As the novel coronavirus, also known commonly as COVID-19, continues to sweep throughout the country and world, some perspective on its deadliness and lethality compared with other common diseases is in order.
Annually, the influenza viruses A and B kill on average between 12,000 and 61,000 people per year in the United States since 2010, according to estimates by the Center for Disease Control.
The first reported death from COVID-19 in the United States was recorded Feb. 29. Since March 1, an estimated 20,000 people have died from coronavirus.
So in a month and a half, the virus has claimed 20,000 lives. Extrapolate that over a year and White House projections conclude that as many as 240,000 and as few as 100,000 could die, potentially making it one of the deadliest events in modern American history.
But perhaps the biggest problem with truly and accurately projecting the number of fatalities is that the number of cases is not known. Testing for the virus has undoubtedly lagged behind compared to other nations, so assessing the percentage of deaths against infection has been tricky, to say the least.
But by all accounts from infectious disease experts, the virus is significantly more deadly than the flu.
What is known, however, is that over 500,000 people have been confirmed as being infected. This disease is nothing to take lightly.
Projections for California, though, allude to the disease perhaps being close to its peak number of daily deaths.
According to a report from NPR which cites a study by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, April 15 is the projected peak for COVID-19, with 66 deaths and 0.2 deaths per 100,000 people.
Well, the measures that have been instituted by governmental leadership are indeed being effective.
Governor Gavin Newsom issued a shelter-in-place order throughout the state on March 19. Combined with social distancing guidelines, the strategy to reduce the havoc created by COVID-19 is working and should be kept in place.
To protect yourselves and those around you, continue to stay home as much as possible and avoid large gatherings of people as much as possible.
Together, California can be a beacon of leadership to the rest of the country that COVID-19 will not end us, and it can be beaten.
It will take patience, but right now, time is all we have.