- President Trump compared the common flu to coronavirus, recycling an old – and dangerous – narrative.
- Scientists say coronavirus can be ten times worse than the flu.
- The virus is 12 times more contagious than MERS, and it could turn into a global pandemic.
As the U.S. stock market collapsed on Monday, President Donald Trump went on the offensive to downplay the threat of the coronavirus outbreak to investors and the economy.
He tweeted that the economy didn’t miss a beat when the “common Flu” killed 37,000 Americans last year, implying that the reaction to the coronavirus epidemic is severely irrational.
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!
Trump couldn’t be more wrong on coronavirus
The coronavirus epidemic, which has been described as a global pandemic by some scientists, has been expanding rapidly throughout Asia, Europe, and the U.S.
With a high infection and fatality rates, coronavirus has proven to be significantly more contagious than previous similar viruses like SARS and MERS.
Only drastic precautionary measures have sufficed to control the spread of the COVID-19 disease. In the past two months, 55 million people in China’s Hubei region and 16 million people in Italy have been quarantined in an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
According to Balaji Srinivasan, a former bioinformatics professor at Stanford and researcher with papers in clinical and microbial genomics, coronavirus has the potential to become ten times worse than the flu based on simple statistics.
“It’s not the flu. But it may be 10X the flu in terms of deaths and hospitalizations,” Srinivasan said.
And the American Hospital Association warned that coronavirus could cause 96 million infections and 480,000 deaths over the next two months – if not contained properly.
The American Hospital Association’s researched used a basic reproduction number (R0) of 2.5 to come up with the figures. But studies in Asia have found that the R0 of coronavirus can spike up to 12 depending on the region, which massively increases the probability of the coronavirus epidemic expanding more rapidly than expected.
President Trump’s comparison of flu to the coronavirus epidemic comes amidst rising fear in the stock market towards the possible long-lasting effect of the virus on the global economy.
The U.S. has been criticized throughout the past two weeks for its lack of large-scale testing capacity.
South Korea and China have run hundreds of thousands of coronavirus tests nationwide with easy-to-use kits to contain the epidemic in key areas.
But in the U.S., where the number of coronavirus cases has already surpassed 550 and community spread remains a major threat, leading scientists are still concerned about the testing capacity of the country.
As seen with South Korea and other countries like Italy, Iran, and Japan, the number of coronavirus cases can jump rapidly from hundreds to thousands within a span of two weeks.
Will it cost him the election?
Not that long ago, President Trump appeared to have a relatively easy path to victory in the 2020 presidential election. A booming stock market, record-low unemployment, and his China trade deal all testified to that outcome.
But the president’s confusing – not to mention dangerous – stance on the coronavirus outbreak threatens to damage his reelection bid in the coming months.
And that’s not just the outlook from Trump’s foes in the “mainstream media.” On betting markets like FTX, his odds are crashing alongside the stock market.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.