WASHINGTON, D.C. – The daily press briefings on Wuhan Coronavirus featuring President Trump and the team of leaders tasked with stymieing the epidemic spread of the scourge are often dominated by Dr. Anthony Fauci. For good reason; the Director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases is one of the most assertive influences on the nation’s policy guidance of prolonged social distancing practices and the correlated economic shutdown they necessitate.
When the president indicated a potential Easter target for beginning to reopen much of the economy, Fauci successfully urged to extend the shutdown guidance for another month. He provides the media with a viral quote about SARS-CoV2 being ’10 times deadlier than the flu.’ He has talked in terms of months, not weeks, when advising what he thinks government shutdown policies should be to combat the viral spread. And then he publishes an article in a nationally respected medical journal that COVID-19 maybe “more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%).”
Yes. While Dr. Anthony Fauci is, on one hand, confidently telling the nation that this is ’10 times worse than the flu’ and predicting hundreds of thousands of deaths to reinforce the social distancing needs, he is, at the same time, telling scientific peers that the whole pandemic maybe no worse than a bad flu season.
From Just The News:
“[…] Fauci declared in March 11 congressional testimony that the current coronavirus “is 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu,” which would be about 1 percent. His testimony generated news headlines that blared across the internet and television news, and it remains frequently cited today.
But among his learned colleagues in academia, he has provided the more conservative analysis.
“[T]he case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%,” Fauci wrote in an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 26. “This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of COVID-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.”
A day after the NEJM article was published, Fauci was back to repeating the higher fatality number in public rather than “considerably less than 1%.”
“The mortality of [COVID-19] is about 10 times [flu],” Fauci told Comedy Central host Trevor Noah on March 27. […]”
That is quite the contradiction considering this is the man the nation has turned to for public health guidance amid the most consequential disruption to lives and livelihoods since the last world war.
The reporting on the journal entry cites sources attesting to Fauci’s thrust being that the coronavirus was merely closer to flu mortality than SARS/MERS. It is true that ’10 times the flu’ is still just one percent mortality, and that’s still much closer to the flu than that of SARS1 and especially MERS. But the 0.1 percent of a bad seasonal influenza is still 10 times less than what Fauci is promoting most forcefully in public. It does show how different frames of reference can dramatically change perceptions.
If Fauci went out to the daily briefing and said, ‘It’s really way closer to a bad flu season than the scary mortality figures involved with similar viral outbreaks like SARS or MERS,’ would people be as likely to buy into the need to shut the economy down, upend lives across the board, and set records for unemployment claims? Probably not.
After all, because there are no vaccines currently, the Wuhan Coronavirus could transmit much more widely than the seasonal flu, and therefore kill a lot more people even with similar mortality rates. Even so, the prescriptions Dr. Fauci has written for America are extremely painful, if not deadly, themselves. As much as public health central planners want to control the population for optimal model trajectories, this is impossible and detrimental to a much wider swath of American life than the virus itself.
With costs so high, and so fundamental, we deserve more consistent and transparent information about the true lethality and spread of SARS-CoV2.
Some are suggesting it isn’t just ‘more akin to the flu,’ but actually about HALF as lethal as the flu. Because current counting of deaths versus confirmed cases in calculating mortality is flawed, they argue, because not even close to everyone that is infected with the virus gets tested. However, everyone that dies from COVID-19 does, though. Even conservative estimates about untested carriers drop the death rates is a massive way.
These are the kinds of honest questions and answers we need from authorities that now hold such emergency powers over our lives like we’ve never known before, but such an approach lacks the flare and fear required to convince Americans to submit to forced government closures for months on end. So flare and fear it is.
Learn more about the different expert perspectives on the virus here.