Novel Coronavirus Fast Facts: Updated 03-15-2020


Risk of Dying from Coronavirus Infection

Preliminary numbers indicate that about 2-3% percent of those infected are killed by Novel Coronavirus infection (Grady, 03-01-2020; Johnson, 02-19-2020; Noack, et al., 02-20-2020; WHO, 03-08-2020).

A new report on 1,099 cases from many parts of China, published on [February 28, 2020] in The New England Journal of Medicine, finds a lower [coronavirus infection death] rate: 1.4 percent” (Grady, 03-01-2020).

“The true [novel coronavirus] death rate could turn out to be similar to that of a severe seasonal flu, below 1 percent, according to an editorial published in [The New England Journal of Medicine] by Dr. Anthony S. Fauci and Dr. H. Clifford Lane, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” (Grady, 03-01-2020).

These rates compare to the common flu; about 1-3% of patients infected with the common flu virus die from flu infection (CDC, 01-10-2020). According to Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “the mortality rate of the coronavirus “dropping” to “only” 1%. It now stands at about 3.4%. A 1% mortality rate is 10 times higher than the common flu”(Stanton, 03-12-2020).

The main determining factor in how a patient responds to the coronavirus is their immune system, which resonates with the findings from SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) (Johnson, 02-19-2020). 

“As of [March 1, 2020], there were about 87,000 coronavirus cases and 3,000 deaths globally” (Grady, 03-01-2020; cf. Abbott, 03-01-2020). As of March 15, 2020, globally, there were 153,517 novel coronavirus infections and 5735 deaths, which calculates to a 3.5% chance of dying from COVID-19 infection (CDC, “Situation Report- 55,” 03-15-2020). With these global statistics, it seems that the recent trajectory has infections and deaths doubling in a period of over two weeks.

 “COVID-19: U.S. at a Glance: total cases: 1678; total deaths: 41” (CDC, 03-15-2020). With this, the risk of dying from COVID-19 infection within the United States is 2.4%.

 “For the majority of people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. There is not widespread circulation in most communities in the United States.” (CDC, 03-09-2020).

“Outside of China, [novel coronavirus infection statistics]: 72,469 confirmed, 2531 deaths, 143 countries/territories/ areas (WHO, “Situation Report 55,” 03-15-2020). Based on these statistics, outside of China, the risk of dying from infection is 3.5% of “reported cases.” Logically speaking, some cases are not reported for various reasons, thus decreasing the mortality rate to some unknown degree.

“Reports out of China that looked at more than 70,000 COVID-19 patients found that about 80% of illness had — was mild and people recovered.  15 to 20% developed serious illness” (CDC, 03-09-2020).

“Of the 70,000 cases, only about 2% were in people younger than 19.  This seems to be a disease that affects adults.  And most seriously older adults. . . The people who are at greatest risk are those older and who also have serious long-term health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease” (CDC, 03-09-2020).

“We know that in South Korea no one under the age of 30 has died and in Japan no one under the age of 50 has died. . . It’s so important for older adults and people with serious underlying health conditions to be prepared” (CDC, 03-09-2020).


Coronavirus is spread by sneezing and coughing within a six-foot range (Johnson, 02-19-2020; NCIRD, 02-25-2020). A secondary way for infection is by contacting a contaminated surface and then touching the mouth, nose, or eye (NCIRD, 02-25-2020).

“People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads” (CDC, “How COVID-19 Spreads,” 03-04-2020).

“More cases of COVID-19 are likely to be identified in the United States in the coming days, including more instances of community spread. It’s likely that at some point, widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States will occur” (CDC, 03-09-2020).

As of March 15, 2020, COVID-19 has been diagnosed in eight Dallas County residents, six Collin County residents, and zero Denton County residents. Throughout the state, there are 56 diagnosed residents with COVID-19. The first known COVID-19 infection that initiated within the state of Texas was on March 4, 2020 (TDSHS).

“CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States” (CDC, accessed 03-15-2020,


Coughing, sneezing, common cold symptoms, infection of the upper airway making breathing more difficult, infection deeper into the lungs, loss of lung function (Johnson, 02-19-2020).

“The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:Fever, Cough, Shortness of breath” (CDC, “Symptoms,” 02-29-2020).

“Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death” (CDC,, accessed 03-16-2020).

“As of the evening of March 8, [2020],78 state and local public health labs in 50 states and the District of Columbia have successfully verified and are currently using COVID-19 diagnostic tests. Combined with other reagents that CDC has procured, there are enough testing kits to test more than 75,000 people” (CDC, 03-09-2020).

Prevalence of Common Flu and Coronavirus Infection

Since 2012, each year in the United States there are about 24-34 million cases of “symptomatic illness” of the flu (CDC, 01-10-2020).

” As of Feb. 22 [2020], in the current season there were at least 32 million cases of flu in the United States, 310,000 hospitalizations and 18,000 flu deaths, according to the CDC. Hospitalization rates among children and young adults this year have been unusually high. To contrast, in this current season, “COVID-19: U.S. at a Glance: total cases 938; total deaths 29; jurisdictions reporting cases 39 (38 states and District of Columbia)” (CDC, 03-11-2020).

 “There is now a total of 95,265 reported cases of COVID-19 globally, and 3281 deaths” (WHO, 03-05-2020). This calculates to a 3.4% death rate for “reported cases.” It is unclear how many cases are not reported; thus, the death rate is actually lower to some degree.

“As of today’s [March 7, 2020] reports, the global number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has surpassed 100 000” (WHO, 03-07-2020).

“Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “The [coronavirus novel] risk is low. We need to get on with our normal lives” (Abbott, 03-01-2020).

“Federal health officials said that the overall risk to the general public in the U.S. is still low, though the risk is rising in some areas and is higher for certain groups” (Abbott, 03-01-2020).  

Risk Factors

Advanced age, underlying chronic illnesses, diabetes, high blood pressure (Johnson, 02-19-2020; TDSHS, 03-15-2020; WHO, “Situation Report 51,” 03-11-2020). “Those with . . .  cardiovascular disease [and] chronic respiratory disease are [also] at risk for severe disease” (WHO, “Situation Report 51,” 03-11-2020; cf. TDSHS, 03-15-2020). Included in this list are those with cancer (TDSHS, 03-15-2020).

“For most people, COVID-19 infection will cause mild illness however, it can make some people very ill and, in some people, it can be fatal. (WHO, 03-08-2020).

“[COVID-19 infected] patients who reported no underlying medical conditions had an overall case fatality of 0.9%” (CDC, accessed 03-16-2020, “An overall case fatality proportion of 2.3% has been reported among confirmed cases of COVID-19 in China” (CDC, accessed 03-16-2020,

Countries Most Affected by Coronavirus

Began in China (CDC, 02-25-2020; Johnson, 02-19-2020, Noack, et al., 02-20-2020).

 “Outside China, 2055 cases were reported in 33 countries. Around 80% of those cases continue to come from just three countries [Korea, Italy, and Iran]” (WHO, 03-05-2020; 03-08-2020). “Although a few countries are reporting large numbers of cases, 115 countries have not reported any cases, 21 countries have reported only one case, and 5 countries that had reported cases have not reported new cases in the past 14 days” (WHO, 03-05-2020).

“This epidemic is a threat for every country, rich and poor. As we have said before, even high-income countries should expect surprises. The solution is aggressive preparedness” (WHO, 03-05-2020).

“These are plans that start with leadership from the top, coordinating every part of government, not just the health ministry – security, diplomacy, finance, commerce, transport, trade, information and more – the whole government should be involved” (WHO, 03-05-2020).

“Over 100 countries have now reported laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID19” (WHO, 03-08-2020).

Prevention of Flu Spread

“CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed” (CDC, 02-25-2020).

“At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it” (CDC, 04-02-2020).

“People can protect themselves and their communities by taking steps such as frequent handwashing, avoiding contact with people who are sick and staying home if they develop symptoms, health authorities say” (Abbott, 03-01-2020).

“While we won’t have exact figures until after the flu season is over, the 2019-2020 vaccine is estimated to be 45% effective overall and 55% effective in children. In comparison, the 2018-2019 flu vaccine was roughly 29% effective” (Schumaker, February 21, 2020).

“Partly because of these misconceptions, only half of Americans reported that they planned to get the flu vaccine this year, according to a survey conducted by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases this summer” (Schumaker, 03-02-2020).

“Avoid close contact with people who are sick,  avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, stay home when you are sick, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Follow [the] CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask; [the] CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility). Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website. For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings. These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers (CDC, 02-15-2020).

For older adults and those with pre-existing conditions, the CDC recommends “When you have visitors to your home, exchange “1 metre greetings”, like a wave, nod, or bow. Ask visitors and those you live with to wash their hands. Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces in your home, especially areas that people touch a lot. If someone you live with isn’t feeling well (especially with possible COVID-19 symptoms), limit your shared spaces. If you become ill with symptoms of COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider by telephone before visiting your healthcare facility. Make a plan in preparation for an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community. When you go out in public, follow the same preventative guidelines as you would at home. Stay up to date using information from reliable sources” (CDC, “Situation Report 51,” 03-11-2020).

“The World Health Organization (WHO) reminds all countries and communities that the spread of this virus can be significantly slowed or even reversed through the implementation of robust containment and control activities” (WHO, 03-07-2020).

“We must stop, contain, control, delay and reduce the impact of this virus at every opportunity. Every person has the capacity to contribute, to protect themselves, to protect others, whether in the home, the community, the healthcare system, the workplace or the transport system” (WHO, 03-07-2020).

“Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority” (WHO, 2020).

“The fight against rumours and misinformation is a vital part of the battle against this virus. . . If countries act aggressively to find, isolate and treat cases, and to trace every contact, they can change the trajectory of this epidemic” (WHO, 03-05-2020). From Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC, “I want to clarify the reason to stock up is that there is a rationale for being in a higher risk group wanting to avoid congregate settings. . .Right now, in the United States, most communities. . . are not having community transmission. . . We really do not think this is the time for Americans to be going out and getting masks. . . I also think people need to understand that there are personal responsibilities that we’re asking everyone in the United States to take to make sure that they’re doing their best to protect themselves and their families and their communities and right now especially to make really strong efforts to protect those who are older and at underlying risk.  As a community. . . we can really mitigate the impact of this disease and as long as we work together. You will see . . . more communities starting to implement some kind of mitigation measures when they’re seeing community spread. [For those who are] older and [have] underlying illnesses, we are recommending avoiding crowds, congregate settings because those are places where in general there is lots of transmission of respiratory diseases” (CDC, 03-09-2020). Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

“Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, avoid close contact with people who are sick, stay home when you are sick, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces” (TDSHS, 03-15-2020).

The Future

“COVID-19 is an emerging disease and there is more to learn about its transmissibility, severity, and other features and what will happen in the United States” (NCIRD, 02-17-2020).

“There’s still a lot we don’t know, but every day we’re learning more, and we’re working around the clock to fill in the gaps in our knowledge” (WHO, 03-05-2020).

“If you are not in an area where COVID-19 is spreading or have not travelled from an area where COVID-19 is spreading or have not been in contact with an infected patient, your risk of infection is low” (WHO, 03-08-2020).

In China, Starbucks has “continued to see encouraging signs of recovery with over 90% of stores reopened” (Johnson, K., 03-11-2020; cf. Dahstrom and Duong, March 5, 2020). In their experience with China, “Starbucks would be among the first major brands to proactively close their retail stores, eventually totaling more than half of the company’s 4,300 stores that employ 58,000 people. . . In China, in normal times, a new Starbucks opens about every 15 hours” (Dahlstrom and Duong, March 5, 2020).

Sources Cited

Abbott, Brianna, et al. “Coronavirus Spreads in U.S., as Rhode Island Confirms State’s First Case.” Wall Street Journal (March 1, 2020). Accessed March 1, 2020.

Centers for Disease Control. “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S” (Updated March 2, 2020, and continually). Accessed March 9, 2020.

Centers for Disease Control. “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary” (updated frequently). Accessed March 10, 2020.

Centers for Disease Control. “Disease Burden of Influenza” (January 10, 2020). Accessed February 25, 2020.

Centers for Disease Control. “How COVID-19 Spreads” (Last Reviewed March 4, 2020). Accessed March 11, 2020.

Centers for Disease Control. “Prevention and Treatment” (Last Reviewed February 15, 2020). Accessed March 4, 2020.

Centers for Disease Control. “Symptoms” (Last Reviewed February 29, 2020). Accessed March 11, 2020.

Centers for Disease Control. “Transcript – CDC Media Telebriefing: Update on COVID-19” (March 9, 2020). Accessed March 11, 2020.

Dahlstrom, Linda and Marianne Duong. “One Global Company’s Steps to Navigate COVID-19 in China – and the Lessons Learned” (March 5, 2020). Starbucks Corporation. Accessed March 12, 2020.

Grady, Denise. “How Does the Coronavirus Compare with the Flu?” The New York Times (Updated March 1, 2020). Accessed March 1, 2020.

Gumbrecht, Jamie. “CDC: 108 cases of novel coronavirus in the US” (March 3, 2020). CNN. Accessed March 3, 2020.

Johnson, Carolyn Y. “How the Coronavirus Can Kill People.” The Washington Post (February 19, 2020). Accessed February 25, 2020.

Johnson CEO, Kevin. E-mail. “Starbucks: Our Role and Responsibility- Navigating Through COVID-19” (March 11, 2020). Starbucks. Reference no. Ref: 20-24-ANO-3-0-0-EM-SR-NA-US.

National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases. “Coronavirus 2019: COVID 19.” Centers for Disease Control (February 23, 2020). Accessed February 25, 2020.

National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases. “How COVID 19 Spreads.” Centers for Disease Control (February 17, 2020). Accessed February 25, 2020.

Noack, Rick, et al. “Coronavirus Infections in China Exceed 75,000; Cases Surge in South Korea.” The Washington Post (February 20, 2020). Accessed February 25, 2020.

Schumaker, Erin. “Flu Shot Better Than Last Year, Despite Tough Season for Kids” (February 21, 2020). ABC News Network. Accessed March 2, 2020.

Stanton, Lee. Email. “In the Know” (March 12, 2020). Texas Dental Association Perks Program. Accessed March 12, 2020.

Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS). “News Updates” (March 15, 2020, regularly). Accessed March 16, 2020.

World Health Organization (WHO). “Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Advice for the Public” (2020). Accessed March 9, 2020.

World Health Organization (WHO). “Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Situation Report – 48” (March 8, 2020). Accessed March 9, 2020.

World Health Organization (WHO). “WHO Director-General’s Opening Remarks at the Media Briefing on COVID-19 – 5 March 2020” (March 5, 2020). Accessed March 9, 2020.—5-march-2020.

World Health Organization (WHO). “WHO Statement on Cases of COVID-19 Surpassing 100 000” (March 7, 2020). Accessed March 9, 2020.