The headline of this Business Insider item reads: "MAP OF THE DAY: There's a 'Superbug' spreading around America killing 40% of the people who come into contact". The only thing missing are the 10 exclamation points that could have been added to the end of the sentence.
Unfortunately, in the mass media, this sort of sentence is quite typical.
Let's dissect the claim.
Indeed, a disease with a fatality rate of 40% is very serious, but one must stop for a second and ask 40% of what? Accidental falls are sometimes fatal but they just don't happen often enough for anyone to be worried. In the case of the new superbug, the article tells us there are 350 recent cases in Los Angeles county, which, last I checked, has 10 million residents. So, the chance of dying from this "superbug" is 140 out of 10 million, which is 0.0014% (1 in 72,000) compared to 1 in 14,000 for accidental falls.
If you have the bug, you have a 40% chance of dying. But the chance of catching the bug is miniscule. (They say "come into contact". Presumably, more than contact is needed to have the bug.)
They then show a map illustrating how this bug is "spreading around America".
If you mentally tally up the yellow area as a proportion of the whole country, you might think 2/3 of the country is an emergency zone. But this map is incredibly misleading. It is still the case that the average American would only have a 0.0014% chance of dying from the superbug. (Strictly speaking, the rate would be a tad higher in the yellow area but this distinction will go away as cases pop up in the rest of the states.)
If one were to plot a similar map for "2010 location of deaths due to accidental falls", the entire map would be yellow. The only thing missing would be the 10 exclamation points.