Coronavirus, simple and unspun

The coronavirus (named COVID-19) has come to the US, and is expected to continue to spread its way across cites, towns and countryside.

Once a person is infected, the virus may cause a fever and/or a cough; or it may attach deep in the lungs and cause pneumonia.

death rate

COVID-19 has a death rate of about 3.4%. This is a much higher death rate than the seasonal flu, which is about 0.1%.

Seasonal flu can be so widespread, and infect so many people the number of deaths per year is higher than we’ve seen with COVID-19. As COVID-19 spreads, however, the number of people it kills may (far?) exceed the number of people the flu kills.

Deaths will be mostly among elderly: people in their 80’s will be affected most, then 70’s, and then 60’s.

However, younger doctors have died, maybe from a huge dose of the virus.

how many people will get COVID-19

Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at Harvard University, predicts that between 40-70% of adults worldwide will become infected.

how it spreads

COVID-19 is transmitted mostly by coughing, but also by touching surfaces that are contaminated. An infected person coughs on a desk, someone else comes along and touches the desk and then touches his or her own mouth or eye or nose–and the infection is spread.

The best way to prevent this spread: wash your hands (for 20 seconds, using water and soap), and stay out of coughing-range of people that are sick.

Geek out on the CDC’s pandemic readiness page.

Epidemiologists have predicted between 40-70% of the population could be infected with COVID-19. But, these numbers could change, depending on many factors. For example: Are we willing to quarantine ourselves?  Check out a simple breakdown of the variables that could make the disease spread more or less than expected.

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