Letter: The numbers tell the story


We are hearing lots of numbers related to Covid-19 from the authorities and news media. But how should we interpret the numbers?

Here’s one way: People have been making comparisons to the 1918 Spanish Flu, so let’s compare the numbers.

The worldwide estimate is 50 million people died from the Spanish Flu, that is a 10 to 20% mortality rate depending on what country you review. The estimated world population at the time was 500 million. The generally accepted rate is 10% of those infected did not survive. Infection rates are estimated to have been 33% of the population.

The current numbers (April 14) for the U.S. are 615,215 confirmed cases with 26,211 deaths. That is a 4% mortality rate and an approximately 0.17 % infection rate. In Ohio, 7,200 confirmed cases in a population of over 11.6 million. An infection rate of 0.016% and a mortality rate of 4.2%.

Two numbers must be taken into consideration when comparing the 1918 and 2020 statistics, the population of the country at the time. U.S. Population in 1918 was 1.3 million; 2020’s population 360 million.

We must always use caution when looking at the numbers being posted concerning this epidemic. Don’t blithely dismiss, nor panic about these numbers, instead let’s look beyond the raw numbers and remember they are deliberately being posted in a manner to have the most impact.

If we continue to follow the instruction for slowing the disease locally, we should survive this ordeal. Let’s quit wasting time and energy pointing fingers and looking for who to blame. There is no quick fix. Focus on getting through this one day at a time, keeping ourselves and our families safe.

Paula J Millhoff, Lima

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