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COVID-19 Facts you won’t get from Maine Media (Why Scare The Children?)

COVID-19 Facts you won’t get from Maine Media (Why Scare The Children?)

Posted by Edmund R. Folsom, Esq.

May 13, 2020 (updated May 14, 2020)

I’m back again, keeping it real with facts Maine’s media doesn’t tell you, citing stats from the U.S. CDC, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and few of the paltry crumbs Maine’s CDC deems fit to dole out. This isn’t legal advice, or any advice at all.  If you drink bleach, or Lysol, or pool cleaner, you’re doing it on your own.  You can put me down as advising strongly against it.  Otherwise, nothing here is advice, just facts and questions.

Why Scare the Children? 

Recent news has included stories of children afraid to venture out, fearful of death by COVID-19. The CDC has recorded 37,308 U.S. COVID-19 deaths by age for the period February 1, 2020 through May 9, 2020, with comparative influenza and pneumonia deaths for each age range:

Age   Deaths: COVID  Flu  Pneumonia

<1,                   4           11           37

1-4                   2            35          33

5-14                 6            43          41

15-24              59           42         157

Why are we frightening children with the prospect of death from COVID-19 when only 51 of 37,308 U.S. deaths recorded by the CDC through May 2 were of people under age 25 and when far more kids under age 15 have died of seasonal flu?

In Maine, no child has died of COVID-19. In fact, if Maine’s CDC would simply make information available on the ages of those who have died from COVID-19, I’m pretty sure we’d see there’s only been one death below age 50.* We do know from news accounts that more than half of Maine’s deaths have been at nursing homes, but Maine’s CDC doesn’t publish information on the age of those hospitalized or who have died. It’s almost as if they’d rather you didn’t know.
The U.S. CDC keeps information by state on COVID-19 deaths compared to deaths from other causes. For the period February 1, 2020 through May 9, 2020, here are the numbers for Maine:

Deaths from all causes – 4,270
COVID-19 Deaths – 56
Flu deaths – 31
Pneumonia deaths – 346

Here are the CDC’s numbers for the U.S. overall, for the same period:

Deaths from all causes – 846,133
COVID-19 deaths – 56,977
Flu deaths – 6,148
Pneumonia deaths – 79,743

Wow, the CDC reports that Maine had more than half as many seasonal flu deaths as COVID-19 deaths in this period. Who knew? Have you even heard it mentioned that 31 people died of seasonal flu during this period in Maine? Were those peoples’ lives less valuable than those who died of COVID-19? And nationally, look at all those pneumonia deaths? Who even knew pneumonia was a cause of mass death these days?

Why Can’t Maine Give Us Information Like MA Gets?

The average age of people who have been hospitalized and have died from COVID-19 in Maine likely approximates the pattern in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health provides detailed COVID-19 information daily. As of May 12, 2020, Massachusetts reported 79,332 COVID-19 cases and 5,141 deaths. They even tell us how many cases and deaths arose in each nursing home and each town. Again, you might think that with Maine’s 1,477 cases and 65 deaths as of May 12, our CDC could manage to inform us at least of the age of the hospitalized and deceased, but if that’s what you think, you’d be wrong.

As for children, Massachusetts records that exactly 0 of its 5,141 deaths occurred in the age group under 20. More than 95% of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 deaths have been of those age 60 and older. That leaves slightly less than 5% of Massachusetts COVID-19 deaths in those under age 60.
Here’s some additional information from the Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health:

Average Age of Those with COVID-19 – 53
Average Age of the Hospitalized – 68
Average Age at Death – 82
Deaths With Underlying condition -98.5%

If you are relatively young (under 60) and relatively healthy, COVID-19 is very unlikely to land you in the hospital or kill you. If you are a child, the numbers indicate that the seasonal flu and pneumonia are significantly more dangerous. At any age, you are much more likely to die of pneumonia.

How is the lockdown rational? How is fear of dying from COVID-19 rational for the relatively young and healthy?  Where, between seasonal flu and COVID-19, is the line to be drawn between tens of thousands of deaths passing virtually unmentioned each year and a government shutdown of the U.S. and state economies and indefinite curtailment of freedom on the thinnest of notions that flattening the curve will somehow rid us of the virus?  Seriously.

 

* On May 13, 2020, in response to a Maine freedom of access request, Maine’s CDC informed me, as of May 10, 2020 Maine’s COVID-19 deaths by age range broke down as follows:

Age              Deaths

<20                0

20s                0

30s                0

40s                1

50s                3

60s                5

70s               23

80+               32

Total             64

Adding to this the death of a man in his 70’s reported in the news on 5/11 and a woman in her 90’s reported 5/14, there are a total of 66 recorded COVID deaths in Maine as of May 14.  Of those 50% were age 80 and above and 6% were below age 60. None were below age 40.