My son sent an article around to our family about norovirus. It’s a pretty fascinating article for the Frieders family, because we’re all a bit off, but it brings up questions unrelated to vomit.

Read the article here:

From the article: “It’s estimated that in the United States alone, noroviruses infect at least 23 million people a year. Seventy thousand of them end up hospitalized, and nearly 800 die. Things are worse in developing countries, where people are less likely to get rigged to an IV to get pumped full of fluids. It’s estimated that noroviruses kill 200,000 children under the age of five every year in developing countries.”

Sounds bad?

Consider this; every year:

  • 23,000,000 people get norovirus in the U.S – about 6% (6 in 100)
  • 70,000 of them are hospitalized – about 0.3% (3 in 1000) of those who get it and about 0.02% (2 in 10,000) of the population.
  • 800 die – about 0.003% of those who get it and about 0.0002% of the US population.


  • There are about 32,000 automobile deaths per year (40 times more than norovirus)
  • Or about 38,000 prescription drug deaths (47.5 times more than norovirus)

Yes, norovirus is bad bug, but we’ve all lived with it “forever” – and the numbers are fairly constant on a percentage basis. Three of every thousand people who get norovirus die. I suggest we should fear automobiles and prescribed drugs at least 40 times more than the norovirus.

Did you know that approximately 2.5 million people die every year in the United States – about 7,500 per day?


Does this sound a bit over the top to anyone else?

I was merely trying to put a little oil on the waves (that’s a metaphor). It is far too easy to be sensational.

For example, today the talk in the town where I live is still about NO MURDERS in 2012. However, there are only 17,000 homicides per year in the US – 11,000 of which are gun related.

There are 37,000 deaths caused by legal, prescribed drugs in the same time frame.

What gets the press and the knee jerk reactions? Guns. Homicides of any kind are almost impossible to stop. Drug deaths are easy to stop.

There is something terribly wrong with this picture – and nobody cares.

Well, except me.