There is a 64% chance that someone I know will die of the coronavirus COVID-19.

There’s a lot of talk about whether the media is overhyping coronavirus (COVID-19). I was wondering how many people I know will be infected and possibly die from COVID-19, so I did the math.

People who will die from COVID-19

Between 2% to 3.4% of people who contract COVID-19 dies. Let’s be conservative and take the 2 percent number.

How many people do you know, in total?

Let’s take your Christmas card list. I have 160 families on my list. How many people are in each family? I’ll take a low guess that each family is an average of 2.5 people. (160×2.5=400). That’s 400 people.

Ok, so I know 400 people on my Christmas card list.

How many people do you know will get COVID-19?

They say COVID-19 is like the flu. We’ll make the assumption that COVID-19 is as contagious as the flu. It might be more, it might be less. We don’t know yet. To have some numbers to plug in, we’ll go with the standard flu percentage.

CDC estimates that in the United States, influenza has resulted in between 9 million – 45 million illnesses. Let’s take the average of that number. 27 million people.

27 million Americans get the flu every year.

Will 27 million Americans get COVID-19? Maybe. Maybe not. I think this is the key point of debate here. Conservatives see the current low COVID-19 cases in America, and they think people are overreacting. But we are only at the start of the spread. The numbers of people who get infected will continue to grow. Then as summer starts, the numbers will go down. But when fall comes, the numbers will go back up again. We might see more people in the fall get infected. Eventually this year COVID-19 infections might reach the 27 million number that the flu gets.

America has 327 million people. Thus, 8% of America gets the flu every year. (Which, I find that number quite low. I thought half of America gets the flu every year. But 8% is the number we are going with.)

Take my 400 people. Eight percent of 400 is 32.

I know 29 people who will get COVID-19.

How many people that I know will die from COVID-19 this year?

Two percent of people who contract COVID-19 will die.
32 times two percent is 0.64. Not quite one full person.

But that means, there is a 64% chance that I know someone who will die from COVID-19.

Here’s a little simple graphic that summarizes the math:

Remember, we took the lower percentage of death. If we take the 3.5% number, that’s 1.12. Most likely, I will know someone who dies from COVID-19.

That’s why the media is covering this. Chances are likely that you will know someone who dies from COVID-19 this year. Now one might say, “well, people die from the flu all the time” Yes, but only 0.1% of people die from the flu.

COVID-19 kills at least twenty times more people than the flu.


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