Editorial: Two key points of the coronavirus


The Iowa State Daily Editorial Board talks about the two key points of the coronavirus: that it isn’t that deadly and its transmission is containable.

Editorial Board

The coronavirus has infected just over 100 people in the United States so far and claimed the lives of eight. There is no prediction of where it will stop. It’s a scary thing to think about; according to virus experts, the coronavirus is capable of spreading to over two-thirds of the world’s population. It won’t. 

While the threat of a global pandemic looms, it’s important to look at the statistics of the coronavirus. Two key points stand out. First, the coronavirus isn’t all that deadly. Second, its transmission is containable. 

Of the nearly 100,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, only about 3,000 people have died from it. That’s a three percent death rate. 

But what if the coronavirus did become a worldwide pandemic? What if two-thirds of the nearly eight billion people on planet Earth contracted the disease? What does a three percent death rate look like then?

We need not worry about those things, because the second statistical point about the coronavirus is that its transmission is containable.

China, the epicenter of the coronavirus, has seen its number of new cases shrink quite drastically. How has a country as poor and densely populated as China managed to prevent a global pandemic? 

For starters, the Chinese government exercised authoritarian control of the response to the new disease. An almost militant reaction has left hospitals once overflowing with the disease with empty rooms.

Now, it’s hard to take China’s word for how many of their own people were infected and died from the coronavirus, but China did allow a team of doctors and scientists with the World Health Organization into the country to study how effective China’s response was.

That team reported nearly 2,500 new cases the day they arrived but only 200 new cases the day they left. If that data is accurate, it shows that the coronavirus is nothing if not manageable, especially here in the United States.

Another interesting bit of news about the coronavirus is that the U.S. Federal Reserve decided to cut interest rates by half of a percent. The move aims to bolster the U.S. economy amid fears of the coronavirus growing into a national pandemic.

This news could be taken as a warning. Perhaps the Federal Reserve knows something about the coronavirus that we don’t. Perhaps we are in more danger than we realize. 

Probably not though. The lower interest rates are more likely a reaction to the turn the economy seemed to take last week.

As for the coronavirus, wash your hands, cover your cough and if you are feeling sick, go see a doctor. If we all act in a precautionary manner, we can make the coronavirus all but a memory.