Workers from a Servpro disaster recovery team wearing protective suits and respirators are given supplies as they line up before entering the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash. to begin cleaning and disinfecting the facility, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, near Seattle. The nursing home is at the center of the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Washington state. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Perhaps this health official and the media spreading this claim to push the “no testing” narrative don’t understand what this means if it’s true? We’ll get into that in a second.
Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton made a startling claim yesterday. In a press conference, she estimated that 100,000 people in Ohio already have Wuhan coronavirus, an exponentially larger estimate than any before and one that rivals total world-wide cases (which stands at about 135,000).
Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton said at a press conference alongside Gov. Mike DeWine (R) that given that the virus is spreading in the community in Ohio, she estimates at least 1 percent of the population in the state has the virus.
“We know now, just the fact of community spread, says that at least 1 percent, at the very least, 1 percent of our population is carrying this virus in Ohio today,” Acton said. “We have 11.7 million people. So the math is over 100,000. So that just gives you a sense of how this virus spreads and is spreading quickly.”
She added that the slow rollout of testing means the state does not have good verified numbers to know for sure.
Perhaps this is a push to get more testing, faster? But let’s assume this number is true. Then what the heck are we panicking about? That would make Wuhan flu less deadly than even the regular flu. If 100,000 people have it in Ohio and hardly anyone is actually ill, then it’s time to stop crashing the stock market and get back on with our lives.
Again, that’s if what she says is true.
But I’m skeptical of her claim. Attempts to calculate spread rates are foolhardy at this point and have been widely exaggerated. The most partisan among us have used such calculations to claim that over a million Americans will eventually die. An Obama official was saying that just this morning.
Currently experts expect over 1 million deaths in the U.S. since the virus was not contained & we cannot even test for it.
This will be recorded as a major preventable public health disaster. I will try to relate what I learned from a long day of calls about what is happening.
— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) March 13, 2020
The disease has existed for at least four months and only a few thousand people have died, almost all of them in China. There has not been the exponential growth these doomsday prophets are preaching and there’s zero reason to believe that South Korea can stem the flow of the disease with less than 100 dead but that the U.S. is going to have a million people die. It’s a ludicrous, irresponsible claim.
But regarding those trying to incite panic, either the death rate is astronomically lower than thought, making our reaction nonsensical, or the disease isn’t spreading at the apocalyptic levels claimed. Both can’t be true at the same time and no one should allow themselves to be lied to for political reasons.