THE PRESIDENT OF the us compared the coronavirus to the flu in the week , and therefore the new virus that has already stricken quite 55,000 people and killed quite 800 across the country came out looking relatively innocuous.

“We have tons of individuals dying from the flu, as you recognize ,” Donald Trump told reporters at the White House, as his attorney general, William Barr, stood far but 6 feet behind him. “It seems like it might be over 50,000,” he said about the present flu season, later clarifying that he was pertaining to deaths from the flu, “not cases, 50,000 deaths, which may be a lot.”


But the amount Trump cited doesn't reflect people dying from verified cases of the flu. consistent with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7,428 deaths from the flu were confirmed by a lab test for that virus in 2019. If you add within the 3,771 test-confirmed deaths already tallied in 2020, the entire number of deaths which will be definitively tied to the flu is 11,199.

The much higher number Trump used comes from the possible range of deaths due to flu this season — 23,00 to 59,000 — variety that the CDC estimates partially by including people that die from pneumonia albeit they weren’t tested for the flu virus.


Trump contrasted the high flu numbers — along side automobile accidents, which he said were “far greater than any numbers we’re talking about” — to the amount of Covid-19 cases partially to stress his administration’s success in responding to the deadly virus. “I think we’re doing a really good job of it,” he said, happening to explain the amount of cases within the U.S. as “pretty amazing.”


But comparing Covid-19 and flu numbers may be a classic case of apples to oranges, consistent with public health experts and epidemiologists. While the amount of flu cases and deaths are estimates that don’t require confirmation by a lab test or death certificate, Covid-19 cases and deaths are being documented intrinsically as long as there's a positive result on a lab test.


“It’s an inappropriate comparison because you’re employing a different definition of disease,” said Ken Rosenberg, a retired epidemiologist who worked for the Oregon Public Health Division.


Because of the nationwide shortage of Covid-19 tests, only a few people are ready to get a confirmed diagnosis, making it impossible to understand the particular number of cases and deaths within the U.S. In ny City, where the price has topped 192, confirmed cases are reportedly doubling every three days, reaching quite 15,500 as of press time. But even that number is probably going only the tip of the iceberg, since city hospitals have stopped testing patients who aren't already hospitalized or requiring hospitalization.


While the precise number of individuals who are becoming sick and dying from the coronavirus remains a mystery, it's already clearly more deadly than the flu. the share of individuals infected by the virus who die from it, referred to as the case deathrate , has been reported to be within the range of 1 to three percent and to vary geographically, with estimates in South Korea as low as 0.4 percent. For people within the U.S. who are 85 and older, the foremost vulnerable, the case deathrate has ranged from 10 to 27 percent, consistent with the CDC. Yet fewer than 1 in 1,000 of the people that developed flu during the 2018-2019 season died, consistent with CDC estimates.


Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has repeatedly explained that the new coronavirus appears to be about 10 times more lethal than flu, was noticeably absent from Monday’s news conference .


The CDC has historically estimated deaths from flu because relying only on death certificates and positive tests would likely end in an underestimate. While the present method of calculating deaths and mortality is imprecise, it's been in use for years. “The CDC’s position has been that it’s the simplest thanks to understand what percentage people are infected,” said Rosenberg. “It’s never been a drag before because no one’s compared that number to anything .”


Trump, who has repeatedly compared Covid-19 to the flu because the virus has spread throughout the U.S., has changed that. After emphasizing the relatively small threat posed by the virus, he said yesterday on a Fox News TV special that he hopes to possess the country “opened up and just raring to go” by Easter — a choice that public health experts warn would be disastrous.


As the number of cases continued to climb, Trump again likened the present situation thereto seen with other viruses “We’ve had some pretty bad flus, and we’ve had some pretty bad viruses, and we’ve never closed the country before,” said Trump. “We need to return to figure .”


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