An infection of fear



About 2.8 million people per year die in the United States from heart disease, cancer, injuries and various other illnesses, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Infections related to the coronavirus COVID-19 could kill 100,000 to 240,000 people this year,  according to projections offered by government officials on Tuesday.

On paper, those COVID-19 deaths amount to a 3.6 to 8.6 percent increase in American deaths. In reality, the percentage will be lower.

How much lower? No one knows.

But what is known is that COVID-19 strikes heavily at those with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other pre-existing illnesses.

Italian doctors who examined the charts of 355 patients who died in that country reported to the American College of Cardiology that they found “heart disease (in) 30 percent; diabetes, 35 percent; active cancer 20 percent; and other serious conditions.”

Doctors in China have reported similar findings as have officials at the CDC. A CDC study released Tuesday reported, that “among all COVID-19 patients with complete information on underlying conditions or risk factors, 184 deaths occurred; 173 deaths (94 percent) were reported among patients with at least one underlying condition.

“These results are consistent with findings from China and Italy, which suggest that patients with underlying health conditions and risk factors, including, but not limited to, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, COPD, coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic renal disease, and smoking, might be at higher risk for severe disease or death from COVID-19.”

Given that some people who die “COVID-19 related deaths,” as the Boston Globe refers to these fatalities, were destined to die from pre-existing conditions such as cancer and heart disease before the year is out, the number of people reported dying from those diseases is sure to drop in 2020.

How much will it drop? Again, no one knows.

What is known is that more than 647,000 people per year die from heart disease in this country, according to the CDC; and more than 599,000 die from cancer.

What is also obvious is that many if not most Americans are now living in fear of the newest disease to threaten in ways they never lived in fear of those old, established diseases.


“Coronavirus could kill more Americans than WWI, Vietnam or Korean wars, White House projection shows,” CNBC headlined this week.


“The coronavirus death toll surged past 4,000 in the United States on Tuesday, eclipsing the total from the 9/11 terror attacks as New York City traded ‘Ground Zero’ for ‘epicenter,’” reported USA Today.

The headlines have stirred a social panic which complicates current government efforts at social distancing, according to a team of researchers at the University of Hawaii, who note that “humans are hardwired to seek safety in numbers, but not hardwired to shelter in place.”

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  1. Fear and F.E.A.R. should be carefully explored before reacting or becoming hysterical. True fear is that which is real (e.g. God, falling, bears seeking food after hibernation, etc) False F.E.A.R.s are in the acronym of False Evidence Appearing Real. As humans we want things to fit into our definable box. If it does not we can project F.E.A.R. rather “back burner the challenge (emotions) for more information” then decide what to do.
    Our State has had 3 deaths of 159 cases of over 6,000 tested Alaskans. So far that is a .0005% chance of an Alaskan dying, and with Alaskans complying with insulating and isolating that the numbers of cases in Alaska are much lower than other states.

    Take care of your emotions by honoring what is real, avoiding what is projected (e.g. sensationalized media or friends) and enjoy walks in our wonderful backyard. Also, be mindful of the bears that are coming out.

  2. How many innocent unborn children die from government funded abortion per year? … Oh yes, another large and unpleasant number!

  3. Fear is what sells news and fear is what T.P.T.B. are selling all over the world in huge quantities today. Thanks Craig for your excellent article. Seymour Marvin Mills Jr. sui juris

  4. Craig seems intent on attempting to cash in on this, gain him some fame by minimizing the risk of the deadliest global pandemic of our generation.

    And he attempts to do so by throwing out some unrelated data, without any objective correlation, and smugly thinking he’s showed up epidemiologists, immunologists, and molecular scientists the world over.

    Craig has no qualifications whatsoever, none.

    I’d dearly love to see him take this show of his on the road, walk down the streets of New York today, and see how well his attempt to minimize the risks goes over.

    I suspect the families who have lost loved ones will not be quick to embrace his schtick. Like the family that lost 7 of their members so far.

    Cases and deaths are still rising exponentially all over the world, nearly every country is now counting cases of infection, and Craig?

    He’s drawn his conclusions already, he’d like you to think like him.

    He’s given little actual thought to his conclusions.

    My conclusion is he’s dangerously maladapted to provide advice.

    • Bill, I’m afraid you are making Craig’s point for him. You wrote a lot about feelings but offered precious little in the way of facts.

      Interesting that in Sweden they are not quarantined at all. Funny, I have not seen anything about Swedes dropping at alarming numbers from Covid-19

      Some other data to consider:

      The coronavirus may not be as deadly as original estimates predicted, according to a new study published on Monday.

      The study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases medical journal, says previous estimates were too high because they were based on the case fatality rate (CFR) and didn’t account for undiagnosed cases.

      The study estimates that the mortality rate of the coronavirus is actually .66 percent.

      • 37 deaths per million citizens inn Sweden compared to
        11 deaths per million citizens in Norway where they are taking more actions.
        or Israel 5 deaths per million citizens where they are taking even more actions.
        Just saying.
        But really pointing out a single country is really silly. Sorry for doing it. Its very immature of me.

        Mark-we all are smarter than Trump, Dunleavy and their health advisors. Right?

        So do the math. When will Alaska have a 1000 cases? It is simple math. When you have created your model and rationale we can have an educated discussion. I’ll tell you my models basis and 1000 case day when you have yours. Took me like 50 seconds in excel to create the model and what do you know my results are similar to almost all other published models and so far spot on for predicting daily tested infection counts and fatality counts for Alaska, Pennsylvania, Kansas, New York, etc. The virus does not care about political agendas, but its spread does appear to follow some pretty basic math principals.

        I learned a lot by making my own model and highly recommend anyone who wants to have an educated discussion on the viral spread and what the future holds, do the same. My model will fail in a month or two or so out, but I can change one parameter to address that once that factor is better defined. Models are seldom right, but sometimes they are useful.

        Tomorrow? I predict 190 total cases in Alaska, Monday? 209.
        Tuesday? 230 and so on. From those three you should also be able to re-create my formula. 7 total fatality count on Tuesday based on my model (though fatalities need some catch up time)-also an easy formula to back track. Staycation hw assignment?

    • Or he is just reporting on the news of the day from a different angle that is worth considering…
      We haven’t lost our 1st Amendment Rights just yet.

    • “the deadliest global pandemic of our generation”
      U.S. total 4/4-8407
      U.S. total Swine Flu 2009-17,000
      U.S. total Hong Kong Flu 1957-116,000
      Bill Tobin, are you lying?

      • Jay,
        What are the USA fatality numbers today?
        A week from now will they be doubled?
        Corona sadly will win.
        Due to our inaction

      • CDC reports 11,690 deaths 2009 swine flu.

        That is over a time span of at least a year.

        CDC reports 116,000 Hong Kong flu 1957

        Same, time span is over a year at least.

        It’s April, 7 USA, 12,786 deaths so far and many months left this year.

        4300 deaths more than when you were thinking you would advance an unfounded assertion that I would lie.

        Am I lying?

        No, I am not lying.

        What now, Jay?

        Your assertion is groundless.

        • I didn’t ask an “assertion”. You made an “assertion” that is still not true. It may never be true. But you made it.

      • No, I”m not asking for money.

        Craig wants you to support his spurious dogma.

        I’m not about to act as shamelessly as Craig does regularly.

  5. Corona virus’s fulminating characteristic is what scares people. Heart disease, cancer and diabetes may be the biggest killers by sheer numbers alone, but the speed and agression of COVID-19 can take loved ones without a chance to say goodbye, up close and in person

  6. I disagree with your assertion of fear. We do not know enough about the virus to decide fear is unwarranted. What I do know is that you must not have a background in medicine or you would not compare chronic illnesses and disease with an acute infection of a virus which is highly contagious and has mutated several times…all it takes is the right mutation to fill every bed in every ICU across the country within 30days. Initially we thought it was air droplet and only viable for 3 or 4 days on surfaces, once outside the host. Now we know it can survive up to 17 days so far, is airborne or aerosol spread out to 10 ft outside and 23ft inside with circulating air possibly even further. You are doing a disservice to us healthcare professionals and the POTUS by alluding to their being a false spread of fear.

  7. Craig is now a bigger expert in epidemiology than the scientists at the CDC? How he chooses to respond to facts and news is a personal issue. Fear is a choice.

  8. Robert A Williams,
    Thank you sir for your medical advice, I wonder if you can help solve the Economic Apocalypse which this pandemic is spawning? I mean given the fact that some retail outlets are open for business while others are not… 14000 unemployment claims last week in Alaska alone and a Legislature that seems hell bent on protecting certain classes of Alaskans without aiding others? Lots of Variables here Sir. Please advise.

  9. 185 positive tests, 6 deaths actual
    190 positive tests, 6 deaths predicted

    not bad for a 50 second model

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