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More data needed on UP virus cases

As of April 15, there were 56 reported cases of COVID-19 with nine deaths in the Upper Peninsula. (Editor’s note: That rose to 67 cases and 10 deaths as of Monday afternoon.)

Those numbers should draw the grave attention of our representatives, health workers and every person concerned about COVID-19.

Those numbers represent a case fatality rate of 16%, while the case fatality rate for the United States as a whole is 4%.

This means that Yoopers are disproportionately dying from COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus.  

In fact, this would be the highest Case Fatality Rate reported in the world.

Or is there something else in these numbers?

While rural areas tend to see a slower spread of the disease, those in rural areas also tend to be older, suffer from poorer health and have limited access to health care. 

That may be the case here in the U.P. 

The unusually high case fatality rate could also be attributed to the lack of testing availability and fewer people being tested.  

If this is the answer, then it means that there are many more cases of COVID-19 in the community that are not being accounted for. 

This alone demands a response and comprehensive testing of the community, as the deceptively low numbers of cases and deaths give a false sense of security and may result in the unwarranted relaxation of protective measures and more deaths.

Lastly, can these numbers be attributed to a small sample size? New Zealand had more than 1,400 confirmed cases and nine deaths, Iceland more than 1,700 cases and eight deaths.

The numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the Upper Peninsula deserve attention because they point to a problem not being addressed.

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