Tom, I do not dispute any of the statistics you raised. But they need to also be accompanied by a bit of additional points of consideration:
- No one yet has any immunity against COVID-19; so it is like the common cold...you can apparently get it more than once, in fairly rapid succession.
- There is not yet any vaccine against COVID-19, so we cannot immunize any portion of the population to limit its spread.
- About 15-20% of the cases of COVID-19 apparently become serious enough for patients to require respiratory assistance to stay alive; and even if you have that assistance, there is the approx. 3-4% fatality rate, which is far higher than ordinary flu.
- We do not today have enough respiratory assist devices to be used when a major segment of the population gets COVID-19, and 20% need respiratory assist devices...that is happening in parts of Italy already, that doctors are being forced to save the respirators for patients most likely to survive!
So the incidence is fairly low, today. But that could change, as Italy has proven so rapidly.
Why is it that...
- in one city of 1.2 Million (San Jose), there have been about 66 cases (updated 3/12/20), and
- in another city of 890K (San Francisco) has 18 cases, and
- a county of 730K has 20 cases, and
- another county of 1.6 Million has only 7 cases?!
Yet all of these places are places around SF Bay, and it takes only 45 minutes to drive between SF and San Jose, yet one has 3.6x as many cases?! There seems to be little understanding yet.
So statistics seem to make COVID-19 a bit of a so-what -- until you look at the implications of mass infection, and the lack of ability to fight the virus or even to support critical or severe patients...it becomes like a battlefield, in which someone has to decide who to try to save and who is too bad to spend time saving.
The time is not for panic, but the situation could worsen severely and quickly get there, if the proper preventative measures are not taken. So far our infrastructure can support the COVID-19 load, but it could easily be overwhelmed when the infection rate worsens.
675K Americans died from the Spanish flu at the beginning of the 20th century (50 Million worldwide). If only 2/3 of the population come down with COVID-19, 248 Million would have had it, and 688K (3.5% fatality rate) could die at the beginning of the 21st century! That is why we need to try so hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19