We now know the Erie County deaths from COVID-19 are occuring in nursing homes, but the news media focuses on cases, so what about those? Who gets the virus and who dies? Are they the same people? The charts here are for the entire state since none have been made public for the county alone, but we can draw some conclusions because data elsewhere show the same thing.
As you can see in the chart above, the age range of COVID cases is very wide, they start in the youngest group and show that pretty much anyone can get it, but that’s not the whole story, is it?
What data is not shown?
- Do the individuals who test positive even know they have it?
- Do they have any symptoms? In other words, are they sick?
- Did their positive case show up because of testing due to school or employment requirements or by going to a doctor or hospital for some other unrelated reason?
Are deaths coming from all of the same groups?
While cases can be found in any age group, deaths are highly concentrated among the very elderly. The chart shows no deaths in anyone under 20 that’s zero deaths for anyone of grade school or high school age in all of PA, and in the 20 to 29 age group there were 11, from a population of 12,800,000 people! Ages 30 to 39, there were 28 deaths and 40 to 49 shows 123. So in all of Pennsylvania, among all 12.8 million PA residents, there were 162 total COVID-19 deaths from the entire under 50 age group, that’s 162/12800000 = 0.0000126 x 100 = 0.00126 percent. Isn’t it odd that students are so concerned? I wonder who is filling their heads with fear?
What data is not shown?
What underlying health conditions existed in those who died?
That question is crucial to understanding your risk to COVID-19, because there are a number of well known factors (comorbidities) that affect how susceptible you may be to severe complications and death.
What increases your risk?
- Type 2 diabetes
- Serious heart disease
- Chronic kidney disease
… and a few others raise your risk. If you are healthy, your risk from the virus is much lower than even the very low numbers already indicate.
The same holds true as age increases, the more underlying health issues someone has, the greater the risk and those confined to nursing homes and other long term care facilities are likely already compromised and surrounded by others in the same condition.
Children get sick, children get better, it’s nothing new
Ask any parent and they’ll tell you how many times their child gets sick, it’s part of growing up and building an essential level of immunity to common sickness and disease. Young people who may get the virus, often show no symptoms and may never get sick while developing an immunity that helps stop the spread of the virus itself. Sounds like a good thing, but you would never know it from the serious and somber reports in the news media and the almost hysterical warnings about sending children back to school.
Open the schools, period
If a child returns to school and gets the virus, they go home and stay there until they get better, but you DO NOT shut the school down, you just keep classes going as normal. Teachers concerned about catching the virus from students should look again at the math, their chances of serious complications and death are vanishingly small and the rest of the adult population is already interacting with thousands of people and doing just fine, ask your grocery cashier next time you’re there.
Provide the data, adults can decide on their own level of risk
Responsible adults can decide on their own how much risk they are willing to take in going about their daily lives, we all take risks every day, but they’re common and we think little about them. We certainly do not need or want any governor, health secretary or county executive deciding on our behalf what they think is acceptable for us. Their actions are not based on any science, it’s all politics. Their declarations of “essential businesses” and the like are incredibly arrogant. We can decide what’s essential.
This emergency declaration has gone on far too long. Open Pennsylvania now, period.
The following links are live showing current totals for each bar in the chart:
Link to interactive chart of cases
Link to interactive chart of deaths