average here is just under 30. Folks around that age and younger (Millenial and Gen-Z for those keeping score) have wrapped their heads around the idea that healthy people, lower-risk people, are isolating themselves so that they won't become vectors carrying the disease to more vulnerable people -- which include all men, anyone in their 40s and up, anyone with diabetes, asthma, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE....

....oh yeah, and if you take corticosteroids for rheumatoid arthritis or a variety of common allergies, you're compromised. If you take anticonvulsants (epilepsy and bipolar), you're compromised. Says right there on the label, and whispered in the "fine print" sections of all those commercials.

Again, I'm not wanting to derail this very productive conversation about our lives in this industry, but especially as a community just over half of whose visitors are men (even if more like two-thirds of our posters are men) and are disinclined to contemplate our mortality, the numbers are vastly more serious than you've considered.

No need to panic, though. I'll take 9 out of 10 odds for anything you care to throw at me. Some folks are talking about vaccines by June. This isn't the end of the world. But it can be the end of YOU or someone you love if you're not paying attention or treating this like it's the same as the flu.

Returning you to talking more about work than life and death, even if the three are a bit tangled up for me just now. :-)


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