One-size-fits-all rules inappropriate for state
We are treated, it seems, daily to (the Globe's) death count for Missouri from COVID-19. Certainly, the pandemic dominates the current news, but I would encourage the Globe and other media outlets to go a step beyond the death count and give some added perspective to your readers.
Using the data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services released today (May 12), it would appear there is far better news for the public to know. When reporting Missouri deaths increased and now top 500, it would be beneficial to also report that from nine counties in our corner of the state, there has been only one death. That represents 0.0019% of total deaths in Missouri. For those same nine counties, there have only been 71 reported cases. That is only 0.0071% of total reported cases in the Missouri. That means 98.59% of reported cases in those counties recover fully.
By contrast, the three counties of the Kansas City area and three counties around St. Louis and St. Louis City report 460 of the 524 deaths, or 87.7%. Those areas report 7,640 total cases, or 76.35% of the entire state cases.
Again, using the most recent data, 89.7% of all deaths were individuals older than 60. And only 13 deaths, 0.025%, were younger than 50. For reported cases, the recovery rate for ages 29 and younger (only one death in that age group) is 99.99%. For all cases younger than 60, recovery rate is 99.14%. For all cases of any age, recovery rates still come in at 94.7%. Moreover, the state data does not report how many of the individuals reported to have succumbed to the virus also suffered from preexisting health factors that could increase any risk from the virus.
If I have calculated correctly, with an estimated population of 6.17 million, Missouri’s 524 deaths would put us at about 85 deaths per million. Missouri data from 2008-2018 shows annual deaths from pneumonia and influenza to be at 179.5 per million — more than double the current numbers for COVID-19.
Certainly precautions to avoid illness are well advised. However, such precautions are always well advised during any flu season. The actual data reflects there are age groups at higher risk, and the actual data reflects there are areas of the state at higher risk of exposure. One-size-fits-all mandates for the entire state are not appropriate for the existing data. Your readers should be made aware of these facts and be allowed to proceed with their lives with knowledge and perspective of their actual risks.
Joplin earns praise for its parks, trails
Kudos to Joplin Parks and Recreation on the trails and parks in our community. While my family has been self-isolating, we have been taking advantage of the trails and walking paths in Joplin. The number of trails is outstanding, and they have been kept in excellent condition.
Having safe places to walk in our community, especially at this time, is so important to both our mental and physical health. We are so lucky that Joplin has prioritized the walking trails over the past few years; they are now getting lots of use.
Globe praised for shining light on lawmakers
Thanks to The Joplin Globe for being the light that shines on the doings and the undoings in Jefferson City and the elected people who are supposed to be serving the interests of all Missourians.
The Globe should be applauded for pointing out (May 12) how very ridiculous and unnecessary some of the proposed bills are when Missouri, like all states, is in the midst of a funding crisis due to a pandemic. Why should the legislators proposing these bills be reelected if this is the best they can do? Maybe the brass knuckles proposal is just a distraction from the serious business of gutting the intent of Amendment 1 (Clean Missouri) passed by 62% of the voters in 2018.
In that same edition, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is quoted as saying, "It was encouraging to see firsthand this weekend that Missourians were finding a way to adapt and safely move forward."
Below this quote, it was noted that 74 new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed on Monday. Parson noted that was the lowest one-day total of new cases since mid-March. Unlike the governor, I don't see 74 new cases as something to be proud of. Certainly it is better than 75 or 100 or more but nothing to be proud of. Just possibly Parson should stay in Jefferson City and work toward helping the state deal with matters such as funding for education, unemployment, infrastructure, helping rural hospitals survive and maintaining essential services instead of seemingly crowing about what is still an increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19.
The questions are: Are we seeing consistent decreases of infections over 14 continuous days? Is enough testing being done to reliably know if there are fewer cases? Is there a plan for contact tracing of all COVID-19 cases?
Between some of the legislators and Parson's stewardship of Missouri government, there is not any "sweetness and light" in Missouri's future — far from it.