I greatly enjoyed your article. When it comes to the mortality rate and the seriousness of a worldwide pandemic, I strongly recommend that you add a bit of context showing how a relatively low mortality rate does not mean that we shouldn’t treat this as a global emergency.

For instance, the 1918 H1N1 only had slightly more than a 5% mortality rate within the US (and up to 10% in less-developed nations), but it still killed up to 50M people worldwide when our global population was only a bit over 1 billion. In America, IIRC it killed about 675K victims, and our population at the time was about 100M.

The problem wasn’t H1N1’s deadliness to individuals, but its virulence. In America, anyone who caught the disease only had about a 5% chance of dying, but the disease was so virulent that hundreds of thousands died.

With COVID-19, sure, it’s only got about a 2–3% mortality rate, but it may be even more virulent than the 1918 H1N1 virus (possibly transmissible by air, possibly contagious while asymptomatic, and according to some reports, may have an incubation period of up to 27 days), and it’s already present in many nations, including within less-developed nations with cities far more densely-populated than anything in America. For every 100M who catch the disease, that’s still 2–3M deaths.

That’s the proper context of why the mortality rate is less important than the degree of virulence, and why COVID-19 is a global emergency.

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Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.

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