The COVID-19 in Context to the Flu and the H1N1

Published Wednesday, April 1, 2020 3:15 pm

Written by:
Pete Martinez
CEO SIVOTEC Analytics and
Retired IBM Vice President   

It is very gratifying to see the value our country places on human life. The current COVID-19 Pandemic is a great example of the focus and sacrifice we exert to protect our citizens. It is important to properly address the measures taken to the size of the situation we are dealing with the trusted data we have at hand.

Per the CDC estimates, from October 1, 2019 through March 21, 2020, we find some very interesting numbers relating to the Influenza (the Flu) in the United States. We have had:

  • 38,000,000 – 54,000,000 flu illnesses
  • 18,000,000 – 26,000,000 medical visits
  • 400,000 --     730,000 hospitalizations
  • 24,000 --       62,000 deaths

These numbers do not seem to have overwhelmed our medical system, created lines outside of hospitals, or stressed shortages in medical supplies and equipment. As of April 1, 2020, in the U.S. there are reported COVID-19:

  • 187,729 cases
  • 3,867  deaths

These numbers are low, but the projections are high. The closest sizeable virus, per the CDC, from April 10, 2009 to April 10, 2010, just 10 years ago, in the U.S. we had an estimated H1N1:

  • 43,300,000 – 89,300,000 cases
  • 195,086 --     402,719 hospitalizations
  • 8,868 --       18,306 deaths

It is important to note that our current projections for the COVID-19 are based on very new models that are being refined constantly. Unfortunately, in some cases, these have led to overreaction and devastating economic consequence to our citizens. It’s time to recalibrate ourselves and understand the broad range of severity of this virus. With the precision and localization of new data we should be able to start focusing on and preparing for the balancing of efforts and enabling the 99% of our healthy population (our workforce and education) for the sake of the 1% most vulnerable; lets provide extraordinary protection and care to the 1%. This will reenergize the economy to be able to care for those in need.

A very positive side-product of our focus on the virus has been the extraordinary developments in marshalling the private sector’s intellect and technology at the pace of business. Cutting through outdated processes and obsolete technologies at lightening pace will cause a very positive and lasting impact in drug development, medical technologies, and telemedicine. And, most importantly the usage of Artificial Intelligence and Supercomputers as the game-changers in leading the way to improving the human condition.

As a county, we have the opportunity to become proactive vs reactive to these phenomena. Let’s challenge our best minds and technologies to become a model community for predictive and proactive management of our health and economy. Because of our great investments in the Life Sciences, it’s time for the combination of our scientists, technologists, and entrepreneurs to provide international leadership and drive the new ‘big and bold initiatives’ that will have incredible social impact for generations to come.    


God Bless America!



Pete Martinez

CEO SIVOTEC Analytics and

Retired IBM Vice President   



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