Today’s Issue: Epicenter of Covid-19
Welcome to Monday News & Comments.
This morning I read an article that was critical of the way Florida has been handling Covid-19. To read that article you would think that Florida is the Epicenter of Covid-19 in the United States. That is not true!
What is true is that Florida cases peaked higher than New York, but the real story is in the deaths. In New York you saw body bags being stacked and stored, but in Florida there’s been nothing like that.
In SE Florida you have what we call the epicenter for Florida. It includes Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach. That area leads the nation in cases per capita. Another area is the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area. And as mentioned above Florida surpassed New York in cases per capita. This has caused experts to label Florida the new epicenter of Covid-19. But let’s take a deeper look.
Florida has had 600,571 cases and 10,462 deaths for a Death Rate of 1.74%.
New York has had 460,460 cases and 32,967 deaths for a Death Rate of 7.16%.
Again, experts keep warning us that the numbers of deaths lag the case rise. Let’s assume they are correct, after all they are the experts. But New York’s numbers of deaths to cases has been extremely high from the beginning! Remember the body bags? They were hit early and hard.
In Florida’s situation the case load has been high for awhile now. There is no doubt the case load is much higher than New York’s, but it has not been nearly as deadly. When you compare the two states by death count you discover that Florida is less than 1/3 New York’s death count (10,462 / 32,967 = 31.7%) yet Florida’s cases are much higher (600,571-460,460 = 140,111 or 30.4% higher).
I contend that while cases per capita may be helpful to the experts, it is misleading to us average folks. It creates panic. It should raise concern because even 1 death is tragic, but the truth is that Florida is considerably safer than New York. You might get sicker down here, but your chances of survival are higher.
This throwing numbers around belongs in the lab not the newspaper or local news. It creates unnecessary panic. Getting sick (and they say for young adults it’s equivalent to a bad case of flu) is not to be feared. No one wants to get sick which is a good argument for wearing masks and practicing social distancing. But the death rate is encouraging news, especially since the time span now covers almost eight months!
But broadcasting these numbers on national TV is almost criminal. It creates a problem that is bigger than the facts, creates panic, keeps businesses shut down, and makes it hard for people to return to a more normal life.
We need more responsible reporting and less finger pointing.
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R Frederick Riddle, Editor of TR Writing Services, provides help struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He also authors Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus he is co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.