Merriam-Webster defines the word “pandemic” as follows:
“An infectious illness occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population such as the 1918 flu that claimed millions of lives worldwide and 675,000 in the US.”
CORONAVIRUS IS NOT A PANDEMIC
Although the US media is throwing around the word “pandemic,” the coronavirus is nowhere close to being a nationwide epidemic, let alone a pandemic.
The dictionary definition of “epidemic” is “a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.”
People of goodwill might think King County, Washington and Westchester County, New York have enough diagnosed cases, 58 (22 deaths) and 57 (0 death), respectively, to be deemed “local epidemics.” All of King County’s patients are connected to the Kirkland Life Care Center, and the 22 deaths were all elderly residents with underlying health problems.
Overall, Washington State has 79 cases among their population of 6 Million. And New York State has only 76 cases in a population of 19.44 Million. This, despite the fact that both Seattle and New York City are airport hubs for those flying into and out of the USA. Moreover, Seattle is the first stop for many, many Asians traveling to or through America.
Nope! The total number of confirmed cases across the United States stands at 755, with 26 confirmed deaths as of Tuesday morning. The number of confirmed cases is expected to rise as the CDC distributes more & more test kits to states and hospitals.
The Chinese government just reported that 70% of those who contracted the Coronavirus have recovered. This, from the country where the virus was either created or first discovered, and who have the most patients. Why does Italy have the most cases outside of China? There is a great deal of tourism and business interactions between Italy and China.
Some Americans need to be reminded of what a real pandemic looks like: In the days before antibiotics, the Spanish Flu (1918-1920), which did originate in Europe, but probably not in Spain, killed an estimated 500 MILLION worldwide.
American soldiers returned from Europe, spreading the infection throughout the civilian population.* The death toll in the US rose to 675,000 out of a population of about 100 Million, including President Trump’s paternal grandfather, a German immigrant. Indeed, there were so many deaths that the influenza pandemic was blamed for a sudden 12-year decrease in life expectancy.
Compare this to the 2,100 Americans who were victims (deceased) of the 2019-2020 regular flu season by the end of December. No one in 2020 America has ever experienced a pandemic.
Diane L. Gruber
*This writer’s grandmother lost her older sister in the influenza pandemic, leaving four small children without a mother.