The Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University has been doing a fantastic job of tracking global cases of coronavirus. You can see their real-time tracking here. As of the publishing of this article, there were 137,445 confirmed cases globally, with 1,268 of those cases in the United States.
NOTE: This article was originally published March 13, 2020. As of March 16, 2020, the figures are 174.786 infected with 3,813 of those cases in the United States.
The country is in a state of panic and shutdown not experienced since the days immediately following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Every major sports league has suspended operations, schools across the country are being shuttered, and on Friday President Donald J. Trump declared a state of emergency.
What did not seem to correlate, until now, was the level of reaction relative to the number of confirmed cases. The United States population is just over 327 million people. To experience such upheaval and disruption over fewer than 1,300 confirmed cases felt like an overreaction.
On Friday, Amy Acton, the Ohio Department of Health Director gave a press conference along with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
As of that time, Ohio had five confirmed cases of coronavirus. FIVE. They currently report 37.
What was Acton’s estimate of the number of Ohio residents currently infected with coronavirus?
“We know now, just the fact of community spread, says that at least 1 percent, at the very least, 1 percent of our population is carrying this virus in Ohio today. We have 11.7 million people. So, the math is over 100,000. So that just gives you a sense of how this virus spreads and is spreading quickly.”
Yes, Acton estimates that rather than the five confirmed cases in Ohio, there were actually more than 100,000 Ohio residents currently infected with the disease. And that is her conservative estimate.
Now it makes a little more sense why Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden both cancelled rallies last week in Ohio.
If the projected infection rates in Ohio are extrapolated nationally, there could already be more than 3 million Americans currently infected with the virus, often without knowing they are even sick, but potentially spreading the disease to those they encounter.
Acton said that it appears that the number of cases of the virus doubles every six days and she expects the number of cases could peak in late April to mid-May.
Worth noting, in the H1N1 pandemic of 2009-10, roughly 11% of the world’s population was infected. Sports leagues, schools, and workplaces were not shut down.
The infection rate of COVID-19 so far is reported to be .002%.
In 2009, more than 1,000 Americans had died before President Barack Obama declared a National State of Emergency. President Trump made a similar declaration after only 69 Americans have died.
Today, the Supreme Court postponed its next round of oral arguments over concern of coronavirus. The Court had not taken such action since the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918.
Either we are wildly overreacting to an outbreak that is not even as serious as the typical seasonal flu, or we are being lied to by our government and our president about the severity of the outbreak, with infection numbers only kept low to a near-complete lack of testing.