COVID-19: Our actions matter

I shared an update from Dr. Dora Anne Mills two weeks ago and since then, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has continued to rise. We may have been able to keep the numbers relatively low in Maine, but we cannot be complacent.

Here’s a snapshot of confirmed cases as of 7/28/2020, 7:30 am EDT. Sources: Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Interactive Map and the Maine CDC.

  • Number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world: Was 13,127,006 and is at this moment 16,495,309.
  • Number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States: Was 3,364,704 and is at this moment 4,294,770.
  • Number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maine: Was 3,159 and is at this moment 3,422.

These numbers only tell part of the story. There are other important numbers: People who have died, people who have recovered, for instance. The sources I cited above should have those other numbers.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Mills has been sharing information and updates on her Facebook page. Dr, Mills was the director of the Maine CDC and the State’s Health Officer for 14 years. She is currently the Chief Health Improvement Officer for MaineHealth.

Because not everyone is on Facebook or has access to the information, with her permission, I have been sharing some of her updates on the Catching Health blog. This is her most recent:

Brief COVID-19 Update July 28, 2020

COVID-19 is on track to become the third leading cause of death in the U.S. for 2020, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer.

It is just July, yet if no one else died of COVID-19 the rest of the year, it would already rank in the top 10, causing more people to lose their lives than diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide.

As deaths in the U.S. from COVID-19 climb upward (and getting younger), we lost more than 1,000 people per day for four days last week. With about 146,000 lives lost so far in the U.S. from COVID-19, it is therefore easy to see how by summer’s end, this could surpass 167,000, representing the current 3rd leading cause of death – unintentional injury, which includes drug overdoses (67,000 deaths), car crashes (39,000), and falls (36,000).

We are all tired of this pandemic and badly want to gather with loved ones. But the virus is not tired, is not giving up. In fact, other countries are seeing second surges, e.g. Australia and Japan.

Our actions can cause death. However, our actions can also save lives. Wear a mask; Watch our distance (6 feet), and Wash our hands – especially when at work or outside of our home. When gathering with friends or family or while in the workplace, do so safely and in small numbers, preferably outside.

Our actions matter, though we will never know whose lives we are saving.

2018 U.S. Leading Causes of Death

  1. Heart disease (655,381)
  2. Cancer (599,274)
  3. Unintentional injury (167,127)
  4. Chronic lower respiratory disease (159,486)
  5. Stroke (147,810)
  6. Alzheimer’s disease (122,019)
  7. Diabetes (84,946)
  8. Flu and pneumonia (59,120)
  9. Nephritis (51,386)
  10. Suicide (48,344)

CDC Projections for COVID-19 Deaths

CDC Causes of Death 2018 and 2017

Our actions can cause death. However, our actions can also save lives. Wear a mask; Watch our distance (6 feet), and Wash our hands

Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH, FAAP

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Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.