How a bad NJ flu season compares to today’s Covid-19 outbreak
So here we are. Another new year. Or shall we call it 2020 part 3?
As New Jersey drags on through a pandemic we all thought would be long over by now, the politicization of an apolitical virus drags on as well. Even former president Donald Trump has been booed publicly for speaking of how he’s been vaccinated. There are still those who see this as the government trying to control us rather than the virus controlling the government.
One point made over and over again is that this has been nothing more than seasonal flu. (Some have even called it “just a head cold” but other than mentioning it that’s just too dimwitted to waste time on.)
To continue to compare what’s happened with the flu does not even rise to the level of specious.
So let’s compare.
In the winter of 2017/2018 New Jersey was hit hard with flu. In February of 2018 the CDC called it the worst flu season to hit the country in 15 years.
The shocking numbers?
That February began with reports of a “staggering” 2,582 new cases in New Jersey in one week. The total number of flu cases in the state at that point was 7,332.
Compare that with the new cases of Covid-19 the state has seen this past week from December 25 to December 31.
126,854 new cases. Welcome to the new staggering.
Nationally the 2017/18 flu season killed 80,000 Americans and was eventually called the worst in 40 years. The number of deaths was far greater than an average flu season.
Still, at this point in the pandemic 824,000 Americans have died from Covid-19. To continue to compare what’s happened with the flu does not even rise to the level of specious.
The new omicron variant has started causing deaths but so far it appears it will be far fewer than previous variants. I have written before that perhaps this variant in trying to keep the virus alive and spreading made a biomolecular trade off of sorts. More contagious but less lethal. That’s great news if it holds.
However what government, medical experts and business and industry are worried about is the sickness. Hospitals are filling up at a time when the medical community has lost a significant portion of their manpower, 20% by some estimates. Business is already struggling to keep going amid an increasingly sickened workforce. Thousands of flights during holiday travel had to be canceled due to staff shortages caused by the virus. Government is concerned not about a shutdown by executive order but by millions of people too sick to work. The good fabric of things unraveling and the economy coming to a grinding halt is, according to experts, a really possibility in the next several weeks.
We will come out of this somehow at some point. When we do everyone will feel they were right, even those who were dead wrong. So far the only winner in any of this has been the virus.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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