“Don’t let it rule your life,” they say. “It’s not that bad, not as bad as the flu,” they say.
What does the science say? It’s constantly dispelling the myths, but the myths seem to have better traction than the science.
Raise your hand if you’re surprised.
[crickets. tumbleweeds. eye rolls.]
It’s not just anti-science human beings that are perpetuating false information, it’s anti math and antipathetic and anti-empathetic humans.
○ 2 COVID-19 IS NO WORSE THAN THE FLU.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Trump has lied about the disease’s severity, saying it is no more dangerous than seasonal influenza. Trump himself admitted to journalist and author Bob Woodward in recorded interviews in early February and late March that he knew COVID-19 was more deadly than the flu and that he wanted to play down its severity.
Why It’s False: The precise infection fatality rate of COVID-19 is hard to measure, but epidemiologists suspect that it is far higher than that of the flu—somewhere between 0.5 and 1 percent, compared with 0.1 percent for influenza. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the latter causes roughly 12,000 to 61,000 deaths per year in the U.S. In contrast, COVID-19 had caused 200,000 deaths in the country as of mid-September. Many people also have partial immunity to the flu because of vaccination or prior infection, whereas most of the world has not yet encountered COVID-19. So no, coronavirus is not “just the flu.”
Why People Believe It: Their leaders keep saying it. In addition to his repeated false claims that COVID-19 is no worse than the flu, Trump has also said—falsely—that the numbers of deaths from COVID-19 are exaggerated. In fact, reported deaths from COVID-19 are likely an undercount.