Whether you call it COVID-19 or the Coronavirus, its impacts are near-universal. How much of the concern is founded and how much is hype?
We’ve reached out to medical doctor and member of the TNM Advisory Board, Dr. Matt Robinson, to get his perspective on the threat posed by COVID-19. Here’s what he had to say.
The good news is that for 80% of people that get COVID-19, it’s like having a cold without even any fever. About 10% would be sick enough to have to stay home for a week, and 10% would be sick enough to require admission to the hospital with about 20% of those sick enough to be admitted, dying of their illness.
The bad news is that it’s very contagious, more so than a cold or the flu. And the mortality rate is about 2%, compared to 0.5% for the flu. So just considering these facts, a lot more people will come down with the Coronavirus compared to the flu and a lot more people will die of it, as well as have to be admitted to the hospital because of it.
Italy is a good snapshot on where we could be as a country in a month, if we just go about business as usual. Like the US, Italy is a western democracy with a good health care system. Italy’s current mortality rate is at 6%, though they might not be aware of some of the people that have the virus but are not sick. Still, that 6% number is concerning.
In addition to washing your hands frequently, cleaning surfaces frequently like door handles and not shaking hands with anyone, avoiding crowds of around a 100 people or more would help to slow the spread of the virus so our hospitals are not flooded with sick patients infected with Coronavirus and maybe by May or June the summer weather will help tamp it down. But if we continue to go to events with say 100+ people, then over the next month we could well end up where Italy is now.
In short, taking common sense precautions and keeping a clear, fact-based perspective will go a long way to keeping COVID-19 at bay and lessening its short-term and long-term effects on Texans.