The Danger Is Not (Just) The Coughing Person

There’s something important implied by the graphs of COVID-19 cases that is not emphasized enough.

Look at the daily new infections graph for Ohio. The numbers for the last couple of days (I’m writing this in the very early morning hours of 27 May) are: 776 (21 May), 653 (22 May), 613 (23 May), 495 (24 May), 562 (25 May), and 540 (26 May).

Those are official, tested, positive cases.

People who test positive are quarantining themselves (and have been for months).

So if the actively sick people are isolated, where are so many new cases coming from?

Sure, some of it is increased testing. But that’s not enough to explain the still-high rate of new cases.

This indicates that there are people (possibly without symptoms) who are out and infecting people.


Let that sink in for a second. The people currently spreading COVID-19 in Ohio are almost certainly people with mild or no symptoms who aren’t taking proper precautions.

This hypothesis is backed up by another bit of data.

WorldoMeters actually did a workup of what the mortality rate of COVID-19 actually is by using the most comprehensive numbers from New York. They concluded that the number of confirmed cases is undercounting by a factor of ten, and only half the deaths:

19.9% of the population of New York City had COVID-19 antibodies. With a population of 8,398,748 people in NYC [source], this percentage would indicate that 1,671,351 people had been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and had recovered as of May 1 in New York City. The number of confirmed cases reported as of May 1 by New York City was 166,883 [source], more than 10 times less.

Put those two things together, and it paints a clear picture that while we may not be at the peak of the curve, we are a long way from the bottom.

And it’s the people with mild or no symptoms thinking they don’t need to wear a mask or stay quarantined who are trying to march us back up that curve.

Featured Photo by visuals on Unsplash