As an LEO-Physician who is now knee deep in COVID 19 frontline, I thought I'd share some current information and field experiences with ya'll, with a spin on more first responder relevant viewpoint, and answer some questions I've seen from first responders. 1) Yes, as test becomes more widely available, the overall mortality rate will go down. Vast majority of those infected have very mild to no symptoms. However, "low overall mortality rate" is only half of the story. Unlike the flu, the COVID virus survives much longer outside of the body and asymptomatic patients can spread the virus. 2) Our current tests are molecular based. They have excellent specificity (meaning, very, very, very low false positives). However, their real world sensitivity (meaning ability to catch cases) is reportedly at around 75% - this means, one out of 4 people with COVID may test false negative. 3) While the overall mortality rate is low, a larger percentage of COVID patients need hospital-level care compared with the flu. Therefore, a region's hospital level care capacity will influence that region's mortality - in other words, really sick but survivable cases that cannot get hospital care will die, and increase mortality for that region. 4) A much larger percentage of those who need hospitalization need ICU-level care. They are also needing much longer ICU care compared with the flu. This is why we are running out of ventilators. Worldwide experience is, 86% of those COVID patients needing ventilators die after a prolonged ICU course. In the US, the Seattle experience is 70% death rate for those needing a ventilator. These numbers are much higher than the flu. 5) Social distancing is very important. We need to flatten the curve - meaning, slow down the spread of infection in the community so that we don't get a large influx of patients needing hospital care all at once - this is how we run out of hospital beds. And maxing out hospital capacity itself will accelerate disease spread because you will have sick patients in the community who need close contact personal care by their friends and family members, putting them at risk... and you can do the math. 5) While the general statement is true that older people with pre-existing conditions are more at risk for being severely sick, we are seeing more younger and healthy people getting really sick from COVID 19. We don't fully understand this heterogeneity of severe cases. We suspect a combination of lack of herd immunity and some yet undiscovered genetic susceptibility are the reasons. Point is, younger and healthier people are getting sick and needing hospitalization. 6) Workforce protection - if you are sick, stay home. I cannot stress this enough. In New York City, young and healthy healthcare workers (ie interns, residents, young nurses) who were minimally symptomatic took out entire teams of healthcare workers early on in the outbreak, crippling their workforce just when the **** hit the fan. And unlike the flu, COVID patients are infectious to others for much longer period of time, so infected healthcare workers are out of commission for much longer periods of time, further crippling the workforce. Don't let that happen to your department. 7) Vaccine - good news is, this virus has a fairly stable genome. This means, we are likely to have effective vaccines in the near future. This will probably not help us right now. The projection is, this may help with "COVID 20" and beyond. 8) Treatments - lots of clinical trials in progress. No magic bullet in the near future, though there are some attractive candidates. The malarial medication Plaquenil is a double-edge sword due to its toxicity, and probably not a magic bullet by any means. The HIV drug that had some hopes early on turned out to be a dud. Please feel free to post questions. I'll try to answer them the best I can as time permits. This generous offer and free sharing of hard-earned experience is NOT an invitation to be an ass. Conspiracy theorists, rude people and general problems will be disappeared from the thread faster than you can dry cough. Thanks in advance. /s/Your mods.