COVID-19 is not a death sentence, but…

Coronavirus, COVID-19 Graph
Photo credit Getty Images

Numbers don’t lie but they can be deceiving.

According to the Pennsylvania Health Department nearly 90,000 residents of the Commonwealth have come down with Covid-19.  You have likely heard that total reported ad nauseam as details of the recent spike of the illness forced officials to close bars and restaurants...again.

However, what has not been reported widely are the number of cases that are ‘closed.’  Over 78% of our neighbors have Thankfully recovered.  

As of Sunday, there have been 3,557 positive cases in Allegheny County since the pandemic began.  In all, 412 of those cases have ended up with the patient visiting an area hospital.  Intensive Care Units have attended to 162 of them.  Ventilators were required for 77 residents, according to county records.  Most quarantine at home.

Also, area hospitals are not currently seeing a surge in admittance in spite of the recent 5-day, triple-digit uptick.  Although this could change rapidly.  Data released this weekend by the state health department found that 689 people across the state are currently hospitalized with Covid-19.

The first case was reported in Pennsylvania on March 6.  Since then 6,753 residents have died.  Eighty-six percent of them lived in nursing homes or senior/long-term care facilities.

Due to the cancellation of yet another holiday this year, I had a free to do some light reading...and math!  I really miss fireworks!!!  I love them.  Math?  Not so much so indulge me:

* Allegheny county population: 1,216,000* Deaths by Covid-19 in the county: 190 or 15.6 per 100k* Total cases in 47 nursing home/facilities in Allegheny County: 704. (This includes residents and employees)* Deaths by Covid in those nursing homes: 147* Deaths by Covid outside of nursing/longterm care facilities in Allegheny county: 43.

Forty-three deaths divided by 1,216,000 x 100,000 equals 3.536blahblahblah per 100,000 in Allegheny county.  OK, I got it.  Let’s round it to 3.5.  For comparison: the 2019-20 flu season resulted in 13,804 cases and 177 hospitalizations and the loss of 15 lives, according to Allegheny County Health Department.

The average Allegheny county annual death rate is roughly 778.7 per 100,000 residents.  That is counting every death for any reason (heart disease and cancer get really bossy here.)

To break it down:  If you knew 100,000 people then you could plan on attending 779 wakes or funerals.  Yes, people will soon realize that you wear the same suit over and over.

3.5 deaths per 100,000 is on par with a white infant in Allegheny county dying before its first birthday.

3.5 deaths per 100k in Allegheny county means that you are 4 times as likely of dying from Septicemia or ‘blood poisoning caused by bacteria’ than Covid-19.  This is according to Pennsylvania Health Department data.

Factoring in all 187 Covid-19 deaths in the county - be it in a nursing home or not - we arrive at about 15.6 deaths per 100k in Allegheny county.  This is about the same number of residents who die from Nephritis or an inflamed kidney.

15.6 deaths is on par with a black infant in Allegheny county dying before its first birthday.

A dear, cautious friend of mine somehow contracted Covid-19.  He recovered after about 8 days of shear torture.  You DO NOT want it.

If you are unfortunate enough to contract this monster the numbers are on your side even if you writhe in pain seemingly suffocating for days or weeks.  

As illustrated above, Covid-19 is not likely a death sentence - for you.  But, that story may take a different, dark turn if you take it home to your parents, grandparents, or immunocompromised relatives.

Similar to Governor Tom Wolf and Vice President Mike Pence, my buddy urges you to WEAR A MASK when around people or patronizing area businesses deemed worthy of remaining open.  Remember: the mask goes over your nose and mouth NOT under your chin!  

They all also urge you to wash your hands often, as well.  And, stop biting your fingernails!  (That tip is from me.)

This (hopefully) is not about politics.  It is (personally) about being courteous, protective, and thoughtful.  

Remember, you may be a picture of perfect health....Adonis and Hygieia all rolled into one!  But, that frail, loving lady painfully inching down the aisle towards you while she struggles to get groceries into her cart is scared to death.   This could be her first venture outside in weeks and she probably fears that it may be her last.

Her age group accounts for 81% of the fatalities.  As far as gender breakdowns, 52.4% of the cases have been found in women.

For her sake, would it kill you to put the mask on?  Yes, it is mandatory in public spaces where social distancing is not possible.

Thank you.

Kevin Battle is co-host of the KDKA Radio Morning Show with Larry Richert.  The show airs M-F 5a-9a on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.

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