We find ourselves in the middle of an unprecedented crisis the likes of which most of us have never experienced before, and hopefully won’t have to experience again. There is the occasional moment that makes us smile in the middle of it all (like when people are buying up all the fluffy yellow baby chicks out there – but please, don’t cuddle your feathered friends), but overall the situation is scary and it’s probably safe to say all of us are feeling anxious about the near and distant future alike. The reason we’re so concerned is not just because of the scale of this outbreak and the impact it’s having on individual people, society, and the economy, but also due to uncertainty and confusion. We don’t yet know much about this novel virus, and that’s why everyone is trying to collect and share as much information as possible. To that end, we want to provide some insight into the spread and severity of the Coronavirus using health and demographic data.
Aside from actual virus spread data, we can look at various factors that might indicate elevated risk of developing severe illness if and when the virus spreads in an area, i.e. who will need extra help recovering from COVID-19, the lung disease caused by the Coronavirus. These risk factors are most reliably described by national and international health organizations such as the CDC, the WHO, and the ECDC. And although these sources do emphasize that we don’t yet know for sure what sort of factors actually affect our susceptibility to the virus and severe progressions (for example, we do see young, healthy people becoming very ill), they provide what amounts to their current best estimate.