Early Pandemic Mistakes: 5 Misconceptions About COVID-19

Updated on August 10, 2020
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Chris is a PhD student at UNC Greensboro. He has an M.S. in Biology and has taught college Biology for 7 years, including Pathophysiology.

What SARS-CoV-2 looks like when viewed through a transmission electron microscope (TEM).  This virus is responsible for causing COVID-19.  Coronaviruses get their name from the “corona” or “crown” of spikes that line the edges of the viral particle.
What SARS-CoV-2 looks like when viewed through a transmission electron microscope (TEM). This virus is responsible for causing COVID-19. Coronaviruses get their name from the “corona” or “crown” of spikes that line the edges of the viral particle. | Source

The Virus SARS-CoV-2 Causes COVID-19

Before we get to the misconceptions about this infectious disease, let’s first properly introduce it: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). It is a condition caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and it was originally described as "novel coronavirus" (2019-nCoV). For convenience, I will use COVID-19 to refer to this global pandemic (declared as such by the World Health Organization, or WHO, on 3/11/2020) and will also use COVID-19 to refer to the underlying virus, SARS-CoV-2, for the sake of simplicity and to permit easier continuity. President Donald Trump also declared a national emergency on 3/13/2020 for the United States (U.S.) in order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following misconceptions encompass the top 5 concerns that I, personally, have heard from others and have chosen to address directly within this article, as I feel that many other sources adequately address the majority of the other myths/misconceptions about COVID-19. Certain values below (for infections, deaths, mortality rates, and relevant data in tables) are updated as regularly as possible. Johns Hopkins creates some great maps for displaying and updating this data.

Warning

This article is not intended to be consumed by someone unfamiliar with COVID-19, so if you need to brush up on some additional background knowledge, I would strongly suggest perusing websites created by the WHO or CDC on this subject.

Misconceptions About COVID-19

1. The mortality rate for COVID-19 is lower than that of the common flu or any previous pandemics.

This does not appear to be the case. In order to understand this, we must reflect upon the term “rate.” According to Merriam-Webster, “rate” is defined as being “a quantity, amount, or degree of something measured per unit of something else.” That means that by strictly analyzing the number of human deaths by COVID-19 (which appear to be >675,000 worldwide as of 6:40 pm EST July 30, 2020), we are not actually addressing a “rate.”

So, let’s go ahead and calculate mortality rates by dividing the number of deaths by the number of infections. Beginning with COVID-19 (as of 6:40 pm EST July 30, 2020), we find that there were 675,162 deaths for the 17,432,841 infections worldwide, generating a global mortality rate of ~3.9%. When we compare this mortality rate to the rate seen in the United States (as of 6:40 pm EST July 30, 2020), we find that there were 154,988 deaths for the 4,626,627 infections, resulting in a mortality rate of ~3.4%. For the last known (not estimated) values for the common flu in the United States, we find that in the 2016-2017 flu season, there were 38,000 deaths for the 29,000,000 infections, resulting in a mortality rate of ~0.1%.

Therefore, as of 6:40 pm EST July 30, 2020, COVID-19 has a mortality rate of ~4% (~1 in 25 people die), which is ~40 times higher than the mortality rate of the common flu at ~0.1% (~1 in 1,000 people die). When comparing current COVID-19 values to the Swine flu (H1N1) Pandemic (which lasted from April 2009 to April 2010), we find even more distance between the mortality rates, as Swine flu was only able to cause ~12,500 deaths amongst ~61,000,000 infections in the U.S. (resulting in a ~0.02% mortality rate). That means that COVID-19 appears to have a mortality rate that is ~200 times higher than that of Swine flu.

Reaching further back in time, we find ourselves reflecting upon the Spanish flu (H1N1) Pandemic (which lasted from March 1918 to February 1919) that killed anywhere between ~17,000,000 and ~100,000,000 people after infecting ~500,000,000 (approximately one-third of the global population at that time, resulting in a mortality rate as low as ~3.4% or as high as ~10%). Therefore, the mortality rate of the current COVID-19 pandemic more closely resembles conservative estimates of Spanish flu mortality rates and should be treated as a serious health concern. This particularly applies to those in vulnerable demographics, like the elderly and those with certain chronic illnesses (particularly respiratory). Although the average age of those infected with COVID-19 is ~56 years old, ~50% of them are between 46 and 67 years old.

COVID-19 Mortality Rates Compared with Other Diseases

Disease
Infections
Deaths
Mortality Rate (%)
COVID-19 (global)
17,432,841
675,162
3.87
COVID-19 (U.S.)
4,626,627
154,988
3.35
Common flu (U.S., 2016-2017)
29,000,000
38,000
0.13
Swine flu (U.S., 2009-2010)
61,000,000
12,500
0.02
Spanish flu (global, 1918-1919)
500,000,000
17,000,000
3.40
Infections, deaths, and mortality rates (% of infections that result in deaths) of various diseases as of 6:40 pm EST July 30, 2020. Source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

2. Total deaths resulting from COVID-19 proceed at a slower pace than previous pandemics, so we should not worry about it.

Once again, when comparing COVID-19 side-by-side with some of our previously mentioned disease outbreaks, this claim just does not hold up. As of 6:40 pm EST July 30, 2020, COVID-19 has managed to kill >675,000 people worldwide and >154,000 people in the U.S. in the ~8 months it has been around. Swine flu only managed to cause ~6,000 deaths after spreading around the U.S. for ~7 months. Spanish flu took ~5 months to cause many thousands of deaths (rapidly increasing to millions) in a “second wave” of infection. As of 6:40 pm EST July 30, 2020, it appears that COVID-19 has begun a global "second wave" of infection in regions that successfully halted the first wave, even though many areas are still struggling with the first wave (including the U.S.).

On July 22, 2020, U.K. researchers reported that upon analysis of 40,000 COVID-19 viral genomes, ~75% of them possessed a recent genetic mutation (called G-type COVID-19) that altered one of the spike proteins that coat the outside portion of the virus, permitting greater infectivity than the original virus from Wuhan, China (called D-type COVID-19). Fortunately, the researchers did not report any increase in morbidity or mortality rates coinciding with the mutation and have hypothesized that this mutation will not negatively impact effort to create a vaccine. However, if more people are able to get infected by COVID-19, then more people will die from this disease, overall.

Origin of COVID-19

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to have originated from an animal in the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China. Like this virus, ~70% of new human pathogens are zoonotic (passed from animals to humans).

3. More people die from the common flu every day than COVID-19.

As of April 18, 2020, COVID-19 was officially responsible for more deaths in the U.S. (~39,331) than the common flu in an entire year (~38,000), after only circulating around for 64 days. If COVID-19 infects as many people in the United States as the common flu did in the 2016-2017 season (~29,000,000 people), it could mean the deaths of ~1,160,000 people in 2020 (assuming a ~4% mortality rate), not ~38,000 deaths (a ~16 fold increase in flu deaths). By underestimating the potential morbidity/mortality of COVID-19 and choosing to have such a “lackluster” approach to a pandemic often leads to an increase in infections and deaths.

It is important to remember that treating a situation seriously, and with respect, from the beginning often helps maximize success in dealing with a potential crisis. It is when we grossly underestimate a crisis that real panic sets in and things spiral out of control. Therefore, preparing for the worst and then experiencing a party popper is preferable to downplaying the potential danger of a situation and then experiencing a machine gun. More is often lost with inaction than with being overly cautious.

That is why China’s first lockdown measures (starting locally in Wuhan on 1/23/2020 and expanding to other cities in the days that followed to help insulate ~60 million people) were so important. They took the situation seriously from the start and prepared to tackle an outbreak that went on to infect (over the following two months) an additional ~75,000 people in China, alone. Other countries (like Italy on 3/9/2020) have taken notice of the effectiveness of such lockdowns and quarantines on preventing widespread infection and are slowly enacting them. This suggests that countries should put preventative measures in place in time to save millions of lives.

COVID-19 Global Mortality Rates over Time by Weeks

Week
Infections
Deaths
Mortality Rate (%)
1 (12/31/19-1/4/20)
?
?
?
2 (1/5/20-1/11/20)
?
?
?
3 (1/12/20-1/18/20)
?
?
?
4 (1/19/20-1/25/20)
580
25
4.31
5 (1/26/20-2/1/20)
2,800
80
2.86
6 (2/2/20-2/8/20)
17,391
362
2.08
7 (2/9/20-2/15/20)
40,553
910
2.24
8 (2/16/20-2/22/20)
71,329
1,775
2.49
9 (2/23/20-2/29/20)
79,205
2,618
3.31
10 (3/1/20-3/7/20)
88,585
3,050
3.44
11 (3/8/20-3/14/20)
109,991
3,827
3.48
12 (3/15/20-3/21/20)
169,511
6,517
3.84
13 (3/22/20-3/28/20)
337,612
14,641
4.34
14 (3/29/20-4/4/20)
724,220
34,074
4.70
15 (4/5/20-4/11/20)
1,275,007
69,447
5.45
16 (4/12/20-4/18/20)
1,852,365
114,197
6.16
17 (4/19/20-4/25/20)
2,406,786
167,788
6.97
18 (4/26/20-5/2/20)
2,989,175
210,239
7.03
19 (5/3/20-5/9/20)
3,559,748
248,144
6.97
20 (5/10/20-5/16/20)
4,178,097
283,732
6.79
21 (5/17/20-5/23/20)
4,799,266
316,520
6.60
22 (5/24/20-5/30/20)
5,469,458
348,343
6.37
23 (5/31/20-6/6/20)
6,241,954
377,801
6.05
24 (6/7/20-6/13/20)
7,092,912
408,698
5.76
25 (6/14/20-6/20/20)
8,002,949
438,989
5.49
26 (6/21/20-6/27/20)
9,032,985
472,331
5.23
27 (6/28/20-7/4/20)
10,231,539
504,774
4.93
28 (7/5/20-7/11/20)
11,566,392
536,631
4.64
29 (7/12/20-7/18/20)
13,038,706
571,312
4.38
30 (7/19/20-7/25/20)
14,640,732
612,874
4.19
31 (7/26/20-8/1/20)
16,420,092
652,709
3.98
Infections, deaths, and mortality rates organized by calendar weeks since the appearance of COVID-19 on 12/31/19. Values represent Sundays. Last updated 0:00 GMT+0 Sunday, July 26, 2020. Source: World O Meters.

4. Once you test negative for COVID-19, then you are in the clear.

Let’s not be hasty, here. Just because you aren’t COVID-19 positive now does not necessarily mean that you won’t become COVID-19 positive later. Not to mention, you may still aid in the passive transmission of a virus without becoming infected (by touching surfaces that are contaminated and transferring viral particles elsewhere). Additionally, what may not be a sufficient viral load to establish an infection in your body (as your healthy immune system may be able to adequately fend it off) may be enough to infect another person (whose immune system is weaker than your own). This is due to individual host variations in COVID-19’s infectivity (affecting its ability to spread from one person to the next). Also keep in mind that the incubation period for COVID-19 is 2-14 days, with the average infectiousness starting ~2.5 days before symptom onset (and peak levels occurring ~15 hours prior to symptom development).

People who are asymptomatic (not displaying symptoms) may also be capable of shedding the virus, leading to ambiguity about the source of infection. When analyzing 375 Chinese cities between January 10, 2020 and January 23, 2020, researchers found that ~86% of COVID-19 cases were "undocumented" (either being asymptomatic or having very mild symptoms) and were responsible for ~79% of future infections, whereas researchers in Italy found that ~60% of individuals testing positive for COVID-19 were asymptomatic. Additionally, the virus sheds for an average of ~20 days following infection, and as many as 37 days. About 5-10% of the people in Wuhan, China who contracted the virus (tested positive) and recovered (later tested negative) have tested positive again for COVID-19, potentially becoming asymptomatic, perpetual shedders of the virus. Therefore, the best approach is to treat every person like they are infected and to always exercise universal precautions. If you feel ill, then you may want to consider self-quarantine as an option to protect others until you can get tested for COVID-19.

Even though I do not wish to discourage getting tested, please be aware of the fact that the simple act of going to the doctor’s office to get tested may, as with any congregation of people, expose you to the virus (this is how people getting the flu vaccine may actually contract the flu the same day). So, it is important to maintain universal precautions even at the doctor’s office (for your sake and for the sake of others). Fortunately, if the risk involved with going to a doctor's office gives you pause, many places are developing drive-thru COVID-19 testing services (thus limiting close contact with others and mitigating new infections).

It is only through testing that we can get a clear picture of the spread of the virus, enact more successful containment/mitigation protocols, and more accurately calculate its mortality rate (as COVID-19 testing does not necessarily occur postmortem in unknown deaths, due to several factors, including efforts to prioritize testing the living to save lives due to the often limited inventory of test kits).

Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing

An example of a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in North Carolina on 7/15/20, where medical professionals approach vehicles and collect a nasal swab from patients who remain in their vehicle.
An example of a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in North Carolina on 7/15/20, where medical professionals approach vehicles and collect a nasal swab from patients who remain in their vehicle.

Mortality Rates in Various Countries Over Time by Weeks

Mortality rates (% of infections that result in deaths) of various countries organized by calendar weeks (Sundays) since the appearance of COVID-19 on 12/31/19, starting with week 3.  Last updated at 0:00 GMT+0 Sunday, July 26, 2020.
Mortality rates (% of infections that result in deaths) of various countries organized by calendar weeks (Sundays) since the appearance of COVID-19 on 12/31/19, starting with week 3. Last updated at 0:00 GMT+0 Sunday, July 26, 2020.

5. The solution for a pandemic like COVID-19 is to quarantine for 2 weeks, and then we will be past the peak of the pandemic.

Not necessarily. If we recall the timeframes of the previously mentioned global pandemics, the mild Swine flu lasted ~12 months and the devastating Spanish flu only endured ~11 months. Making this assertion in July 2020 (only ~7 months into a pandemic), could be preemptive, as the disease has the potential to remain for another ~5 months. Add to that the fact that COVID-19 can survive for up to 3 hours within liquid droplets suspended in the air (often resulting from a powerful aerosolizing event, like a cough or a sneeze) and up to 3 days on hard surfaces (like steel or plastic), and we can see how ending this pandemic quickly and effectively would be difficult. Also, if people can remain infectious for up to ~37 days, it means that two-week quarantines are not likely to be effective in containing this outbreak.

A few additional factors have to be considered when watching the numbers of new infections and deaths. To start with, new infections will likely increase at a rate faster than the numbers of new deaths, resulting in a “false” suppression of mortality rate. We must be cautious to not jump to conclusions when we witness this, but to instead take it with a grain of salt. As healthcare systems struggle to keep up with sufficient testing and care for those who may be, or are, infected, we will likely see a reverse trend where the numbers of new infections slow down and the numbers of new deaths climb (thus increasing the mortality rate).

This need to mitigate the possibility of overwhelming healthcare systems is called “flattening the curve.” This is where we attempt, through mitigation/isolation/quarantine measures, to maintain the number of people requiring medical attention to around the level that the available healthcare systems are able to support. If we are not able to flatten this curve of people needing medical care versus the capacity of healthcare systems to support, then we are likely to increase mortality rates, like we saw in Italy.

As of March 15, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic appeared to have stabilized in China (with total cases remaining in the 80,000 range over the 2-week period from 3/1/2020-3/14/2020). We may be able to gauge a more accurate mortality figure from the 70,130 “closed” cases of COVID-19 in China. Although 66,931 of those closed cases involved folks who were able to recover, 3,199 died as a result of COVID-19 (generating a start-finish mortality rate of 4.6%).

With COVID-19 initially sharing some superficial qualities with Spanish flu (like a high mortality rate), we must seriously consider a “worst-case” scenario where COVID-19 mimics the same disease progression. Spanish flu first manifested itself in a relatively mild form, only killing low numbers of people over a couple of months in what we call the first “wave” of infection. Just when it seemed as though the threat was over (when the number of new infections and new deaths substantially dropped off), the Spanish flu virus mutated to become more virulent (deadly) and returned with a vengeance to cause two successive waves of infection with far higher global casualties.

To clarify, I am not saying that COVID-19 will mimic the Spanish flu Pandemic, but only that it has the potential to do so and that we should prepare ourselves for that possibility. In such a hypothetical scenario, we can estimate that ~33% of the current global population (~7,530,000,000 people) will become infected (~2,485,000,000 people) over the next ~year. If the closed case mortality rate from China for COVID-19 does not change appreciably during that time, we may see ~4.6% of those infected dying from the virus (~114,000,000 people) in the next year.

Of course, some of this information is subject to change (such as the suggested length of time to isolate or quarantine) as we learn more about COVID-19 through researching current outbreaks and adapting to shifts in protocols that are necessitated by mutations in the coronavirus genome. Therefore, one's willingness to participate in clinical research is paramount to fostering a greater understanding of the virus and how to treat those afflicted with COVID-19. Such research will also aid efforts to quickly develop a vaccine and test its efficacy in preparation for widespread distribution to protect the global population. That is why I opted to participate in a UNC study on COVID-19 after testing positive for COVID-19 on 7/16/20.

COVID-19 Research

A pic of me participating in COVID-19 research at a tent outside of UNC after I tested positive for COVID-19.  The doctor is inserting a swab into my nose to collect a sample.  Needless to say, it felt really strange.
A pic of me participating in COVID-19 research at a tent outside of UNC after I tested positive for COVID-19. The doctor is inserting a swab into my nose to collect a sample. Needless to say, it felt really strange.

Global Doubling Rates of Infections/Deaths by Days

Global rates of increase of COVID-19 infections and deaths, organized by days to double, since first cases were identified in each category (580 infections on 1/22/2020 and 25 deaths on 1/23/2020). As of 0:00 GMT+0 July 12, 2020.
Global rates of increase of COVID-19 infections and deaths, organized by days to double, since first cases were identified in each category (580 infections on 1/22/2020 and 25 deaths on 1/23/2020). As of 0:00 GMT+0 July 12, 2020.

Safety Suggestions During This Pandemic

The following are suggestions to stay safe (for the sake of both you and others around you) during this pandemic.

  • Keep other people at a distance of 6 feet (~2 meters) whenever possible and avoid large crowds, as COVID-19 appears to be airborne.
  • Wear a mask when around others. The type of mask does not matter so much, as long as it is comfortable and covers both the mouth and nose at all times. This not only helps prevent those who have COVID-19 (knowingly or unknowingly) from infecting others (which is the mask's primary purpose), but also helps guard against infection for those who are healthy.
  • Wash/clean hands well and often (at least ~20 seconds for handwashing with soap, use cleansers with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Regularly clean surfaces, particularly hard surfaces that are regularly touched or exposed to aerosolized viral particles.
  • Cover your mouth when you sneeze/cough, cleaning your hands immediately afterwards.
  • Avoid touching your eyes/nose/mouth, or face in general.
  • Do not fall prey to “alternative” methods of treatment (home remedies including eating garlic, using essential oils, gargling bleach, snorting cocaine, etc.) that are not backed by leading medical/scientific authorities (check your sources, rely on advice from leading authorities, like the WHO or CDC).
  • Be courteous to the health needs of others and realize that we are all in this together (just because you, yourself, are not able to be infected, you may inadvertently help transmit the disease to somebody, or somebody they know, who is vulnerable).
  • You do not have the capability of determining who is, or who is not, infected with COVID-19, including yourself (signs/symptoms are not requisites). Only a COVID-19 test is capable of determining that. No, you do not "know your own body," as your body is not capable of detecting any/all information, nor does it relay any/all information it does detect to the cerebral cortex.
  • You do not have the capability of determining who is, or who is not, vulnerable to infection. There are many different contributing factors, other than age (like underlying chronic conditions and past medical history), and you should treat folks, accordingly.
  • Do not be racist/xenophobic or place blame on the origin of the disease, regardless of where it came from. We are all part of the same species (Homo sapiens) and are all vulnerable to the same diseases, which can travel around the world in a matter of days.
  • Do not fall prey to conspiracy theories about the origin of this disease. Like with many other new diseases, they may not always be properly diagnosed in the beginning (with the first case of COVID-19 appearing to be on 11/17/2019) due to having similar symptoms to existing diseases. This does not necessarily mean that the disease is a bioweapon crafted by the U.S. military. Having genetically modified my own microorganism in the lab, I can tell you first-hand that there are far deadlier diseases to modify and release to the public than SARS.
  • Bear in mind that as of the crafting of this article, there is no cure (although some believe hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, may prove useful, despite having no reliable hard peer-reviewed evidence of its efficacy, regardless of how early its administration) and no vaccine. There is limited evidence showing that in cases of a "cytokine storm" with certain co-infections like Lyme disease, the application of glutathione may be beneficial in reducing inflammation and COVID-19 related morbidity/mortality.
  • Preventing the spread of infection is the key to managing this outbreak. If you experience relevant signs/symptoms, please refer to the proper procedures for seeking medical assistance in your area (perhaps relying on a website or phone call, or submitting a drive-thru COVID-19 test rather than visiting a clinic, directly).
  • Act like you are a carrier/spreader of the disease, as ~79% of infections seem to arise from asymptomatic, or barely symptomatic, individuals.
  • Prepare for the worst, but maintain a healthy level of optimism and a positive mindset.
  • Learn all that you can and keep in touch with updates by your local governing authorities.
  • Do not hoard basic supplies (like toilet paper). This literally accomplishes nothing. You should, however, stock up on enough food to last a week or so (which you should have already been doing).
  • Most of all, remain calm and don’t panic.

There is literally no reason to buy up a lot of basic supplies, like toilet paper, beyond that which is necessary to survive the next ~week or so (per usual). This is what panic looks like. Please remain calm and do not panic.
There is literally no reason to buy up a lot of basic supplies, like toilet paper, beyond that which is necessary to survive the next ~week or so (per usual). This is what panic looks like. Please remain calm and do not panic.

COVID-19 Updates for the United States

As I am currently living in the U.S., I feel it may be helpful for me to produce more detailed information for my local citizens. As of 6:55 pm EST July 18, 2020, the number of infections was 3,829,046 and the number of deaths was 142,825 (producing a mortality rate of ~3.7%). Tracking the most recent doubling rates over time since the first COVID-19 case reported in the U.S. on 2/15/2020 (thru 6:55 pm EST July 18, 2020) gives us an infection doubling time of ~40 days and a death doubling time of ~62 days.

If these doubling rates maintain over the next 180 days, then we may expect to see a total of (per the equation, current infections * 2^5) ~77,000,000 infections and (per the equation, current deaths * 2^2.9) ~1,000,000 deaths in the U.S. by 1/14/2021. This is a real, growing concern and should absolutely be treated as such. In other words, if this trend continues, we may see more than 2.6 times the deaths by COVID-19 in a single year than we normally see by the common flu (380,000) in ten years.

Infections and Deaths in the United States by Days

The number of people infected with and the number of deaths from COVID-19 (as of 0:00 GMT+0 July 26, 2020) in the United States organized by days since patient zero (first case) was identified on 2/15/2020.  Source: World O Meters.
The number of people infected with and the number of deaths from COVID-19 (as of 0:00 GMT+0 July 26, 2020) in the United States organized by days since patient zero (first case) was identified on 2/15/2020. Source: World O Meters.

Doubling Rates of Infections/Deaths in the United States by Days

Rates of increase of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the United States, organized by days to double, since first cases were identified in each category (15 infections on 2/15/2020 and 1 death on 3/1/2020).  As of 0:00 GMT+0 July 26, 2020.
Rates of increase of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the United States, organized by days to double, since first cases were identified in each category (15 infections on 2/15/2020 and 1 death on 3/1/2020). As of 0:00 GMT+0 July 26, 2020.

COVID-19 Updates in North Carolina

As I am currently living in North Carolina (NC), I feel it may be helpful to produce more detailed information for my local students, coworkers, and friends. NC Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 116, declaring a state of emergency, on 3/10/2020 and Executive Order 117 on 3/14/2020, prohibiting mass gatherings (where 100+ people congregate in a single space at the same time) for 30 days and closing all public schools 3/16/2020-3/30/2020. He also issued Executive Order 118 on 3/17/2020 closing all dine-in restaurants/bars, permitting takeout and delivery to continue. He then issued Executive Order 119 on 3/21/2020 to expand child care and modify the DMV and driving restrictions to offer further protections for people and to increase access to services. He also issued Executive Order 120 on 3/23/2020 to further restrict congregations to 50+ people, shut down a number of non-essential businesses, and extend the public school closure through 5/15/2020. At a press briefing on 3/25/2020, he strongly encouraged NC residents to stay at home to limit the spread of infection, going on to officially issue a stay at home Executive Order (121) on 3/27/2020 that is valid from 5 pm on 3/30/2020 to 4/29/2020 (and also bans gatherings of more than 10 people). The NC national guard was activated on 3/20/2020 to aid with logistics and the transportation of necessary medical supplies.

Reopening began with phase 1 on May 8, 2020 at 5 pm EST and ended on May 22, 2020 at 5 pm EST. Reopening continued with phase 2 on May 22, 2020 at 5 pm EST. These orders have remained in place as of 6:55 pm EST July 18, 2020, due to the recent spikes in COVID-19 cases.

COVID-19 was verified as being found in NC (map) on 3/3/2020, with the first death being reported on 3/25/2020. As of 6:55 pm EST on July 18, 2020, NC has 97,958 infections and 1,651 deaths, resulting in a mortality rate of ~1.7%. Tracking the most recent doubling rate over time since the first COVID-19 case reported in NC on 3/3/2020 (thru 6:55 pm EST on July 18, 2020) gives us an infection doubling time of ~26 days and death doubling time of ~29 days. If this average infection doubling rate maintains (as of 6:55 pm EST on July 18, 2020) over the next 180 days, then we may expect to see a total of (per the equation, current infections * 2^6.9) ~10,400,000 infections and a total of (per the equation, current deaths * 2^6.2) ~110,000 deaths in NC by 1/14/2021.

Infections and Deaths in North Carolina by Days

The number of people infected with and the number of deaths from COVID-19 in North Carolina organized by days since patient zero (first case) was identified on 3/3/2020.  As of 6:40 pm EST on July 30, 2020.
The number of people infected with and the number of deaths from COVID-19 in North Carolina organized by days since patient zero (first case) was identified on 3/3/2020. As of 6:40 pm EST on July 30, 2020.

Doubling Rates of Infections and Deaths in North Carolina by Days

Rates of increase of COVID-19 infections and deaths in North Carolina, organized by days to double, since first cases were identified in each category (1 infection on 3/3/2020 and 2 deaths on 3/25/2020).  As of 6:55 pm EST on July 18, 2020.
Rates of increase of COVID-19 infections and deaths in North Carolina, organized by days to double, since first cases were identified in each category (1 infection on 3/3/2020 and 2 deaths on 3/25/2020). As of 6:55 pm EST on July 18, 2020.

My Personal COVID-19 Drive-Thru Nasal Swab Test on 7/15/20

Personal COVID-19 Symptom Log

At 9:19am EST on July 16, 2020, I was personally diagnosed with COVID-19. To share my journey and progression of symptoms with others, I have created this terminal section to my article. It is my personal belief that I contracted COVID-19 thanks to the fact that I belonged to the vulnerable population of this disease (as my lung tissue was likely damaged due to the chemotherapy drugs I was exposed to during the treatment of my Hodgkin's Lymphoma). I also believe that it was the lack of proper mask-wearing by others that led me to contract this virus from my workplace, as I was keen on enacting personal hygienic measures and am skilled/experienced in sterile techniques. The below symptom log is not meant to be diagnostic, nor is it meant to be respective of the symptoms that everyone with COVID-19 displays, but simply a glimpse into my own personal COVID-19 journey.

7/12/20

11:30am: diarrhea

6:30pm-2:30am: chills

7/13/20

6:10am: diarrhea

9:30pm-12:30am: chills

7/14/20

6:30pm: cessation of diarrhea, chest congestion, shortness of breath, muscle aches/pains, fatigue, mild coughing

7:30pm: fever of 101°F, chills

7/15/20

10:00am: cessation of chills/fever, moderate coughing, severe fatigue (all I want to do is sleep all day), continuation/exacerbation of all other symptoms (chest congestion, shortness of breath, muscle aches/pains)

11:00am: COVID-19 test at UNC Health via nasal swab for 15 seconds

6:30pm: sore throat, change in taste/smell, mild runny nose

7/16/20

1:00am: feeling of cottonballs in my skull or watery-brain, clouding my thoughts and impeding brain function

9:19am: call from Durham Health Department confirming COVID-19 diagnosis from PCR test of nasal swab and instructing me to undergo isolation within the house and remain home (quarantine), continuation of all other symptoms (mild coughing, severe fatigue, chest congestion, shortness of breath, muscle aches/pains, sore throat, change in taste/smell, mild runny nose, cottonball/watery-brain)

7/17/20

12:00pm: feeling of cottonballs in my ears and altered inner ear balance, continuation of all other symptoms (mild coughing, severe fatigue, chest congestion, shortness of breath, muscle aches/pains, sore throat, change in taste/smell, mild runny nose, cottonball/watery-brain)

2:00pm: severe dehydration, nearly fainted in outside heat/humidity

3:45pm: diarrhea

7/18/20

11:00am: feeling of embers inside chest (behind sternum) upon deep inhale, continuation of all other symptoms (mild coughing, severe fatigue, chest congestion, shortness of breath, muscle aches/pains, sore throat, change in taste/smell, mild runny nose, cottonball/watery-brain, diarrhea)

7/19/20

12:00pm: cessation of diarrhea and feeling of embers inside chest (behind sternum) upon deep inhale, continuation of all other symptoms (mild coughing, severe fatigue, chest congestion, shortness of breath, muscle aches/pains, sore throat, change in taste/smell, mild runny nose, cottonball/watery-brain)

7/20/20-7/29/20

12:00pm: continuation of all symptoms (mild coughing, severe fatigue, chest congestion, shortness of breath, muscle aches/pains, sore throat, change in taste/smell, mild runny nose, cottonball/watery-brain)

7/30/20

9:00am: continuation, but gradual abatement, of all symptoms (mild coughing, severe fatigue, chest congestion, shortness of breath, muscle aches/pains, sore throat, change in taste/smell, mild runny nose, cottonball/watery-brain)

10:47am: call from Durham Health Department informing me that due to the lessening of symptoms, I may end my isolation and quarantine protocols provided that I wear a mask and socially distance myself when around others.

7/31/20-8/3/20

9:00am: marked improvements in all symptoms (mild coughing, severe fatigue, chest congestion, shortness of breath, muscle aches/pains, sore throat, change in taste/smell, mild runny nose, cottonball/watery-brain)

8/4/20

6:00am: cessation of all symptoms and +/- full recovery.

8/10/20

2:00pm: had to call the Durham Health Department to have my monitoring release form (stating that I may return to work) emailed to me, as they never sent it automatically.

Gauging the Effectiveness of the Global Healthcare Response to this Pandemic (Poll from 3/20/20-7/30/20)

How long do you, personally, think the COVID-19 pandemic will last from start (12/31/2019) to finish?

  • 5% 3 months
  • 16% 6 months
  • 20% 9 months
  • 12% 12 months
  • 47% >12 months
75 people have voted in this poll.

This poll is now closed to voting.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Christopher Rex

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    • Swarnika Jain profile image

      Swarnika Jain 

      3 weeks ago from India

      very much informative and facts are really helpful and waiting for more content

    • Swarnika Jain profile image

      Swarnika Jain 

      3 weeks ago from India

      very informative

    • profile image

      Coelophysis 

      2 months ago

      Virus mostly in high end animal like birds and mammal but reptiles do get The same virus as mammal like RNA virus West Nile virus West Nile virus is RNA virus like coronavirus they said reason why reptile do not get same virus as mammal because temperature different cold blooded and warm blooded animals .reptile hard to get West Nile virus even in a lab most bird die of west Nile some can not get it horses mostly die too crocodilian mostly die they were a out break at a farm mostly juvenile allso is bad in older gator like human .horse can get coronavirus in there intestine ecov coronavirus most coronvirus attack intestine and it is only in birds mammal the high end animal .they did a test for covid 19 in horse none has it .horse has advance spleen take in more oxygen they can run 2 mile 40 mph Crocodilian allso has advance spleen better than mammal capsule spleen most reptile Have simple spleen very primitive spleen crocodilian need that oxygen it’s very fast dangerous animal lot more dangerous what shown in the media it’s very active animal it need oxygen power that muscle is it The spleen stopIng coronavirus in horses and crocodilian .ecov is A new horse disease in crocodilian capsule spleen they have fatty battery near there a lots fatty battery in the tail crocodilian very high tech any won says crocodilian are primitive do not know crocodilian that why they are king of dinosaur only dinosaur alive .covid 19 attack respiratory tract upper and lower in crocodilian heart works like mammal they use fatty battery the different it’s lower in crocodilian is it another stopping system the lower fatty battery this Is on book crocodilian biology husbandry and disease.spleen is different link. Crocodilian human share simular jaw and ankle this advance ankle only found in another reptile a fossil reptile it’s not a thecodont human ankle very rare in animal kingdom most mammal walk on there toes .so coronavirus is attacking very high tech animals very warm blooded animal clearly crocodilian is warm blooded animal with advance kidney It’s nothing like the other reptile .birds are air sac breathing mammal and crocodilian diaphragmatic breathing animal Crocodilian allso breathing with hepathic piston .they say Reptiles do not enough virus pass it to warm blooded animals it has slow time to evolve I guest it Will get there virus allways mutated covid 19 in humans already mutated that why it need To stop now another high tech animaL the cat juvenile died in a lab by covid 19 only one kittens the rate is too slow make a impact cats Are not dropIng deaD like birds and gator when birds and gator get West Nile virus A minks died of covid 19 at farm in Europe minks is A ferret like animal Japan USA lab testing of House cat found same result as chinese they hard to get coronavirus mostly mild In crocodilian species the heart liver is different some are more high tech .frogs can get West Nile virus a very primitive animal West Nile virus is strong but most of species frog in wild they tested did not have west Nile none at all some scientist claim They have anti skin to insects I doubt that all species of frog they tested .crocodilian mite be solution for covid 19 in humans they all ready shown they blood can treat aids in human Aids is a virus crocodilian blood can hold more oxygen stop calling them chicken the right crocodilian mite be endanger that why do not kill predator they eat The sick so they are stronger and mostly they are high tech Because they are fast animal or they kill pess that pass disease balance of nature should be protected save all animal.

    • profile image

      Coelophysis 

      2 months ago

      3 lion test positive and 1 tiger and 2 house cat in US I wonder if any human died when they own a cat the cat mite cure them theY have a fossa it is a cat most of feature is A cat the science tradition says it’s a cat The closes animal to it civet .mongoose do not have cat eyes like genet and house cat there ears Are too small too the fossa has cat tongue the stomach is like a house cat and it has unique Cat predatorY intestine the chromesome mongoose is 36 the wons i saw African and India .primitive cat has 38 the African cat ocelot cat has 36 Fossa has 42 it is more likely it’s civet or cat it’s more a cat the scientist I think it was dna said it is too far to say it was right so he call it a cat This was 1996 This was not on news because it’s corrupt this disease need every mind same corruption in dinosaur never here news story that modern crocodilian are bipedal and scientist report on that is 1983 There are video gator doing bipedal on Youtube the link stand and gait in theropod dinosaur . On Aron ra on Youtube they claim dinosaur and birds are same because minor changes and Alan feduccia need to be fired and all bird scientist too And creationist does not listen .that it only reduce Femur muscle with A bird fourth trochanter and dinosaur has air sac and bird femur move so it’s not fix Ruben only show that it is fix like not super detail like what badit scientist said that what saying because they are super detail there science Are right they are not hide any thing That paleontology is won that hiding thing why not say What Ruben said or creationist femur barely move in birds because femur muscle is to stop air sac from scallaps and dinosaur is nothing like birds because they do not Have air sac because Of very moveable femur if they had air sac they wilL die there hip is not wide enough too to have air sac by Ruben report titicle article that why bird Have scar For fourth trochanter or no bum at all like today birds the so call missing link dinosaur compsognathus scipionyx they have reduce fourth trochanter and tibia is bigger than femur too the different they have bigger fourth trochanter they have very moveable femur they do not have big ankle as tibia They are not knee runner they are lizard hip .velociraptor is bird hip And have air sac and uncinate processes it’s a bird compsognathus could not have air sac if they had it they will die Some mesoeucrocodylia allso has leg like birds and compsognathus but it’s like compsognathus because both are dinosaur that The reason no scientist believe spinosaurus has little legs Because fourth trochanter science he claim spinosaurus tibia bigger than femur which is rare in tetanuran dinosaur spinosaurus fourth trochanter is size as t.rex and baryonyx that how they know fossil Is mix up And dinosaur bipedal only match modern crocodilian bipedalism because fossil muscle attach bum Really is every bone the skull too the tail of dinosaur is nothing like birds the bird tail is for directing fight the occified tendon is different is like mammal dinosaur occified tendon is for bipedalism that why gator are the same

    • Lori Caputo profile image

      Lori Caputo 

      3 months ago

      Thank you for this well-written article! I learned so much fact-driven information which is appreciated in these days of fearmongering or conspiracy theorizing. I hope you will continue to update reflecting new data.

    • profile image

      Coelophysis 

      4 months ago

      Tiger test positive the first animal in the us beating out the house cat only other animal close to house cat is serval at the zoo no sign clouded leopard the most primitive cat no trouble the no sign cat are stronger they evolve a stronger cure i thought lion and tiger would do bad because they are specialized to kill big animal there still time but say it’s mild not all cats are tough Pallas cat black footed cat mite die if they catch that they do poorly at zoos the fossa it’s a cat the most primitive cat lets see what it do i here it’s tough i wonder if zoo have one .house cat beat SARS aids covid 19 they can catch covid 19 a mild case there anti body works they kill bats in the past probably still do dog did better they both had no trouble with SARS i here it must be a match with human the animal must match human the dinosaur the gator the most mammal reptile there blood is use to treat aids in human and it works they kill bats cave dwarf crocodile eat mostly bats and it live in bat waste modern crocodilian are great predator like cats maybe it’s the eyes.with all people have covid 19 no cat have giving human it or other animal I doubt it’s going to happen odds are against it it should have happen all ready only bats and that scalely mammal

    • profile image

      Anurag 

      5 months ago

      Very well highlighted and compared the current COVID 19 with the past pandemics!!!

      Hope all to be safe and alert during this period of distress!!

    • profile image

      Cindy Rex 

      5 months ago

      Thanks Chris, for the information.

    • profile image

      Noreen Kemery 

      5 months ago

      Good work Chris. Good information, well written advice. I also like the advice I saw somewhere about looking out for elderly or sick neighbors, offering to pick up groceries or medicines for them.

    • bhattuc profile image

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

      5 months ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

      Good work. Helpful.

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