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Some perspective on COVID-19 numbers

DEAR EDITOR:

Ohio’s citizens were and are constantly bombarded with terrible news about the coronavirus. People are dying. Cases are increasing. Freedoms are suspended.

Here is some perspective with data from the Ohio COVID-19 Dashboard, Ohio Public Health and Data Warehouse, Worldometer and Center for Evidence-Based Medicine as of Nov. 8.

Every day comes with a COVID-19 death count. Did you know 339 people died in Ohio per day each day in 2017, 2018, and 2019? So far this year, just fewer than 350 people per day died from all causes, 3 percent increase over the last three years. Included this year are increased opiate deaths, loss of medical care during the lockdown. The current increase in deaths is not even historically unusual.

As of Nov. 8, 5,517 people died from or with COVID-19; 5,060 were over 60 (92 percent); and 2916 (53 percent) were over 80. Of the 5,517 deaths, 2,975 died in long-term care facilities (54 percent). This long-term care number is almost certainly too low because the count started April 15, while the first coronavirus deaths occurred in March. More people aged 60-69 died from or with COVID-19 than all the COVID-19 deaths among people aged 0-59. Clearly, the risk associated with this virus is far greater for those over 60.

Schools are under some restrictions, but 16 people aged 0-29 have died from or with the coronavirus.

For perspective, 4,584 individuals 29 or younger died from all causes year-to-date. So 0.35 percent of deaths were attributed to COVID-19. Yet children are wearing masks and can’t attend school normally.

Cases are increasing — a “case” is simply a positive test result. A positive test does not necessarily mean the person is sick or infectious. The evidence-based medicine website has a thorough explanation of why this is so. Basically, the PCR test used tests a sample and runs amplification cycles until some viral presence is detected. The more amplification cycles run, the lower the viral load. Any viral amount is considered positive, even though the virus may be incapable of causing sickness or infection.

Perhaps this begins to explain how cases are expanding while the seven-day average death rate remained in the mid-20s from June to Nov. 8.

I’m not saying the virus isn’t serious. I’m saying the world is not ending. People most severely impacted are those most seriously impacted by every ailment — the old and infirm.

The young should be allowed to go about their lives because they appear to be essentially immune, more likely to drown in swimming pools than from the virus.

Positive tests are not necessarily sick people, and the vast majority of sick people will recover just fine.

ROBERT VOYTILLA

Hubbard

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