Covid-19 and a Few Numbers

According to the CDC, the fatality rate for influenza has historically run roughly at a rate of 1/10th of one percent, that is to say, that for every thousand people infected, one person died. The highest known fatality rate for a form of influenza was the 1918 Spanish Flu, estimated to have had a fatality rate around two percent. Presently, it appears that the fatality rate for Covid-19 runs from 1.4% to as high as 3.0%

Seasonal flu has averaged a contagion rate of roughly 1.3, meaning each infected flu victim infects on average 1.3 others. The contagion rate for the 1918 Flu is estimated to have been around 2.5, but that was before more modern treatments were available. Currently, it appears that Covid-19 – without measures such as social distancing – has a contagion rate of 2.3, very close to that of the 1918 flu.

So far this “flu year,” there have been at least 34 million cases of flu in the United States, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 flu deaths, according to the C.D.C. By comparison, if 34 million Americans were exposed to Covid-19, even at the lowest fatality rate, there would be close to half a million deaths, and over five million people requiring hospitalization.

And remember, 34 million people amount to only about ten percent of the U.S. population.

7 thoughts on “Covid-19 and a Few Numbers”

  1. Michael Creek says:

    These are whole of population estimates. If you look below and segregate various age groups, then, surprisingly, people below 20 are almost absent from the infected and from those that die. Then, with age, the risk increases, until for those over 80, the risk of death is more or less 20%, even more when there are other risk factors such as compromised immune system, diabetes…
    Commenting from Australia, it seems to me that you are starting your intervention very late. It has been clear to us, down under, that over half our cases come from USA or Europe. Australia, a small country, has done 178000 tests, USA a little more.

    1. We definitely started late, and we’ll pay dearly for it. But that’s what happens when you have a President who places his “hunches” above hard statistics.

  2. KATH says:

    Hi Mr. Modesitt and everyone. Any chance we could get the publishers to let us have the books published earlier to relieve the quarantine downs?

    1. Macmillan and most publishers are going to be having problems maintaining present schedules, although Tor should have fewer than many since it’s somewhat higher/online tech.

  3. AprilWiree says:

    Behind every great doctor is an even better nurse.

    1. Derek says:

      It really ought to read “beside every great doctor.” Not to contradict or minimize your statement, because I know you’re paraphrasing a different quote.

      1. Hanna says:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *