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With the exception of Connecticut, isn't that a map of "states with a population above a certain threshold"? (or population density, which I suppose might have an effect on spread of disease)


Don't forget that infectious diseases are not like accidental falls - diseases spread from person to person, and depending on the rate of that spread, a few hundred cases can very quickly turn into many thousands.

Also worth considering is "who is vulnerable to this disease?" The article suggests that primarily residents of long-term care facilities are vulnerable. If we suppose 1 in 1000 people are in long-term care at any given moment, and that the risk to people in the rest of the population is negligible, that 1 in 72,000 becomes 1 in 72 among the vulnerable population. To me that is significant and worthy of our attention.

Of course, this article does leave out the information we would need to draw conclusions about the rate of spread and how much of the population is vulnerable, and it is undoubtedly sensationalist with its use of the map. I guess I'm just saying that there are additional factors to consider when looking at infectious disease statistics, and it could be dangerous to fall into the trap of "this disease is rare therefore we shouldn't worry about it."


Brad: Thanks for the additional insights. I was afraid that my post might be interpreted as saying it's not a worry so it's good you bring this point up.

My point is really that our media exaggerates every risk to the nth degree using sloppy language and poor graphics, creating a society in which we fear everything and waste resources on all kinds of useless remedies.

e.g. I'm pretty sure in hindsight we massively overreacted to the bird flu scare, which sounds much worse than this particular superbug.

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