Correction: Survival Rate is Over 98.7%.  Slow-Walk Re-Open is Unnecessary.

In a prior post, I had noted that the survival rate of COVID-19 in the United States is 94%.  I was mistaken. In fact, the survival rate is 98.7%.  From Health Affairs:

The IFR-S in the US was estimated to be 1.3%  ….  The overall IFR for COVID-19 should be lower when we account for cases that remain and recover without symptoms.

And 98.7% is almost certainly on the low side as scientists are, splendidly, in the process of “arguing” via data and model proxy about how much above 99% the survival rate actually is, mostly due to unidentified cases, as that analysis indicates.  Keep in mind that scientists project the number of unidentified cases in New York alone at 2,700,000.

Here in Rhode Island, the overall survival rate of confirmed and probable cases is 96.25% though, horribly, three quarters of COVID deaths have taken place in nursing homes.

Meanwhile, Governor Raimondo has released excruciatingly detailed guidelines for restaurants to “re-open” that are, respectfully, completely unworkable, especially from the perspective of the continued viability of the establishment.  She has done this – promulgated extremely detailed re-open guidelines –  for most business sectors, with the exception of manufacturing which got a pass early on, as part of her elaborate, open-ended, slow-walk plan to re-open Rhode Island’s economy. I assume that the governor means well but the effect of this plan is to inexorably suffocate households and businesses by choking off wages and revenue.

The governor said at her press conference yesterday that we need to “go slow” ending the lockdown because we may overwhelm the system.  But that doesn’t seem right; we didn’t overwhelm the healthcare system at the height of the spread – a significant accomplishment in itself and the sole goal of the lockdown – and long before we were taking personal prevention measures (masks, lots of hand sanitizing, no hand-shaking, etc).

Conversely, the lockdown is turning out to be far more destructive than well-intentioned officials hoped.  Start with the economic decimation, global and here in Rhode Island – Gaspee Project’s Clay Johnson alarmingly enumerates the cascading damage from loss of wages, loss of business revenue and loss of tax revenue.

Even more disturbing are the health consequences of the lockdown.  Well Being Trust, for example, warned late last week that the Covid-19 lockdown could kill 75,000 Americans through “deaths of despair”. Add to this deaths from withdrawal of medical care – cancer, heart conditions, stroke, more – due to the two-plus month de facto closure of hospitals/healthcare facilities and, going forward, the loss by millions of people of their health insurance due to forcible unemployment.

To echo Clay Johnson, I applaud the decision makers at all levels of government that quickly responded early on to the COVID-19 medical crisis and protected our hospitals.  But we have come a very long way and are in a much better place than we were over two months ago.

Not only have our hospitals not been overwhelmed, even more importantly, we now know that the disease is way less fatal than we thought.  In Rhode Island specifically, the survival rate of COVID-19 cases outside of nursing homes is over 99%.   Accordingly, Governor Raimondo’s slow-walk re-open of the state’s economy is clearly unwarranted.  She needs to either end the lockdown now, with reasonable safety measures during intermingling (at supermarkets, etc) that most of us now do reflexively and, especially, protection of our precious vulnerable populations, or offer a far more cogent explanation for continuing on a needlessly destructive course than allusion to a goal that has already, commendably, been accomplished.

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