There are now over 318,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases globally, and that number is rapidly increasing as testing becomes more available. As we begin to test more and more people, I believe we'll see that number jump every day for the next few days - maybe even weeks.
You can check the current number of cases/closed cases/death rates/cases by country by clicking here.
This is something that none of us have ever seen before, and a lot of people have questions - rightfully so. As a travel agent, travel blogger, and travel author, I'm hopeful I can help.
Should I travel?
No. Plain and simple.
I love travel with everything in my being, and most of my income depends on the success of this industry. So, I do not say this lightly -- stop traveling. STOP.
You should NOT be taking trips for leisure and enjoyment right now. I know canceling spring break sucks, but we have a choice right now. We can either lock ourselves down for a few weeks and pick back up with regular life in a month or two... or we can live as we please and watch as this continues on for the next 18 months or so.
You can go on your trip when all of this is over. Maybe you'll need to wait 12 months, and maybe you'll need to wait 2 months. We don't know yet. But being safe is always the better choice.
And if you're young, the rules are the same. DO. NOT. TRAVEL. According to Governor Cuomo of New York, 54% of the confirmed cases in the state are 18-49-year-olds. You are not immune. None of us are.
Isn't it just like the flu?
It is flu-like in regards to symptoms. Fever, cough, aches and pains, and headache, are symptoms of both the flu and COVID-19.
But is the disease itself actually like the flu? No. It is far more contagious and far more deadly.
Here are the stats according to NPR.org. The average person infected with the flu spreads it to 1.3 people. The average person infected with COVID-19 spreads it to 2-2.5 people.
20% of COVID-19 patients end up in the hospital - that's about 10x more people than the flu.
The average stay of a COVID-19 patient in the hospital is 11 days. Whereas for the flu, it's 5-6 days... and only 1-2% of flu cases are hospitalized.
According to Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease, COVID-19 is about 10x as deadly as the flu.
According to Johns Hopkins, COVID-19 can also be spread by the "airborne route", which means you don't need direct contact with an infected person to contract the disease.
So, no, COVID-19 is not just like the flu. And yes, you should be taking it seriously. You, and everyone else in the world, do not have any kind of immunity to COVID-19, and there's no vaccine and no approved treatment at this time.
And for the record, the annual flu count is not comparable to the COVID19 count. The ANNUAL flu count is for a 12-month period. We have only known about coronavirus since the first confirmed case in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Comparing the stats from 3 months to stats from 12 months is simply inaccurate.
Why is everyone freaking out?
It had been estimated that 3.4% of Americans would die from the coronavirus outbreak. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin stated, out loud, on purpose, that we shouldn't stop our economy or shut anything down because of COVID-19. Since "only" 3.4% of the population would die. I did the math -- that's 12.2 million people.
Around March 10, both Fox News and United States government officials, including President Trump, referred to the Coronavirus as a "hoax", "impeachment scam", etc. They reassured Americans that "everything is under control". It is beyond clear that nothing is under control and this is a very real threat. People have died, and are dying, from the lack of accurate and truthful guidance from our leaders, and that scares a lot of people.
Another reason people are freaking out is the unknown death rate. The global death rate for closed cases is 12% right now. What does that mean? Is that the true death rate? -- No. We can't know that yet, as there are still hundreds of thousands of cases that have not had an outcome yet. Closed cases mean that the person either recovered or passed away. In those instances, 12% of patients died.
So, where do I go for reliable information?
Dr. Anthony Fauci is the director of the National Institutes for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He's the doctor that you see during the White House press briefings.
Scott Gottlieb was a physician and served as the 23rd commissioner for the FDA.
Michael Osterholm is a scientist and infectious-disease expert.
For now, those are the individuals I recommend for fact-based information in regards to COVID-19.
When will this be over?
As soon as all of you learn to stay in the house.
Just kidding - kind of.
It's been estimated by government officials that this will be over in July or August. Other experts have said 18 months.
Unfortunately, we really won't know until we know.