- Sep 7, 2006
Here's a chilling explanation from Reddit user r/Kofficakes why comparing COVID-19 to Flu is flawed and dangerous
A lot of people clearly do not understand logarithmic math (exponential growth) or epidemiology, which is OK since it's hard, so let me explain it. People post true (but utterly irrelevant) things like "45M americans got the flu last year and 61,000 of them died" to say how COVID-19 isn't even as bad as the regular flu, and even though they are comparing apples to oranges (and indeed, last year's crop of apples to this year's crop of oranges), I'll use their numbers for comparison. If 45M Americans got COVID-19 this year as happened with the regular flu last year, at the current Case Fatality Rate (7% actual CFR), that would mean over 3M dead Americans. Not 61 thousand. 3 million. But because COVID-19 has a higher transmission rate (2x higher), if it became as endemic (widespread) as the flu, 45M Americans wouldn't get it, 90M would. That means more than 6M would be dead. Only 3M Americans die each year from all causes put together. Yes, old age, disease, murder, accidents - everything.
These people are looking at last year's Daytona 500 race results and saying that last year's winner will win again because they are also racing this year. Except they are still driving a 35 HP Herbie the Love Bug, and COVID-19 is a world record setting Hennessey Venom with 1,244 HP. The race has just started, but COVID-19 is already half a lap ahead of Herbie. Halfway through the year, it will be, unfortunately, more than a hundred miles in the lead. The number of cases of COVID-19 doubles about every 6 days. Right now it's around 1,500 (known) in the US. That means that in 6 days it should be about 3,000. Another 6 days, 6,000, etc. In a month, 48,000. In 2 months, 1.5M. In 3 months, 48M infected. More than the flu last year, and with 50 times as many deaths. Unless we stop it.
Right now we have no vaccine. All we have are our wits. Wash your hands, don't touch people, don't touch your face, don't touch door handles or elevator buttons or cash. All good advice. Stay away from crowds, and cough and sneeze into your elbow. You're not just protecting yourself, since you won't know you have it for 5-14 days after you get it yourself. If we all stay home and watch TV for a month or two, we can let the CDC isolate the existing cases and get rid of it. If we blow it off and keep gathering and traveling, it won't get any better. Don't panic, just enjoy your staycation and call your parents. They are at more risk than you are. And be careful out there!