As mask mandates are canceled, my wife and I are wondering just what is the real risk out there. The per 100,000 rates on the CDC do not tell me much. I wanted to know how these numbers compared with the U.S. significant health death rates due to heart disease, cancer, injuries, strokes, etc. The U.S. population is from census.gov. The COVID data is from cdc.gov. The mortality rates per 100,000 are also cdc.gov, where the motor vehicle death rate is from cdc.gov.
Through this experience, Denise and I have not sought to avoid death or even hospitalization. Even the latter means that one is in pretty grave danger. Instead, given the problems of long COVID, our goal has been to avoid it altogether.
To compare the odds of becoming a new COVID case, a new hospitalization, or a death, I multiplied these daily rates 365. The per 100,000 death rates were multiplied by the ratio of the U.S. population to 100,000. This gave me snapshots of the current risk based on a day's rate. I compared them with the number of deaths in the U.S. due to the leading causes of death.
At the peak of COVID, it was the third leading cause of death. If the number of people who died of COVID on 4/22/22 is maintained as the daily rate across 2022, COVID will be the fourth leading killer. This is still not much of an improvement. By yesterday's daily rate, if your goal is to avoid hospitalization, your odds are roughly the same as dying from heart disease. Finally, if you want to avoid COVID, the annual new case rate based on 4/22's rate is almost 15 million. That's 5% of the U.S. population.
I think I'll keep my robust immune system and my N95.