Akey indicator of confidence in the economy, the Dow Jones Industrial Average on the New York Stock Exchange, dropped by more than 1,000 points Monday — primarily because of fear about a cousin of the common cold.

It is COVID-19, the name public health officials have given to the strain of coronavirus that is causing disease outbreaks throughout the world, centered in China. Coronaviruses cause a variety of maladies, including many types of colds.

As of Tuesday, COVID-19 was being blamed for 2,668 deaths, nearly all of them in China. About 80,000 cases had been reported, also mostly in China.

Efforts to slow the spread of the disease included Beijing’s virtual quarantine of entire regions. Multiple industries, including shipping and travel, have been affected. Big sell-offs in stock markets appear to have resulted from fear of how widespread damage to the world economy will be from COVID-19.

There are good reasons to worry. Public health officials warn that though there are only a few dozen cases of the disease in the United States, it is virtually inevitable COVID-19 will spread here.

So, how worried should we be?

Start by understanding how dangerous COVID-19 can be. In Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, fatality rates from the disease range from 2-4%. Outside that area, the fatality rate is about 0.7%. In other words, about one of every 140 people who contract the illness may die.

Here in the United States, where the quality of health care is much better than in most other regions of the world, expect a lower fatality rate — unless hospitals become overrun with COVID-19 patients. At this point, that seems unlikely — but the situation could change.

COVID-19 is one more of any number of wake-up calls humankind has received regarding “emerging diseases.” For now, it appears that though the new coronavirus represents a serious outbreak, it will not be on the scale of, say, the 1918 influenza outbreak that killed at least 20 million — possibly 50 million — people throughout the globe.

But should we be worried in the long term? You decide: The 1918 flu was caused by — you guessed it — another coronavirus.

(11) comments


The 1918 influenza pandemic was caused by the H1N1 influenza virus. A simple search engine inquiry confirms that it is unrelated to coronavirus.



The Chinese Government/Military created this virus. It's time to cut our ties with this vile country and freeze all of their U.S. assets to pay for treatment of our citizens who were exposed.

Spock Here

Is your source for this lie Tom Cotton or Alex Jones, and let's hear again about Hillary's Pizza Parlor "basement."


So you do not believe there is the possibility that this is an escaped pathogen? Why? B/C Chinese money says so? You always believe communists?



Spock Here

Oh, I have a link too! There are many, that agree with you and many that agree with scientific probability. You promote these theories as fact, however, therein lies the problem



Our normal liberal hacks have to make everything about Trump....everything. Everything. Geez, guys, get over your TDS, please!

Spock Here

So says the abnormal Trump hack....Trump makes everything about Trump, tell him to stfu. But here's a different tack. Did you notice science denier, now in charge of science Pence, pick his nose during that sorry excuse for a presser? I am fully confident!


I’m no Trump hack, Red Ranger. I support him as much as I can because.....we’ll, just look at the train wreck on the left. Nuff said.

Jim McCarthy

The stable genius, unconvinced of climate warming, can now claim a warm April will save all from the Coronavirus. Stock market fall is due to Dem debates. PTL for such insight!

Spock Here

"Is this just like flu because people die of the flu and this is very unusual. It is a little bit different but in some ways it's easier and in some ways it's a little bit tougher".....We don't really know how worried we should be. The leader has cut funding, fired scientists, doesn't believe in science, doesn't listen to experts, and lies about everything. Love this winning!

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