Facebook Live 5/18- Answers

Hi everyone, I’m going to go over a lot of statistics today. I’m going to post an article on Facebook that reviews a lot of these statistics, and I’m going to pull a few statistics from the Department of Health.

Many questions ask about the actual risk rates. Using data from the Virginia Department of Health, we’ve had 31,140 people in Virginia hospitalized, of those 1,014 have died. That is, 3% of the people who have tested positive, have died. That is, 12 people out of 100,000 Virginians have died. That is .012% of the Virginia population, the numbers are very low. If you are hospitalized, you have a 26% chance of death, but 80-90% of people who get this don’t have to be hospitalized.

The United States as a whole have had 20 out of 100,000 people die. The news is reporting whole numbers. However, if you don’t report data in a sensible and comprehensible way that standardizes that data, you’re not really reporting actionable data. The news is reporting that the U.S. has more deaths than anywhere else in the world, however that is not exactly accurate. For example, Italy, France and the United Kingdom all had more than 50 deaths per 100,000. The U.S. has 20 per 100,000.

Many states have been opening up, and there have been no new surges. If we drill down on the deaths in the U.S., 50% of all deaths in the U.S. have come from 3 states: New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Another 20% come from six other states: Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Louisiana and California. This makes up 70% of the deaths. So, 30% of the deaths are spread across all but 9 states.

For some more data, 35% of all deaths nationwide were in nursing homes. In Virginia, that number is 57%. 80% of all deaths in the country were from those 65 and older. 60% of all deaths were 75 and older. In Virginia, 67% of deaths were 75 and older. Nationwide, only 8% of people who have died were younger than 55, less than 3% of deaths were from people under 45 years old. We know age is an important risk, and so is chronic disease. The Journal of American Medicine published a study that looked at New York, and found that 94% of those hospitalized had a chronic illness, 88% had two or more chronic illnesses. Remember the three biggest factors are obesity, hypertension and heart disease. Only 6% of anyone hospitalized did not have a preexisting condition.

What trends does this bring us too? This tells us that deaths are down, and rates of infection are down. In order to correct the number of positive tests we’re seeing, we can only count the number of positive tests we have, unlike Virginia. To measure the right data, the data has to be corrected for variability where you must look at percent positive. The highest we’ve been in this country is around the 20th percentile, and we’re down to 6-7% positive now.

If you’re not living in a nursing home, or not over 65 years old, or don’t have a serious medical condition, your chance of hospitalization is incredibly low, and your chance of death is even lower. We will have outbreaks, we will have epicenters, and people will continue to die. However, it will be at a rate that hospitals can manage the capacity and people can get the care they need.

This is a review of the data, because the data supports an opening of the economy. The highest rate of injury right now is economic because we have managed and contained the epidemiological one. This is important because people are scared. But again, if you don’t live in a nursing home, if you’re under the age of 65, or if you don’t have a chronic disease, your chances of getting sick are incredibly small.

How do we make sure we’re prudent going forward? Until we know more, the safest thing to do is to wear masks. Masks do not completely prevent anything that is expelled from you, but it profoundly decreases the risk. It prevents you from breathing in anything that is in the air. Unless you’re in a medical setting, you’re not inhaling the virus because it’s a droplet and it falls to the ground. Wearing a mask is an altruistic task on your part to protect someone else. You may be asymptomatic but still be a carrier, and you may be inadvertently leaving droplets places. We have an article from last week in the United Kingdom that the greatest decrease in transmission going forward was staying at home, and then it was wearing a mask in public.

Question 1:

Why are we increasing testing for positive active cases?


There are two types of tests: antibody testing, which shows that you’re not active, but you’re positive. A positive antibody test is not an active test. We should be testing positive active cases. There’s a correction being made in Virginia because for a while 1,500 antibody tests were posted on the website.

Question 2:

Is it true that testing centers aren’t really that busy?


You have the ability to get a test if you want it. If you need to be tested, call your doctor and ask them what to do. Right now, everyone who wants a test can get one, however I don’t know if that’s fruitful. In my analysis, the best thing to do is test people who are symptomatic, and to test those who have been exposed to someone who is positive.

Question 3:

As we learn more about best practices, it appears that a cloth covering both nose and mouth does not protect people near us, especially indoors. Can you clarify?


You’re not going to wear a mask around the people you’re living with. For medical workers, it’s important to wear a mask outside the home, to take off shoes and clothes when you get home, and to clean surfaces with antibacterial cleaners. The FDA has cleaners it recommends. That’s how you prevent the people in your home from getting sick. Wearing a mask outside your home is a theoretical protection to prevent you from getting droplets on surfaces. This is the best information we have right now.

Question 4:

It’s difficult for me to understand all the numbers and percentages, so what is the chance of dying from COVID in Virginia? Answer:

0.012% of Virginians have died from COVID, that is 12 Virginians per 100,000 knowing that we have a little over 8.5 million people in Virginia. The numbers are low.

Question 5:

Do we need the herd to get infected to about 60% in order for herd immunity?


In order to get herd immunity, we need to get to probably over 90%. It’s fine if you get the virus, but I’d rather you not give it to others. Right now, it’s going to be difficult to get to herd immunity.

Question 6:

Does Northam’s reopening plan put businesses at risk of bankruptcy when there’s no risk of our hospitals being overrun?


I would say that with the current business plan, he had businesses look at all the data and asked them to come up with guidelines to reopen. However, at the last minute without a conversation with those business owners he didn’t open a lot of what he said he was going to. We need a sensible, strategic forethought out plan for reopening. Other states have been open for two weeks and haven’t seen a surge. We need to fear less and act more.

One of the reasons I ran for Senate is because there are a lot of things that contribute to someone’s health. They’re called the social determinants of health, you can’t have a healthy person just because they get to the doctor’s office. A healthy person has a good education, a safe place to live, and an income that can support themselves and their families. These are the social determinants of health. We’ve got to look at the whole health of Virginia, and Virginia has to get back to work.