When Trump claimed 59,000 Americans died from influenza in 2019, his rationale for failing to act on COVID 19, that number which is ten times higher than the real one came from his own CDC appointee, a lobbyist placed in power to politicize American healthcare.
Collectively, Trump and his fake CDC are killing America.
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 press conference.
“We have a lot of people dying from the flu, as you know,” Donald Trump told reporters at the White House, as his attorney general, William Barr, stood far less than 6 feet behind him. “It looks like it could be over 50,000,” he said about the current flu season, later clarifying that he was referring to deaths from the flu, “not cases, 50,000 deaths, which is a lot.”
But the number Trump cited does not reflect people dying from verified cases of the flu. According to 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 in the 3,771 test-confirmed deaths already tallied in 2020, the total number of deaths that can be definitively tied to the flu is 11,199.
Trump contrasted the high flu numbers — along with automobile accidents, which he said were “far greater than any numbers we’re talking about” — to the number of Covid-19 cases in part to emphasize his administration’s success in responding to the deadly virus. “I think we’re doing a very good job of it,” he said, going on to describe the number of cases in the U.S. as “pretty amazing.”
But comparing Covid-19 and flu numbers is a classic case of apples to oranges, according to public health experts and epidemiologists. While the number 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 as such only if there is a positive result on a lab test.
“It’s an inappropriate comparison because you’re using 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, very few people are able to get a confirmed diagnosis, making it impossible to know the actual number of cases and deaths in the U.S. In New York City, where the death toll has topped 192, confirmed cases have been reportedly doubling every three days, reaching more than 15,500 as of press time. But even that number is likely only the tip of the iceberg, since city hospitals have stopped testing patients who are not already hospitalized or requiring hospitalization.
While the precise number of people who are getting sick and dying from the coronavirus remains a mystery, it is already clearly more deadly than the flu. The percentage of people infected by the virus who die from it, known as the case fatality rate, has been reported to be in the range of 1 to 3 percent and to vary geographically, with estimates in South Korea as low as 0.4 percent. For people in the U.S. who are 85 and older, the most vulnerable, the case fatality rate has ranged from 10 to 27 percent, according to the CDC. Yet fewer than 1 in 1,000 of the people who developed flu during the 2018-2019 season died, according to CDC estimates. Read more…