We had no idea just how bad the COVID-19 numbers game would be.
The count began when the first U.S. coronavirus case was identified on Jan. 20, 2020 in the state of Washington. Ever since, the numbers have been overwhelming and many times confusing and inconsistent. So far as of June 22, that single coronavirus case has now morphed into more than 2.2 million illnesses and is approaching 120,000 deaths in the U.S., depending on what source you trust most.
That’s part of the problem, sources and statistics on number of cases, death rates, hospitalizations, how many are either symptomatic versus asymptomatic, and how many individuals have recovered, varies widely according to the source citing these numbers, if these numbers are even easily accessible or available.
Reopening Coincides With Surge in Virus Numbers
Now that protests and riots have quieted down for now, news outlets are once again focusing on cases of COVID-19. And according to their daily grim spin of misleading the public, the number of coronavirus cases is rising more rapidly than ever. The summer’s coronavirus hot spots now include a record number of cases soaring in states such as Alabama, Arizona, Texas, Florida, and even in Montana, where social distancing has been practiced for decades. Much of the blame in this rapid rise is attributed, unsurprisingly, to the reopening of the economy.
For weeks, epidemiologists like Dr. Anthony Fauci, who testified before the U.S. Senate on May 12, have scolded us with stern warnings that states are opening up too fast; he's predicting a for-sure surge in coronavirus cases nationwide.
Most of us likely would have surmised that the number of individuals contracting COVID-19 would see an uptick as businesses reopened allowing a somewhat more "normal" existence like we used to know before the virus came to our shores.
It was bound to happen. After roughly three months of lockdown doing our part in flattening the curve so as not to overwhelm hospital admissions with infection cases, people are simply COVID-19 weary.
Yes, the numbers are rising in certain areas but not all. For instance, New York and New Jersey, once major hotspots, are now seeing significant reductions in coronavirus cases. Thanks to these declines, New York City will enter phase two reopening Monday, June 22 allowing outdoor dining, in-person retail shopping and the chance to get a haircut done professionally among other activities for residents.
Threat of Second Shutdown Looms
Meanwhile, COVID-19 fear tactics continue threatening to once again force a second shutdown which our economy simply cannot withstand. The serious consequences of widespread lockdowns have already resulted in more than 40 million Americans having lost their jobs.
Despite some good news of increases in retail sales, the chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome H. Powell, has warned the U.S. economy is in a "downturn without modern precedent," due to lack of clarity of when and for how long unemployment and widespread prosperity would return.
The main concern of many health officials, including Dr. Fauci, is that relaxing shutdown rules could trigger an outbreak that may be uncontrollable resulting in needless suffering and death. However, President Donald Trump looks at it differently calling the current outbreaks, "intermittent" spikes. President Trump attributes the blame for these spikes primarily on expanded testing of citizens.
The country’s current testing capacity is around 300,000 tests a day that can be administered throughout the nation. Health officials caution this number falls short of what they recommend which is up to 20 million tests per day by late July.
We also know that starting up business as usual means more of us mingling together – something we haven’t done in quite some time. It’s natural for a viral infection to increase when this happens but besides looking at the number of cases rising, what’s the number of deaths or hospitalizations coinciding with the rise in numbers?
What is the age demographic contracting the virus and how many are able to recover at home?
Without transparency and the media digging deeper for these numbers, they’re difficult to find.
What We’re Not Being Told
While fears of coronavirus are justified, at the same time common sense needs to prevail. The topsy-turvy nature of this virus and how its driving long-term uncertainty is harming everyone’s health. Uncertainty breeds fear, anxiety, increases in stress with a feeling of powerlessness of the direction of your future. This is not a way we want to live.
Needed most right now is statistical facts of how dangerous this virus really is.
To paint a broad brush narrative of simply numbers increasing does not address the fine details of the illness.
When a state reports massive spikes in one day of the number of citizens testing positive, what percent of them have severe enough symptoms to be hospitalized?
How many have no to only mild symptoms and how many have more moderate symptoms to gradually getting worse. What percent of the total number of COVID-19 cases in states have died from the illness? How does this compare to the seasonal flu or other contagious illnesses? Maybe COVID-19 is losing steam; one report has found that the virus appears to less dangerous than what it was many weeks ago.
We need fact finders and reporters who go the extra mile to provide accurate numbers without hype or political gain. Without knowing the true meaning behind numbers spouted on TV news or social media, this only creates more fear, less trust, and more division within our nation. This is not what we need right now.
Live Your Life But With Precautionary Steps
Most of us simply want to live a life filled with happiness, adventure, and good health. In our current national state, most of us are still living fearfully unsure of what to expect thanks to coronavirus. I tell you now, most cases of COVID-19 are not fatal.
Those most at risk are elderly people (the CDC has found eight out of ten deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. are adults 65 and older) and those with preexisting conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
The vast majority of adults take responsibility of their lives by taking precautionary steps to reduce their risk and the risk of others from contracting COVID-19. I advise to continue to do so by knowing and following the virus guidelines of the state you live in.
Wear a mask if required and particularly when in a large crowd making social distancing difficult or when around those most vulnerable to the virus.
Frequent hand washing, preferably with soap and water throughout the day and avoidance of touching your nose, mouth and eyes will be your most valuable strategies keeping you COVID-free.
We can do this and we will conquer COVID-19 eventually.
Demand transparency and truth from the media. Be cautious but fearless as we continue living our lives making our own personal decisions. It’s what’s best for our health, our economic future and for our country.
Dr. David Samadi is Director of Men's Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He is a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City. He is regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., trained in oncology, open, laparoscopic, and robotic surgery. He has vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Read Dr. David Samadi's Reports – More Here.
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