On this special coronavirus/COVID-19 episode of The Nurse Keith Show podcast, Keith discusses the growing COVID-19 death toll in the United States; herd immunity; the inordinate “viral burden” carried by African Americans and Native Americans; and other current challenges faced at this stage of the pandemic.

Links and some stats mentioned in this podcast episode:

New York Times coronavirus update from May 27, 2020

New York Times tracking the outbreak around the globe

The US death toll of 100k plus exceeding the number of U.S. military combat fatalities in any conflict since the conflict in Korea

COVID-19 now matches the death toll in the United States of the 1968 flu pandemic.

COVID-19 may soon be the deadliest American public health disaster since the 1918 flu pandemic.

Aggregated deaths by race in the U.S. during the current pandemic

  • 1 in 1,850 Black Americans has died (or 54.6 deaths per 100,000)
  • 1 in 4,000 Latino Americans has died (or 24.9 deaths per 100,000)
  • 1 in 4,200 Asian Americans has died (or 24.3 deaths per 100,000)
  • 1 in 4,400 White Americans has died (or 22.7 deaths per 100,000)

America Dissected: Coronavirus podcast episode, COVID in Indian Country

Here in my adopted home state of New Mexico, Native Americans are dying at a rate eight times as high as that of white citizens, and in neighboring Arizona, that rate is approximately five times as high as that of Caucasians.

New York Times May 28, 2020 coronavirus update regarding herd immunity. Quotes and stats from the article:

“In terms of the all-important herd immunity we’d all like to see – like the herd immunity that protects many of us against infectious diseases like measles and polio – we’re far from our goal of at least 60%.

“In many of the hardest-hit cities, herd immunity is sorely lacking according to the latest data. For example:

  • NYC: 19.9% have antibodies
  • Madrid: 11.3%
  • London: 17.5%
  • Boston: 9.9%
  • Wuhan: 10%
  • Barcelona: 7.1%

“Some countries — notably Sweden, and briefly Britain — have experimented with limited lockdowns in an effort to build up immunity in their populations. But even in these places, recent studies indicate that no more than 7 to 17 percent of people have been infected so far. In New York City, which has had the largest coronavirus outbreak in the United States, around 20 percent of the city’s residents have been infected by the virus as of early May, according to a survey of people in grocery stores and community centers released by the governor’s office.

“The herd immunity threshold for this new disease is still uncertain, but many epidemiologists believe it will be reached when between 60 percent and 80 percent of the population has been infected and develops resistance. A lower level of immunity in the population can slow the spread of a disease somewhat, but the herd immunity number represents the point where infections are substantially less likely to turn into large outbreaks.

“All estimates of herd immunity assume that a past infection will protect people from becoming sick a second time. There is suggestive evidence that people do achieve immunity to the coronavirus, but it is not yet certain whether that is true in all cases; how robust the immunity may be; or how long it will last.”

Let’s explain herd immunity clearly and succinctly, again from the same NYT article:

“If you are infected with the virus and walk into a room where everyone is susceptible to it, he said, you might infect two or three other people on average.

“On the other hand, if you go in and three out of four people are already immune, then on average you will infect one person or fewer in that room,” he said. That person in turn would be able to infect fewer new people, too. And that makes it much less likely that a large outbreak can bloom.”


DISCLAIMER: In these episodes regarding COVID-19, I reference the most up-to-date information I can, as well as adding personal opinions and reflections from me and my guests. Please note that the situation is changing by the moment, and any information shared in the course of any episode may not apply once new data or evidence emerges. Please also note that nothing shared in the course of any Nurse Keith Coaching COVID-19 podcast is intended for diagnosis or treatment; please consult your healthcare provider, your local Department of Health, the CDC, the WHO, or other reputable evidence-based sources. 

If you hear or read something I have shared that appears to be erroneous, if you can, please send an email me directly at keith@nursekeith.com. Thank you for understanding, stay safe, and keep informed.


I’m very privileged and grateful to have been listed on Feedspot’s list of the top 15 career coaching podcasts to follow in 2020. Thank you so much, Feedspot.


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Nurse KeithIn case you didn’t already know, Nurse Keith is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, keynote and motivational speaker, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. From 2012 until its sunset in 2017, Keith co-hosted RNFMRadio, a groundbreaking nursing podcast. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—as well as at NurseKeith.com.
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