Right now, there are many memes using information from supposed “experts” who say that we shouldn’t worry too much about the potential of the coronavirus covid-19 to wreak havok on our nation. The biggest problem, they say, is people panicking and buying out every item that our grocery stores have on their shelves. And that is a problem. But these people continue to compare covid-19 to the annual flu virus — when in fact it might be smarter to compare it to the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.
The Spanish flu killed between 17 and 50 million after infecting less than a third of the world’s population. (Which was only 1.9 billion people at the time. The world population right now stands at about 7.8 billion.)
The mortality rate of the annual flu is .1 percent, while the mortality rate of covid-19 is presumed to be around 2 percent. Compare that to the mortality rate of the Spanish flu, which was around 2.5 percent, and you’ll understand that Spanish flu has more in common with covid-19 than the flu.
But there’s more.
It’s not just about the mortality rate. It’s about the number of infected. And in order to understand the virus’s capacity to travel from one person to the next, we need to know how contageous it is compared to annual flu and Spanish flu. We learn this information by figuring out how many people any given infected individual is likely to infect. Individuals who will infect one other person are given a reproductive number of R1, for example. Two people, R2. Three people, R3, and so on.
Scientists believe that covid-19 has a value of R2.3. The annual flu has a value of 1.3. The median rating allotted to the Spanish flu was 1.8. What does that mean? Not only is covid-19 potentially as deadly as the Spanish flu, but it’s potentially more contagious. Do we know all this for sure? No. We’re still taking educated guesses, and scientists won’t have better answers until the whole thing is over and done with.
But that’s not really the point, is it?
Donald Trump called the coronavirus pandemic a liberal hoax only two weeks ago. He said the negative media coverage was a ploy by his political enemies to undermine his chances of reelection later this year. Because he didn’t believe in the seriousness of this virus, the United States did not request or receive the necessary testing equipment it required to find out how many people are actually infected. That means the number of infected is likely already much higher than reported.
You decide if the government should be held financially responsible for this potentially deadly mistake.