LIVE: How It Could Hit Us

Why local infectious disease experts think the scariest new numbers might not stand up, even with all the seniors we have.

A Sanford and NDSU infectious disease doctor is skeptical of new numbers estimating forty to seventy percent of Americans could be infected with coronavirus over the next year to year and a half.

Dr. Paul Carson says the UC San Francisco estimates, which appear to be based on Italy’s experiences, are an overestimation.

Carson says American researchers gathered data from Wuhan, where COVID-19 is believed to have originated, and combined it with data from South Korea and from America’s experiences so far.

They came up with about a seven percent transmission rate for household cases, and one to two percent
of non-household cases, for example, from contact in the workplace or other public areas.

That makes it less contagious than the flu — but it’s more serious an illness.

Seniors are particularly at risk, with people in their 80s facing a fatality rate of 15 percent.

And like Italy, our region’s population has a high concentration of elderly people, especially compared with the rest of the U.S.

However, Carson said, Italy’s is higher than North Dakota and Minnesota’s is.

Hear why he thinks our hospital system and senior centers are prepared to handle a possible surge, and what he recommends you and the seniors in your life do to protect yourselves.

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