Why I’m Afraid of COVID-19, and Why I Go On Living

Skimming through recent headlines, COVID-19 sounds like the beginning of the end, the apocalypse approaching. It feels like we’re on the precipice of a pandemic that will shape human history, for those who survive.

But our president says it’s no big deal, and then to reassure us, he put his top man on the case, our vice president, who has no medical training whatsoever, whose policies were partially responsible for an outbreak of HIV in southern Indiana.

At first glance, he might appear to be right. So far, COVID-19, has killed 3,806 people. Meanwhile, 2,406,484 people have died from communicable diseases in 2020.

In the US, the numbers appear even less worrisome:


The problem is the rate of increasing cases.

Given the limited testing in the US, it’s impossible to graph the spread of the COVID-19 with any accuracy. Worldwide, the number of cases rapidly increased until mid-Februrary, when it started decreasing. Over the past week, it has started rising again.

The number of deaths from COVID-19 is increasing at a faster rate than other statistics.

If you flip the three percent death-rate on its head, it means that for every new death reported, there are thirty people out there, who may not even be aware they are infected, spreading COVID-19 around.

This is where good governing can actually make a difference. Studies of the 1918 flu epidemic have shown a vast differences in outcomes for populations where policy makers took the threat seriously.

What can you do as an individual? Find an expert that you trust. Listen to them. Ignore the fake information which spreads on social media faster than any real-world virus. Avoid unnecessary human contact. Wash your hands.

The truth is no one really knows what’s going to happen. No different than anything else. Tomorrow, a meteor could strike. Unstable government forces could ignite a nuclear war.

Given my demographic, I’ll die on the 101 freeway. If I quit driving, I could start worrying about getting shot, if I wanted to live in fear. For now, tornadoes are a bigger threat than COVID-19, which even if it surpass the regular flu, which it might, the best we can do, within reason, is wash our hands and avoid unnecessary human contact.

If you get sick, stay home. Meanwhile, stop worrying–it doesn’t help–and live.