COVID-19: All I want to know and hope to recall

Do you have a running list of COVID-19 questions? About things you can’t remember, like when the first case was reported? Or things you don’t know at all, like what the criteria for “herd immunity” are?

I do. So I did a little research for a DIY Q and A, mostly looking at the New York Times online (unless otherwise specified). I’m recording all my answers here, so I’ll know where to find them — and in case you had these questions, too.

When did states issue their stay-at-home orders?

California was the earliest on March 19. Alabama was the most recent on April 4. Illinois (March 21) was among the first nine states in the country to issue orders. Governors in Arkansas, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Utah have not issued statewide orders.

How does COVID-19 compare to other infectious diseases?

The Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide — about one-third of the population — and resulted in an estimated 20 million to 50 million deaths, including some 675,000 Americans. It had a 10 percent mortality rate.

The COVID-19 mortality rate stands at 6 percent.

Here’s a breakdown of other infectious diseases

• HIV/AIDS (1960-2020) 39 million deaths worldwide

• SARS — Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (2002-03), 26 countries, 8,098 cases (eight in the U.S.), 774 deaths, 9.7 percent mortality rate

• MERS — Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (as recent as 2012), 27 countries, 2,494 cases (only two in the U.S.), 858 deaths, 34 percent mortality rate

• H1N1 — (2009-10), estimated 60.8 million cases, 274,304 hospitalizations and 12,469 deaths in the U.S.

(Sources: CDC, WHO, Interesting Engineering, Minnesota Public Radio)

How do cases and deaths in the U.S. compare to other countries?

The U.S. has the highest number of cases of any country (753,317), but not the highest number per capita. The U.S. has 230 cases and 11 deaths per 100,000 people.

Spain and Italy are both higher. Spain has 428 cases and 45 deaths per 100,000 people. Italy has 298 cases and 39 deaths per 100,000. Note: These and other figures are as of April 20.

How do cases and deaths in Illinois compare to other states in the continental U.S.?

Per 100,000 people

• Illinois: 240 cases, 10 deaths

• New York (highest): 1,248 cases, 71 deaths

• Montana: (lowest) 41 cases, less than 1 death

When does a population develop herd immunity?

Depending how contagious an infection is, usually 70 percent to 90 percent of a population needs immunity to achieve herd immunity, according to a Q and A with Gypsyamber D’Souza, professor, and David Dowdy, associate professor, in epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

When was the first case in reported?

On Jan. 21 in the U.S. and on March 6 in Chicago.

What are the three phases of the Opening Up America Again plan?

Phase 1 — keep schools closed, continue telework, limit social gatherings to 10 people, reopen large venues (restaurants, movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship) and gyms with strict physical distancing protocols, allow elective surgery

Phase 2 — reopen schools, limit social gatherings to 50 people

Phase 3 — resume unrestricted staffing of work sites and visits to hospitals and nursing homes, operate large venues with limited social distancing protocols, reopen bars with increased standing room

All phases depend on states meeting certain criteria, including a downward trajectory of cases.

— Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean