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Scott Loftis

From the Editor

Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com

Opinion

This is not a drill

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

There are folks, including a few right here in Carroll County, who continue to insist that there is no real reason to be concerned about COVID-19, aka the novel coronavirus.

Theyíll tell you that COVID-19 has killed far fewer people than the flu, that the media is making a mountain out of a molehill, that there is no real reason to do anything differently than weíve always done it.

Iím here to tell you, with whatever credibility I have, that those folks are just flat wrong.

COVID-19 has killed fewer people than the flu, so far. That means absolutely nothing when you consider the fact that the experts ó and when I say experts, Iím not talking about the kind you find on Facebook ó tell us that we are likely six to eight weeks from the peak of this pandemic, if not longer.

Anyone whoís been paying attention to the number of confirmed cases knows that they are increasing exponentially. In fact, they are doubling every two to three days. Confirmed cases in the United States were approximately 8,500 on Wednesday, March 18. Five days later, theyíre at 40,000.

The vast majority of people who contract coronavirus will survive. Thatís absolutely true. But that doesnít mean the disease wonít have a devastating impact.

Letís say 10 percent of Americans eventually contract the disease. Thatís a very conservative estimate, in my opinion. But it equals 33 million people.

Now, letís say 99 percent of the people who contract the disease survive. Thatís wonderful, for those people. But the 1 percent who donít, under the scenario I describe, equal 330,000 American deaths. To give that number a little more perspective, the United States had 291,000 combat deaths in World War II. And again, thatís based on a 10 percent infection rate.

Of course, I take no pleasure in writing this. My point is not to sensationalize or stoke fear. But we all must take this seriously. Every one of us has to do our part to mitigate the spread of this virus.

Practice social distancing. Wash your hands. Pay attention to whatís going on, and believe the experts. If you can stay home, do it. And if you have any of the symptoms, if you think thereís any possibility at all that you have contracted the virus, err on the side of caution. Isolate yourself so that you donít infect others.

We will get through this, but it wonít be easy. This is not a hoax and itís not a drill. The sooner we all realize that, the better off we all will be.