US Coronavirus Deaths: Elderly with Preconditions

US Coronavirus Deaths: Elderly with Preconditions March 13, 2020
Confirmed cases worldwide: 137,066
Total deaths: 3,337 (2.4%)
 
Total recovered: 64,374 (47%)
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Cases in US: 1701 (it was 1663 12 hours earlier)
 
Deaths in US: 40 (2.4%)
(31: Washington state, 4: California, 2: Florida, 1: Georgia, 1: New Jersey, 1: South Dakota)
22 (or 23) of the deaths (71% or 74%) in Washington (and 55% or 58%of all US deaths) occurred in one nursing care / rehabilitation center: Life Care Center of Kirkland. In Washington, as of 5:12 AM, 3-13-20, 60% of all cases (270 of 447) were in King County, and another 24% (108) in neighboring Snohomish County (84% in two counties). Journalist Sharyl Attkisson described ten additional deaths in Washington (newly reported on 3-13-20):
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  • Two women in their 90s at Life Care Center died on March 6.
  • A woman in her 80s at Life Care Center died on March 6.
  • A man in his 70s at Overlake Medical Center died on March 4.
  • A man in his 80s at Swedish Issaquah hospital, died on March 9.
  • Woman in her 70s with underlying health conditions died on March 11.

Four Washington state deaths are from SnohomishCounty

  • A woman in her 70s with underlying health conditions died March 11.
  • Woman in her 80s with underlying health conditions died March 10.
  • Man in his 80s with underlying health conditions, died March 9 at the Josephine Caring Community
  • A man in his 40s with underlying health conditions died but the date has not been specified.

One Washington State death is from Grant County, a patient in his or her 80s.

As for the two deaths in Florida“Both individuals were reportedly in their 70s and had recently returned from traveling abroad.”
 
One of the four deaths in California, in Los Angeles County, was “a woman over 60 who had underlying health conditions and had recently traveled extensively over the past month, including having a long layover in South Korea”.
 
A second of the four California deaths (in Placer County) was “an elderly adult with underlying health conditions . . . likely exposed to the virus while he travel[ed] in February on a Princess cruise ship from San Francisco to Mexico, officials said in a statement.”
 
A third death, from Santa Clara County was a woman in her 60s.
 
The fourth was in Sacramento County“The person was described as being in their 90’s who was in an assisted living facility and had an underlying health condition.”
 
The one person who died in Georgia was a “67-year-old . . . man who . . . also had underlying medical conditions.”
 
The one person who died in New Jersey “was 69 . . . with a history of serious health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure and emphysema, . . .”
 
The one person who died in South Dakota “was a man between the age of 60 and 69 . . . [with] underlying medical conditions.”
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Since I first wrote this article (eight new deaths have occurred in a day), in Colorado, “A woman in her 80s with underlying health conditions has died.”
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As of 3-14-20, 37 out of 48 total US deaths (77%) have been in Washington state (almost all, elderly persons, and most with other conditions).
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Anyone can easily grasp what is going on here: All nine deaths outside of Washington (in the US) were persons at least 60 years old: most 70s or older; almost all had underlying health conditions, and a statistically significant number had recently traveled to other countries. 22 or 23 of 31 deaths due to the virus in Washington state were elderly residents of one nursing home.

I’ve looked up all these cases and have yet to find a single one (31 out of the 40 deaths in the US) where the person was younger than 60 (and was perfectly healthy otherwise, etc.).

Though the overall situation is very different in China, still it’s obvious that the elderly and already sick were and are at far greater risk:
Overall, China CDC found, 2.3% of confirmed cases died. But the fatality rate was 14.8% in people 80 or older, likely reflecting the presence of other diseases, a weaker immune system, or simply worse overall health. By contrast, the fatality rate was 1.3% in 50-somethings, 0.4% in 40-somethings, and 0.2% in people 10 to 39.
Let me hasten to add that, of course, I am not implying at all that elderly lives are more disposable or expendable, or less to be concerned about (I’m 61 myself!). My point is that flu and other viruses always attack the elderly and those with existing conditions far more disproportionately. Moreover, of 1,760 current cases in the US, only 1% (10) are “critical”; 99% (1,750) are “in mild condition.”
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In other words, there is no reason for a nationwide panic. That’s not to deny the deeply and profoundly serious nature of what we face over the next few months at a minimum. We need to take sensible, rational precautions (most importantly for the elderly and those with any medical condition) — thoroughly wash hands, avoid unnecessary contact and large crowds, stay home if sick, do whatever else is being recommended by the experts in the field. But panic and hysteria and excessive, unwarranted fears aren’t going to help matters at all.

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Similar articles by the reputable journalist Sharyl Attkisson closely reflect my own thinking (at least so far):

“Coronavirus: Facts vs. Panic” (updated 3-13-20)

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The first person to die of COVID-19 in Kansas stayed at a long-term care facility in Wyandotte County owned by the national chain with a suburban Seattle facility tied to 22 deaths from the virus.

Friday’s news comes as Wichita reported its first case of the novel coronavirus, involving a man who had taken a Caribbean cruise. That brings the state’s total known cases to six.

Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment Lee Norman says the Wyandotte County man in his 70s who died Wednesday was staying at Life Care Center of Kansas City. It remains unclear how the virus reached the man, Norman said.

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(3-13-20; some additions and revisions on 3-14-20)
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Photo credit: CDC/Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS [National Park Service web page]
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