Worldwide there is a massive panic about the COVID-19 coronavirus.

I personally think it a foolish panic.

In various places, you see fatality rates anywhere between 3% and minuscule numbers like under 0.1%.

And here’s the issue: there is a very very large unknown bar around the denominator for how many people were affected by this virus — and the bar only goes in one direction: that more people were affected.

The problem is that everyone who has died, and many who have been hospitalized, have been tested for this virus. This basically sets a lower limit for the infection rate. One issue is that the initial tests seem to have a relatively high false-negative rate. Many people who have gotten tested and subsequently have gotten better have read negative on the tests. Similarly since the symptoms for the vast majority of people are so mild they either never sought treatment or tests or were denied tests due to shortages.

Now look at those numbers again.

The death rate simply cannot go up.

My gut feel is that the number of people that have contracted COVID-19 in the US is at least an order of magnitude larger than published numbers. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were two orders of magnitude larger.

What this does to the complication rates from this is push it down — way down.

The importance of the number on the bottom of the ratio, the denominator, is crucial when dealing with numbers like this.

Like I said previously, so far there have been fewer than 50 deaths due to this, and the majority were in one nursing home with especially susceptible individuals. On the average flu season in the US somewhere between 60,000 and 120,000 people die from the common flu.

There are so many things to panic about besides this.

Yet the media and everyone else seems to only want to talk about this.