In various states across the nation, there’s been a noticeable trend of an increase in coronavirus cases. While this fact makes the headlines, the detail that seems to get overlooked is the fact that deaths have declined. Florida, Arizona, Texas, California, and Ohio are among the states that have experienced spikes in cases but have maintained declining death rates or no spike in deaths.
How is this possible? Conventional wisdom suggests that a spike in cases should result in a spike in deaths, but that has not panned out. The protests and riots following George Floyd’s death have been going on for nearly a month now. Surely a spike in deaths should shave occurred by now. But so far, it hasn’t.
According to Justin Hart, an information architect and data analyst from San Diego, “who” gets the virus is just as important as “how many” get the virus. “Right now the average age of infected cases has dropped nearly 20 years,” Hart told PJ Media.
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White House Coronavirus Task Force Member Dr. Anthony Fauci acknowledged this fact last week: “The overwhelming majority of people who are now getting infected are young people, like the people that you see in the clips in the paper or out in the crowds enjoying themselves.”
Why does this matter, you ask? Let me explain.
Coronavirus data says risk is low for most Americans
Young people, possibly from the recent protests and riots, are likely behind the recent spike in cases, and that tells us a lot about why the data looks the way it does right now. According to the CDC’s current best estimate, the fatality rate of the coronavirus for symptomatic cases only are as follows:
- 0-49 years old: .05%
- 50-64 years old: .2%
- 65+ years old: 1.3%
- Overall ages: .4%
When you take into account that approximately 30% of coronavirus infections are asymptomatic, that drives the fatality rate down even further. “The risk of death for the general population of school and working age is typically in the range of a daily car ride to work,” notes Josh Ketter on Medium.
Professor Mark Woolhouse, an expert in infectious diseases in Scotland, led a study that determined current lockdown restrictions could be easily lifted as long the most vulnerable populations are left protected. According to Woolhouse, for the non-vulnerable population, the coronavirus is comparable to a “nasty flu.”
Lockdowns should have focused on protecting the vulnerable
What the data is clearly telling us is that the lockdowns were not implemented correctly. While there is a significant risk for the older, at-risk population, for those under 65 years of age, the economy could have been kept open. Schools didn’t have to close down, and “non-essential” businesses could have continued to serve the public, many of whom had as much a chance of dying from the coronavirus as they did dying on their daily commute, but the lockdowns kept everyone, including the young and healthy, at home. We could have worn masks out in public to help slow the spread and flatten the curve to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. Life could have remained relatively normal, and the economy didn’t have to suffer the way it did.
“We knew early on that younger cohorts managed very well,” Hart explained to PJ Media. “We should have let that group thrive to keep the economy going while protecting the vulnerable.”
Protecting the vulnerable is where many, particularly New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, went wrong. On March 25, Cuomo ordered nursing homes to accept patients regardless of their coronavirus status. Even back then, it was known that the elderly were more vulnerable to the virus, so having coronavirus patients in nursing homes allowed the virus to spread like wildfire. Cuomo tried to cover up his deadly mistake before ultimately rescinding the order on May 11.
Nursing home patients represent a mere .46 percent of the United States population but account for approximately 43 percent of all coronavirus deaths. States should have protected them better from the beginning. Had they, we could have had a more strategic approach to the coronavirus lockdowns that allowed businesses and schools to stay open while quarantining the vulnerable.
The one-size-fits-all approach was a mistake
If school and working-age Americans understood that their risk of dying from the coronavirus was roughly the same as it is of dying during a daily car ride, do you think they’d want to continue the lockdowns? I don’t think so. Whether people realize it or not, every day they are making an assessment of risk as they go about their lives. It was true before the coronavirus, during it, and it will continue to be afterward. Is it really worth being afraid of living given the extremely low risk of fatality for a majority of the population? We should redirect resources to protecting the vulnerable and let the rest of us get this country working again.
The United States isn’t alone
Israel is also experiencing a second wave of cases that is mostly occurring in younger people. Israel did not experience the protests and rioting we had in the United States, but bars, beaches, and school reopened, causing a spike in cases, but, as you can see from the graphs from Worldometer, no spike in deaths.
Note: This post has been updated with new information.
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Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis