Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the chattering class has drawn several comparisons between the current administration’s efforts to contain it to countermeasures initiated in order to contain the H1N1 pandemic of 2009.
There are favorable and critical things to say of both, though the viruses at their centers are extremely different from one another.
For a start, the H1N1-flu infected 60 million Americans and claimed 12,469 lives over the course of a year. This low fatality rate discouraged the use of interventions like commercial lockdowns and shelter in place mandates.
The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), on the other hand, has infected 9.38 million Americans and 231,000 of these have succumbed since January.
Both evidence more severe presentations in elderly populations but H1N1 does so much more reliably.
In fact, public health officials were unable to determine COVID-19’s mortality rate initially. Because of this, it was much easier for those looking to ease social distancing to liken SARS-CoV-2 to seasonal influenza strains.
We don’t need to know COVID-19’s approximate mortality rate to appreciate the callousness of this surprisingly popular stance, but let’s explore what we know thus far anyway.
Earlier today, a retrospective surveillance study was published in the journal, Nature. In it, the authors analyzed 10,691plasma samples collected from COVID-19 patients between February 9 and July 11 at a Mount Sinai Health System based out of New York City.
According to the report, the infection fatality rate of the novel coronavirus is nearly 1%, which makes it 10 times deadlier than the flu. Moreover, seroprevalence, which refers to the number of members of a population who test positive for a specific disease, is on the rise in counties across the country. Read more >>