Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told lawmakers during a House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday that COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — is probably about 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.
President Trump has often compared COVID-19 to the flu, which affects tens of thousands of Americans each year, in an effort to calm people down, but Fauci clearly wasn't trying to downplay the seriousness of the virus' spread. Fauci is a member of the White House's coronavirus task force.
At the same time, he did clarify that 10 times figure actually brings the new coronavirus' fatality rate lower than official estimates, which hover around 3 percent. The flu has a mortality rate of about 0.1 percent, so, when considering the likelihood that there are many asymptomatic or very mild cases that have gone undiagnosed, Fauci places the new coronavirus' lethality rate at somewhere around 1 percent. While that's a good deal lower than the current data suggests, it still would lead to significant numbers of fatalities, and makes the flu comparisons seem pretty questionable.
Q: How does COVID-19 compare to other previous health situations — SARS, H1N1?
Dr. Fauci: "...It is 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu. I think that's something that people can get their arms around and understand." pic.twitter.com/yjLrcFSOxR
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) March 11, 2020
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