The Wrong Side of the Ledger: But Who’s Counting?

It’s time to Break It Down!

For starters, you should.

Donald Trump continues to compare the coronavirus to the seasonal flu. He tweeted just yesterday that coronavirus is “far less lethal” than the flu in most populations, and added, that sometimes more than 100,000 people die from the flu. Here’s the tweet:

“Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”

Here’s the inside straight. Both of these assertions are patently false. The peak number of American deaths from the flu in one season is 61,000. Just to be clear, the coronavirus’ death rate in the U.S. is also far higher than that of the flu. Wait, before I move on, allow me to emphasize, not just higher; far higher.

However, the most crucial difference between the flu and the coronavirus is that the virus is far deadlier. The death rate for the flu is about 0.1%. In the U.S; the death rate for coronavirus was 1.8%, as of Monday. Coronavirus is also much more contagious. Research indicates a person with the flu infects an average of about 1.28 other people. Without mitigation efforts, however, such as stay-at-home orders, a person with novel coronavirus infects an average of about 2 to 3 other people.

The incubation period for the flu is relatively short. People usually start to feel sick one to four days after infection, with  symptoms often showing up within two days. Consequently, people infected by the flu will know they are sick fairly soon, and are more likely to stay at home, avoiding contact with others.

Conversely, the incubation period with coronavirus is roughly three to fourteen days, and “symptoms generally appear within four or five days after exposure, based on data reported by Harvard Medical School.

We have learned that an individual with COVID-19 may be contagious 48 to 72 hours before starting to experience symptoms. According to Harvard research, “people may actually be most likely to spread the virus to others during the 48 hours before they begin experiencing symptoms.

Why does all, or any of, thiatmatter? 

In the wee hours of last Friday morning, Mr. Trump tweeted that he and Mrs. Trump had tested positive for COVID-19, and they were beginning their quarantine. That led to a drama filled three-day period with countless questions about Trump’s last negative test, his first positive test, how often he is actually tested, a Sunday ride to greet his adoring loyalists, and an unmasked salute upon his “triumphant” return to the White House. Most of those questions, and a host of others remain unanswered.

As we edge closer toward that pivotal day, November 3rd, when America will next cast its official vote to determine who will lead the country for the next four years, the issues of the day, and of the future will be parsed. One of the issues near the top of the list is how we as a nation are navigating the persistently rough seas of the COVID-19 pandemic. I encourage you to work diligently to inform yourself on this and other issues of importance to you. After getting informed, use the information to exercise your franchise, and vote for candidates of your choice, up and down the ballot. If you live in North Carolina and have yet to register, you have until this Friday, October 9th, to do so. Early voting begins Thursday of next week, October 15th, and lasts until Saturday, October 31st. Absentee and mail-in voting options are also available to North Carolina voters.

The countdown is underway. Voting commences in 27 days. There will be cries of fake news…and there will be fake news. Know the difference. “The Wrong Side of the Ledger: But Who’s Counting?”

I’m done; holla back!

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