More Americans could die from coronavirus than those killed in battle during Civil War, White House projection shows
President Donald Trump and his leading health advisers dealing with the novel coronavirus pandemic offered some grim statistics for Americans in the weeks ahead. Statistical models showed that roughly 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die from the disease — even if Americans observed the strict social distancing guidelines. The forecasted figures are an alarming when put in context with other pandemics and wars. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
President Donald Trump and his leading health advisers dealing with the novel coronavirus pandemic offered some grim statistics for Americans in the weeks ahead. Statistical models showed that roughly 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die from the disease — even if Americans observed the strict social distancing guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Trump's coronavirus team. Trump shifted his tone on Tuesday to reflect the new statistics. He previously described the novel coronavirus as seasonal influenza: "This is a flu. This is like a flu," Trump said in late February. "I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead," Trump said during a press conference at the White House on Tuesday. "We're going to go through a very tough two weeks." Earlier worst-case scenario estimates predicted around 200,000 to 1.7 million deaths and between 160 million and 214 million infections in the US. As of Tuesday evening, there were over 184,343 cases and 3,796 deaths in the US. "We really believe we can do a lot better than that," Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator said during the briefing, adding that it was imperative for people to continue observing health guidelines despite a potential improvement in the near-term. Birx stressed that there was "no magic bullet, there's no magic vaccine or therapy" and that the proliferation of the disease depended on human behavior. The forecasted 100,000 and 240,000 deaths is an alarming number when put into context with other pandemics and wars.
Here are some other CDC statistics on deaths in the US:
Accidental: 169,936 Alzheimer's disease: 121,404 Influenza and pneumonia: 55,672
Spanish Flu in 1918-20: 675,000 H2N2 in 1957-58: 116,000
US death resulting in direct battle:
Civil War: 215,000 World War II: 291,557 World War I: 53,402 Vietnam: 47,434 Korea: 33,739 Join the conversation about this story »
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Trump is still comparing COVID-19 to the flu. But the coronavirus has already killed 3 times more people than flu does in a year.
Summary List PlacementPresident Donald Trump hadn't even been back at the White House 24 hours following...Summary List PlacementPresident Donald Trump hadn't even been back at the White House 24 hours following his hospitalization for COVID-19 when he brought back a tired comparison: He claimed the coronavirus was akin to the seasonal flu. "Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu," Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning. "Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!" However, it's simply not true that 100,000 people die annually from the flu or that COVID-19 is less lethal than the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US's worst flu season in the last decade — the 2017-2018 season — killed 61,099 Americans, while the coronavirus has already killed more than 210,000 people in the country. Twitter flagged Trump's post within hours as "misleading and potentially harmful information." Facebook took the post down for violating its COVID-19 misinformation policy. "This is not the flu — not even close. It's a much more serious illness without question," David Battinelli, chief medical officer at Northwell Health and a professor of medicine at Hofstra University, told Business Insider of COVID-19. He added: "Trump should know that. I'm sure he has had the flu once or twice and didn't go to hospital. He got this and went in for two days." The worst flu season in the last decade killed 61,000 Americans Influenza is no cakewalk. Every year, the seasonal flu kills tens of thousands of Americans. Last year, there were more than 18 million flu-related medical visits and 405,000 hospitalizations. But there has never been a season in which "over 100,000" Americans died of the flu. The average number of people who've died of flu each year in the US since 2010 is about 36,000, CDC data shows. Most recently, between 2019 and 2020, 21,909 people died. Trump was well aware of that in March: So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2020 It's possible the president's latest tweet was referring to the annual global death toll from flu epidemics. According to the World Health Organization, between there are 290,000 and 650,000 respiratory deaths related to influenza worldwide every year. But that's far lower than the global coronavirus death toll: More than 1 million people have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. The coronavirus isn't 'far less lethal' than the flu About 0.1% of people who got the flu died in the US last year, according to the CDC. The US's current COVID-19 case-fatality rate, also known as its death rate, is 2.8%. The number comes from dividing the number of deaths by the number of total cases. That's probably higher than the infection-mortality rate (IFR) — the overall proportion of people who die as a result of their coronavirus infection. Research suggests the IFR is significantly lower because that figure would include Americans whose infections are not reported because they have no symptoms, those who don't get tested, as well as those whose COVID-19 deaths aren't recorded. "The studies I have any faith in are tending to converge around 0.5–1%," Timothy Russell, a mathematical epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told Nature in June. But that's still five to 10 times higher than the flu's IFR. Plus, the infection-mortality rate in a given population depends on the age, demographics, and prevalence of preexisting health conditions in that group. The coronavirus disproportionately impacts Black Americans, people older than 65, and patients with preexisting health issues like heart disease. The IFR of any illness tends to decrease over time as doctors get better at treating patients. But even so, Trump's assertion that the coronavirus is "far less lethal" than the flu is off-base. In fact, the president seems to have known that the virus was worse than the flu when he talked to veteran journalist Bob Woodward about it during the winter. Recordings of interviews between Trump and Woodward show that on February 7, Trump said to Woodward: "It goes through the air. That's always tougher than the touch. You don't have to touch things. Right? But the air, you just breathe the air and that's how it's passed. And so that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one. It's also more deadly than even your strenuous flus." Nonetheless, Trump has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the pandemic to the public by likening the flu to COVID-19. One reason Americans are less impacted by the flu than the coronavirus, of course, is that we have seasonal vaccines. Plus, doctors also have better treatment options. "We've done much better with the flu because were vaccinating more people and we have antiviral drugs that are known to work," Battinelli said. So it's possible that at some time in the future, COVID-19 will become less deadly. A coronavirus vaccine also isn't likely to be necessary every year the way flu shots are, because unlike the flu, the coronavirus does not mutate rapidly.SEE ALSO: See how the coronavirus death rate and flu death rate in the US compare by age bracket Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How to tell if you have a cold, flu, or just allergies
Infectious disease expert says young people socializing are ‘inadvertently part of the problem’Top US public health...Infectious disease expert says young people socializing are ‘inadvertently part of the problem’Top US public health expert Anthony Fauci warned on Tuesday that the global coronavirus outbreak could be as bad as the 1918 flu pandemic, calling that catastrophe “the mother of all pandemics”, which killed more than 50 million people worldwide.Facing increasing attacks from Donald Trump and White House officials, Fauci spoke to Georgetown University students in Washington on Tuesday about the coronavirus pandemic and its risks to young people. Continue reading...
Dr. Birx urged Americans to 'be together socially, yet distant' amid states reopening and Memorial Day celebrations
Dr. Deborah Birx urged Americans on Sunday that reopening the country hinged on individuals following safety...Dr. Deborah Birx urged Americans on Sunday that reopening the country hinged on individuals following safety recommendations. The White House coronavirus response coordinator appeared on ABC's "This Week" amid reports of crowded beaches for Memorial Day and widespread easing of lockdowns in states across the US. Birx's comment came as the US marked more than 1.6 million coronavirus cases and 96,000 deaths. Public health officials are working "to translate that learning into real change behavior that stays with us so we can continue to drive down the number of cases," Birx said. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Over the holiday weekend, as states eased lockdowns and many Americans broke quarantine to enjoy rising temperatures, Dr. Deborah Birx urged Americans to keep in mind that reopening the country to pre-pandemic activities hinged on individuals following safety recommendations. The White House coronavirus response coordinator appeared on ABC's "This Week" Sunday morning, where she responded to photos of crowded beaches full of Memorial Day revelers by emphasizing that measures to prevent spreading infection like social distancing are "absolutely critical." "If you can't social distance and you're outside, you must wear a mask," Birx said. "We've learned a lot about this virus, but we now need to translate that learning into real change behavior that stays with us so we can continue to drive down the number of cases," Birx said. Birx said public officials were continuing to "communicate" necessary measures as the pandemic wears on, to allow Americans to "be together socially, yet distant." Birx was speaking days after she gave a press conference ahead of the holiday weekend where she said activities like golfing and enjoying beaches weren't off-limits with social distancing. The public-health expert told host Martha Raddatz that similar caution should be taken by worship leaders if they open their doors after President Donald Trump urged them to reopen. Trump said Friday he would designate houses of worship as essential services and "override" governors who did not open them for in-person services, though Business Insider's Grace Panetta and Eliza Relman reported that he likely does not have the authority to do so. "We all have made difficult behavioral changes and that needs to continue to happen," as public places open, Birx said. Birx said guidelines from the CDC remain available for those attending activities but urged caution that "if there is a heightened number of COVID cases, maybe they wait another week." "This only works if we all follow the guidelines and protect one another," Birx told Raddatz. Birx was speaking as the US counted more than 1.6 million cases of and 96,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus. Join the conversation about this story »