Open jaw
Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

As Many as 46,000 People May Have Died in the United States Alone From…

As many as 46,000 people may have died in the United States alone during a period of time between Tuesday, October 1, 2019 and Saturday, February 22, 2020 from influenza out of as many as 45 million influenza illnesses, according to preliminary burden estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As Many as 46,000 People May Have Died in the United States Alone From…

Traffic Highway
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Violence is the reason why 1.5 million people have lost their lives each year, according to data from the World Health Organization — and greater than 3,700 people die every day on roads around the world.

Cigarette smoking is responsible for greater than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States alone — including greater than 41,000 deaths resulting from exposure to second hand smoke, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — which is approximately one in five deaths annually, or the death of 1,300 people every day

…and yet, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — which is also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV — has people around the world in a widespread panic…

…to the point of which I have heard stories of people afraid to touch or accept delivery of anything which was shipped from China, plots to steal masks from medical offices, stores completely depleted of their supplies of toilet paper, and the sale of guns increasing significantly.

At the time this article was written, at least 3,380 people have died of the minimum of 98,192 confirmed cases in 88 countries and territories worldwide, according to Situation Report 46 of the World Health Organization pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus…

…but of those statistics, 3,045 of those deaths — or slightly greater than 90 percent of the worldwide total — have been in China. 80,711 of those confirmed cases — or slightly greater than 82 percent of the worldwide total — have been in China…

…which means that the percentage of deaths worldwide outside of China due to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus is at fewer than ten percent; and the percentage of confirmed cases worldwide outside of China is at fewer than 18 percent — and yes, additional confirmed cases and deaths will be reported, which will change those numbers.

How many people in how many countries worldwide have confirmed cases of influenza — from which people can also die — every year?!? Does anyone remember the widespread panic of the swine flu in 2009 and the Ebola virus in 2014 and the Zika virus in 2016?

Should You Travel?

Airplanes on taxiway
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The majority of confirmed cases are people who are older than 45 years of age, and many of them have already had underlying health concerns. If you are a healthy human being who is not traveling to one of the aforementioned areas of the world where travel is officially not advised, enjoy your travels elsewhere. If you have a history of respiratory illness, an auto-immune disorder, or some other weakening of your health, you should strongly consider postponing your travel plans.

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus situation is expected to generally diminish when the weather becomes less conducive to the spread of the virus as the air temperatures become gradually warmer during the spring and summer seasons in the northern hemisphere. Although this forecast is not guaranteed by any means, you may not want to cancel your trip just yet if you are scheduled to travel in June or thereafter.

Before you travel, however, ensure that your travel plans are successful during this time until the world eventually returns back to normal. In the meantime, expect flights, major events, and other components of travel to be artificially limited during the current mass hysteria which may affect your travel schedule in the next few months.


Should you panic about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?


Should you worry about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?


Should you be concerned about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

YES. Simply take the proper — and logical — precautions to help both prevent the further spread of this disease and to reduce your chances of contracting it. Stay informed on the latest developments pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Follow advice given by your health care provider, your national and local public health authority, or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from contracting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

In fact, you should be more concerned about the widespread concern pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, which will likely affect you or impact you more than the virus itself.

Unfortunately, we have media outlets which are obsessed with intentionally scaring the public into a frenzy, politicians who have no idea about what they are talking, people quarantined around the world, stock markets plummeting, airlines reducing the number of flights they operate by the thousands, hundreds of hotel and resort properties temporarily shut down, marathons and major events being canceled left and right worldwide, schools closing, people unfairly discriminating against others who may have been exposed to the virus, hand sanitizer and alcohol being quickly wiped off of the shelves in stores, pharmacies inundated with frightened customers, and scams starting to emerge and take advantage of unsuspecting individuals.

Are people for real?!?

I do not know about you; but I am sick — pun intended — of reading and hearing about all of the irrationality which currently surrounds the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, as it has become the virulent viral virus du jour.

Instead of panicking in a mad hysteria like the world is coming to an end and running around like chickens without heads as the sky is falling, how about we calm down and take a collective deep breath at the actual facts pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

That is a rather comprehensive article on which I am currently working; and I will post a link to it here when it is released, which should be some time over this weekend.

I traveled to Asia during the swine flu scare in 2009. Nothing happened to me because I washed my hands properly.

Remember: almost 700 more people worldwide likely died today only from being on the road versus everyone who has died from the 2019 Novel Coronavirus over the past three months…

…so why is there not a widespread panic on driving or riding in vehicles on roads around the world? Why are people who are susceptible to contracting influenza not nearly as frightened about that as being exposed to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus? Why don’t we do more to diminish violence in what is supposed to be a civilized society? Why do I get vilified about wanting to be protected from people who smoke tobacco products — whose second-hand smoke alone has killed more people the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — and people complain more when an airport actually does something about banning smoking than when the travel industry does something about this virus?

All photographs ©2015 and ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

  1. When did you ever see so many states and countries declaring emergency? Stop your B’s! This virus is very contagious and very serious!!

    1. If the flu killed 46000 ppl @ 0.01 percent death rate. Then the covid 19 @ 3.5% death rate will kill millions in the next months if this get released like the flu. This is just the beginning unless we stop worrying about the economy and start worrying about surviving.

  2. STOP. This is some Trumpy bullshit. Coronavirus is spreading unlike any other diseases. It’s ok to panic. Better than to ignore. PLEASE STOP.

    1. So now I am “Trumpy”.

      I enjoy when people such as you comment with such ignorant and inane responses, Uri.

      Go join King in your panic pity party and leave politics out of my weblog…

      …and lastly: don’t you tell me to stop.

      1. Yes. If the president tries to downplay what is obviously a pandemic of historical proportions by saying that people with Coronavirus should go to work and you use the boarding area platform to spread information that may be a matter of life and death it is pretty Trumpy. Why are you so defensive?

        1. I used facts and statistics — of which I researched — to write the article, Uri

          …so when someone calls me “Trumpy” — especially as I am not exactly a supporter of Donald Trump by any stretch of the imagination — I tend to get defensive.

          1. The US is not prepared for this. That’s something that doesn’t require too much research. People need to be prepared for this. Saying that other things also kill you is like saying All Lives Matter. it’s just dangerous misinformation, so regardless to who you’re voting for in November, this is Trumpy.

            I hope people don’t read this and brush off any symptoms.

            1. Tell me, Uri — did you drive or ride in a car today?

              If so, you had more of a chance dying from that than from contracting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

              These are not my statistics. They are directly from the sources of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

              By the way, note that I said not to panic over this — but I did say that we should be concerned. Panic will not resolve this serious situation. People do need to be prepared — but for many people, that means simply washing hands properly…

              …and many people who do catch this virus will only experience mild symptoms. People who have health issues or preexisting conditions are the ones who need to be more careful.

              I am more than happy to debate this issue with you in a civil manner, Uri — but I prefer to use research and facts.

          2. To be fair you also stated things like, “I didn’t get the swine flu because I just washed my hands”. Is that fact based? You don’t know so it is conjecture on your part. You include numbers that are real, but like the media you accuse of misleading the public, use them in a way that is misleading. Panic is never a good idea because that means we’ve stopped listening to knowledgeable people. It leads to fear. The best thing to do for yourself and family is to be prepared for everything at all times. Preparation leads to confidence and will help alleviate fear. In the end people should take this seriously because a lot of people will be sick.

            1. I already acknowledged in the Comments section that it is not provable, Tony

              …but I also see nothing wrong with relating my personal experience.

              Could my personal hand washing routine be merely serendipitous to the fact that I have not personally been ill from a virus — not even a common cold — in at least 15 years? Perhaps…

              …but I personally believe there is some credible correlation to my experience…

        1. I quoted factual information from some of the most reliable sources worldwide in the field of health, Pete.

          If you believe that any of the information from either the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization is false, I suggest you contact those organizations and let them know your thoughts on this matter.

      2. There’s nothing wrong, even if you are not a supporter, in agreeing with a President of our great country

    2. @Uri – Name calling, histrionics, and the ridiculously unrelated addition of politics to the conversation… yet no factual discussion. Why?

  3. Many thanks for a well-prepared and sane response to the ever-escalating hysteria surrounding COVID-19. It is alarming when reasonable people behave ridiculously in the face of random threats while routinely overlooking the dangers of assorted existing hazards.

    This “virulent viral virus du jour“ deserves basic attention with a nod to cleanliness and rational education… not the full blown frenzy that has overtaken society.

    1. Thank you for your comment, NB_ga. I appreciate it.

      What the other commenters up to this point do not seem to realize is that I cited facts and statistics from credible and reliable sources after conducting research; and that this situation — while it should be taken seriously — is not nearly as bad as the media portrays it.

      1. I think you are misinterpreting stats.
        You do realize that their is a difference between confirmed cases and actual cases right?

        Take the swine flu for example:
        By Nov 2009, Lab confirmed cases was 17,283 however CDC estimate for actual cases were 22 million. The final estimate released in 2011 went all the way up to 60 million, however that figure does include new cases past Nov 2009.

        As of this moment, there are 330 confirmed cases in the US based on the John Hopkins tracker and we know there has been significant lag in testing due to the to a lack of availability in testing kits

        I don’t want to estimate COVID-19 based on the Swine Flu which are two completely different diseases however I think one thing we are sure is that the stats on COVID-19 you are looking at right now is a gross underestimation of the actual situation we are in

        1. I do realize that there is a difference between confirmed cases and actual cases, Paul

          …so of those estimated 60 million actual cases, how many deaths actually occurred from h1n1flu or swine flu?

  4. Uri,

    Based on your comments, you are the ideal example of what’s wrong with America these days. Ignorance at its finest. How about rebutting with some concrete points instead of a “stop it. It’s serious” remark.

    And to resort to name calling… wow. If you happen to be under the age of 16, pls ignore this comment. Makes sense.

    1. I am the example of what’s wrong with America? What’s wrong with America is that you have people who try to downplay a pandemic by gaslighting. That is what Trump did and that is what Mr. Cohen is doing. I hope for you that none of the people you know who are at risk of contracting this will be hurt as a result of such irresponsible blogging. I’m way over 16. I actually feel like I’m the adult in the room. You want concrete points? 3.5% mortality of a pandemic that Spreads like wildfire. I Happy?

      Oh and guess what, THIS IS POLITICAL. The US is not ready for this with much help from poorly-managed CDC, HHS and communications similar to this blog, regardless to who Brian is voting for. I live in NYC, we are going to get hit because of arrogance like this. I’ll be happy to get an “I told you so” soon, how about you?

      1. So now I’m arrogant, Uri?

        Donald Trump has been accused of downplaying and ignoring the information pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

        That is not what I did. I researched information from sources. I stated facts. I have not resorted to name calling.

        I have a more comprehensive article in the works which explains more of what I am trying to import…

        …and that is not to panic. To be concerned is responsible. To worry is unnecessary. To panic is irresponsible.

        1. YOU ARE NOT A DOCTOR. You are not in authority to calm people down when you don’t know the magnitude of this thing. You are just looking for reassurance for your controversial opinion, that’s why you’re thanking every person who gives you props and attacking anyone who calls you out. That’s not journalism.

          1. At no point does Brian assume the persona of a doctor in this article… he, in fact, specifically directs readers back to their own healthcare provider. The very idea that it is considered controversial to not spread fear is the issue! Concern = good. Panic = bad.

            “Simply take the proper — and logical — precautions to help both prevent the further spread of this disease and to reduce your chances of contracting it. Stay informed on the latest developments pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Follow advice given by your health care provider, your national and local public health authority, or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from contracting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.”

          2. @James. You’re absolutely right. Brian’s not a doctor. Nor being a journalist here on his own blog, with free access to all.

            He’s a blogger and entitled to express his analysis and opinions. If you think that’s wrong, I suggest you demand your money back.

  5. Yup, Brian. You pretty much nailed it.
    I am a scientist and can confirm that the relative risk of death from Covid-19 illness is much lower than that of influenza or many other viral diseases. Most of the deaths have been from secondary pneumonia or other complications in people with underlying illness.
    Yes, there are some unknowns, and some people get really sick, but it is likely the case that it is everywhere already and most infected people are not very sick or have no symptoms at all. Yes, it makes sense to take standard precautions, as you would against communicable illnesses. Yes, it spreads easily, kind of like the common cold. Guess what else is caused by a coronavirus? The common cold.
    I have a nasty one right now. I might as well be a leper given the mass hysteria about Covid-19. I am more worried about the reactions to the coronavirus than the illness itself.

    1. Thank you so much for the reaffirmation, JohnnyBoy.

      The main purpose of this article is to bring about reasoned information and awareness to people in general — not to invoke panic or downplay the potential dangers of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

      I wish the media in general would not stoke this frenzy more than it is already…

  6. I agree that coronavirus should be taken very seriously, not as much because its so daring illness, but because its spreading so quickly and easily, so it has the potential to negatively influence both health system and also general economy, transport and other systems. People need to be educated to be more careful and aware, to use some basic social distancing, etc. But people are mostly not careful enough, enabling virus to spread even more easily. Personally I believe that very soon we will see much more advanced testing equipment, in two to three months some medications and by the end of 2020 also some vaccines.

    1. “But people are mostly not careful enough, enabling virus to spread even more easily.”

      I completely agree with you on that, Myro. Thank you.

      All many people need to do is wash their hands properly — and many do not.

      My upcoming comprehensive article will go more into details…

  7. I agree…I agree…I agree.

    What’s really frustrating is the number of people freaking out about coronavirus who refuse an annual flu shot.

    I’m “coot” enough to share a blog site with upcoming cruisers. They’re freaking out over upcoming cruises to scary places such as St. Kitts. The skittishness is astounding; we can’t live our lives this way.

    The one issue I have is your contention: “I traveled to Asia during the swine flu scare in 2009. Nothing happened to me because I washed my hands properly.”

    This statement is neither provable nor proven. I’m happy for you escaping unscathed, though.

    1. You are correct, colleen — that statement is neither provable nor proven…

      …but I have gone at least 15 years without being affected by a virus — not even the common cold — and I attribute that to proper washing of my hands over the years combined with not touching my face once I believed that my hands were contaminated.

      I did like the irony of your statement: “What’s really frustrating is the number of people freaking out about coronavirus who refuse an annual flu shot.”

  8. There are several reasons that comparing COVID-19 to the flu or a cold is problematic. The nightmare scenario is not that lots of healthy people catch it and drop dead. That isn’t going to happen. The nightmare scenario is that this VERY contagious disease quickly spreads. Many people (as much as 20% who are infected) require significant medical attention. Hospitals are quickly overcrowded and resources stretched to the limit. Then medical personnel (doctors, nurses, orderlies, techs, etc) get sick themselves. Then you have secondary deaths of people who die of OTHER diseases because they couldn’t get treated because of the hospitals being full and the doctors beings sick. This is what happened in China which is why they had to build more hospitals and quarantine centers and staff them with military medical personnel.

    1. And yet we had 1,5 months to prepare. But really did very little. China built two hospitals in ten days, why we cant do it if needed?? Why cant we learn from others and limit all social gathering for 30 days, for example?

        1. In crisis situations, sadly, autocracies just work better. Crude fact. But also S.Korea is showing good progress and its not autocracy. Its just being very efficient and people there follow good advice.

  9. The best way to illustrate the nightmare scenario is to look at ONE nursing home in Washington state that had NINE people die with in a few days of each other! Now imagine that happening at hundreds (thousands?) of nursing homes all across America! The common cold and the flu don’t tend to kill nine people in one nursing home at one time.

    So while COVID-19 is NOT Ebola, is also NOT the common cold or the flu!

    1. Actually, the flu does exactly that.
      The difference is that there an effective influenza vaccine. Even so, it kills tens of thousands of people annually and in clusters, as in the Seattle nursing home, when the vaccine is not a good match to the circulating strain(s). The flu also kills children and young people with no underlying health conditions. I got pneumonia from the flu about 15 years ago and certainly felt like I was going to die.

      A novel viral disease circulating in humans should always be taken seriously, particularly one with so many unknowns and that appears to spread so quickly. But the media hype and the massive overreaction, like closing schools and quarantining young people who may have been exposed, is not the answer. As above, at this point, there is no way that we can keep it from spreading all over the world. Extreme measures to try do so will only backfire, particularly given that for most people there is no way to distinguish it from the common cold.
      I have tickets for a family vacation in northern Italy this summer. Unless absolutely forbidden from doing so, I intend to go, regardless of the coronavirus situation at that time. Why not? There is already at least one confirmed case in my town, and there will be one in yours before long.

  10. A sensible approach, Brian. A shame about the trolls coming out, but that’s the world today, I suppose.

  11. According to The Atlantic, as of March 6 they could only verify 1,895 caronavirus tests having been performed in the U.S. We really do not know the extent of this problem. While it may be useful as Brian suggests to take a hard look at our risk assessment, it’s my suspicion that Brian may be taking a different perspective on this problem as soon as a week from now. Good to check back in 7-10 days…..say around March 15.

  12. I’ve highly disagreed with Brian before.

    But let me tell you… HE IS 1000% correct on this one.

    Yes people can and will die of flu type viruses. This is a new one.

    If a huge global recession occurs now due to this stupid panic (canceling every friggin event on the planet, closing borders, massive reduction in well… every Single activity) millions- even BILLIONS could lose their jobs. I’m retired I’ll be fine… but for many living on the edge of survival will DIE from losing their jobs.

    I’ve never seen such stupid moronic idiotic over reaction in my life. Never.

    People are so so dumb. Brian nailed it.

    Facts… numbers… science. It’s easy actually. Listen… process. It’s too much to ask I know.

    1. Thank you, Andy.

      By the way, let me just state for the record that I appreciate and welcome when anyone constructively disagrees with me, as I learn from other points of view.

      I like when articles which I write become the launching of a continued dialogue and not the end of discussion just because I opined…

      …so I welcome you to please continue to disagree with me in the future and call me out on whatever I write may be incorrect. I actually appreciate that.

  13. Perfect article Brian. Well documented on all points. Trolls hate the truth.

    All just add two points:

    The General Director of The World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is a Marxist-Socialist.

    Why isn’t China being held accountable for another manufactured virus?

  14. Uri… more people will die due to unemployment and the crash of an economy than the virus itself. People smoke , get in their cars , text will driving and do so much stupid stuff and then freak out over a new strain of the flu. I got one hate Trump and the way he handles everything (including this Outbreak) but seeing everyone panicking is upsetting because it will help 0 and will quickly destroy our way of life. And again… more people will die due to the panic then the virus.

  15. Comparing flu stats from last year to coronavirus stats for this year is simply bad statistics at is best, and deliberately lying at worst, as this particular coronavirus didn’t exist in 2019.

    1. This virus has been at least 10x more deadly than influenza, and higher in people over 50.

    2. Many people with this virus need to be placed on breathing machines. There are not nearly enough ventilators in hospitals to keep people alive if everyone gets sick at the same time. A week in one of those beds in the US can cost $100k. Imagine your copay.

    3. You may be young and not worry about getting sick yourself, but wouldn’t you feel bad if you or your children infected your recently retired parents because of pretending that it’s not a big deal?

    Please let experts handle this and follow their instructions, not the politicians.

    1. If you can find where in the article that I said this was not a big deal, Keith, please point it out to me.

      In fact, I said that we should be concerned — not worry or panic.

      The primary reason for the comparison is because people are panicking about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — yet most of them are seemingly nonchalant about other things which also pose a threat to their health…

      …many of which they have a better chance of being killed than contracting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

      Otherwise, I actually agree with some of what you wrote.

  16. Totally agree. But in fairness the only reason I’m cautious on traveling is getting stuck somewhere in quarantine. I’m not afraid of the virus I’m not afraid to travel I’m simply afraid of getting quarantined in a hotel room ship etc outside the United States. However I’m still going to Madrid in a few weeks and my trip to Tokyo in August is still on

    1. Exercising caution on traveling to avoid quarantine is indeed something about which to be concerned, Dublin.

      I have an idea pertaining to this topic which I intend to address in a future article…

  17. Thank you — we are in the middle of a mass hysteria, and unfortunately this may mean that when the “big one” — a truly serious and dangerous disease with the potential to cause mass casualties — comes along, people will trust the government less.

    1. That is a good point, gus.

      What I am attempting to do is straddle that fine line of concern with education but without panic — and I wish that more of the media would do that…

      …but I believe that the media is the primary cause of the mass hysteria and not necessarily the government. Why? Similar to “click bait”, it brings eyeballs which lead to more money. Sensationalism almost always sells.

      Regardless, cry “wolf” too many times and the trust indeed diminishes…

  18. Well. I know many other things could kill us but…

    American Hospital Association “Best Guess Epidemiology” for #codiv19 over next 2 months:

    96,000,000 infections
    4,800,000 hospitalizations
    1,900,000 ICU admissions
    480,000 deaths

    vs flu in 2019:

    35,500,000 infections
    490,600 hospitalizations
    49,000 ICU admissions
    34,200 deaths

    WE ARE NOT READY FOR THIS. People should be prepared, it is ok to freak out. I hope people at least don’t take your advice to take a deep breath.

    1. We may not be ready for this, but keep in mind that you are comparing numbers that come from 1) actual medical cases and 2) scantily informed projections by a business trade group that stands to gain handsomely from the preparation that this level of pandemic would entail.
      The American Hospital Association is NOT the American Medical Association.

      And I say scantily informed, because that is the state of knowledge of this virus at present.

      Sensible precautions are in order, but hysteria and mass mortality claims do not help at all.

  19. Corona denial symptoms: false dichotomies, whataboutism, no idea what the words “prevention” or “trajectory” mean, inability to comprehend the concept of “unknown unknowns”, NIMBY. Test confirmed. Maybe not a Trump voter but showing signs of Trumpism.

    1. You certainly have professed a lot of assumptions, Mnvska

      …and let me just say that most of them are not true.

  20. Brian — you are misunderstanding, dramatically, the entire nature of the problem. I hope you are doing so inadvertently, but I fear maybe you actually know what I’m about to say and are posting what you have posted anyway.

    The number who would die from influenza would be significantly higher without medical intervention. This is not a debatable point. This is why immunity and the vaccine are so vital. It slows the spread and it smooths out the numbers over time to permit that intervention to save lives.

    Now that COVID-19 has broken containment, this is the goal. Not to stop its spread but to smooth it out. Who does slowing the spread help? Everyone, but most acutely the person in Des Moines who gets the virus when there is no available bed with a ventilator. These are the people we are trying to save with precautions — those who could be saved with less spiking demand in medical resources. This is the current nature of the problem. This is why companies are restricting non essentially travel. This is why Italy is restricting large gatherings. It has nothing to do with panic. It is about pace. It is about making sure the beds we have available — already a low number given margin consolidating in the medical industry — do not get overwhelmed.

    There is simply zero doubt that movement and travel hasten the spread of the virus. It has nothing to do with whether those traveling are healthy, but instead it is a question about the herd. The robust travelers present a risk for the non-robust non-travelers because all movement creates additional bridges between previously isolated pockets. I don’t know if your “research” includes immunologists, but any immunologist who would deny this is the equivalent of a flat earther. So too with large gatherings. Even if everyone who attends an NBA game is low risk, the holding of the game increases the risk for the high risk. And it hastens the spread and the demand on limited medical resources. This is not a seriously debatable point.

    There are very important questions about where as a society we need to draw the line between things that are attendant to every day living and things we know will risk overwhelming the health care system. These are valid questions. But what you are doing is not that. It is denialism and minimalism based on hope without understanding what the true risks are here.

    You may turn out to be right. I hope so. I’d ask you to consider the impact if you are wrong. If you turn out to be wrong, you will have contributed to an attitude and messaging that has exacerbated true human suffering. Full stop. This is not hyperbole. You are complicit in a message that may cause people to die who might have been able to obtain medical intervention with a slower spread. If you think that is overstatement and decide to forge ahead anyway, that’s fine. But I really hope you are prepare to own it if you turn out to be wrong. I genuinely doubt you will come back and apologize if it turns out that’s what you have done, but I’d at least hope you take this into account before joining the it’s just a flu chorus.

    1. You are apparently misunderstanding the point. Panic is occurring, whether that is the goal of public health officials and the media or not. People are overreacting. That is not in question. Millions of people are hoarding supplies and will overwhelm the health care system with the slightest cough because of the panic. People with true medical emergencies will not have access as a consequence.

      I don’t think there is any disagreement that being in contact with other people, particularly ones that do not live close to you, will hasten the spread of the virus. But shutting down travel and world commerce to slow down the spread will have at least as many ‘casualties’ as might occur from the virus spreading before we are ‘ready’, although not in the direct manner that may come from Covid-19. Not only will millions of people lose their jobs, butt think, for example, about the taco truck owner in Austin who makes enough to pay his family’s medical insurance entirely during the week of SXSW. He gives up his insurance and, because of that, doesn’t go to the doctor when he notices a lump and….
      Multiply that by millions and then add the misery that doesn’t result in countable statistics, and the less serious things like missed weddings, births and students who can not get the help they need to pass their classes, because the campus is closed. All of this to slow, but not stop, the spread of a virus that for most people carries no more risk than the common cold.
      Yes, overreaction is as much of a problem as the disease itself, with what we know right now.
      If there is some huge change in our understanding of the disease, for example that the death rate is MUCH higher than it appears at this point, or that people without underlying health conditions are as likely to be hospitalized and die as those that do, then I may change my mind that the world is overreacting. I really hope that does not happen, though, not because I care if I am wrong, but because it would be catastrophic, particularly for the world’s most vulnerable people.
      That is the nature of the problem as I see it.

    2. If you were a regular reader of The Gate, Larry, you would know that I stand behind what I write — and if I am wrong, I admit it and apologize.

      You are welcome to research the articles here at The Gate to see for yourself.

      As for a response to your comment, I cannot improve on how JohnnyBoy responded to you; so I will defer to him.


    Seriously though. Thank you for this article. So tired of the daily death count in the world. Latest is 1st death on the east coast. Wow. Read this morning people are hording toilet paper, seriously?

    There is something seriously wrong with our society when all we do is focus on miniscule hazards and turn them into the end of the world apocalypse. Can you contract covid19, yes. Is it going to kill me. Statistics say no. Less than .5% for a healthy 40 yr old.

    Get ahold of yourself world.

  22. I am a general contractor in the state of Oregon. I recently needed masks for myself and my guys but we couldn’t find any anywhere because of a panicked, misinformed public. We spent the past week working in an environment in which we should’ve had masks, instead we used shirts and bandanas, putting us at risk of many other issues. This panic has had negative impact on us in ways that have nothing to do with the virus, frankly I’m getting Pissed off!

  23. Been a week and checking in on everyone. Hundreds of people in Italy are dying by the day. Americans, much like Italians, are refusing to change their lifestyle. I’m gonna come back every Saturday to check in everyone and make sure COVID-19 is not a big deal.

    1. Americans are dying by the day too. That’s how G-d created us. We should be taking sensible precautions to protect ourselves remembering that G-d is the one that decides what happens to us. Stay safe and pray for a speedy recovery for those that are sick, and for those are not sick to stay well.

    2. I have never said or wrote that the 2019 Novel Coronavirus was not a big deal, Uri. I wrote that we should be concerned — but people are panicking and overreacting; and I still stand by that assertion…

      …but you are welcome to come back as often as you like and check in.

  24. Hey checking in, the NY hospital system is collapsing. We are currently in worst shape than Italy, Spain and definitely China. People are losing jobs, we are heading towards recession. The government is doing nothing, people are dying. Thousands more will die, many of them are ones who brushed this off, said not to panic.

    Is it too soon to change that
    “Should you worry about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?



    I’ll be back next week to keep you accountable for what you wrote. I’ll be back every week until this is over.

    1. “It’s ok to panic.”

      That is what you wrote, Uri:

      How has panicking helped you — or anyone else — with this pandemic?

      Go ahead. Hold me accountable all you want. While you are at it, place all of the blame of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus on me.

      After all, this whole pandemic was apparently all my fault…

      …and by the way, 155,232 people die in the world on average every day, according to this source:

      Approximately 7,708 of those deaths were in the United States on average every day in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

      Tell me, Uri: what are you doing to help them — or do you only care about deaths caused by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic?

      I stand by what I wrote. Thank you for checking in.

  25. Is the hospital system collapsing from the strain of legitimate Covid cases, or are people continuing to rush in unnecessarily under panic, convinced they are dying of something many of us probably had and recovered from within the last 4 months? Seriously, I am not in NY so I do not know the answer to this.

    Exactly. People are losing jobs and our economy is tanking BECAUSE of the overblown reaction and shutting down of society. That is the whole problem… the knee-jerk reaction to just shut it down created this issue, not the virus itself. People are dying. But the fear mongering and hysteria is continuing to cause more loss of life than the virus itself.

    The current mortality rate (which is already flimsy because only the severely ill and the severely wealthy are being tested but, admittedly, the best data we have ) is 1.35% (737 deaths/ 54,453 cases). Horrible at any loss of life. But, I still question – why not this frenzy for all the other ways Americans are dying each day?

  26. Happy 2-month anniversary to the coldest hot take in Boarding Area’s history! Where are we celebrating???

    1. As Georgia is slowly and successfully reopening, come on down… we can find Brian and any others from around here to have a Coke and a civil chat – preferably outdoors in our spectacular spring weather. We can lend some support to the millions here who are still suffering with lost wages/homes/businesses as a result of the gross overreaction we are still weathering. We will also pay our respects to the .008% of our population that has died presumably of Covid-19 as well as the additional thousands who have died of a myriad of other causes during this time period.

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