The argument over when to travel and how to strike the proper balance between saving lives and saving the economy in this era of COVID-19 misses a greater point: why do we, as Americans, accept such mediocrity from ourselves and from our government?
The United States is a proud beacon of freedom around the world. We formed a representative democracy in 1789 that continues to be a model for many nations. We fought two world wars and prevailed. We put a man on the moon and developed technology that has saved millions of lives.
So why has an invisible enemy so flummoxed us?
The Surface Level Debate
There’s a surface level debate over COVID-19. It goes something like this.
In one camp, are well-meaning souls who say that life must be valued over money or short-term liberty; that until we find a cure we cannot sacrifice lives to a virus that is far more deadly and invasive than the flu. They see social distancing and lockdown measures as the only viable way to halt the spread of the virus, which will avert even greater economic damage in due time. With so many unknowns about this virus, including no proven treatment (let alone cure), social distancing should be used to buy us time, so that we can understand and effectively address this virus.
In the other camp, are well-meaning souls who point out that the economic costs of lockdown are staggering. They note the unintended consequences including systemic unemployment, the collapse of markets and economic systems, and instability in the world. Furthermore, they point to the adverse mental health risks of depriving people of their livelihoods and the hidden costs of delaying elective procedures like physicals or MRIs which may uncover malignant issues that are preventable if acted upon in a timely fashion. And there are issues of liberty and personal responsibility. Can people not make their own informed judgements? Isn’t there risk in higher speed limits, yet society is willing to accept that risk because of the economic tradeoff in terms of increased productivity?
Now if the issue were that simple, I would tend to be more sympathetic to the latter argument, even while I dismiss the childish notion that COVID-19 is just like the flu.
But talk about a false choice….
Why should we tolerate needless death either rapidly or slowly? This isn’t a debate over speed limits, which themselves are not harmful, but of a pernicious virus that is an equal-opportunity killer.
To tackle this problem and truly restore confidence in a way that will jumpstart the economy, we need either rapid, accurate, wide-scale testing with an effective tracing protocol or a vaccine.
Now I’m certainly not a doctor, but vaccines generally take years—sometimes decades—to develop and properly test. The notion that a safe vaccine will be available for mass consumption by the end of the year strikes me as pure fantasy, though I certainly am hopeful that a breakthrough will come sooner rather than later.
But testing plus tracing is a viable avenue to opening up the economy quickly and ensuring the most vulnerable remain protected. Why have we accepted failure for so long?
My Experience: Testing Is Practically Impossible Now
Here in Los Angeles, all residents are offered free tests…in theory. I wanted to take advantage and get tested, so I scheduled an appointment. One was not available for several days, but I made one at Dodger Stadium, about 10 minutes from my office.
The appointment was at noon and I showed up on-time, only to find a line of cars literally five miles long, stretching around the stadium and surrounding neighborhood. Police officers directing traffic warned of a wait time of at least five hours.
The other day I went to see my doctor and found a big sign on the door that said “NO COVID-19 TESTS”.
Why not? How can the nation that has achieved so much, like the internet, genetic engineering, mobile phones, nuclear power, space flight, and supercomputers be unable…after several months…to develop a coherent national testing system?
And contact tracing goes hand in hand with testing. Emerging data suggests that COVID infections cluster (like many viruses). If a small number of people are responsible for a majority of the cases, an effective tracing system can quickly isolate those individuals and reduce community spread. New Zealand has done a great job in creating a contact tracing model for other governments to emulate. As an aside, recent data showing more asymptomatic patients shows why it makes sense to wear masks as a precautionary move.
The counterargument that the USA is just too big and t0o populous to do this is a defeatist attitude that I refuse to accept.
Imagine if tests were widespread, quick, and effective. Imagine if you took a test every time you entered the airport and knew minutes later if you were clear to fly. What peace of mind would come from knowing that everyone else around you had been tested. Forget the masks, gloves, and social distancing. You’d know that you were not contagious, just like everyone else around you. Boom. The economy starts flourishing again.
Imagine if we had a tracing system in place that was quickly able to retrace where patients had been, who they had interacted with, and therefore effectively cordon off potential infections from the wider community.
If the President and his staff can be checked on a daily basis, why not the rest of America? Why do we not call upon the White House, Speaker of the House, and Senate Majority Leader to craft a national solution? For those who see government as a problem rather than a solution, keep in mind that the United States…a national government…was formed to provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare (see the Preamble to the Constitution). Is this not the clearest case of the federal government doing exactly what the Founders of the federal government intended it to do?
We do live in federal republic with many rights and duties reserved to the states. Still, the spectacle of states bidding against state for personal protective equipment simply made no sense. Are we one nation or not? The purchasing power of the federal government should have been leveraged to procure PPE for all 50 states, but it is not too late for a national testing and tracing system that will position us for a lasting economic rebound.
We need to demand more from our elected leaders. This is America. I’m so sick of the notion that we’ve done all we can, now let’s just re-open and allow COVID-19 death counts to spike once again. Let’s develop accurate testing and then produce it on a widespread basis. Let’s do it now.
I want to travel again. In fact, I desperately want to travel again. My import/export business has languished during the shutdown and I need to get back on the road, as my livelihood depends upon it. But I don’t want to unknowingly infect my wife, son, aging parents, or even the clerk at the grocery store. Even if I am willing to take the risk, why should I have to? We have the answer: it’s called testing and tracing. It should not be this hard and we should not just complacently see our response to COVID-19 as simply a tradeoff between life and money.
I’m afraid you don’t quite understand how testing and contact tracing work. Elaborate testing and contact tracing is only feasible when the incidence of the disease is low enough that we can actually do a near-complete job on contact tracing. With potentially ~3% of US population infected (based on the Indiana random testing data) effective contact tracing is not feasible.
I, however, agree that we need more testing to have a better understanding of what, both qualitatively and quantitatively, we are dealing with. Contact testing will also be useful after we manage to control this thing better, when we start to have mini-outbreaks to control.
I’m afraid you did not quite understand my point. Testing is fundamental so we know how many are infected. How can we know what to do next if we don’t know what the incidence of COVID-19 is?
Incidence of this disease can be determined fairly accurately by random testing of the population. I agree that something needs to be done for us to know the true incidence of the disease. However true contract tracing is essentially infeasible when we have as high of a incidence of the disease as we have in the US. Good contract tracing is only possible when the incidence goes down to the manageable level, the level at which we are not at.
So when you say “But testing plus tracing is a viable avenue to opening up the economy quickly and ensuring the most vulnerable remain protected,” it is very clear to me that you don’t understand that contact tracing is not possible at the current incidence of the disease.
Personally, reduction of the disease incidence is the only viable avenue to opening of the economy. Testing alone does not reduce the incidence of the disease.
And again, in order to reduce the incidence, we can either continue to keep everything shut down or empower people to know if they have COVD-19 or not.
I’m not sure why you choose to nitpick, because you’ve conceded that tracing and testing are helpful, at least in theory.
I’m sorry that you don’t have faith that the USA can overcome this, but I would think some contact tracing would be better than none. Or do you just believe it is no longer worth the effort?
At the level of incidence we have in the US, contract tracing is not feasible.
I’m not nitpicking, though you may feel that way. The problem is that we have a rather uncontrolled and widespread transmission of a virus with no good treatment.
Widespread testing and contract tracing would have been helpful in the early days of this outbreak, before the numbers got this high. Also, after the decrease in the numbers, we would and should be doing extensive and targeted testing with extensive contract tracing to manage and contain mini-outbreaks in the future.
However, doing any kind of contract tracing would be both infeasible and futile at this particular juncture.
I’m not saying that testing and tracing is helpful, only in very specific circumstances. I never said it is universally helpful.
I never said I “don’t have faith that USA can overcome this.” I am just saying that not everything that other countries have done to successfully contain the outbreak is either effective or feasible at this particular point in time in the US. If we had done this earlier, it would have been helpful, though.
I firmly believe that continued restrictions of movement is price we are paying US is paying for our unacceptably incompetent response to the outbreak, and because of that, we have no choice but to continue the lock-down and other measures longer than other countries that dealt with the outbreak more competently. And testing everyone in the country (something this country would never be able to do) is not going to open us up any sooner. We just have to wait for the disease incidence to decrease to manageable levels, when we can start contract tracing.
Fair enough. I appreciate your detailed reply. However, I do think we can vastly improve the testing regime in this country and that alone would empower smarter policy choices, on an individual and more macro level.
Bravo, Matthew! Perfectly laid out. One of your best written posts during this crisis.
I think the premise of this is false.
I, personally, don’t see any reason for any of the fuss about this virus.
So, not only do I not see a need for any ‘testing’ – I certainly don’t demand it.
If iceland forces me to get a test to visit in July, fine, I’ll do it.
But, the idea that 330million Americans need to be tested, what, every week?
For something that is about 3x more deadly than the common flu?
Uhm, don’t we have a lot bigger problems to worry about in this country?
I think some perspective is needed to all the self-righteous people who demand action.
‘Action’ is what got us into this mess. The numbers and data are sure showing that if we had done nothing at all- hundreds of millions of people would be a LOT better off.
So, I vote – do nothing.
I certainly don’t want my government doing any more – they’ve already worked together to ruin everything for us. All for 400,000 deaths in 6 months? Good grief. It’s a rounding error in the # of people who die normally in that time period (about 30,000,000 – yes, 30Million die normally in 6 months in the world).
So, no, I don’t want testing, or tracing. I want people to stop worrying about something that is so minor (unless you make decisions based on emotions, and not scientific evidence or facts).
I’m not afraid of death, but I don’t think we need to accept unnecessary death. Imagine if it were your mother or spouse.
Do you really think Brazil should be the model for the world to follow?
The powers that be will not allow testing to happen on the scale that needs to happen. This is because “it makes us look bad”. Until such point that POTUS thinks otherwise, it simply will not happen. But I agree with you that what we need is massive testing and contract tracing.
Also, other countries are not going to let us travel in to their borders until they feel like we’ve sufficiently handled the situation here. So contrary to what some people think, we DO need to care what the rest of the world thinks if we ever want to travel to certain countries again
Firstly as one that lives in Brazil the hysterical media is blowing things all out of proportion. The thrust of the media here is hostility towards the president and by extension Hydroxychloroquine which may have large economic interests in the background.
As to your massive contact tracing scheme I oppose it as I am not willing to sacrifice whatever little liberty and privacy are left for the massive surveillance required in order to make it effective. Especially in the US where the national security state has unlimited power and resources.
Your president is a horrible man who deserves all the hostility he gets coming to him, most of it, if not all, earned.
Well said Matthew. Personally, I don’t think international travel will really start until all these 14-day quarantines end, and who knows how long that’s going to be.
The problem with the Remain-In-Lockdown crowd is that we don’t enforce it stringently enough (like China did) and haven’t used the time it buys us to increase hospital and testing capacity (the effective short term mitigation before the long term treatment and possible vaccine). Without that, the lockdown delays, not prevents, deaths. The lockdown could make sense to endure if it saves the 1-2 million lives or so, but in my opinion that economic suicide is absurd if all it does is allow the people who will die a few more months of what is honestly a shell of a life for all
The goalpost got moved. We were okay with lockdown in order to “bend the curve” and avoid catastrophic hospital overload.
We did that.
Now we’re told we need lockdown until there’s a vaccine/treatment. A bridge too far.
A typical extreme strawman argument from the right that isn’t reflective of reality.
No one is saying “stay home til there is a vaccine” – GMAB.
The people driven by, you know, science and facts and data, have phased re-opening plans, insist on face masks for mutual protection, continuing smart social gathering, etc.
Then you have the MAGA trolls beating their chests saying it somehow “infringes on their ability to be ‘Murica and all” by wearing a mask.
“…comments from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who asserted in a “Good Morning America” interview last week that the city will “never be completely open until we have a cure” for the coronavirus”
@UA-NYC you are so one-note and always make issues political. I don’t give a shit about the TDS living in your head. Stick to subject matter.
Grow your small, rigid mind.
I love the Trump Sycophants – they can only ever make the “you have TDS argument!” Every single argument from the right these days is 100% extreme – “100% lockdown! 100% socialism is bad! Only 0% mask wearing is acceptable”!
Much like the concept of comedy is lost on the right, so is any nuance & rational discussion.
You should know that the second you invoke “TDS” as any sort of explanation or pejorative or…as a thing that even exists, you’ve already made your opinion null and should just stop. You fucking simpleton.
And for the record, I’m all for easing back into things right now and monitoring them. So no, I’m not some “everyone stay at home” crier.
Amen. Some people don’t understand that Eric Garcetti isn’t advocating a full lockdown, just a partial one till things get better and re-evaluated for the future. Then again, those people think science is magic or something.
Sounds like people like colleen have Reverse Trump Derangement Syndrome, unfortunately…
The federal government plan – since January – has been to assume “it will go away”. That’s still the plan. That, and shoveling out as much cash as possible and hoping that someone will make the problem go away. Anything that involves developing and implementing a scientifically sound, competent, efficient and coordinated response for the nation is beyond the skill set and the attention span of the federal government. The only answer they have is print more money, hand it out, and then blame everyone else when that doesn’t work.
We all deserve better, we all pay for much more competence than we are getting.
The sad thing is that many Americans want the US pandemic response to be like China’s, complete with censorship and abrogation of free movement. The time when we could try to contain the virus has long passed. There is no guarantee that a vaccine will be available anytime soon. Are people seriously considering staying under lockdown in the meantime? Cuomo and de Blasio screwed over the entire country by delaying on taking any mitigation measures, even encouraging people to go about their lives and lying about the efficacy of masks. Then Cuomo ordered nursing homes to take back patients who were sick with the virus. His braying about saving lives and doing the best job ever is no different from Trump’s. Not only did he and de Blasio make things worse for themselves, but they seeded the spread of the virus to the rest of the country and made the pandemic seem a lot worse than it really was for the vast majority of healthy Americans. I will be boarding a trans-Atlantic flight tomorrow without trepidation.
What a joke straight from Faux News spin central. Blame your president who was out campaigning and playing golf for January and February denying that the virus was real and proclaiming it would go from 15 to 0 cases in a week. SMFH.
Typical Trump troll response.
So you have no fear taking a trans-Atlantic flight…but it was your fearless leader who dithered on the Europe travel ban and allowed 3 million travelers to come to NYC during that time.
So take that flight…and I hope never to have to treat one of your family members if I see them in the hospital.
I never said the virus wasn’t real. I was wearing a mask in January (despite public health officials lying about the efficacy of masks until April) and flew to New York, San Francisco, London, Frankfurt, Florence, Milan and Singapore since the beginning of the pandemic. I just don’t appreciate being lied to by Cuomo, de Blasio and the hysterical left. The risk of death for the healthy and young is vastly overstated. I do not watch Fox News. I did not vote for Trump. UA-NYC suffers from TDS and cannot interpret data for himself. The leftist press were decrying Trump’s original flight ban as an overreaction and saying that the virus was no worse than the flu. I suggest you read this long ProPublica article. It is quite damning of the New York response to the virus, and New York was the source of most of the other infections in the country. I was surprised to come across plagiarist Fareed Zakaria’s reasonable assessment of the situation (barring his question-begging of climate change), as CNN is all panic/blame Trump, all the time. Fredo won’t ask his brother what the deal was with sending sick patients to infect and kill their co-residents at nursing homes, of course. The hysterical claim to follow the science but do not understand the science at all. They are merely parroting leftist talking points and browbeating any dissenters. This is what totalitarian states do. You are free to cower at home. I will keep living and flying, and if I get infected, I”ll be doing you a favor by helping get us closer to herd immunity. Remember that goal before the goalposts were moved? The only way to get herd immunity is either through sufficient spread of the virus within the population or vaccination, and the latter is hardly a foregone conclusion. Protecting the vulnerable is exactly the opposite of what Cuomo did. Trump is no hero or stable genius, but Cuomo “save every life/no one should be prosecuted” has blood on his hands, and his blustering about doing a great job is no different from Trump’s. I hope I don’t ever have a doctor as docile and feeble-minded as Pete. I have multiple doctors in my family and they don’t cower in the face of the virus like him (whether he is a doctor, nurse or bedpan changer, I don’t know). They take proper precautions and go on with their work without expecting to be serenaded or have pots banged in their honor. Why can’t collectivists just mind their own business and let people live their lives as they see fit? No one is stopping you from wetting your bed at home for the next year or two if that’s what you want. You think I am going to stress them health system? What about all the morbidly obese people slowly committing suicide and filling our hospitals? And then what about the people dying from lack of care because of the system being monopolized by COVID-19 or not seeking care at all because of fear of infection? I’d say to use your brains, but “you don’t have the brains you were born with.”
Paragraphs are a thing
The “death toll” is usually used as the key measure of economic, social and personal distress; the “recovery rate” as an indicator of success, but this ignores the fact that many of the ‘recovered’ are still ill , even many months after infection, and with unknown long-term implications.
The wacko Trumpets will never acknowledge that the management of this has been a disaster., both woeful and pathetic. But for a few ( relatively) sane heads, it could well have been catastrophic. And yet some still promote the lifting of those measures responsible for avoiding the catastrophe . “ just like a bad flu”…really, it’s staggeringly clueless, by any measure.
It is perfectly reasonable to recognize that COVID-19 can be deadly but that months of total lockdown is not an appropriate response. More than 80% of US deaths are of people 65 and older and 35% of deaths are from nursing homes. Why are we locking up everyone under 65 along with the elderly? Why did Cuomo send sick patients into the most vulnerable population? People want to blame Trump and Trump alone because of Trump Derangement Syndrome and political expediency. Where is the blame for Cuomo and de Blasio in creating the debacle in New York? Read the ProPublica article I linked above. Where is the blame for the CDC in flubbing the testing roll out? Where is the blame for China in lying to everyone and for the WHO and the press in parroting and swallowing the CCP’s lies? There is plenty of blame to go around, but unless you truly want to live in a state like that run by the CCP, you need to trust that people will by and large do the right thing when informed properly. People began social distancing and sheltering at home before any orders to do so. J started wearing a mask in January because I didn’t believe the WHO and CDC lies about them not being effective. Opening up the economy does not force anyone who wants to stay home to go out in public. Forcing everyone to stay at home destroys livelihoods and literally leads to deaths, likely in excess of those from COVID-19. You read the same travel blogs I do and yet it seems like you are all too happy to drive the businesses that make travel possible into the ground for a disease that is nowhere close to an existential threat. What are existential threats are the cowardice, safetyism and paradoxically innumerate scientism that are taking over the country.
Awww. Little Trumpettes lives blaming Obama for everything. But how can their dear leader ever be held accountable. While you complain about totalitarianism you
1. Fail to see how trump is trampling the constitution
2. You see it and agree with it
Don’t know which one is worse.
When did I mention Obama? The lockdown debacle is a failure of many, many public officials, but the governors ultimately control the states, as Cuomo so vehemently stated. So, the nursing home deaths are his fault, not Trump’s, right?
“It is perfectly reasonable to recognize that COVID-19 can be deadly but that months of total lockdown is not an appropriate response. More than 80% of US deaths are of people 65 and older and 35% of deaths are from nursing homes. Why are we locking up everyone under 65 along with the elderly?”
Which shows a basic fundamental lack of understanding that the disease isn’t just about you getting it but also making sure you don’t spread it around to other people.
“People want to blame Trump”
He does shoulder a lot of the blame.
“Where is the blame for the CDC in flubbing the testing roll out?”
People are rightfully blaming Trump for that.
“you need to trust that people will by and large do the right thing when informed properly.”
Except between the idiot POTUS and his incompetent administration, people are receiving mixed messages, so no, no they aren’t doing the right thing, not yet.
“What are existential threats are the cowardice, safetyism and paradoxically innumerate scientism that are taking over the country.”
No, the real threats are the selfishness, ignorance, and arrogance exhibited by people like you during this pandemic.
Are you functionally illiterate in addition to being innumerate? I already mentioned the fact that Cuomo was not protecting the elderly and vulnerable. The fact that younger people are not at much risk of dying means that with a targeted quarantine, we could have saved lives at a much lower economic cost. The near-depression was completely unnecessary. All you see is the scary headline number and don’t consider that the outbreaks are very localized with Cuomo at fault for the American Wuhan in New York. Do you think a Clinton administration would have done so much better with the CDC? The same people administrators and civil servants would have been running things. Fauci and Birx have been around for decades. And recall that Fauci was saying the virus would not be a problem and masks were not necessary. But that’s Trump’s fault, too, I guess. If you don’t trust your fellow citizens to do the right thing and think that the government can dictate the proper behavior, you would have been very happy in the USSR. At least you have the CCP around to kowtow to. You are the selfish, sanctimonious one. People like you wished death upon Lt. Gov. Patrick when he said he was willing to take a bit of risk so that his children and grandchildren’s lives wouldn’t be ruined. Save every (Democratic) life, huh? You are selfish because you think your overwrought safetyist worries override the rights of your fellow citizens. You are free to stay at home if you want to. Why should everyone else cower at home like you? Living our lives is not a death sentence for everyone else. Why can’t you understand that? The lockdown is killing people, too.
Not to take away anything from the obvious sincerity with which you wrote this essay, but I couldn’t help but LOL at “We formed a representative democracy in 1789 that continues to be a model for many nations.”
You’d be surprised. On my last trip to South Africa, Ghana, Togo, and Benin, I was amazed at how many people still talked up the USA. Can’t wait to write about that soon…
I think there’s probably something to be said about developing countries idealising the US system of government vs the rest of the developed world.
Most people who like to talk up the US enjoy the freedom of speech it has. The US system of government, not so much.
Also, wasn’t the US established as a republic in 1789 and not a democracy?
Representative Republic/Democracy versus Direct Democracy.
But even that existed in certain times before America was founded…
Despite racial turmoil, Civil War, Indian genocide, and segregation, the U.S. experiment worked fairly well. No one is praising the USA as perfect. But I’ve traveled during the Bush, Obama, and Trump years and the USA is still well-regarded in many of the 139 countries I have visited. Not sure why we are getting sidetracked by this point…the point is a nation that has indeed accomplished so much (that’s objective), should not be paralyzed by COVID-19.
@emercycrite: Sadly, true.
@ Matthew: South Africa is the highest priority on my travel list but surprised to hear you say their citizens have a reasonable opinion of the USA.
It is sad that so few comment actually deal with the central, wise premise of Matthew’s post. A vaccine cannot be counted on, and it will be too late. Widespread testing at places of business and commerce is the clear way to go here. Once we get to the point where each American can get tested every couple of weeks, and does get tested every couple of weeks, travel and the economy in general will come back.
This is a good & nuanced point – still work on the vaccine, but that’s not the only solution. Extensive testing & tracing (continually downplayed by You Know Who) is the smart & doable strategy in the short term, esp. since we are/will be seeing more spikes in the next month.
Do any of you actually look at the raw COVID-19 data and not just swallow the sensationalistic headlines from the panicked press? The case and death numbers from the CDC as of May 15 (note that Trump’s favorite newspaper, the Washington Post, just reported that Obama-supporter Dr. Birx doesn’t trust the CDC’s number and fears they could be overstated) indicate an infection fatality rate of 0.26%, which is closer to that of a bad seasonal flu than that of the bubonic plague (which lockdown hysterics must think it is judging from their reactions) and certainly not orders of magnitude greater than the flu as with earlier estimates being bandied about.
An interview with Sunetra Gupta at Oxford, a much less alarmist voice than that of the disgraced Neil Ferguson at Imperial:
“Remaining in a state of lockdown is extremely dangerous from the point of view of the vulnerability of the entire population to new pathogens. Effectively we used to live in a state approximating lockdown 100 years ago, and that was what created the conditions for the Spanish Flu to come in and kill 50m people.”
“So I know there is a sort of libertarian argument for the release of lockdown, and I think it is unfortunate that those of us who feel we should think differently about lockdown have had our voices added to that libertarian harangue. But the truth is that lockdown is a luxury, and it’s a luxury that the middle classes are enjoying and higher income countries are enjoying at the expense of the poor, the vulnerable and less developed countries. It’s a very serious crisis.”
The hysterical lockdown advocates argue in bad faith that people who want to open up the economy don’t care about saving lives. The lockdown is causing more misery and death than they understand but they hang on to it as it has become political dogma rather than a reasoned belief. Cuomo’s order sending sick patients into nursing homes was fatally stupid and goes against the most basic principle of protecting the vulnerable, which skeptics of the lockdown have been saying we should be doing all along. Cuomo has started changing his tune from “saving every life” to “folks gonna die.” I suppose we should be grateful for that bit of honesty. One can only take so much infantile pandering.
Ubiquitous testing would be nice, but it is not necessary to ease the lockdown. We should be rigorously testing the most vulnerable populations and limiting their interactions with others. The rest of us should carry on and not let this mistake cost us any more than it already has.
Here are some statistics for those of you who care. Apologies for the formatting. Keep in mind that most of these deaths involve comorbidites and many are declared as deaths from COVID-19 when they are in fact deaths with COVID-19. I’ve included all US deaths and COVID-19 deaths as a percentage of deaths for each age cohort at the right for context. Oh, and the counts run from Feb. 1 to May 16.
Data as of Age group COVID-19 Deaths Percentage Total Deaths Percentage
5/20/2020 Under 1 year 3 0.0% 4,651 0.1%
5/20/2020 1-4 years 2 0.0% 899 0.2%
5/20/2020 5-14 years 7 0.0% 1,335 0.5%
5/20/2020 15-24 years 76 0.1% 8,165 0.9%
5/20/2020 25-34 years 463 0.7% 17,447 2.7%
5/20/2020 35-44 years 1,186 1.7% 25,039 4.7%
5/20/2020 45-54 years 3,338 4.8% 48,308 6.9%
5/20/2020 55-64 years 8,312 12.0% 115,249 7.2%
5/20/2020 65-74 years 14,447 20.9% 178,278 8.1%
5/20/2020 75-84 years 18,621 27.0% 223,254 8.3%
5/20/2020 85 years and over 22,543 32.7% 284,444 7.9%
5/20/2020 All Ages 68,998 100.0% 907,069 7.6%