TYLER, Texas — A novel virus typically creates more questions than answers, so we will try to provide as many answers about the current coronavirus outbreak as we can while disproving myths.
Mari Weber asked us a two-part question. The first part was: "Is the virus more deadly than not, and is it getting worse?"
In its daily reporting for March 17, the World Health Organization said 6,606 people have died from COVID-19 around the world, or approximately 3.9 percent of everyone who has tested positive. That is slightly higher than its estimate from two weeks ago, but still means that the survival rate is better than 96 percent.
In America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the mortality rate is even lower, 1.8 percent.
So we can verify you are more likely to recover from COVID-19 than die from it.
George Roberts, the CEO of NET Health, says the numbers are changing because the virus keeps spreading and because more people are getting tested every day, including in East Texas.
"Last week, we had the capacity to do 25 lab tests [a day],” Roberts said. “This week, we now have the capacity to do 50 lab tests [a day], and the commercially-available tests are now coming online in greater supply."
The second part of Weber’s question: "Are people starting to take it seriously and taking the right precautions?"
Roberts, a leader in public health for East Texas, says he believes people are doing the right things, but it will take more time to know if the hand-washing and social distancing pay off.
"The concern is: 'Are we doing enough?'” Roberts stated. “And again, it all goes back to this: We want to, we don't want a whole lot of people to get this disease at the same time and get so sick they have to be hospitalized, and everybody needs a hospital bed at the same time. It will absolutely, positively overwhelm our health care system."
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