COD-19 is a corona virus, one of three types of common cold viruses. That’s it, a variant of the common cold, not something to strike fear into one’s heart. There are those who should be concerned: the elderly with heart, lung and/or kidney problems. Otherwise, it’s an inconvenience.
What stands out about this virus is that it is very contagious, and we are not yet certain if we know all possible means of transmission. We know that minuscule droplets expelled during coughing or sneezing can spread the disease. We know that on some surfaces the virus can remain a risk for up to four or more hours. We won’t know enough to make definitive statements for at least a year about how the virus spreads.
The disease is not particularly dangerous. It appears that many people, perhaps most people, who contract the disease will display no symptoms. Right now, with inadequate information, it appears that fatality rates will not exceed three percent of all who contract the disease, and may be as low as one percent, conceivably less. Influenza has a fatality rate of 0.1%, but is a concern because each year many tens of millions of people in the U.S. and across the world catch the flu.
My back-of-the-envelope math says the number of people with the virus will double every six months or more. Today, there are 100,000 cases diagnosed worldwide. By September 2020 that could be 200,000, and by March 2021 perhaps 400,000. At that rate there will be a million cases around the world in 2022, and a billion in 2025. That presumes that no effective vaccine can be developed in that time. Again, it’s my own back-of-the-envelope math, but I see an effective vaccine coming in 18-24 months. At that point it’s a logistics issue.
Some young, healthy people will die from the disease, but that always happens. We don’t know why, and those cases are outliers. If you’re under sixty and have no existing heart, lung or kidney conditions, you might be good for another sixty years.