After watching the outbreak of COVID-19 for the past two months, I’ve followed the pace of the infection, its severity, and how our world is tackling the virus. While we should be concerned and diligent, the situation has dramatically elevated to a mob-like fear spreading faster than COVID-19 itself. When 13% of Americans believe they are currently infected with COVID-19 (mathematically impossible), full-on panic is blocking our ability to think clearly and determine how to deploy our resources to stop this virus. Over three-fourths of Americans are scared of what we are doing to our society through law and hysteria, not of infection or spreading COVID-19 to those most vulnerable.
The following article is a systematic overview of COVID-19 driven by data from medical professionals and academic articles that will help you understand what is going on (sources include CDC, WHO, NIH, NHS, University of Oxford, Stanford, Harvard, NEJM, JAMA, and several others). I’m quite experienced at understanding virality, how things grow, and data. In my vocation, I’m most known for popularizing the “growth hacking movement” in Silicon Valley that specializes in driving rapid and viral adoption of technology products. Data is data. Our focus here isn’t treatments but numbers. You don’t need a special degree to understand what the data says and doesn’t say. Numbers are universal.
I hope you walk away with a more informed perspective on how you can help and fight back against the hysteria that is driving our country into a dark place. You can help us focus our scarce resources on those who are most vulnerable, who need our help.
Note: The following graphs and numbers are as of mid-March 2020. Things are moving quickly, so I update this article twice a day. Most graphs are as of March 20th, 2020.
Table of Contents
- Total cases are the wrong metric
- Time lapsing new cases gives us perspective
- On a per-capita basis, we shouldn’t be panicking
- COVID-19 is spreading
- Watch the Bell Curve
- A low probability of catching COVID-19
- Common transmission modes
- COVID-19 is likely to burn off in the summer
- Children and Teens aren’t at risk
- Strong, but unknown viral effect
- What about asymptomatic spread?
- 93% of people who think they are positive aren’t
- 1% of cases will be severe
- Declining fatality rate
- So what should we do?
- Start with basic hygiene
- More data
- Open schools
- Open up public spaces
- Support business and productivity
- People fear what the government will do, not infection
- Expand medical capacity
- Don’t let them forget it and vote
Alternate post: COVID-19 – Evidence Over Hysteria