What's Your Actual Risk of Dying From COVID?

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Americans are misinformed about the risks of COVID. That’s a fact.

Earlier this year, a Franklin Templeton/Gallup study found that when people were asked what “percentage of people who have been infected by the coronavirus needed to be hospitalized,” more than a third, 35 percent, said the risk was 50 percent. It’s actually somewhere between 1 and 5 percent. As you might expect, political affiliation influences that perception. “Democrats were much more likely to overestimate the harms of COVID-19, according to the Franklin Templeton/Gallup study, with 41% believing over half of coronavirus patients would require hospitalizations, compared to 28% of Republicans.” Republicans were also more likely to correctly estimate risk.

A recent Rasmussen Reports survey also found that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to overestimate the mortality risks of COVID. According to the survey, “Democrats are significantly more likely than other Americans to overestimate the death risk from COVID-19. Twenty-eight percent (28%) of Democrats think more than 10% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 have died from the disease – more than five times the actual mortality rate. Just 14% of Republicans and the unaffiliated believe the COVID-19 mortality rate is over 10%.” The reason for this is likely tied to media consumption, as the survey found that “More viewers of Newsmax (40%) and Fox News (34%) correctly estimated the COVID-19 mortality rate than viewers of CNN (22%) or MSNBC (24%).”

So, what’s the actual mortality rate? What is your risk of dying from COVID? Well, there are a lot of factors, such as comorbidities and vaccination status, but one thing that has been very clear, even from the earliest days of the pandemic, is that this disease affects the older population more than the younger population.

The CDC posts COVID mortality statistics by age range, where you can see that the risk of dying from COVID starts to increase dramatically once you get to the 50-and-over age groups.

But Phil Kerpen, the president of American Commitment and Unleash Prosperity, has taken the CDC’s data and broken down the risk of dying from COVID by single year of age.

So, let’s look at the chart and see what my risk is. I am 41 years old. Based on this chart, there have been 1,661 deaths from COVID among 41-year-olds—representing .041 percent of that population segment.

Of course, you might look up your age on the chart and wonder what these numbers mean in practical terms. Well, there’s a chart for that too.

According to this chart, my risk of dying from COVID is comparable to my risk of dying by drowning. Well, isn’t that interesting? Should I be afraid of the water? Should I never go swimming again? Of course not. But when you look at this chart and you look at your comparable mortality risk, it puts this pandemic in perspective, doesn’t it?

This is not to say we shouldn’t treat COVID seriously, but it does suggest that the efforts being taken to “slow the spread” are excessive. We should be doing our best to protect the vulnerable segments of the population, not mandating vaccines, masking kids, or arresting people who go maskless. We can take this pandemic seriously without going overboard or taking away our freedoms.


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