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Yes, the next plague No, it's a cold
Debate Score:3
Arguments:2
Total Votes:4
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 No, it's a cold (2)

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Is COVID-19 (coronavirus) a concern?

Since late 2019, a novel strain of coronavirus has been detected and spread throughout parts of China, particularly around the city of Wuhan. Recently, fears of the virus spreading have led to increased xenophobia, travel restrictions and fears, and general panic. The stock market has even taken a hit recently, as well as exports from China. Community viral spreading has been documented now in South Korea, Japan, Iran, and Italy; and many more countries have reported positive cases from people who have traveled to endemic areas. 

Will this virus spread further and truly cause a massive plague event as the media makes it seem? Or is it blown out of proportion.

Yes, the next plague

Side Score: 1
VS.

No, it's a cold

Side Score: 2
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1 point

The vast majority of cases are still centered in China. According to the WHO, there are about 83,600 confirmed cases globally as of 02/28/2020. Almost 79,000 of them are in China alone (94%), showing that the virus has not spread very far from China as many people have feared. Speaking from a mortality standpoint, I have seen mortality rates documented anywhere from 1-2%, with some sources specifically reporting a comparable mortality rate for the flu at 0.01%.

Now, these numbers may scare come people, but I truly believe they're being blown way out of proportion and much of the the fear of this virus is being exacerbated by the media. By comparison, the CDC estimates that from October 2019 through February 22, 2020, there have been anywhere from 32-45 million flu cases in the US, of which 14-21 million have sought medical care. They estimate that there have been 18,000 to 46,000 deaths related to the flu in this time period, showing a mortality rate as high as 0.001%. Clearly, although the flu has a relatively low mortality rate, it has a much larger impact on public health in general as it affects a much larger amount of people and does also kill a larger amount of people as well.

COVID-19, on the other hand, has not proven itself to be as ubiquitous as we have been led to believe. The mortality rate being documented at 1-2% I believe is a falsely elevated number. Just like pretty much any upper respiratory virus, many people may contract it and show minimal or no symptoms. Many others, especially in the US with our expensive and difficult to access healthcare system, may choose to not seek treatment and, thus, are not counted in the active cases globally. The documented mortality rate only factors in two things- the number of people who have died (numerator) and the number of documented cases (denominator). I can all but guarantee that the true number of cases is much higher than the number of confirmed cases (because who goes to the doctor when you're young, healthy, and have a runny nose and a cough?). This would indicate a much lower mortality rate than reported.

I truly believe that we are dealing with a slightly beefier version of the common cold, somewhat akin to when we had the SARS outbreak (also a coronavirus), the MERS scare, bird flu, swine flu, etc. Yes, some people who are immunocompromised or have major comorbidities will die. But they could just as easily have died from the influenza virus. Or sepsis. Or a different strain of virus altogether. I really think the fear mongering needs to end because once this virus scare finally passes and we look back on things, we will realize just how much we overreacted emotionally.

Side: No, it's a cold
0 points

Every few years this shit happens. The news media has to sensationalize everything to stay afloat, so they'll find some new disease and tell the guy with a microphone that it'll advance his career to jump up in your face and scream "YOU'RE GONNA DIIIIIEEEEE!!!!! MAD BIRD COW FLU SWINE EBOLASARS IS GONNA MAKE YOU SHIT OUT YOUR FUCKIN' EARS AND IT'S GONNA KEEEEEL YA! GONNA KILL YOUR FRIENDS, GONNA KILL YOUR GOD DAMN FAMILY! AND THEN YOUR DOG IS GONNA GET HIT BY THE TRUCK THAT'S HAULING YOUR BODIES AWAY!!!

Is it bad? It's not good that the mortality rate is about one in 48 even in countries without adequate healthcare. But it's not the fucking end times.

Side: No, it's a cold